With just one scholarship in hand for 2013, Fran McCaffery move on E.C. Matthews on May 1. The Iowa coach extended an offer to the combo guard.
At the time, it was Matthews' second high-major opportunity, the other coming from USC. Dayton, Creighton and Rhode Island also were in with offers then.
Also, it was believed to be one of the only offers McCaffery had out on the table in the 2013 class. It might have been the only offer out there. That said a lot about the coach's feelings for the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder.
Matthews will honor that faith by McCaffery in officially visiting Iowa this Friday-Sunday. It represents the first of the five official visits each player is allowed by NCAA rules.
"I think the fact that they've been in for a while," Romulus Coach Nate Oats explained as the reason for the Hawkeyes being at the front of the line. "His mother (Regina Townsend) is comfortable with their staff. She wanted to get out and see them."
Matthews has not set up any other official visits, Oats said. The guard will drop in on Marquette for a one-day, unofficial visit next weekend, according to the coach.
"They didn't want to burn up an official for just one day," Oats said. "I'm from Wisconsin, so I'm going to drive him back there."
The coach said that Matthews still was considering 10-12 schools. Oats mentioned Rhode Island, Xavier, Dayton, Providence, Virginia Tech and Minnesota.
"Minnesota is another one," Oats said. "Not as long as Iowa, but they've been recruiting him for a while. Tubby (Smith) is supposed to be in next week."
Matthews has unofficially visited Xavier and Dayton.
"I don't know if he is going to go on an official to those places or not," the coach said. "But they've been in for a while and have been pretty strong.
"It's just hard to narrow it down. That's why he hasn't set up any more officials. He can't narrow it down to like four or five. It stays at 10 or 12. We knock a few off and then a few come in."
One of the schools not in the mix is Michigan.
"They took the kid Derrick Walton a year ago and they kind of got out there (on Matthews)," the coach said.
Scout.com ranks Matthews as a four-star recruit on its five-star scale. The service tabs him as the 16th best shooting guard nationally in the '13 class.
Oats said he first connected with McCaffery shortly after Fran took over at Iowa two plus years ago. The new Hawkeye head man was courting another Romulus product, Will Clyburn, now at Iowa State.
"They had got the job and tried to get in late on him," Oats said. "They were good then (in recruiting). Andrew Francis has been out to visit the school. Andrew has been in touch more than anybody. I talk to Fran here or there on the deal."
What's interesting about this part of the interview with Oats is that McCaffery was calling in on his other line. Fran was working during dinner time.
"That's Fran McCaffery beeping in now," Oats said. "I'm going to tell him that the reporters are more important."
We laughed. I asked a few more questions. He was going to call back McCaffery.
"(The Hawkeye coaches) selling point is the kid from Southfield out here, (Roy Devyn) Marble," Oats said of the pursuit of Matthews. "He's kind of a long guard. They're trying to tell EC that he can fill that kind of role for them."
Marble will be a junior this coming season. He's the team's leading returning scorer at 11.5 points per game.
"We played against Marble in high school," Oats said. "I think EC has more skill coming out of high school. Roy can really shoot it. He's passes it a little better. But they're both long guards that can play multiple positions. I do think it's a good comparison."
Matthews may or may not sign in the early, week-long period, which begins Nov. 14.
"They're in the middle of they might sign early and they might wait," Oats said. "I don't think they're going to let it go all the way to April (late signing period) to make a decision. But they might not make a decision in time to sign early.
"They might make a verbal after the (November) signing period. But, if they feel comfortable, they might sign early. A lot of this stuff is up in the air to be honest with you."
Townsend always has guided her son's recruiting process. She increased her involvement when the attention became overwhelming.
"I think the mother has put some guidelines in for the kid on when (the coaches) can call," Oats said. "She was trying to get control of recruiting."
Oats said Matthews and his mother each desires something from the school that wins out for his services.
"The mom definitely wants a place where they're going to look after her kid academically," Oats said. "Regina is trying to make sure that wherever he goes he has a great chance to graduate in four years. I think she's doing her homework on that end. The kid wants to be able to play right away and to be able to play multiple positions."