On Tuesday, Jordan Mathews — one of the Cal men’s basketball team’s best players — announced on Twitter that he will be graduating this summer and plans to play out his final year of NCAA eligibility at another school.
“I want to thank the University of California, Berkeley, the Men’s Basketball staff, my teammates, and the Golden Bear fan base for all of their support throughout the past three years,” Mathews said in a statement he tweeted Tuesday.
By transferring after earning his undergraduate degree, Mathews ensures that he will be immediately eligible to play with his new team next season. According to CBS Sports, Gonzaga is the favorite to land the guard.
Mathews was expected to be one of the Bears’ main returning contributors for the 2016-17 season after he put up an average of 13.5 points per game last year. He was the team’s most efficient and prolific three-point shooter, making 2.62 treys per game on 41.6 percent shooting. He had an especially impressive streak in the middle of Pac-12 play, including a 28-point showing in a win over Arizona on Jan. 23.
“Jordan has been a valuable member to our Cal basketball program for the past three years where he developed into one of our all-time 3-point shooters and leading scorers overall,” said Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin in a statement. “Along with our entire staff, I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
After the departures of Tyrone Wallace and star freshman Jaylen Brown, Mathews’ role in the offense was predicted to grow. He, along with returning guard Jabari Bird, were presumed to form a hot-shooting duo on the perimeter which the Bears could build around with Ivan Rabb as a centerpiece in the paint.
Incoming guards such as Don Coleman and graduate transfer Grant Mullins could see increased responsibility next season as a result of Mathews’ decision.
“This decision was not easy but I am incredibly thankful for this experience,” Mathews said. “The relationships I have developed will last a lifetime.”