CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– In a class dominated by elite big men at the top of Scout's rankings, the highest-rated guard for 2015 is Chicago's Charles Matthews, a lethal scorer in a 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame. But this week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Matthews has a different agenda than simply putting the ball in the basket.
"I'm not just a scorer," Matthews said. "A lot of people that don't see me a lot, and only see me play for my school, they see me have to put up a lot of numbers in the summer. So basically I'm trying to show off my versatility and some of the other things I can do on the court, other than just score the ball."
That flexibility in his game leaves Matthews without a true position on the court. And it poses the question, is he a point guard or a shooting guard?
"I don't know. I can do both and be a combo guard," Matthews said. "Whatever the coach needs me to do. Whatever position fits the team better, that's the position I'll play."
With Matthews' ability to get to the rim at ease as a tremendous slasher in the half court, and score the ball in transition, his defense often goes unnoticed. But with his long, athletic frame, the five-star guard has the potential to be a defensive stopper at the next level.
"I always like to get my hand in there, get deflections, and get a piece of the ball, Matthews said. "It's not always about getting a steal, but I love just making it tough on the defender and putting pressure on the ball."
Matthews list's offers from several high major programs including Arizona, Illinois, DePaul, Marquette, SMU, Providence, Miami (Fl.), Wisconsin, and Kansas.
Of the other schools showing interest, but have not yet extended an offer, Michigan State is putting in their fair share of time to land the top prospect. "For the school that hasn't offered me, (Michigan State) might be the one coming after me the hardest right now, but they are after me a lot," Matthews said.
One school that is still in the evaluation process for the 2015 rising junior is Kentucky. Mathews is very familiar with UK head coach John Calipari and his coaching staff. He says they have been out to see him play several times at his St. Rita High School in Chicago, and throughout the spring AAU circuit.
"Coach Cal came to my open gyms," Mathews said. "He watched me a lot at EYBL session two in Virginia. It let's me know that they are interested in me and they are going to be recruiting me hard, him and coach Antigua."
Being from a basketball-rich city like Chicago, Mathews is just waiting in the wings to become the town's next great high school hoop star. For him, it is hard to ignore the success John Calipari has had coaching players from the Windy City.
"Anthony (Davis) played for my AAU team so I have a good relationship with the coaches and they let me know that Calipari is a good move and that Anthony Davis had a great time there," Mathews said. "And I like seeing what he did with Derek Rose as well. You can just look at any one of those Kentucky guys and see what Coach Cal did with them."
As a guard with great size, athleticism, and natural feel for getting into the paint and finishing over smaller defenders, Matthews would be a prime candidate to be next in line of elite Calipari guards. With the likes of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight already experiencing success in the NBA, it's easy for Matthews to gauge how they are coached at Kentucky.
"Basically he (Calipari) gives his guys a lot of freedom," Matthews said. "He's going to be on them a lot, but he always gets the best out of them and gets them ready for the next level."
And although Coach Calipari's 2012-13 Cats were unsuccessful as a young team, it seems as though that 21-12 record is all but forgotten among the nation's top high school prospects.
"I know they had a bad season last year, but everybody still knows what Kentucky and Coach Cal is capable of," Matthews said.
Matthews an elite 2015 target
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