Chicago junior Charles Matthews will end his recruitment Wednesday morning with more than a full year left in his high school career. The 6-foot-5 guard was one of the first players on UK’s radar for the Class of 2015, and several other top programs were also involved early in the process.
Here’s a closer look at UK’s recruitment of Matthews over the past year:
April 23, 2013: UK Coach John Calipari makes a surprise visit to St. Rita High School in Chicago to watch one of Matthews’ practices. Matthews told the Herald-Leader a few days later that he didn’t know Calipari was coming and that the visit marked his first contact with UK.
“I didn’t know at all,” he said. “He just came up and I saw him in the gym. I saw a big crowd at the door. And then I was like, ‘All right, I see why the crowd’s here.'”
At that point, Matthews already had scholarship offers from Arizona, Illinois, DePaul, Southern Methodist, Wisconsin, Marquette and Providence. But the visit from UK had a big impact.
“I just had my mouth open the whole time,” Matthews said. “I was like, in awe. That’s a big thing — seeing Coach Calipari.”
June 15, 2013: This was the first day that prospects from the Class of 2015 could receive phone calls directly from college coaches. Matthews got a call from UK assistant Orlando Antigua just after midnight. Antigua told him that Calipari planned to call in the next couple of days, and Matthews was hoping that call would bring a scholarship offer.
“I think it’s a good chance, but I’m not sure,” he said. “If they do offer me, I’m going to be very happy for it.”
June 17, 2013: Matthews gets a phone call from Calipari, who offers him a scholarship to UK. He is the third player from the Class of 2015 to receive a UK offer.
“I really always liked (Calipari) growing up,” Matthews told the Herald-Leader two days earlier. “I see what he does with guards as well. He really gets guards ready for the NBA and really matures them and puts a lot of responsibility on them but lets them play as well. And that really sticks out to me.
“I really have a lot of interest in Kentucky.”
Sept. 7-8, 2013: Matthews takes an unofficial visit to UK during the weekend leading up to the Alumni Game featuring former Wildcats playing in the NBA. The 2015 star tweeted that he had a “great time” on his visit to Lexington.
“Kentucky has really prioritized Charles,” Scout analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader at the time. “They’ve been on him from the jump.”
Sept. 21, 2013: Matthews, who had amassed several scholarship offers by this point, cuts his list to 10 schools: Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan State, Ohio State, SMU, Stanford and Wisconsin.
Oct. 18, 2013: UK had several top recruiting targets on campus for Big Blue Madness, but Matthews chose to attend Michigan State’s midnight madness event instead. Spartans Coach Tom Izzo — like Calipari — made Matthews a priority early in the recruiting process.
Feb. 24., 2014: Calipari visits Matthews at his high school. A couple of hours later, Matthews announces that he is ready to end his college recruitment. He also says his five finalists are UK, Kansas, Michigan State, Marquette and Illinois.
Feb. 26, 2014: Matthews will announce his college decision at 9:30 a.m. ET.