Freshman Guard Prodigy Enjoys Illinois Visit

One of the biggest stories in Illinois high school basketball over the last month was a school decision. Not a college, but high school. Charles Matthews ultimately picked St. Rita over Whitney Young. The shooting guard is worthy of the attention as he is a high major recruit already and was on the Illinois campus last weekend.

Charles Matthews is the younger brother of St. Rita guard Dominique Matthews. Many thought the two would attend high school together, but until a last minute change of heart it seemed Charles would be headed to powerhouse Whitney Young. Matthews is one of the top five freshman prospects in the state of Illinois, and it was a tough decision for him.

"That was very hard and confusing. I just want to go on with this year and try to win a state championship."

Before he even hits the high school hardwood, colleges are lining up to get his attention, including the Illini who hosted him and his brother last weekend.

"When we first arrived there, we were late for the football game so we didn't get to see the crowd and school spirit. But we saw a bunch of orange, so we knew they had a lot of school spirit.

We then went to the practice facility and scrimmaged with the team. We played with Malcolm Hill. After that we took a tour of campus. We saw the dorms, the café area, and the place where the team hangs out and plays games. We got an idea about the school atmosphere. It was real nice."

What impressed him most?

"I couldn't pick out just one thing. I was very impressed. I loved the school. I was really happy with what I saw."

He enjoyed playing against the Illinois team and fellow recruits.

"It was fun! I saw how their bodies have matured from high school to college basketball."

The Matthews family also had an opportunity to speak with the coaches.

"We talked about discipline and the structure as far as changes you have to make from high school to college. We talked about what I need to do to prepare for college and how your academics have to be in order to get the scholarship."

He was very impressed with the program and thinks highly of it.

"I know last year they didn't have the best season, but they usually have a winning tradition. They have great school spirit, and that is what I love about Illinois. I like how it is close to home. I love the 16,000 seats in Assembly Hall. I also like you can have 24/7 access to work out in the gym whenever you want."

What is it going to be like to play with Dominique in high school?

"It is going to be nice. It is going to be really nice because we have been playing together our whole lives. Playing in high school together is going to be even better."

St. Rita has a loaded freshman class, led by top ten prospects Matthews, Myles Carter, and Armani Chaney.

"We have a nice freshman class. We have some great talent coming in."

Matthews breaks down his game.

"I just call myself a basketball player because I don't want to be labeled. I want to be able to do all things on the floor. I model my game after a Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady mixture. I am a big guard, and I know Penny was too. My strength is using my size and attacking off the dribble. I use my size to get where I want to get to on the floor."

Colleges besides Illinois showing interest include Ohio State, Arizona, and Virginia. InsideIllini first discovered Matthews at the prestigious Fab Frosh Camp in Atlanta.

"I loved it. I feel that got me on the map on a national level. I got to compete with the top players in my class. I loved Fab Frosh Camp! If I could do it all over again I would. I think I did good. I think I stood out as one of the best players in my class in the nation."

He did just that as he was one of the top scorers and was selected to play in the Top 20 All-Star Game. This is one freshman to watch as his stock is only going to go up!


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