DePaul, Illinois offer St. Rita freshman

St. Rita freshman guard Charles Matthews awoke to a phone call from his high school coach notifying he had been offered by DePaul and Illinois on Tuesday.

Matthews stayed home from school Tuesday because he wasn’t feeling well and had already missed one call from St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare before he was finally reached with the news.

“It was such a blessing,” said Matthews, a 6-foot-4 guard. “It’s truly an honor and a blessing to be offered these opportunities. I’m just a freshman, and I have three scholarship offers. I’m grateful.”

Matthews previously was offered by Arizona in April. DePaul and Illinois watched Matthews while he played with MeanStreets, a club team, during the April recruiting period.

“You always want to have an in-state school on your list,” Matthews said of the two offers. “My doors are going to be open to both of those schools in the long run.”

Matthews didn’t anticipate jumping on any of the offers soon. He said he has seen too many players make mistakes with early commitments.

“I’m going to take my time to look it over,” Matthews said. “I’m not going to rush into it. I notice a lot of people de-committing after they commit early. I don’t want to be one of those people to go back and forth with my college decision. I want to make a firm decision that I’m comfortable with.”

DeCesare, who was previously a Division I assistant coach, has mixed feelings about Matthews’ offers.

“I don’t think I believe in the system offering kids so early,” DeCesare said. “Who knows who’s going to be there three years from now? But I guess it’s a necessary evil because they look at who’s being offered.”

Matthews started for St. Rita’s varsity team as a freshman and averaged nine points and six rebounds.

“I think he’s got great versatility,” DeCesare said. “He could play in high school at all five positions. I think he could be an off-guard in college. I think he could be a point guard. He’s got great size to him. His size for a freshman to be a 6-4, 6-5 and handle the ball is obviously a huge plus for anybody.”