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ZaQwaun Matthews
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Editor's note: This is the third in a series of weekly features profiling newcomers on the UTC men's basketball team, leading up to the Nov. 6 season opener against Covenant.

ZaQwaun Matthews was the first player to commit to Will Wade's last University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball recruiting class for the 2015-16 season.

When Wade left for Virginia Commonwealth after last season and Matt McCall was brought in to replace him, the first player he nailed down?

ZaQwaun Matthews.

"I never wavered," Matthews said. "It was very hard, though. I didn't know what to do. I talked to some players here and they told me to stick it out and wait for the next coach.

"They all stayed, and I knew they bonded and were close, so I wanted to give it a shot."

Matthews' loyalty falls directly in line with what former high school coach Wes Hepler said when Matthews committed.

"When he tells me that the Chattanooga program is like family, I know he will fit," Hepler said last year. "UTC is getting an outstanding kid, one with a big heart that cares about other people."

The versatile 6-foot-4 forward from Myers Park, N.C., averaged 19 points and seven rebounds per game during his senior season of high school and was a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com. He's been inserted into a logjam of experienced, versatile perimeter players on the Mocs' team, and right now his primary concern is just trying to learn from players such as senior all-conference performer Casey Jones.

That means a whole lot of learning and adjusting to the faster pace of play that the college level brings.

"It's been hard to adjust, but I've been able to pick it up during the flow of practice," Matthews said. "Hopefully I'll be able to help defensively; my offensive game is improving.

"I just want to try and contribute to the team as much as possible and give energy off the bench."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

 

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