Boys Basketball: St. Rita’s Dominique Matthews getting points across
Patrick Z. McGavin For Sun-Times Media December 9, 2013 11:00PM
Updated: January 11, 2014 6:34AM
Dominique Matthews made the unusual and difficult decision to forsake national exposure on the summer circuit to attend to his game on his own terms.
“I didn’t play that much AAU ball this summer, because I wanted to spend the time working on my own game and really getting better,” he said.
So far his plan has worked spectacularly.
The 6-foot-4 St. Rita senior swingman has strung together two remarkable individual performances. With his younger brother, Charles, the state’s top-ranked junior, recovering from a tear in his left ankle, Dominique has elevated his game and his profile.
He scored 36 points and forced overtime with a three-pointer before St. Rita lost 79-76 to Curie at the Team Rose Shootout on Dec. 1. On Saturday, in the Chicago Elite Classic at UIC, Matthews proved that performance was no fluke. He scored 34 points and added eight rebounds, two steals and an assist to help the Mustangs overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat Gonzaga (D.C.) 69-58. Matthews shot 11-of-19 from the field and scored 15 points in the decisive third-quarter run. He punctuated the victory with back-to-back three-point plays in the final 2:20.
The four-year starter had been eclipsed on his team, not just by his brother, but by senior Northwestern recruit Vic Law, as well.
“For some reason he’s underrated compared to some of the other players in the state,” St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare said. “He’s been my leading scorer for two years now. As a sophomore, the first (conference) game of the season against De La Salle, he scored 31 points.”
The magnitude of the games and the quality of the competition have only intensified the sense of achievement, according to Matthews.
“The Curie game and then again at UIC, both of those were big events, and I’ve been preparing myself for them for a long time,” he said.
Matthews said with his brother out, his role has been amplified.
“Since my freshman year, I’ve always been playing the (shooting) guard, and I had to work my way up to where I am now,” he said.
Matthews has scholarship offers from Chicago State, Toledo, SMU and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Hopefully, I will get some more interest from other schools,” he said.
Matthews said he hoped to use the high-profile games to reveal his point guard skills at the next level.
“Kids get too caught up with positions,” said DeCesare, a former DePaul assistant coach. “There are two positions in college: you either play or you sit. When you go to college they are going to use you the way they can.
“Dominique can pass, dribble and shoot, and he’s versatile enough to play multiple positions.”
Eager to have his brother back on the floor, Dominique Matthews is ready to do whatever is asked. DeCesare is his No. 1 advocate.
“He is a scoring guard with a great concept of the game,” DeCesare said. “I’ve coached a lot of great guards, and Dominique is one of the best.”