NextCats: UK commitment Matthews named USA 3-on-3 MVP

broberts@herald-leader.comJune 1, 2014 

UK commit Charles Matthews, left, was named the men's MVP of the USA Basketball 3-on-3 under-18 national championship tournament on Sunday, June 1, 2014. Matthews, the Wildcats' lone commit in the 2015 class, has become an unofficial ambassador for the program. UConn commit Napheesa Collier was named the women's MVP.

University of Kentucky basketball commitment Charles Matthews was on the winning side of the USA Basketball 3x3 under-18 national championship tournament that concluded Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The victory opens the door for Matthews to possibly represent the United States at the Youth Olympic Games later this year in China.

Matthews was named MVP of the weekend event, teaming up with Villanova commitment Tim Delaney and uncommitted high school players Braxton Blackwell and Kipper Nichols to go 8-0 in the 3-on-3 competition at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

"We're very happy about this," Matthews said. "It was a blessing to come out here and compete. As we got farther in the tournament, it started to get more competitive so we just looked to close it out as a team. I won MVP, but I wouldn't have been able to win it at all without my teammates; they made it all possible."

Matthews — a 6-foot-5 combo guard from Chicago — is Kentucky's only commitment so far from the class of 2015. He is also a former AAU teammate of incoming UK point guard Tyler Ulis.

The 3-on-3 world championships at the Youth Olympic Games will consist of 20 teams, and seven of those have already qualified. FIBA will announce the other 13 teams June 8, and those selections will be based on each country's international 3-on-3 ranking.

Going into the weekend, the United States was just outside of the Top 20 in that ranking.

UConn commitment Napheesa Collier was named MVP of the women's tournament, which also concluded Sunday. The U.S. women's 3-on-3 team has already qualified for the Youth Olympic Games in China.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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