The Michigan Wolverines still have two open roster spots for the 2016-2017 season. While a lot has been discussed regarding what to do with those spots, it is apparent a decision may come soon. After losing four players to transfers in what appeared to be an epidemic across the Big Ten, the Wolverines may be getting one of their own.
In mid-May the Kentucky Wildcats discovered one of their promising young players would be transferring. Kentucky freshman Charles Matthews requested a transfer earlier this week. According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Michigan is one of the schools who could pick up the young guard.
Two schools that are in the mix for Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews: Xavier and Michigan, per sources.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 1, 2016
Matthews was ranked as the 59th best player in the nation by 247Sports before enrolling at Kentucky last year. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard did not see the floor much last season for the Wildcats and with another top recruiting class on its way into Lexington, Matthews may not have contributed much for the Wildcats 'One-and-done' factory. He is one of two Kentucky players from last season who are currently looking to transfer.
Matthews will have to sit out a year regardless of where he goes due to the NCAA transfer rule. There was a lot of speculation that coach John Beilein would elect to use their remaining two scholarships on a grad transfer. This move would make sense because it would allow Michigan to acquire an impact player who could contribute right away and not take up a scholarship for future seasons.
Another option would be saving the scholarship for and using the open roster spot for a player in the 2017 recruiting class. Michigan recently lost out on 2016 three-star forward Harold Baruti who elected to sign with Utah.
When he does gain eligibility Matthews will almost certainly be a productive player if he is given minutes. The addition of Matthews would fill the voids left on the wings by the departure of Aubrey Dawkins and Kameron Chatman for years to come. While he was not a prolific scorer at Kentucky, his defensive abilities and size make him a great fit for coach Beiline's system. Matthews can play either the shooting guard or small forward positions.
Matthews was recruited by many Big Ten schools out of high school, including Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin. The dark horse team in the race to re-recruit Matthews is Illinois. Matthews is a native of Chicago and attended St. Rita high school.
While it's all speculation at this point, at least as it appears now, it will come down to a battle between Michigan and Xavier for the services of the guard. While this race seems to be down to two teams, it will be interesting to see where Matthews plays during the 2017-2018 season.