MORGANTOWN — Sometimes the second time is the charm, and that is certainly the case when it comes to Tacoma (Wash.) wing Emmitt Matthews and the WVU basketball program.
Matthews, 6-foot-7, emerged as the top remaining target for the Mountaineers, and Saturday May 12, the program received the news it was waiting for when he announced his commitment to Bob Huggins’ club.
“It is the perfect situation for me. They believe in me, which is the greatest value,” he said. “With Teddy (Allen) leaving, I have the chance to start on the wing the day that I get onto campus, and they want to get out into transition more.”
The Rivals.com 4-star prospect initially signed with Connecticut during the early period in November but due to the firing of head coach Kevin Ollie was granted his release.
WVU was in the mix the first time with Matthews even having an official visit locked in to Morgantown, but he never made the trip because he elected to commit to the Huskies after taking a trip there first.
So it came as no surprise that once he elected to open the process, the Mountaineers would be involved. Assistant coach Erik Martin served as the lead recruiter for Matthews and jumped right in where he left off the first time making the versatile wing a priority in the class.
The WVU coaches paid Matthews an in-home visit and followed that up by watching him play during the live period. That resulted in the program getting his first official visit May 2-4.
That was enough to close the deal and bring one of the top remaining players left in his class into the fold. In Matthews, the Mountaineers found a versatile wing prospect that became one of the hottest players in the nation after he opened his recruitment.
“Matthews is a player with a lot of value. A legitimate four-star prospect, Matthews is pushing 6-foot-7, is a good athlete and can fill it up from deep or in transition,” said Eric Bossi, Rivals.com national recruiting analyst who has seen Matthews in person almost a dozen times.
Huggins and company end the class on a high note and land a target that they prioritized. Things that can’t be looked at anything other than a positive for the program.
The decision also likely ends the re-tooling of the basketball roster that has unfolded in recent weeks unless junior center Sagaba Konate elects to forego his college eligibility.
Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. exhausted their eligibility while Maciej Bender, Allen and D’Angelo Hunter are all gone to transfer. In their place, the Mountaineers will welcome six new faces.
Accompanying Matthews in the 2018 recruiting class for WVU will be Kaukauna (Wis.) point guard Jordan McCabe, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University School guard Trey Doomes, Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy forward Derek Culver, Niceville (Fla.) Northwest Florida State College forward Andrew Gordon and Odessa College (Tx.) guard Jermaine Haley.
Quite the haul for the program and one that should only continue the positive momentum of late.