Freshman guard Jordan Mathews tied the Cal freshman record when he scored 32 points in the Bears’ win at No. 17 Oregon last Thursday. For the season, he has five starts through 16 games and is averaging 8.6 ppg and 2.7 rpg. The son of Phil and Margie Mathews, his father is a long-time basketball coach who served as head coach at USF from 1995-2004. As a high school player, Mathews was a two-time league MVP who was tabbed the Southern Section Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Monica HS.
CalBears.com sat down with the freshman in a five-question Q & A to discuss his freshman year on and off the court.
How did feel to put up 32 points at Oregon last Thursday?
It felt really good. It felt good because we got the win. For some reason this year, I have feelings about different kinds of games. I knew going into that game, the way I felt walking in and the energy, I knew I had the potential to have a good game. I just got it going early and I hit my first shot. It was off to the races from there.
What do you need to do to develop more consistency?
It’s more mental than anything else. I let things get to me sometimes that have nothing to do with basketball. I’ll call my dad a lot and let him know I’m struggling with this or that. It’s just mental blocks. It’s getting prepared for the same way every game. Just because you’re playing No. 17 Oregon doesn’t mean you can’t get up the same way for Oregon State. You have to prepare the same way every week.
How much did you expect to contribute your freshman year?
I knew I’d have a chance to play. I don’t know if anyone else thought that, but I knew I’d have a chance to play. When I came to our workouts, I saw how many weapons we had. We’re on a roll right now. We need to keep it going. The intensity of the game is way different. The match-ups are different. The focus and detail are different, too.
How much of an influence was your father on your basketball career?
Huge. He and my mom because they didn’t force me to play basketball, but they said if you really want to do this, we’ll give you everything we can to be good. He didn’t talk to me as a father. He talked to me as a coach all the time. I think that helped. He gave me the real story. I hurt sometimes, but it got me where I am today.
How would you assess your first semester as a student at Cal?
I like the information I’m learning. Sociology was a good course. I gave me viewpoints on things you don’t really think about. I like the aspect that you meet a lot of new people all the time. To be honest, the best part about Cal is hanging out with my teammates, especially the freshmen because we’re really, really close. If you’re having a bad day, just hang out with Sam, Jabari, Kam and Roger, and you’ll be good.