Norfolk State hoops adds Arkansas State transfer J.J. Matthews for 2020-2021

norfolk stateThe Norfolk State men’s basketball program announced today that it has added Arkansas State transfer J.J. Matthews to finish its 2020 recruiting class.

The 6-9, 235-pound forward will bring plenty of size to the post for head coach Robert Jones.

Matthews spent the past two seasons at Arkansas State after originally starting his career at Towson. A native of Richmond, he will enter his redshirt senior year in 2020-2021 but will be eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.

“J.J. is a great last piece to our team. He adds a veteran presence to our frontcourt,” said Jones. “He is a proven commodity and will bring offensive balance while our other young frontcourt players continue to develop. His production at Arkansas State will pay huge dividends for us. He can score from 15 to 17 feet out while adding a much-needed down-low force. We are excited about J.J. rounding out our team.”

Last year as a redshirt junior, Matthews started 31 of 32 games for the Red Wolves out of the Sun Belt Conference. He averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free throw line. He stood second on the team with 22 blocks and averaged 1.2 assists per game. He scored a career-high 19 points twice and had three double-doubles on the year, helping Arkansas State finish 16-16 overall.

In his redshirt sophomore year in 2018-2019, Matthews started seven games and tallied 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for Arkansas State. He again shot better than 50 percent from the floor and nearly 66 percent from the charity stripe.

He began his career at Towson in 2016-2017 but missed the year due to injury. He spent the next season at Moberly Area Community College, posting 8.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Matthews was ranked a three-star prospect and the No. 11 player in the state of Virginia by ESPN for the class of 2016 out of Millwood School. He held offers from numerous schools, including ODU, Murray State, Providence, Temple and East Carolina before deciding on Towson.

He joins a three-player recruiting class for NSU that includes four-star prospect and small forward Nate Tabor. Both Matthews and Fresno State guard transfer Mustafa Lawrence will bring NCAA Division I experience to this year’s class.

Norfolk State lost three players off last year’s team that finished 16-15 overall, 12-4 in the MEAC, including first-team All-MEAC player Jermaine Bishop and third-team honoree Steven Whitley. The Spartans tied for second in the regular season standings before the MEAC tournament was shut down due to COVID-19.


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