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Tough love, hard coaching, shouting, yelling. Call it what you want, Michigan coach John Beilein was molding the Wolverines' 6-foot-6 guard.
"I was turning the ball over," Matthews said of the 2016-17 season when he could practice but not play after transferring from Kentucky. "Last year he would stop practice and scream 'Turnover Matthews, Turnover Matthews, Turnover Matthews.' He'd do it all the time."
Beilein had an additional phrase when Matthews screwed up: "Go see 212." That was in reference to a top section at Crisler Arena.
"That's when I would have to run up to the top of the bleachers," Matthews said.
These are charming anecdotes now that Michigan has reached the Final Four. Matthews, a junior, is at the top of his game having been named the Most Outstanding Player here at the West Regional.
But in getting there Michigan's emerging star provided a peak behind the curtain of how basketball's sausage is made.
The Chicago native transferred from Kentucky after an uneven debut in 2015-16. Matthews was one of only four players to play in all 36 games that season. But he averaged only 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds.
John Calipari even compared Matthews to Liggins, a defensive stopper who evolved into a complimentary scorer (8.6 per game) by his final season.
"I know Charles' best basketball is ahead of him," Calipari said at the time.
Cal was prescient. Matthews was insightful.
"I feel like I needed a different fit, different scenery," he said. "I understand basketball is an equal opportunity sport. You're not just going to come and play. You may not play.
"Kentucky was a great experience for me. Unbelievable coaching staff, unbelievable culture and environment there but I wanted a different fit."
Matthews had seen film of Michigan and asked his St. Rita High School coach Gary DeCesare to call Beilein. A family atmosphere was important. Charles has two other brothers who play – Dominique at Illinois-Chicago and Jordan, a senior guard at St. Rita.
Then he met Beilein the Transformer. Matthews was broken down, rebuilt, almost re-taught the game playing scout team during the year he sat out.
"That was an extremely difficult transition for me," Matthews said. "I feel like I'm very coachable. I kept saying, 'Yes coach, what do you need from me? How can I make this transition easier?'
"It wasn't one thing, it was a style of basketball I wasn't used to playing … I want to say he reinvented me, deprogrammed me and built me back up."
Everything's good now but Matthews says that transition was tough. There is a reason Michigan can play any style under Beilein. The Wolverines are talented but they are almost exact.
In the postseason – Big Ten Tournament/NCAA Tournament – Matthews has turned the ball over more than once just one time in eight games.
In his first season at Michigan, Matthews has started every game becoming the Wolverines' second-leading scorer. In the two games here, Matthews made two turnovers in 66 minutes of play. Why? It goes back to that deprogramming.
"You feel like you're in third grade going to your first basketball game," Matthews said. "The first day of practice in there catching the ball and just throwing a chest pass. And you're thinking, 'Let's get to the workout.' You're doing that for 40 minutes just catching the ball, passing the ball, make sure your thumbs are pointed in the right direction.
"Making sure the ball has the perfect spin on it. I was like, 'Wow.' "
Safe to say that didn't happen at Kentucky?
"You don't do that nowhere," Matthews said.
Matthews scored 35 points in the last two games becoming the MOP. Now, his likeness is going to pop up on any analysis of the top players in the Final Four.
His silky jumper and moves around the basket fit perfectly in the Staples Center, which has seen a few silky moves from its main inhabitants.
Matthews could be playing himself into that position. After a couple of lengthy shooting slumps during the season he is averaging 16.5 points in the tournament.
As for that "abuse" Matthews suffered to get here?
"It's a fine line between coaching and being steady," he said. "You can't play not to turn the ball over. Coach would tell me, 'Take 50-50 shots but don't make 50-50 plays.
"I don't think they're necessarily being abusive. I feel like some coaches can just -- I don't want to say overcoach -- they can take a lot of players' instincts away."
Sure, Young led the country in scoring and assists. But based on what we know from Matthews in what world would Beilein allow 39 shots by a player? Young did that on Jan. 20 at Oklahoma. It took those 39 shots to score 48 points.
"Probably 80 percent of coaches would lose their hair," Matthews said.
Could Young have played at Michigan?
"I think so. I don't think coach would have held him back."
That's enlightening from a guy who had to be re-taught to make a chest pass. From a guy who was mocked in practice, made to run stairs and came out on the other as one of the stars of the Final Four.
"Open dialogue, open line of communication," is how Matthews described the culture he plays in. "There's no egos on this team. Somebody can get on somebody and they're not going to take it personally."
It just took some getting used to.