Frontcourt Gets Even Bigger

Iowa State already signed a younger version of Victor Alexander for the 2004-05 season, but now head coach Wayne Morgan entertained the idea of bringing in someone from Big Vic's former high school.

After a huge victory over Xavier Tuesday night at Hilton Coliseum, ISU's first-year coach has secured a valuable addition to their frontcourt in the form of 6-foot-8, 240-pound Marquette transfer James Matthews, himself an alum of Detroit (Mich.) Denby High School. Matthews returned home Wednesday afternoon after a two-day visit to Ames, and spoke with CN.

"I thought it was great," said Matthews. "I loved the campus, the people and area. The guys really showed me a good time. (The Xavier game) was great. The fan support was awesome. They were really into it.

"I feel comfortable around Coach Morgan, because he's a player's coach. I think we'll have a great relationship. This is a nice change of scenery and hopefully something a little better for me."

Matthews sat out the 2002-03 regular season and will enroll in second semester classes at ISU and will be eligible for competition in January of '05. He will have two and a half seasons of eligibility remaining. During his final season at Denby High School – the 2001-02 campaign – Matthews averaged 18.0 points and 14.5 rebounds

Anxious to get his college career underway, Matthews was looking for good fits with the ISU coaching staff and his future teammates. He found those in Ames.

"I was looking for my type of coach," he said. "Does he like to run the fast break, or make his team set up and slow the ball down? Is he a cool coach? There were a lot of personal things that I was looking for. I found them in Coach Morgan. I was leaning towards Iowa State in the beginning, but didn't want to make a decision before I set foot on campus."

Matthews figures to be a key ingredient on future ISU teams, and at 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, already has the body to play in the Big 12. He believes his strengths as a player will blend in perfectly with what the Cyclones' system.

"I like driving to the hole," Matthews said. "My mid-range game is pretty good and I can shoot the 15-footer consistently. When my shot's not going down, I can post up real well. I'm pretty solid around the boards and can run the floor well. I think I'll fit in great with Iowa State's style. The two new guards they have like to push the rock and are not afraid to pass it. I'm not afraid to catch it, either."

He will be the fourth scholarship addition for the 2004-05 season, joining three high schoolers that signed in the fall.


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