Height/Weight: 6’6, 205 lbs.
Charles Matthews is a flat out athlete, there’s really no other way to put it. He’s an elite jumper and quick twitch type player. Matthews often uses his athleticism to dominate in multiple ways. On the offensive end, there aren’t many players that can stay in front of the 6’6 wing so he uses his quick first step and elite jumping ability to get into the lane and finish at the rim with relative ease.
Matthew’s isn’t just a pure slasher though, as his mid-range jumper has also proven to be a strong weapon for him, especially with teams that run zone defenses in college. His ability to penetrate allows him to choose between a dribble pull-up and a straight rack attack, both which have proven to be solid choices for him.
Defensively, Matthews is very good too. His athleticism allows him to stay with many different types of players and combining with his length, he is one of the Big Ten’s premier perimeter defenders.
Matthews has become an all-around star for the wolverines, and he’s a big reason why Michigan is one of the top teams in the nation this year. His ability to play both ends of the floor is something not many teams have at this level and his year off after transferring has paid dividends immensely for both him and Michigan.
Although Matthews hasn’t had many issues scoring, he isn’t necessarily a complete offensive player. As is the issue many times with players who possess his elite level of athleticism, it normally comes with a sub-par outside jumper. Matthews is not completely incapable of hitting three pointers but it is the clear weakness of his offensive game. Free throw shooting is a close second and that is not something teams want to see from one of their back-court players.
On defense, the only knocks that you can really have on him is his ability to rebound, he is a great on ball defender but his rebounding with his size leaves a bit to be desired. This is something that he can work on and needs to improve to make a significant impact at the next level.
At Michigan, after spending his freshman year at Kentucky, Matthews has been able to play at a very high level and has blossomed into one of the best players in the Big Ten Conference. Depending on how the second half of the season goes for Matthews, he is shaping up to be a Late first/Early second round pick. He currently profiles as a slashing defender archetype. Those type of players usually are able to carve out a role in the NBA for a long time. The jump shot is going to need to improve or he could find himself struggling until things do turnaround though.
As of right now, he should be a good role player who will succeed on a second unit where he isn’t asked to be the focal point of that group offensively. He could grow into a starter if he improves his free throw shooting and rebounding because of his defensive ability, but that remains to be determined.