Charles Matthews announced Wednesday afternoon he has withdrawn his name from NBA Draft consideration and will be returning to Michigan for another season. The announcement comes mere hours before the deadline for early entrants to make a final decision.
“After much prayer and discussions with my family and the staff, I am excited to be returning to Michigan next year,” Matthews said, via a statement released by the program. “I learned a lot throughout this process, but my main focus will now be completing my education at Michigan and leading my teammates to more success next season."
In his first season on the court for Michigan, Matthews averaged 13 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, good for second on the team in both categories. His year was highlighted by a late-season resurgence, including scoring in double figures in five consecutive NCAA Tournament games and being named the West Region’s Most Outstanding Player on the way to the Final Four.
He will still have two more years of eligibility at Michigan if he so chooses, having transferred after only one season at Kentucky. He did not receive an invitation to the NBA combine this month and was widely regarded as a late second round pick at best in many mock drafts.
Matthews took advantage of the early draft entry this past month, working out for NBA teams and receiving feedback on areas of improvement. Shooting seems likely to be atop that list. Matthews became a capable if unspectacular shooter throughout the year. He attempted just four 3-pointers his freshman season at Kentucky. This past season he shot 107 threes, hitting at an adequate 32 percent clip.
Though Matthews’ 3-point shooting seems to be the most glaring area for improvement if he eventually seeks an NBA career, it surely isn’t the only one. Michigan coach John Beilein would frequently note — often unprovoked — that the staff charted his assist-to-turnover ratio in practice from the day he stepped on campus. He said Matthews started out with three times as many turnovers as assists. Last season, Matthews had 14 more assists (98) than turnovers (84)— an unremarkable stat by itself, but a clear sign of an evolving player in context.
“Charles has an incredible personality and confidence. His work habits and desire to reach his potential are terrific,” Beilein said in a statement. “He is more focused than ever to improve in all areas of his game.”
On a team losing three key offensive contributors in Moritz Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson, Matthews will step into a more prominent offensive role where his growth on the court will be vital.
Matthews will look to make those improvments while providing necessary leadership on a team replete with talent, but short on experience. Next season, Matthews will be the lone senior on scholarship — though he will still maintain a year of eligibility after next year due to his redshirt season.
Added Beilein: “Like others before him, Charles will be a great senior leader for us and we are excited to have this opportunity to coach him again next season."