A.J. Matthews is a long-shot at making the NBA. A lot of things are against him. He turns 24 three days after the draft. He played at Division III Farmingdale State and only nine players from Division III schools have ever made it to the NBA and only one Devean George, has ever been drafted ... although he did retire with three rings.He does have at least two things going for him: he is 7-foot and he does come from Brooklyn.
Matthews was on hand this week at the Nets group workout out in East Rutherford, invited at the request of the Nets' director of player personnel, Gregg Polinsky. He was part of the group Polinsky described to Jonathan Givony as "players people haven't maybe seen over the year ... we tried to mix in variety that would thought would be good for the entire league."
Afterwards, Polinsky said the Divison III leader in rebounding at 16.3 per game had justified his selection.
"I thought that he was impressive," Polinsky told Nate Taylor of the Times. "I thought he did a nice job. He’s a big, long guy who has not played at a Division I level but showed that he is capable of doing so. I think that will earn him some workouts and some looks."
Matthews was happy to compete because not only did it get him a chance to show his stuff to a larger, wider audience --there were 50 executives and scouts on hand-- it also gave him a chance to go 5-on-5, the only big workout that permits that.
"In individual drills, there is no defense," Matthews told Taylor. "You’re either making jumps shots or missing them. When you play five-on-five and you’re running up and down, it shows your stamina, your speed against other big men and your jumping ability..."
Of course, there's another reason: he is a Brooklyn native, a graduate of Harry Van Arsdale High School in Williamsburg. It would be easy for his family to hop on the subway and head south. The likelihood is that he won't be drafted. He might get an invite to a summer league, might be taken in the D-League Draft in November but he knows it's a long-shot.
- No Glamour but Many Scouts for Potential Second-Round N.B.A. Picks - Nate Taylor - New York Times
- Brooklyn-native A.J. Matthews opening eyes before NBA Draft - Larry Fleisher - Metro
- Farmingdale State's A.J. Matthews a wild card among prospective NBA bigs - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Louisville star Siva excels at Nets' combine - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Baylor guard doesn’t pass on chance to play - Tim Bontemps - New York Post