Jason Matthews, the smooth-shooting guard from Los Angeles who was never afraid to take the big shot, took a few minutes with us to reminisce about his days as a Pitt Panther.
BEH 24/7: How does a kid from Los Angeles, CA land in the Big East playing for the Pitt Panthers?
Matthews: Dave Gavitt was BRILLANT with creating Big Monday with ESPN. Also, Coach Calipari really helps you see the vision he has for you as a player.
BEH 24/7: What have you been up to since your playing days at Pitt?
Matthews: I’ve been involved in the real estate industry for the past 21 years. I also have a skill development program for girls and boys. I’ve enjoyed being an assistant coach at Obama Academy over the past 5 years as well.
BEH 24/7: Who were the top 5 guys you had to guard in your Big East days?
Matthews: In no particular order: Dana Barros, John Morton, Doug West, Eric Murdock, Chris Smith
BEH 24/7: Do you keep in touch with any of the guys from your era?
Matthews: I keep in touch with my Pitt teammates and many of the guys I played against.
BEH 24/7: Did you surprise yourself by starting 112 of 123 games over the course of your career?
Matthews: Yes, I didn’t know how much I’d play when I arrived at Pitt but I’ve always been a fierce competitor. I was also willing to put in thousands of hours of skill work, conditioning, and weight lifting.
BEH 24/7: Explain if you could, how it felt to wear a Lakers jersey after your college days?
Matthews: That was a very SURREAL experience. Jerry West called the day after the draft and asked if I’d like to play with the Lakers in NBA Summer League. I played well enough to receive an invite to Laker Vet Camp. I still have the Lakers contract I signed in 1991. I grew up going to several Laker games.
BEH 24/7: Are you able to appreciate all of your accomplishments looking back after all of these years?
Matthews: When you’re in the moment, you don’t really understand what you’re accomplishing. Once you’re done, you can analyze what you’ve achieved compared to other players. It’s a lot of fun to do that, but then you can say “WOW” I guess I was a good player.
BEH 24/7: Who was the most influential person that got you where you are today?
Matthews: I can’t pick one person because I have a great family, I’ve had great AAU/HS coaches, best friends who encouraged me to play, great teammates, special mentors, Pitt Fans, Tony Salesi (Pitt Trainer), and Coach Calipari to name just a few.
BEH 24/7: If you were a high school recruit today who would you rather play for John Calipari or Sean Miller?
Matthews: That’s a TOUGH one that I’ll leave alone. I love and appreciate both of them because they’ve both had a significant impact on my life.
BEH 24/7: What is your favorite Big East Tournament moment?
Matthews: In 1990 vs BC. It was my best tourney game at MSG and I scored 32 Pts
Our thanks to Jason for the time and info. You can follow him on Twitter @JMatty22