Jonah Mathews making strides as player, pleased with USC season

USC landed Scout's 72nd ranked 2016 prospect in Jonah Mathews and while the four-star shooting guard is making progress on the court, he's happy with his future team's improvement as well.

Andy Enfield has slowly built a roster of scorers at USC and, at 14-3 and 3-1 in the Pac-12, the Trojans program is enjoying its best success in several years.

The best news for USC fans is that the Trojans will keep almost their entire roster intact for next season, while also adding some talented newcomers in players such as Shaqquan Aaron, Jonah Mathews and De'Anthony Melton.

In Mathews, USC landed Scout's 72nd ranked 2016 prospect and a player who has gradually improved over the course of his high school career.

Mathews has saved his best for last as a senior. Always a guard who could really shoot off the bounce, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound four-star prospect has really improved his ability to run an offense as he's playing point guard for Santa Monica (Calif.).

"I feel more comfortable on the ball now," Mathews said. "Last year I played off the ball because we had (2018 point guard) Spencer Freedman. I like the ball in my hands because I can make plays for my teammates and score when I have to."

There isn't a preference between the one and two for Mathews, as he's comfortable playing with and without the ball in his hands.

"USC recruited me as a combo so I'll play the one and two there," he said. "I can play the one because I have a point guard's mentality but I can also score. I just want to get on the court; whatever will help me play."

When Mathews committed to USC, he chose Trojans over programs who were having more current and long term success, such as Gonzaga, San Diego State and Utah.

However, Mathews bought in when the USC coaches said the program would turn it around.

"When they recruited me, they told me they hadn't been good the first two years and anyone could see that," Mathews said.

"But with the players they have now along with the incoming recruiting class, they're on the rise. I want to be a part of one of the players that helps the program rise; that's what sold me."

Scout caught up with Mathews before USC's big victory over Arizona on Saturday, which he saw coming, while he's also optimistic about the program's future.

"I think we can contend for one of the top spots in the Pac-12," Mathews said. "They're doing good this year; they're 2-1 in conference play and I think they're going to beat Arizona today. We'll be even better next year."


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