Christian Matthews, the 6-foot-6 forward who committed to Georgia Tech this past weekend, feels like he can help out the ACC school in a hurry.
Trevor Brown, the high school coach at Maryland’s National Christian Academy, said that Christian’s potential and upside would help Georgia Tech get back to where they used to be in the ACC.
“From looking at the team last year, (Tech) had a problem with their wings and guards putting the ball in the basket,” Brown told the AJC. “(Matthews) is one of those kids that can really put the ball in the basket from a lot of different ways. From the three-point line, to mid-range, to getting to the rim, he’s a real scorer.”
Matthews made up his mind about Georgia Tech two months ago, but made his official commitment on Saturday. When asked why he committed so early, Matthews simply replied, “Why wait?”
“If you feel that’s the school you want to be at then nobody’s stopping,” he said. “And that’s how I felt.”
Even though he was getting looked at by Temple, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers and Penn State, the race for Matthews was only between two ACC schools –NC State and Georgia Tech,
Matthews was initially attracted to the Wolfpack because he believed that he would be a great fit into their offense.
“The system they run up there at NC State is like built for a wing,” he said, “The wings are the strongest part of their team and that kind of opened my eyes a lot.”
Being in the ACC was a huge plus for Matthews because he believes it to be the best conference and he wants to compete on that level.
“ACC basketball is the biggest conference in America to me.”
He was impressed by N.C. State’s success in recent years, but favored Tech because of team chemistry and the challenge of helping Tech become a threat again in the ACC.
“NC State was really only talking about basketball. Like they really didn’t talk about the bond the team has,” he said. “Georgia Tech has that.”
Matthews also did a little bit of homework on Tech’s roster situation. He noticed that the team’s top two scoring threats, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Charles Mitchell, are seniors this season. Thus it creates an opportunity to contribute early when he joins the Yellow Jackets for next season
“A lot of coaches were saying come right in and be an impact player,” Matthews said. “Score the basketball,’ that’s what [Brian Gregory] told me. I got you here to score the basketball.”
Matthews believes in the Gregory’s vision for him at Tech.
Gregory’s plan for Matthews is to allow him to be the scorer he believes the young forward to be. According to Matthews, the coach told him that he’ll have to play transition basketball and run the floor. He’ll use screens to get mismatches on defenders that are either too small or too slow to prevent him from scoring.
When Matthews steps on the floor for his high school team, he snaps into a zone that consumes him. His goal is to score and he could careless about whomever attempts to keep him from doing so.
When he’s playing ball, Matthews is no longer the fun, chill person that likes to just hang with friends, toss the football around and go to parties. His competitive nature blocks that out and the scoring animal comes out.
“The only thing he cares about is scoring, winning games and just being the best he can be on the court,” Matthew described himself. “Like, just killer instinct on the court.”
Matthews says he feels unstoppable when he gets the ball in his hands.
“When I get the ball and I see a defender I’m ready to attack or shoot a jumper over him,” he said. “I feel like nobody can stop me on the court.”
Basketball is a big deal to Matthews, but so is education. He was attracted to Tech because of the academics. Almost parrotting his father, Chuck Matthews, Christian wants to be sure that he has an education to fall back on if the basketball plan doesn’t pan out.
“My family really liked the school,” Christian said. “Not just the basketball… I can excel at the academic side.”
He still has plenty of time to choose a major, but he’s narrowed it down to business management or telecommunications. His father said that the trip to see Turner Broadcasting and the resources available to students also had an impact on his son’s decision.
“Just knowing that he can get an education there right so close to something that he would like to do as a major, really made(the trip) worthwhile,” Chuck said.
The perfect recruiting visit to Georgia Tech over the weekend confirmed what Matthews already knew about his future plans. He felt welcomed as soon as he was picked up from the Atlanta airport.
“The visit was perfect,” he said. “The coaching staff, the team, the players, the goal, academics. Everything was perfect.”
Matthews stated that the highlight of his visit was being able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the team.
“They gave me a chance to hang with them and they actually really liked me a lot,” he said. “It was a just a great experience for a high school player hanging with college players.”
Interacting with his future teammates allowed Matthews to notice the difference in how they do things. He felt a bond being established that inflated his confidence about the life-changing decision he would soon have to announce.
Accompanied by his parents, Christian joined his future teammates and Gregory at a steak dinner on Saturday evening. Not long after he was done with his porterhouse steak, Gregory excused himself from the table to speak with Gregory privately. Matthews told the coach that he loved the school, but the jersey number was a big issue for him since his favorite number, 15, was already retired in honor of Matt Harpring.
Fortunately for coach Gregory, Matthews was joking with him and personally gave his commitment directly to the coach.
Matthews said that Gregory told him that “You made my night and my weekend and the rest of my life.”
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