Most Marquette fans will tell you there has never been a standout player from the Madison area to pledge their allegiance to Marquette. On Sunday night, Madison Memorial's Wes Matthews decided to change that.
At a 7 p.m. press confernece held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Fitchburg, just south of Madison, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard did something that no one from Madison had ever done. He announced that he would continue his basketball career 75 miles to the East at Marquette University, turning down his hometown school, the University of Wisconsin. Matthews had also entertained offers from basketball powers Georgia Tech, last year's national runner-up, and Stanford.
Saying no to the University of Wisconsin was no easy task, especially considering that both of Wesley's parents were star athletes for the Badgers. "Telling Bo Ryan was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Matthews said. "It was stressful, as I grew up with the Badgers in my backyard. Badgermania was everywhere."
As a junior, Matthews led Madison Memorial to an undefeated season before falling to Milwaukee King in the state championship game. At season's end he averaged 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds last season. Matthews also showed toughness, dedication and the desire to win, as he continued to play in the state tournament despite breaking his thumb. He was named second-team All-State by both the Associated Press and Coaches Association and was first-team All-Area by the Wisconsin State Journal. "We did lose one game last year, so this year our goal is to really finish undefeated," Matthews said.
Wesley made himself known on the national level last summer and has since been consistantly rated by all of the nation's top recruiting analysts, ranging anywhere from No. 27 to No. 83 nationally. "The attention was nice, but it got to where there was just so much mail and phone calls," Matthews said. "We were getting 100 pieces of mail every day."
Wesley's commitment adds to the recruiting success that Tom Crean's Marquette program has seen in the past two weeks, joining point guard Dominic James from Indiana and Jerel McNeal from Illinois, who are also considered to be amoung the top 50 high school players in the nation.
"Tom Crean really was the difference," Matthews said. "He showed that he really wanted me, and he really took time to get through to my family, which really meant a lot to me."
With Marquette heading to the Big East in two years, Matthews admitted that played a big part in his decision. "The Big East was a major factor," he said. "Adding Marquette, Louisville and Cincinnati, it will be the best conference in the country, and that is what you want, to play against the best."
With the future additions of athletes like Matthews, James and McNeal, the future certainly looks bright for Wesley and Tom Crean's Marquette Golden Eagles!
This story originally published on MarquetteHoops.com
Matthews announces his decision
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