HAMPTON, Va. -- Kentucky's 2015 basketball recruiting board is just starting to take shape. One player who could be in the mix from the sophomore class is a five-star combo guard from Chicago who recently drew a visit from UK coach John Calipari.
"I was very surprised," Charles Matthews said of Calipari's recent trip to the Windy City to see open gym at St. Rita High School. "... I saw a big crowd at the door, then I said 'Alright, I see why the crowd is here.'
"I was very surprised and thankful and grateful because coach Calipari is a legendary coach... I was in awe."
Matthews (6-4, 185) is currently rated the top point guard and No. 6 prospect overall by FOX Sports Next and Scout. He has drawn early offers from programs like Arizona, Illinois, DePaul, SMU, Providence, Wisconsin and Marquette.
During Friday's opening session of play on the second leg of the EYBL circuit, he was hindered by a heavily-taped thumb that he jammed during the Los Angeles event, but still managed nine points in Meanstreets' game against The Family of Detroit.
The nagging injury kept him from playing much when the UK boss made his way to Chicago earlier in the week.
"I didn't play much because I had a messed up thumb and I didn't want to mess it up any more, but he told me he'd be back and he was going to watch me out here (at the EYBL)," Matthews said.
Asked how he feels about the interest from Kentucky, Matthews said "I love UK," and cited the Wildcats' up-tempo playing style and Calipari's track record with developing future pros as factors that held strong appeal for him.
There is also the Chicago connection. High profile players like Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis have thrived under the UK boss's tutelage.
"It shows me that he really takes care of players from Chicago a lot," Matthews said.
The Cats could have another strong relationship that plays a factor in Matthews' recruitment. UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua played for St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare when he was a high school star at St. Raymond's in New York City.
"That's probably a big connection," Matthews said with a smile.
Matthews excited about UK interest
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