The University of Rhode Island basketball program has always been good, but rarely great. As is true for so many small schools playing basketball as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), this northeastern school rarely succeeds in recruiting top players, those who can be called “difference makers.”
When E.C. Matthews agreed to play basketball for this relatively successful squad, fans of the University of Rhode Island and its coach believed they were getting a good player, one who would contribute regularly, but no one likely believed that E.C. Matthews would turn out to be “special.”
And yet, that is what has happened. This young Point Guard (who also plays as shooting guard) dramatically exceeded expectations in his freshman year which was last season. And now, E.C. Matthews will be expected to perform at the same level in the 2015-2016 Season. There is every reason to believe that he will “live up to the hype” or even do better than he did a year ago.
After all, this highly capable 6’5” one hundred ninety pound basketball player was listed as a “Top 100” prospect when he graduated from high school. He lived up to the promise of his high ranking in 2014 when he played an average of thirty-three minutes a game and scored at the rate of about fifteen points per game.
His game-by-game scoring actually increased as the season moved along as did his ability to create scoring chances for his teammates. Matthews’ performances did not go unnoticed. He was named co-Rookie of the Year in the Atlantic-10 Conference in 2014 and was also named “Rookie of the Week” in the same conference a total of seven times throughout the basketball season.
Those were notable achievements for a young player who was, at the time, just nineteen years old. It had the fan base of the University of Rhode Island excited and enthusiastic about their team, a feeling that persists as the new season draws near.
For his part, E.C. Matthews is mindful of what he accomplished as a freshman, but claims he is committed to improving the skills that brought him so much attention in 2014. His versatility at the guard position gives his coach options most other teams don’t possess.
E.C. Matthews is a superb Point Guard who can run the floor with anybody, create scoring opportunities with pinpoint passes, and score from both inside and outside. He can also be a terrific Shooting Guard, someone who can “drive the lane” for easy lay-ups or hit jumpers from medium range or from beyond the three-point line.
National Basketball Association scouts have noticed him and are already projecting E.C. Matthews as someone who will be a high first round draft pick.
This skilled young player is only a sophomore in 2015-2016. The hope in Rhode Island is that he will remain in school for a full four years.
image courtesy of masslive.com