Matthews takes plunge

Like a passenger in the front cart of a roller coaster, the figurative scream could be heard across Big Blue Nation Thursday when it was revealed that the Wildcats' lone verbal commitment took a sharp plunge in the latest Scout rankings.

Charles Matthews, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Chicago's St. Rita High School, was ranked No. 15 in the rising senior class when he committed to Kentucky in February. On Thursday, he was No. 48 and demoted to four-star status.

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"I think it's a situation where we just needed to do some reshuffling, and I had not personally seen Charles since last summer," said Scout national basketball analyst Evan Daniels. "I got to see him on the EYBL circuit, and he did some nice things -- he's still a really good athlete with nice speed and high potential as a defender and a very good rebounder from the wing position -- but going forward, he's going to have to improve his jump shot to regain that ranking he had previously. He's not a real major threat from 3 right now, and I'd like to see that improve.

"But for right now, he's a guy who's best using his athleticism, getting out in transition, defending, rebounding."

Daniels was quick to note that a Top 50 prospect is still considered an elite player, and that Matthews' case is probably scrutinized a bit more through no fault of his own.

"This isn't really an abnormal thing; it's just abnormal for UK fans," Daniels said. "People are just used to them having all Top 10 guys. I hope that Kentucky fans still realize that Charles Matthews is still a really talented, gifted player who's going to a good place for his skills with (John) Calipari and the dribble-drive.

"People shouldn't get caught up in, 'Wow, he dropped this many spots.'"

Part of the drop was also the emergence of several new names during the spring, according to Daniels. A few players, like potential new UK target Henry Ellenson, went from No. 55 to No. 7 overall. Prince Ali jumped from No. 90 to No. 46. Deng Adel and Deyonta Davis went from unranked to No. 18 and No. 35, respectively.

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