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March 19, 2013
Cal hoops signee eyeing State Title
Jordan Mathews isn't ready to begin his Cal career just yet.
Three weeks removed from his last league contest and three months before he exits high school altogether, the Santa Monica senior sits one win away from a State Championship.
"It feels pretty good," a composed Mathews told GoldenBearReport on Sunday.
"Pretty good," doesn't begin to describe the emotions of those who follow Samohi Athletics.
Friday's tilt against Pleasant Grove marks just the second trip to the state finals for the Vikings -- their first since 1928 -- and the revival has had everything to do with the talented guard's play.
A prolific scorer, Mathews has upped his already-gaudy production in the playoffs.
He notched 37 points in a narrow opening round victory against Narbonne High School, poured in 41 versus Palisades, and defeated future California teammate Kameron Rooks and Mission Hills in the quarterfinals only days later.
That, however, was a mere prelude to Saturday's crescendo.
Facing a Loyola squad that had beaten his team twice during the regular season, the future Golden Bear took matters into his own hands, breaking a 50-50 tie by burying a three with less than two seconds to play.
"I felt like I had to take control late in the game," said Mathews of his heroics. "I didn't want it to go into overtime. We had the ball so I said 'I'm going to end this.'"
Rivals' No. 88 overall recruit, Mathews has no compunction about taking the final shot.
"I'll take the last shot," he volunteers. "I don't like what-ifs. If I miss, I miss. If it goes down, it goes down."
It's that fearless mentality that's made Mathews his team's unequivocal leader.
"I like to lead on the court, not so much with my words but by going out there and doing it."
Of course, there's another reason the 6-3 sharpshooter takes his captainship seriously; brother Jonah -- a freshman -- also plays for the Vikings.
"I know I have my brother looking at me at all times," says Jordan.
More than just looking, the youngest Mathews' logs considerable minutes alongside Jordan in the Vikings' backcourt.
"It's fun to play with him," remarks the 4-star prospect. "I get to see him grow, not only physically but his mental game, too. He can go as far as he wants to."
Maybe, but for now the Vikings are Jordan's to navigate.
And if Santa Monica does capture Friday's contest?
Well, Jordan won't waste any time joining the Bears; that is, assuming Cal can beat UNLV and advance to Saturday's third round in nearby San Jose.
Says Mathews, "I'd try and make that one for sure."
Santa Monica and Pleasant Grove face each other Friday at 8pm at Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena (formerly Arco Arena)