5th-Year Spotlight: Emmitt Matthews Wanted to Finish Career as a Mountaineer
WVU F Emmitt Matthews made it clear that he did not burn any bridges when he departed West Virginia back in 2021. Matthews made the unique decision of returning to his former school last offseason after a brief stint back home at Washington.
Matthews was honored last year for Senior Night at UW, but it just wasn’t the same.
“When I walked out on senior night I blinked my eyes and was like man what if I was in the coliseum right now,” Matthews said. “That was one thing that always stuck with me. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to this year: walking out and seeing Huggs at the end, give him a big hug, take a picture with my family. That’s something I really want to do.”
Matthews will get the opportunity to do exactly that on Saturday when West Virginia hosts No. 11 Kansas State on Senior Day. Matthews will be honored with fifth-year teammates Kedrian Johnson and Erik Stevenson as well as the four-year seniors.
Matthews spent his first three seasons at West Virginia, becoming a consistent starter mid-way through his freshman campaign. The Tacoma, Wa. native finished off his first year strong with a 27-point performance against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. During the 2020-21 season, Matthews was a starter on an NCAA Tournament team that earned a 3-seed. Now two years later, Matthews is looking to help get WVU back into the tournament.
This season Matthews brought an improved jump shot with him, thanks to UW assistant Quincy Pondexter. Matthews is averaging 10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists through 28 games. Matthews is shooting 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. Matthews has been one of the most efficient players on West Virginia’s team this season.
Matthews chose the right time to play his best basketball, averaging 12.7 points on 49 percent shooting in his last seven games. Matthews played a big part in his last true road game for WVU, helping the Mountaineers defend their NCAA Tournament hopes with a win over Iowa State. Matthews played crucial minutes out-of-position at the five-spot.
Matthews’ journey during his West Virginia has been unique. It will begin with closure on Saturday when Matthews will walk onto the coliseum floor for the final time in his collegiate career. Exactly how he wanted it.