Huron's AJ Mathew commits to play basketball at the University of Toledo
Huron High School senior-to-be AJ Mathew has committed to play basketball at the University of Toledo.
Mathew has been the starting point guard at Huron since his freshman year and the River Rats have enjoyed a 59-13 record in that time. Last season, during Huron’s run to the Class A state finals, Mathew led the team in scoring (14.8 points), assists (4.2) and was second in rebounds and steals.
Mathew said he narrowed his choices from 13 schools to five in Lehigh, Columbia, Cornell, North Carolina-Greensboro and chose to play for coach Tod Kowalczyk and the Rockets because, "it just felt right."
"They actually came in a little later than the others. We went up there, (Huron) coach (Waleed) Samaha took us up there before the open recruiting period in July, right after school was out in June," Mathew said in a telephone interview Sunday.
"They followed me throughout July," (while playing for AAU-affiliated Team Detroit at tournaments across the country) "things went pretty good and they offered in August."
After discussing the decision with his family, Mathew decided to verbally commit to Toledo. He plans on officially signing during the NCAA early signing period (Nov. 10-17).
"I think this is a great opportunity for AJ. He made a connection with the coaching staff right away," Samaha wrote in an e-mail. "Coach Kowalczyk has been successful and will continue have success at Toledo. AJ gets a chance to play in the MAC, where Toledo will challenge for the championship every year."
"He's a great leader, has an incredible work ethic and genuinely loves his teammates." Samaha added. "Toledo is getting a very special young man."
Mathew, the 2010 AnnArbor.com Player of the Year, is the second Huron player in the past 10 days to commit to play at the NCAA Division 1 level.Six-foot-6-shooting guard Dante Williams recently committed to play at Oakland University.
"It's a relief. It feels good," said Mathew. "When it started heating up (Samaha) said he wanted us to make a decision before the school season started so that we didn’t have to be stressed during the season, worrying where we are going to school.
"Now we can focus on the season and hopefully get back to the championship."
Mathew will join Huron alum Jay Shunnar at Toledo.
Pete Cunningham is a sportswriter for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham. Sports producer Rich Rezler contributed to this article.