Matthews powers way to success

The 2015 travel season has been very kind to J.J. Matthews. The 6-7 forward from Virginia has been a key cog in the River City Reign machine, and he out-dueled some bigger names at last weekend’s David Rose MDC.

When J.J. Matthews laces them up and takes the floor, you can feel it. Sometimes literally, as the 6-7, 225-pound insider batters opponents for buckets and rebounds and makes frequent impact on the actual hardwood. Matthews has posted gaudy numbers at times within the past several weeks, including a 34-point, 18-rebound effort last Saturday morning.

Matthews plays to his strengths but harbors ambitions for expanding his game as well. In order to maximize is scholarship offers, at his height he must prove he can play away from the rim.

”I see myself as a stretch four,” Matthews said. “I know I need to work on guarding perimeter players and stay involved on defense.”

While he mostly dominated via post play during my time watching him last weekend, Matthews also has demonstrated the ability to step out and knock in a facing jump shot.

”He’s a very skilled big who can score with his back to the basket, face up and play off the catch,” RCR coach Chris Herron said. “He plays with a high motor and rebounds in and out of his area.”

He also has worked hard on his conditioning. In order to better defend more perimeter-oriented forwards, as he mentioned, Herron said that Matthews has cut 30 pounds of weight since February.

Schools have taken notice of his talents, and he hopes to reel in more offers in July to accompany those he already holds.

”I’m hearing from Vanderbilt, Clemson, Virginia Tech, VCU, Xavier … none of those have offered,” Matthews said. “But I do have offers from Towson, Boston College, Drexel, James Madison, Middle Tennessee State and some more.”

Matthews believes he understands what it will take to advance to the next level of acclaim and pursuit.

”I think mainly (college coaches) just want to see me play more,” he said. “And just play hard and everything else will fall into place. I’m just focusing on getting better right now.”

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