There's little doubt that A.J. Matthews was disappointed not being selected in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. However, the Division III player from Brooklyn also knew the jump from college to the pros would be a big one. Now he'll attempt to impress the New York Knicks and others with his play in the Summer League.
A.J. Matthews will try to prove he belongs at the NBA level by playing in the NBA Summer League begins. He and the New York Knicks reached an agreement and both he and the organization are hoping it pays dividends.
Zach Braziller of the New York Post reports Matthews is eager to prove he belongs.
“I’m used to going around in a big circle,” said the 7-foot center, who starred at Division III Farmingdale State on Long Island because he failed to qualify to play Division I basketball. “It makes me go harder. Not getting drafted makes me want to prove what I can do, show lot of GMs and owners they would’ve picked me.”
“I feel happy about it,” Matthews said. “I love the Knicks. I’m a Knicks fan. It’s a blessing that they are giving me a chance to show what I can do on a big stage.”
Not only is Matthews a seven footer. He's a local product the Knicks have had their eyes on. He didn't play in Division III because of a lack of skill. Instead, he was suppose to be a Division I player but his career took twists and turns. However, they led him to averaging 22.4 points, 16.3 rebounds and 3.75 for Farmingdale State this past season. Of course, that was against Division III talent. The leap to the NBA will be a big one. That being said, the Knicks think he can make that jump and are willing to give him a chance.
If Matthews can he can play at a high level he may be able to get an invite to training camp with the Knicks or another team. With a need for frontcourt depth he'll surely end up with the Knickerbockers if he can show the leap from Division III is something he can overcome.
The Knicks will be looking to see how he does around more talented players than he saw on the college level and if he can play with a high motor and effort level. Matthews will be looking to show off his jump shot and defensive skills. He has the length and look of an NBA player.
There's no reason why Matthews shouldn't get every opportunity in the Summer League to show he's more than just a player from Farmingdale State. Now it just remains to be seen if he can hang with the higher competition. As long as Matthews is coachable and has a certain level of skill he's very likely to be given a chance to make the Knicks roster.
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