Boys Basketball: St. Rita’s Charles Matthews gives verbal commitment to Kentucky
By Michael O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2014 5:40PM
Charles Matthews, of St. Rita, takes a shot against Loyola on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 28, 2014 8:53AM
St. Rita’s Charles Matthews gave a verbal commitment to Kentucky on Wednesday live on High School Cube.
The 6-foot-6 junior is one of the top players in the nation, but even that doesn’t guarantee playing time at Kentucky.
Wildcats coach John Calipari regularly brings in one of the top recruiting classes in the country, so competition for playing time is fierce. Matthews knows exactly what he’s getting into.
“I’m ready for it,” Matthews said. “I had to take someone’s starting spot (at St. Rita). I’m aware of what I’m getting into. I’m a competitor. You need to play against the best.”
Matthews chose Kentucky over Illinois, Kansas, Marquette and Michigan State. He declined to name a runner-up.
“I’ve been touted since a young age,” he said. “It was a tough decision. It took a lot of thought, lots of praying.”
Matthews is good friends and club basketball teammates with Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis (a Kentucky recruit) and Simeon’s DJ Williams, an Illinois recruit.
Williams was at St. Rita to watch Matthews make his decision. Was it tough for Matthews to turn down Illinois and his good friend?
“A little bit,” Matthews said. “(Williams) and I talked a lot about it.”
Matthews said it well be “a lot of fun” playing with Ulis, who could be the starting point guard when Matthews arrives in Lexington in two years.
Matthews is the top ranked national player in the state’s 2015 class, but he isn’t a true star yet. The bright lights surrounding Ulis, Young’s Jahlil Okafor and Curie’s Cliff Alexander have left Matthews out of the limelight. That likely will change next season when Matthews and Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson become the state’s two biggest stars.
“I know that’s probably coming,” Matthews said. “I’m not recognized a lot now but if I keep playing hard that kind of thing may start happening next year. It’s important to just stay humble.”