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Emmitt Matthews Jr. Brings Familiarity and Leadership Back to West Virginia

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West Virginia continues to use the transfer portal to its advantage and pick up needed players to fill some of the voids. Washington transfer and former WVU F Emmitt Matthews Jr. announced on Friday afternoon that he will be returning to Morgantown for his final season of college eligibility.

Matthews is a familiar face to the WVU men’s basketball program, playing three seasons for Bob Huggins from 2018-21. The Tacoma native spent this past season at Washington.

Before Matthews announced his return to West Virginia on Friday, there was only one player left from the 2021 NCAA Tournament team in Kedrian “Keddy” Johnson. Next season, WVU will be welcoming at least seven new players to the program. West Virginia is missing that familiarity and they just gained some of it back.

During his only season at Washington, Matthews averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Huskies. Matthews shot 43 percent from the field, 34 percent from three and 76 percent from the free-throw line.

It appeared for a while that the wing depth for next year’s team would be Jamel King, Patrick Suemnick and Josiah Harris. Suemnick and Harris have yet to arrive on campus yet and King only played 29 minutes last season. Now WVU has their starting wing that they can rely on.

Matthews will either play the three or the four next season depending on if the coaching staff wants to play small or not. After Oscar Tshiebwe left the program during Matthews’ junior season, the 6-foot-7 forward had to play a bit at the four. Matthews can be trusted to fit that role easily.

Last season, the Mountaineers missed the energy and athleticism from Matthews. They didn’t have a slashing wing that could take it to the hole. Jalen Bridges showed signs at times but tended to stretch the floor more. Matthews will be able to come in and give the coaching staff what they expect. Matthews will also come in and know what to expect from Huggins. He knows the system, the culture. Matthews won’t be going blindly into this.

Matthews will have one year of eligibility remaining. This marks the second time Matthews has transferred but he will not have to sit out due to being a graduate transfer.

Matthews is the third transfer that WVU’s coaching staff has been able to acquire from the portal. Over the last few weeks, WVU has picked up Erik Stevenson (South Carolina) and Joe Toussaint (Iowa), while getting JuCo transfers in Jimmy Bell Jr. and Mohamed Wague.

With the commitment from Matthews, West Virginia has filled out all of their roster spots for the 2022-23 season. Huggins has made it apparent that they are not against the idea of adding another transfer from the portal. WV Sports Now will keep up to date with the latest recruiting and transfer portal news during the offseason.

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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