On Tuesday, the Minnesota Golden Gophers officially extended Baltimore area shooting guard Montez Mathis a scholarship offer. Already with four-star center Daniel Oturu committed, Richard Pitino looks to add the perimeter threat to his 2018 recruiting class.
Minnesota joins an ever-growing list of Montez Mathis offers, including West Virginia, Virginia Tech and USC. Only a junior, that list will only get larger as he continues his rise in notoriety.
Montez Mathis is no stranger to the hype.
The four-star shooting guard burst onto the scene in 2015, and quickly ascended to 7th overall for the state of Maryland. Following a 36-9 record and state title win with Mt. Carmel High School, Mathis was named the DMVelite Freshman of the Year. On the season, Mathis averaged 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
After the strong breakout campaign, Mathis was named to the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team. As the buzz continued to grow, he made the jump to the prestigious Oak Hill Academy for his sophomore season. There, he helped the team to a 45-1 record and a National Championship. Despite the team’s success, though, Mathis got lost in the shuffle. His stock slipped as his per game numbers dropped to 4.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
This season, Mathis returned to his roots to further develop his game at John Carrol High School in Bel Air, MD. Now back home, his national prominence has resurfaced. This past December, Mathis turned heads at both the National Hoops Festival and the Chick-Fil-A Classic, as his ability to fill box scores was on full display. Starting alongside top ranked 2018-point guard Immanuel Quickley, the junior has continued to gain the national attention he first saw following his freshman season.
Montez Mathis can score from anywhere on the court. At 6’4”, he possesses the height to shoot over smaller guards, and employs the ability to create space off the bounce. With a smooth three, the shooting guard has the outside shot that typifies a top flight, front court offensive skill set. When his shot is over pursued by the defense, he attacks the rim with a perfect marriage of athleticism and tenacity.
What sets him apart, though, is his physicality and nose for the basketball. Mathis is a tremendous rebounder. As lineups shrink, the ability to gather boards from traditionally non-rebounding positions has become increasingly important.
The Golden Gophers aren’t the only Big Ten program with Mathis on their radar. On December 16th, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights offered the shooting guard, and it appears they are serious about acquiring his talents. Per those around Mathis, Steve Pikell and his staff have put the most work into snagging the four-star recruit. Rutgers has visited the junior three times since the beginning of the year.
Mathis has also drawn the attention of Mark Turgeon and the home state Maryland Terrapins as well. On February 10th, the school paid him a visit as he put up 31 points and 11 rebounds. The Terrapins have shown interest in the shoot guard as far back as 2015, and it seems to be only a matter of time before the program extends an offer.
Whoever lands Mathis will be rewarded a relentless scorer with physicality. He has been in the spotlight since the jump, taken his licks and made it back to his early status as a top recruit. When skill meets grit, the product is success. And Mathis should see plenty of it.