Following his commitment to play basketball for Cal head basketball coach Mike Montgomery and the Bears, Santa Monica High School combo guard Jordan Mathews spoke to the Bear Insider about why Cal was the best place for him.
"The visit went really well," said Mathews. "I'm from the Bay Area and I lived in San Francisco for nine years so I felt comfortable there.
"I could see San Francisco from the room they put me in in the Durant Hotel so I was like, 'I really need to make this move. I need to come here because everything's clicking.'
"It's a great conference, a great coaching staff, a great education and great people up there. It just felt right."
Cal assistant head coach Travis DeCuire took the lead in Mathews' recruitment, building a solid relationship over the past six months.
"Coach DeCuire would like to have me play a role as a scorer on their roster. He said I'm versatile enough to play either the 1, 2 or 3 if I need to.
"I'm going to be working hard on my ball-handling and also work on going right.
"My coach is always working on helping me to expand my game and get better.
"I know Jordan's up for the challenge at Cal," said Santa Monica head coach James Hecht. "When he came back to school today and we talked about it, the first thing he mentioned was trying to get better in certain areas in anticipation of helping Cal however he could to be as successful as possible.
"He's always working on his game and looks at the game on and off the court through a coach's eyes, being the son of a basketball coach."
Mathews displayed a good shooting touch in 2011-12 for Santa Monica, shooting 54% from 2 and 42% (61-for-145) from 3-point range, while shooting 76% from the free throw stripe.†
"I think his strength is his shooting right now. His ball handling is definitely getting better.
"One of the things Jordan talked to me about today was the need to improve his ball-handling to be as successful as he can be at the Division 1 level.
"His mid-range is good, with a nice pullup jumper. His 3-point shot is nice."
Mathews also put up solid all-around numbers, averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists and 2.66 steal per game in his Ocean League MVP and All-CIF 1st team†season, while leading the Vikings to a league championship and third round of the CIF regionals.
"Jordan's a guy who's going to come to practice today and put behind him that he committed to Cal and just work to get better," said Hecht.
"He's not one that's going to rest on what he's accomplished so far. He's always trying to get better."
Beyond Mathews' relationship with DeCuire, the 4 star guard also had a chance to get to know Cal head coach Mike Montgomery better on the trip, as well as spend a lot of time with his future teammates.
"Coach Montgomery picked me up from the airport," said Mathews. He's a great guy.
"We went to dinner and talked about his philosophies as a coach. He's a great coach and he really cares about his players.
"I feel really comfortable around Coach.
"He likes to run if they've got the personnel for it but if they need to run some halfcourt sets to score points, he can do that, too. He gets his shooters a lot of good looks. Since I'm a shooter, that really appeals to me."
As for his future teammates, Mathews already knew several current Bears nad got to know several more on his trip.
"I know Kaileb Rodriguez, Khalil Johnson, Ricky Kreklow, Allen Crabbe, Richard Solomon, Justin Cobbe and a lot of the guys. They're all great guys. I feel really comfortable there."