The Chicago native played in all 36 games during the 2015-16 season but averaged only 1.7 points. He is reportedly seeking more minutes and an opportunity to be a bigger factor on the offensive end of the floor for his next school.
UK granted Matthews, who is coming off recent hip surgery, a full release with no restrictions.
“The hardest thing as a coach is to lose a player that you really want to coach,” UK head coach John Calipari said in a statement released by the school. “In Charles’ case, I believe he is going to be a productive college player who has the ability to play at the next level. I know Charles’ best basketball is ahead of him, and while I’m a saddened to see him go, I support his decision and will help in any way I can.
“It hasn’t happened very often in my career, but transferring is a part of our game. It doesn’t change who we are as a program. We will support every kid in whatever way we can to make sure they can pursue their dreams, because ultimately that’s all I want for these young men.”
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Matthews came to UK as part of the Cats' No. 1 recruiting class that also included highly regarded backcourt players Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe. He was rated the No. 80 prospect in the Class of 2015 by Scout.
Added Matthews: "I want to thank the coaches, my teammates and the Big Blue Nation for all of their support this season. I gained great experience during my freshman year at Kentucky. This was a difficult decision for me, but at the end of the day I felt like it was in my best interest to explore other options.
"I appreciate the support Coach Cal has given me in making this decision and the commitment the coaching staff made to me for this past season and beyond. Kentucky will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Kentucky's roster for next season remains uncertain heading into the summer. The Wildcats are still awaiting word on the future of junior center/forward Marcus Lee and freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe, both who are considering the NBA Draft.
Matthews' departure, however, does open a scholarship for five-star center Marques Bolden, who plans to announce his college choice on Thursday. He has narrowed his decision to UK and Duke.