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Emmitt Matthews Jr. returning to West Virginia to play final season of college basketball

(Emmitt Matthews highlight reel)

A familiar face is returning to West Virginia’s men’s basketball program for his final collegiate season.

Fifth-year senior forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. announced Friday afternoon he will venture back to Morgantown to conclude his college career where it began.

As a graduate transfer from Washington, Matthews is immediately eligible to play a fourth season for the Mountaineers.

A native of Tacoma, Washington, the 6-foot-7 Matthews came to WVU out of high school and played his first three seasons as a Mountaineer, appearing in 92 games and starting 67.

Matthews, a southpaw, entered the transfer portal shortly after the 2020-2021 campaign and opted to play one season near his hometown.

In his lone season at Washington, Matthews was a starter in all 31 appearances and averaged a career high 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds over 32 minutes. After making 51 three-pointers over three seasons at WVU, Matthews canned 40 triples and shot a career best 43.4 percent from the field at UW.

Upon his arrival to WVU, Matthews was an immediate contributor to the 2018-2019 squad. That season, he made 12 starts, played in 32 games and averaged 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds over 16.4 minutes.

As a sophomore in a season that ended abruptly due to the pandemic before the Mountaineers could play in the Big 12 or NCAA Tournaments, Matthews started in 30 of 31 appearances and averaged 6.3 points and 3.1 rebounds.

In his third season at WVU, Matthews was a starter in 25 of 29 games and increased his scoring average to 7.8 points on nearly 41 percent shooting. Matthews also averaged four rebounds.

Over four seasons in college, Matthews has a career scoring average of 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds on 41.4 percent shooting. He has made 30.3 percent of his triples and 74.4 percent of free throws.

Matthews becomes West Virginia’s fifth offseason addition by way of transfer, joining South Carolina’s Erik Stevenson, Iowa’s Joe Touissant and junior college post players Mohamed Wague and Jimmy Bell Jr.

Stevenson played one season at Washington the year prior to Matthews joining the Huskies. He is a native of Lacey, Washington, which is in close proximity to Matthews’ hometown of Tacoma.

Matthews’ 67 career starts in a West Virginia uniform are nearly double the amount of starts the remainder of the roster has as Mountaineers. Only guards Kedrian Johnson (30 career starts) and Kobe Johnson (four career starts) have previously been among a starting five at WVU.

Also on Friday, former WVU forward and Las Vegas native Isaiah Cottrell announced his verbal commitment to play at UNLV.

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