St. Rita's Charles Matthews chooses Kentucky

St. Rita's Charles Matthews chooses Kentucky
February 26, 2014, 8:45 am
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Scott Phillips

The top junior basketball player in Illinois made his collegiate decision on Wednesday morning as St. Rita 6-foot-5 guard Charles Matthews announced his intent to play for the University of Kentucky at a press conference at St. Rita.

Matthews made the surprise decision to end his recruitment on Monday after cutting down his school list and announcing his intent to make a decision on Twitter. Kentucky beat out Illinois, Kansas, Marquette and Michigan State for Matthews' commitment.

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"I had a gut feeling from the first time I went there," Matthews said of Kentucky. "I felt it was kind of pointless for me to be beating around the bushes with these other coaches. Now I can really focus on improving my game and helping my team win."

A five-star guard and the No. 11 player in the 2015 class nationally, according to Rivals, Matthews is the first commitment for Kentucky in the 2015 class.

"It means a lot," Matthews said of starting Kentucky's 2015 recruiting class. "Hopefully the 2015 class can compare to all of those other classes as well. I'm trying to learn some of the top players from our class and hopefully we can get it done."

Matthews joins a long line of Chicago-area prospects to play for Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

"He just told me to keep working and keep getting better," Matthews said of Calipari. "We didn't even talk about committing, it just felt like the place that I wanted to be."

Former Simeon star and current Chicago Bulls point guard, Derrick Rose, played for Calipari at Memphis and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft while former Perspectives star Anthony Davis won a national title at Kentucky and was also a No. 1 overall NBA draft pick.

Calipari also has a commitment from current Marian Catholic senior Tyler Ulis, who signed his Letter of Intent to Kentucky this fall, and was a backcourt running mate of Matthews' on the Meanstreets grassroots program. Rose and Davis also came from the Meanstreets program as well.

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"I spoke to Tyler; that's my man," Matthews said. "He told me there's no point in waiting around and to just get it done. We had a lot of fun this recent summer with Meanstreets so we're looking forward to continuing that."

Matthews missed the early part of this high school season with an injured left ankle and returned to action in December for the No. 24 Mustangs. St. Rita currently stands 17-7 on the season and has a big game with No. 19 St. Joseph on Friday before they begin the Class 4A state playoffs as a No. 4 seed in the ridiculously loaded Marist Sectional.

Matthews also has a brother, Dominique, who is a senior at St. Rita and he's still uncommitted and deciding between DI offers. Dominique Matthews told CSNChicago.com that Boise State, Chicago State, Southern Illinois, SMU, Toledo and Wisconsin-Milwaukee are all recruiting him and he'll focus on committing after the high school season.