It would have been easy for ZaQwaun Matthews to leave Myers Park, his current high school, and transfer to another school in the Charlotte area. But he chose to stay loyal to his friends and teammates.
That loyalty should bode well for his next home as well.
The Rivals.com three-star prospect became the first commitment of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball signing class for 2015-16. Matthews, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds during his junior season for the Mustangs, who went 17-9 before losing in the first round of the North Carolina Class 4A state tournament. He was named to the Charlotte Observer's all-conference team.
He chose UTC over interest from Richmond, UNC Charlotte, Appalachian State and East Carolina.
"The coaching staff is great, it's a good city and I interacted well with the players," Matthews said Monday. "I really like their style of play and feel I can fit in well with that system."
Matthews feels explosiveness on the court is one of his biggest attributes.
"I've also been working on my offensive game a lot, and my scoring ability has improved," he said. "I've changed my shot, and I've been getting my footwork right.
"My offensive game has come easier than in the past."
Although Matthews' commitment is nonbinding, Myers Park coach Wes Hepler believes UTC doesn't have to worry about him changing his mind. Why? He's had experience being recruited already.
"In Charlotte, a lot of players do a lot of bouncing around, and some people try to hawk players down during the AAU season," Hepler said. "He loves Myers Park -- he's been loyal to us and we've been loyal to him -- so when he tells me that the Chattanooga program is like family, I know he will fit."
Hepler said Matthews has the potential to be a great defender with his length and quickness -- both qualities needed to play the full-court "Chaos" system that UTC coach Will Wade likes to employ. Matthews always has been a great rebounder from the guard position with his ability to get off the floor quickly, his coach said, but has really worked on improving other facets of his game.
"UTC is getting an outstanding kid, one with a big heart that cares about other people," Hepler said. "He has a real desire to get better, and he's very coachable."
The Mocs lose three seniors after the 2014-15 season, including guard Ronrico White and guard/forward Martynas Bareika.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.