ANN ARBOR– Is there a senior in college basketball who is as gifted an athlete than Michigan’s Charles Matthews? It would be hard to come across, particularly after Matthews’ stellar performance against Big Ten rival Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday. Matthews would finish the night with 18 points and six rebounds, en route to Michigan’s 74-63 win over Indiana.
“We came out wanting to compete early and we were aggressive,” states Matthews after the game. “Given that it’s a Big Ten rival, I wanted to be assertive and aggressive every time I touched the ball.”
Basketball Always A Part of Matthews’ Life
From a young age, basketball was an integral part of Charles Matthews’ life. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he grew up towards the tail end of Michael Jordan mania and the start of Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career. According to Charles’ Mom, Nichole, he and his two brothers were named after NBA legends Charles Barkley and Dominique Wilkens. I guess basketball was the destiny for young Charles.
After attending St. Rita High School, Matthews was recruited to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. But he struggled in his freshman year, only averaging 10.3 points per game. He transferred to the University of Michigan, where Coach John Beilein took him under his wing to turn him into an effective player.
“When Charles transferred here, he knew he had to sit out a year so he was prepared to grow as a player,” said Beilein. “Last year, he would often get in the lane and be off balance. Now he does these balance exercises to limit the issue. He’s one of the smartest players I have ever coached. His high basketball IQ will serve him well down the road.”
Matthews is an extremely athletic player, who can get physical on defense with a strong vertical leap. His creativity to get to the basket is second to none and over his time at Michigan, he has developed a solid mid-range game. This was evidenced in the victory over Indiana, where Matthews used his speed to power his way past defenders to get buckets.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and continue to attack within the offense,” Matthews said afterwards. “But still put pressure on the defense.”
Matthews Michigan Career Filled with Accomplishments
There is still a lot of basketball to be played. From competition against Big Ten teams to the March Madness, there is still more history to be made for these Wolverines.
For Charles Matthews, he will leave Michigan a player with many accolades. In the 2018 March Madness, he was the West Regional Most Outstanding Player, where he averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. He averaged 13 points per game as a junior, which was second on the Michigan squad.
Against Indiana on Sunday afternoon, Matthews was dominant from the first tip, particularly in the first half as we was consistently driving the basket. On December 15th against Western Michigan, Matthews took control of the game, generating his fifth career double-double to keep the Wolverines undefeated.
After Michigan, Matthews’ sights will be to make the NBA. There are still facets of his game that he needs to improve on, particularly his long range shot. But given where Matthews was when he came from Kentucky, he has moulded into a consistent 30 points per game threat.
“They say the NBA, that’s an unforgiving league,” Matthews said. “Not too many chances at success in that league. So when I get there, I want to be prepared and be ready.”