On Monday evening, Michigan got some exciting news as Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews opted to commit to the program. It was a pickup that should have a huge impact on Michigan's future as John Beilein looks to reassert the Wolverines as one of the Big Ten's prime contenders. He will be eligible starting in 2017-'18.
Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews is headed to Michigan, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 21, 2016
During his career at Kentucky, Matthews appeared in 36 games during his freshman season. Over the course of the season, he averaged 10.3 minutes, 1.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.4 assists per game. He had notable performances against South Florida and Georgia where he scored 11 and seven points respectively.
Matthews may not have played a ton as a freshman, but he had all the intangibles of a major prospect in high school. In fact, he was rated as a four-star recruit and the No. 16 shooting guard in the 2015 class by 247Sports. His 6-foot-6 length and athletic frame makes him a great addition on the wing with plenty of upside.
Additionally, it's worth noting that Matthews probably would have played a lot more at Kentucky if he wasn't on the same team as players like Isaiah Briscoe, Marcus Lee, Jamal Murray, and Alex Poythress. In particular, Murray (projected as a Lottery pick) dominated the time on the wing in Lexington. In short, Matthews wasn't a bad player, he was just trapped on another loaded Kentucky team.
For Michigan, this is a massive addition. Not only because Matthews is a great prospect who could make an impact at a plethora of schools, but also because he fills a major spot of need. Michigan is particularly thin on the wing heading into next season and with Zak Irvin graduating, there's going to be a major need for the 2017-'18 season. Slotting in Matthews at least puts one more quality option on the floor to fill the gap there.
Matthews will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules, but if he can produce during the 2017-'18 season, the Wolverines could have a great lineup. In fact, the team could very well be starting some combination of Xavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman in the backcourt, Charles Matthews and Duncan Robinson on the wing, and Moritz Wagner upfront. That's a great lineup and Michigan should have some depth behind them as well.
It will be interesting to watch how Matthews performances once eligible, but given his raw skillset and Michigan's depth chart needs, this looks like a major pickup for John Beilein and his staff.