Charles Matthews: Junior Primer

Many heralded prospects from Illinois require little time to gain national notice, and Matthews is merely the latest to travel a path to potential stardom.

Since 2011, Charles Matthews has been a mainstay in the grassroots universe. He has had to wait his turn behind the slew of superstars to emerge from Chicago over the past several years, but he has created a resume of his own that garners national attention.

Matthews stood out as a top performer early in the Class of 2015, and by the end of his freshman year he had drawn offers from Arizona and Illinois. Coaches didn't need long to spot his obvious scoring ability, and from that point forward an increasing number of schools have become involved.

As a sophomore, he actually played both shooting guard and point guard for St. Rita. That versatility enabled him to serve as a playmaker for his squad in addition to his obvious scoring talents. Prior to the 2013 travel circuit, he picked up offers from DePaul, SMU and Providence, among others.

Matthews toured extensively during the spring and summer, frequently battling older, 17-under competition. Though he didn't always stand out as a dominant player, he clearly was a blue-chip prospect and one of the best in the rising junior class.

His game starts with his jump shot. Matthews has a very smooth release and an excellent follow through, and he doesn't need much space to get a clean look. He loves to dribble into his shot — improving off screens and catch and shoot will be key — and is very comfortable both from behind the three-point line and medium-range. In fact, it was the in-between areas where he did his best work at events such as the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

Matthews is a fine dribbler who drives to the bucket on occasion as well, but he isn't truly an explosive athlete. He doesn't finish spectacularly and can struggle to score in traffic, though with greater strength he should be able to improve in that regard. He also surprises with some hanging baseline buckets and should be able to expand on those drives in the future.

Defensively, like most young players Matthews must hone his focus and technique. That said, at 6-4 and with reasonably quick feet laterally, he should develop into a solid player on the end of the court. I'd like to see him become more physical as a rebounder, but again, there's the strength issue that limits him at present and should alleviate over time.

His recruitment is boiling feverishly. Over the past year he has taken several unofficial visits to schools such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky. He also continues to list Arizona, Duke, Ohio State and others.

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