The (obviously pro-Mathews) Husker website featured Mathews major talent as a developer of guard play.
Working primarily with the guards, Mathews helped Sadler turn Nebraska into one of the top ballhandling teams in 2008-09. NU ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin with a +5.8 margin. NU was 18th nationally in turnovers per game, averaging a Big 12-low 11.5 turnovers per game. The Husker guards also helped Nebraska post at least 200 3-pointers twice in the past three years, each time ranking among the top five totals in the Husker record book.
Mathews has also helped the Husker point guards become some of the most efficient assistmen in the league. During the past three years, NU's point guard has ranked among the top seven in the Big 12 Conference in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. In his first year at NU, Mathews helped senior Charles Richardson Jr. rank second in the Big 12 and 14th nationally in assists per game (5.77) while his 179 assists were third on the Nebraska single-season chart.
An article during his stint as head coach at USF focused on his role as taskmaster, which certainly makes him compatible with CBH's style.
IT'S 6:15 a.m. and Phil Mathews is demanding more. He wants more pressure on the ball and more attentive weakside defense. He wants more hustle and more court awareness and more toughness.
. . .
"It was time," Mathews says. "It was time to crack the whip and keep it cracking."
Because, if you're particularly unlucky, you're going to find yourself on the ugly end of Mathews' running commentary, with the words curling around you like razor wire. Yesterday morning the recipient was junior-college transfer Terrence Moore, a vaunted recruit who hasn't played to Mathews' expectations.
Moore got it for a wide array of infractions -- most of them in the wrong-place- at-the-wrong-pace tradition of basketball offenses. Told that it appeared he was picking on Moore, to the point of relentlessness, Mathews said, "Oh yeah, I was. I told my assistants before practice, 'This is Terrence Moore day.' "
It remains to be seen whether he also has what it takes to be the Pied Piper of West Coast talent, and whether he can be develop the kind of rapport with players that keeps morale high, so that players not only stay in the program, but are motivated to give their all.