One of the most pleasant surprises of the spring portion of the grassroots circuit was Jordan Mathews.
A 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Santa Monica (Calif.) High, Mathews has led a loaded Cali Supreme team in scoring during Nike EYBL play. Because of his play in the EYBL, the rising senior was rewarded with an invitation to the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.
"It's been great," Mathews told Rivals.com by phone from Durant. "I'm learning a bunch of stuff that the pros use. It's a great chance to go against the best players in the country. It's a great measuring stick."
A fine shooter from deep who also has one of the better mid-range games in the country, Mathews feels like he's always had the ability to play at a high level. He just needed a bit of a change in mindset.
"I think it's been my turn in aggression," said Mathews. "I was very passive last summer. I was ok with scoring 9 or ten points a game. Then I got mad. If I get mad then I feel like I can do anything I want.
"I didn't feel like I was getting recruited at the level I should be either. I think that has really propelled me."
Propelled is one way to put it. Mathews now counts offers from Gonzaga, USC, Colorado, Indiana, VCU and Wyoming along with interest from Kansas State, Marquette, TCU St. Mary's, Miami, Washington State and UCSB.
In a position where he has both upper end mid majors and building high majors on his list, Mathews says that he'll be more focused on picking the place where he has the best chance to win versus picking the biggest name when he makes a decision.
"I'm going to cut down my list after July," said Mathews. "I'll sit down with my parents and my coach after the push. As long as I get a chance to play in March, that's where I want to go."
Speaking of parents, Mathews has a built in one in that his father Phil is an assistant at UCLA.
"It's a big advantage," said Mathews. "I know so many things that you can't teach about the recruiting process and that you can't tell a recruit. I know when a coach is being real and when a coach is just saying stuff."
From a position standpoint, Mathews is a natural two guard who can also play some one in a pinch. He says that coaches haven't really been too worried about specifying what position he'll play and he knows that he needs to keep working in preparation for college.
"I need to work on my ball handling for sure," said Mathews. "It's gotten better but I can work on it and being more aggressive in general. When I hit my first jumper, that's when I know I can put points on the board. I'm so much better when I'm aggressive. It's a confidence thing."
As for making a decision, Mathews is yet to set a timetable and doesn't know if he'll sign early or wait until the spring. It's just a matter of getting the right feeling from a program.
"I have no idea yet," said Mathews of when he'll decide. "It will be when I feel right. I need to take all of my visits, see how I feel and then I'll decide."