GLENDALE, Ariz. – Jordan Mathews was one of three Gonzaga seniors – joining center Przemek Karnowski and reserve guard Rem Bakamus – who stepped out on the court in a Zags uniform on Monday for the last time.
Unlike Karnowski and Bakamus, who have been with the Zags for their entire collegiate basketball careers, Mathews only had one season in the Zags jersey before hanging it up on Monday night.
Mathews joined Gonzaga at the beginning of the season after he transferred from California. In 39 games this year, Mathews averaged 41.1 percent from the field and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.
“Jordan’s been a stone-cold killer,” Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd said. “He’s a hired assassin who has a role and he’s fulfilled it.”
Mathews has been a force on Gonzaga’s offense all season, but his biggest plays were reserved for the end of the year. In one of the season’s biggest moments, Mathews hit a game-winning 3 against West Virginia that sent the Zags to the Final Four.
On Monday, Mathews delivered two 3-pointers against North Carolina that gave the Gonzaga the lead. Five minutes after the start of the game, Mathews hit a 3 that put the Zags up by two. Later in the second half, Mathews hit another 3 that gave Gonzaga a 41-40 advantage.
“He’s awesome. I wish we could have had the opportunity to coach him for four years,” Lloyd said.
Several of Mathews’ teammates wished the guard had transferred to Gonzaga a bit sooner than last year.
“He was a great pickup for us,” Gonzaga’s Silas Melson said. “It speaks volumes to how much of a good guy he is just to come here and adjust to a different basketball culture, that’s not an easy thing to do.”
On Monday, Mathews didn’t think about the NCAA national championship being his final game in a college jersey. He didn’t think about his last four years playing college basketball. He didn’t talk about his transfer or how he thought produced over the season.
The only thing Mathews wanted to talk about was the culture of Gonzaga basketball and the historical run his team had together.
“We broke the glass ceiling everybody said we couldn’t get over … It started in ’99 when they went to the Elite Eight and we just kept – the Zags keep breaking that ceiling,” Mathews said. “This is for the future Zags coming up.”