The Kentucky Wildcats always seem to have among the best recruiting crops in the country under head coach John Calipari, and their 2015 class got off to an ideal start on Wednesday with the commitment of shooting guard Charles Matthews.
According Adam Zagoria of SNY, the 5-star guard from St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago picked the Wildcats over several other high-profile suitors, including Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State and Marquette.
Matthews is rated as the No. 12 overall prospect in the 2015 class by 247Sports' composite rankings. He is considered the top shooting guard as well as the No. 1 player out of the basketball-rich state of Illinois.
Per Zagoria, Matthews revealed in a press conference that it didn't take him long to realize that Kentucky was a perfect fit:
I had a good gut feeling since the first day I went there. I felt it was kind of pointless just for me to be beating around the bush with these other coaches. Now I can really focus on improving my game and helping my team win ... I just felt comfortable with the coaching staff. I think I got a good chance to get better and win and hopefully make it to the NBA afterwards.
At 6'6" and 172 pounds, Matthews clearly still has some growing to do in terms of filling out his frame, but he is a dynamic offensive player who figures to improve greatly under the tutelage of Calipari.
According to Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com, Matthews is already drawing comparisons to recent elite shooting guard recruits who have gone on to NBA success or are on the verge of doing so:
Who does Charles Matthews remind coaches of? Names included Brad Beal, Gary Harris, Ben McLemore, and others: http://t.co/S81DnhNt6i— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 26, 2014
Matthews is the latest in a long line of recruiting coups for Calipari and the Wildcats. To put Kentucky's recruiting prowess into perspective, Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal compared the Wildcats to the haul that Alabama football has secured in recent years:
Since 2009, Alabama football has landed 21 five-star players. Charles Matthews makes 24 for Kentucky basketball. http://t.co/gCFBBxub5E— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) February 26, 2014
Kentucky's superb freshman class of Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison brothers has impressed this season, leading the Wildcats to a 21-6 mark. It is entirely possible that all of them could make the jump to the NBA next season, and it's likely that none of them will still be around by the time Matthews arrives.
What role do you expect Matthews to play at Kentucky?
The 2015-16 season seems so far away right now, but it's never too early to get a jump on the competition. Kentucky has done that better than anyone else in recent years, and reeling in Matthews is yet another example of that.
Matthews is still a raw prospect as most players his age are, so next season will be key in his development. If he continues to get better day by day, then he has the potential to be an immediate star at the collegiate level.
He has all the tools that schools look for in a top player, and Wildcats fans have to be excited about the future.
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