Marquette lands 3rd Top 100 player in class of '05

Wes Matthews Jr. (son of guard who played for the Bulls, Lakers and others) picked Marquette. The 6-foot-4 Matthews out of Madison (Wisc.) Memorial is the third Top 100 prospect to commit to Tom Crean and his staff this year. Jerel McNeal, a versatile guard who was ranked No. 98, picked the Golden Eagles first. Then, later that same day, No. 63 Dominic James, a guard out of Indiana, selected Marquette over Purdue.

I believe he is top 50 and the #1 player in the state of Wisconsin. The battle between MU and UW was fierce. Crean has a fantastic recruiting class for his first year in the Big East.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

[b]Having Eagles eyes
Matthews chooses Marquette over UW

Posted: July 18, 2004

Madison - NCAA rules prevent Tom Crean from commenting on the oral commitment Wes Matthews gave the Marquette University basketball team, but Matthews had this to report Sunday evening:

“He told me to tell you guys that he did scream like a little girl when I announced it to him,” Matthews said.

Consider it proof that landing a recruit does funny things to a coach. Then again, Matthews isn’t a typical player.

Matthews, who averaged 15.5 points last season and helped Madison Memorial reach the state final, is considered a top-50 prospect, and in some cases a top-30 prospect, by national recruiting analysts. At 6 feet 5 inches and 205 pounds, he has more than enough size to play both shooting guard and point guard, and will be expected to play both extensively for the Golden Eagles.

And if that weren’t enough to put a smile on Crean’s face, the satisfaction that he kept Matthews away from Wisconsin might do it. Although Georgia Tech was also in Matthews’ final three choices for a school, it was clear that his decision came down to Marquette or Wisconsin, where his father, Wes, starred in the late 1970s and his mother, Pam Moore, played basketball and ran track.

“When it came down to Wisconsin and Marquette, it came down to who wanted me more and where I could see myself,” Matthews said.

In addition to being considered the state’s top prospect for the class of 2005, national recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons said Matthews was a top-30 talent. Fellow talent evaluator Van Coleman considered Matthews a top-40 prospect with a bullet.

“(He is) a guy who I think is definitely on the rise,” Coleman said.

Matthews was impressive at the National Basketball Players Association camp in June, where Gibbons rated him as the eighth-best guard in attendance. Gibbons’ and Coleman’s Web site,, had him ranked 26th overall as of Sunday. He was ranked 38th by as well.

Matthews also impressed coaches in the state last season with his versatility.

“I like his skills,” Middleton coach John Boyle told the Journal Sentinel in March. “I like his composure. Very versatile. Penetrates, passes, defends. He’s a big kid, too. He seems to be pretty cool under pressure. A winner-type kid.”

Matthews cited Marquette’s move to the Big East Conference in 2005, the small class sizes it could offer and the fact that, without football, men’s basketball is the big sport on campus as key factors in his decision.

But the biggest factor was Crean, who Moore said saw her son play in person more than any other head coach.

Although the final decision rested with Matthews, Moore went through the process with her son step by step. Her goal was to find a coach who would know her son as a person as much as he would as a player.

“He was on it,” Moore said of Crean. “One example: in the last (part of the season), he maybe saw six games in a row of Wesley play. That was impressive to me.”

Matthews said he decided on MU two weeks ago and told Crean of his decision “this past week.” He gave word Sunday to Badgers coach Bo Ryan, who was an assistant at Wisconsin when Matthews’ father played there.

“He wanted me to be at Wisconsin but he told me good luck and not to be a stranger, so that meant a lot,” Matthews said.

The loss of Matthews leaves Wisconsin with two scholarships to fill for 2005, one of which has been offered to Milwaukee Vincent forward Marcus Landry. MU has one opening left, with Landry remaining a prime target. Crean values versatile players and is known to be looking for someone who can play both small forward and power forward to fill out that class.

Matthews joins Jerel McNeal and Dominic James, two guards who are considered among the top 50 nationally by recruiting analysts, giving MU a much-needed dose of athleticism in the backcourt as it prepares for its jump to the Big East.

The 5-11 James is considered the heir apparent at point guard to Travis Diener, and the 6-3 McNeal is expected to play both shooting guard and small forward. Matthews’ point-guard skills continue to develop, which should allow Crean the flexibility to slide him back and forth between the two guard spots.

MU’s first commitment this off-season came from Beloit Memorial junior-to-be Anthony Green, a 6-4 shooting guard. He and Matthews will face each other twice in their upcoming high school season, as their schools both compete in the Big Eight Conference in the Madison area.[/b]