Big day for Michigan basketball: Charles Matthews returning, 4-star forward commits

Charles Matthews returns to Michigan, Jalen Wilson commits to 2019 class

Charles Matthews was Michigan's best player on the road to the 2018 Final Four. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Charles Matthews was Michigan's best player on the road to the 2018 Final Four. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – College basketball season is still nowhere in sight, but the Michigan Wolverines likely had the biggest day of their offseason on Wednesday.

Charles Matthews returns

Head coach John Beilein got some great news at 3:58 p.m. when starting guard Charles Matthews announced he would withdraw his name from NBA draft consideration and return for another season in Ann Arbor.

"After much prayer and discussions with my family and the staff, I am excited to be returning to Michigan next year," Matthews said in a statement.

Matthews, who has played one season at Michigan after transferring from Kentucky and sitting out a year, averaged more than 30 minutes per game for the Wolverines.

Matthews shot 49.5 percent from the floor and averaged 13 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Maize and Blue.

"Charles has an incredible personality and confidence," Beilein said in a statement. "His work habits and desire to reach his potential are terrific. He is more focused than ever to improve in all areas of his game. Like others before him, Charles will be a great senior leader for us and we are excited to have this opportunity to coach him again next season."

He was Michigan's best player in the nonconference season, scoring at least 20 points six times and leading the team on the glass. He struggled during the Big Ten schedule, though, shooting poorly from the floor and never scoring 20 points.

But when it mattered most, Matthews was on top of his game, scoring 89 points and grabbing 37 rebounds in six NCAA Tournament games. He was named the West Region's most outstanding player for leading Michigan to its first Final Four since 2013.

On top of his offensive production, Matthews was Michigan's most versatile defender. He guarded many of the opposing teams' best players during Michigan's Big Ten Tournament championship run and in the NCAA Tournament.

Charles Matthews cuts the nets after Michigan's Elite 8 win over Florida State. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Charles Matthews cuts the nets after Michigan's Elite 8 win over Florida State. (Harry How/Getty Images)

While he's good enough to play professionally in the future, Matthews wasn't invited to the NBA draft combine and might not have been selected this year. He has two more years of college eligibility, but since he sat out a year in between playing for Kentucky and Michigan, Matthews can also earn his degree during the 2018-19 campaign.

"My main focus will now be completing my education at Michigan and leading my teammates to more success next season," Matthews said.

The Wolverines will lose star center Moritz Wagner, who entered the NBA draft after three seasons at Michigan. Sophomore guard Ibi Watson, who averaged 5.2 minutes per game, transferred to Dayton.

READMoritz Wagner was everything Michigan could ask for in a college basketball player

But the rest of the players who led Michigan to the national championship will be back, along with the nation's No. 8 recruiting class, featuring four four-star players and one three-star.

4-star small forward commits to Wolverines

About two hours later, Michigan got more good news for the future, as 2019 four-star Jalen Wilson committed to the Wolverines.

Wilson is the No. 8 small forward in the 2019 recruiting class and the No. 34 player overall, according to 247 Sports. The 6-foot-6 forward from Denton, Texas, is the first member of Michigan's 2019 recruiting class.

Wilson chose the Wolverines over a host of other high-profile basketball schools, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Florida State, Purdue, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Louisville.

His commitment was enough to give Michigan the No. 12 class in the nation, though it's still early in the cycle.

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