Kentucky Wildcats basketball commitment Charles Matthews was key to USA Basketball winning the 3-on-3 under-18 national championship tournament that occurred this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“We’re very happy about this,” Matthews said. “It was a blessing to come out here and compete. As we got farther in the tournament, it started to get more competitive so we just looked to close it out as a team. I won MVP, but I wouldn’t have been able to win it at all without my teammates; they made it all possible.”
The victory means Matthews may represent the United States at the Youth Olympic Games later this year in China.
Matthews was named MVP of the weekend event, as he teamed up with Villanova commitment Tim Delaney and uncommitted recruits Braxton Blackwell and Kipper Nichols to go 8-0 in the 3-on-3 competition at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The 3-on-3 world championships at the Youth Olympic Games will consist of 20 teams, and seven of those have already qualified. FIBA will announce the other 13 teams June 8, and those selections will be based on each country’s international 3-on-3 ranking.
Matthews — a 6-foot-5 shooting guard — was one of the first players in his class to receive a scholarship offer from Calipari over the summer, and his commitment helps lay the foundation for another Top 5 class for UK.
Matthews is also a friend of fellow Chicago star Tyler Ulis, who’s signed his letter of intent in the 2014 class. Matthews also played AAU ball for the Chicago Meanstreets program. That same squad produced Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose, both of whom played for Calipari in college.