July 3rd 2012 - Jordan Mathews is now rated a Rivals 4-Star and ranked #97 overall in the class of ’13
It’s rare to succeed in a pursuit, sports or otherwise, without a significant amount of self-confidence. Cockiness is generally frowned upon, but to excel among the elite, you have to know you can succeed among the elite. One of the background questions I use for my basketball profiles is “The game is tied and time is running out. Are you looking to set-up a teammate, or are you taking the final shot?” The answer provided by Santa Monica High Junior Shooting guard Jordan Mathews caught my attention. Said Mathews, “I’m going to take the last shot, I don’t want to say ‘what if’ after the game”. Although the self-confidence is clear, I didn’t catch the dripping in ego flow of so many young hoops stars.
A Rivals 3*, and most likely just outside the ’13 Top 150, Mathews proved a difficult match-up for Santa Monica’s ’11-’12 opponents. The 6’4 Junior led his squad to a 20-9 overall record and a 9-1 League mark. Recent EYBL play has the Rivals crew possibly reassessing Mathew’s rating, “Teammate Jordan Matthews a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Santa Monica (Calif.) High has always been a solid three-star. Now, he’s going to be tough to keep out of the rankings and could push for a fourth star”. The son of UCLA Assistant Coach Phil Mathews, Jordan appears on the cusp of a recruitment breakthrough. Currently holding offers from San Diego St., Wyoming, VCU, and most recently Colorado, interest from the likes of Gonzaga, Cal, and powerhouse Kansas appears increasing. Although Mathews’ admits “I want to stay close (SoCal), he’s also clear “I’m going to go where I can play”. There was an assumed family link to the UCLA Bruins, but to this point there is not an offer in place, nor does Mathews appear to afford the Bruins any early advantage.
Driven by a strong work ethic and hard-nosed style of play, Mathews appears a natural leader. At 6’4 he possesses near Point guard level ball skills and carries an improving outside game. As with most young players, his 3pt shot appears more consistent than his mid-range jumper, but it’s safe to assume both will continue on the upswing. Not comfortable falling victim to the one-dimensional label, Mathews was adamant (in more than one response) that opponents/scouts are making a mistake if they sleep on other aspects of his game. In response to a question of what people should know, but don’t, about his game, Jordan responded “I can really rebound, this past year I averaged 7 a game and I can defend”. The 7 rebounds from a PG or SG spot would prove a bonus to any squad . Continued work/success in this area should only bolster Jordan’s overall game/rep and the 4th star (Rivals) could prove quiet attainable.
Assuming Jordan continues his recent track of improved play and consistent game-development my guess is 2012-2013 sees his stock on a similar path to that of Anthony January. His AAU play with California Supreme has turned heads and should position him for a breakout Senior season. As mentioned, there’s room to tighten up the mid-range game, and his deep game can run streaky. How far he takes each may ultimately determine if Jordan cements a place among the ’13 elite. He’s not a jump out of the building athlete, but more than holds his own in the open court and in the air. Citing his overall athleticism as an area of focus/opportunity, Mathews also maintains a keen understanding of his game and where he can take it. A solid defender, Mathews’ insists he will continue working to push his on-ball defense and developing a lock-down mentality.
At the next level Jordan most likely projects at Shooting guard, unless his ball-handling is ratcheted up another notch or two. If he holds at 6’4 his attacking offensive style, ability to breakdown defenders in the open court, and ability to rebound from a Guard spot should allow for early collegiate playing time and impact. If his 6’4 175lbs develops into 6’6 and 195-205lbs, NCAA opponents could have a beast on their hands. Wouldn’t shock me to look up in 3-4 years and find Jordan in the 15-17pt and 6-7 rebound range as a collegiate upperclassman. Should that production come with the ability to keep his teammates involved, lock-down D, and the leadership piece, Mathews has all the makings of an All-Conference level performer in even the most competitive Conference.
Keep an eye towards this rising ’13 prospect. Jordan Mathews is standing in front of that next level door and I don’t see much, if anything, impeding his path.