Matthews to transfer from UK


Guard Charles Matthews defends a play during the Wildcat’s game against the Stony Brook Seawolves during the first round of the NCCA tournament at Well’s Fargo Arena on March 16, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Taylor Pence

Anthony Crawford

Another exit by a player from the UK basketball program came Wednesday morning, but this time from the men’s team. While the team has a top ranked recruiting class coming in, it will lose some depth and experience at the guard position as John Calipari announced that freshman guard Charles Matthews would be leaving the program.

Before this announcement, the only news that had come out about the guard was that he had a minor surgery to start the summer and would miss a few weeks of basketball operations, but it seems that Matthews was thinking about other things in the process of recovering.

“I want to thank the coaches, my teammates and the Big Blue Nation for all of their support this season,” Matthews said. “I gained great experience during my freshman year at Kentucky. This was a difficult decision for me, but at the end of the day I felt like it was in my best interest to explore other options. I appreciate the support Coach Cal has given me in making this decision and the commitment the coaching staff made to me for this past season and beyond. Kentucky will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Matthews played in all 36 games for the Cats and started in three games but mainly played a bench role throughout the season with averages of 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. The guard’s real contributions can’t be found on the stat sheet, however, as his strength was using his length to provide sound defense on the perimeter.

While Matthews would have likely stayed in the same reserve role for next season, he had shown his potential to be a bigger factor on the team with performance throughout the season like the 11 point, two rebound, one steal outing he had at the beginning of the season against South Florida.

Next years team is now returning only two guards with actual playing experience in Dominique Hawkins and Isaiah Briscoe. The Cats have two top prospects in Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox who will likely be the back court starters but if either struggle or if an injury occurs there will be limited options for Calipari.

“In Charles’ case, I believe he is going to be a productive college player who has the ability to play at the next level,” Calipari said. “I know Charles’ best basketball is ahead of him, and while I’m a saddened to see him go, I support his decision and will help in any way I can.”