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Gordo's Matthews signs with William Penn

Corey Matthews refused to attend college and be anything but a student-athlete.

"I’ve been playing basketball since I was 13 years old," Matthews said. "It’s what I love."

The 2011 Gordo graduate now has the opportunity, as Matthews signed with William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Matthews will join former Gordo teammate Keon Washington at William Penn, who will be playing football for the Statesmen.

The adjustment from high school to collegiate athletics is difficult for those that are lucky enough to go directly from one to the other. That adjustment will be even harder for Matthews, having taken a year out of school and organized athletics.

"I’m going to have to work and hard and have dedication," Matthews said.

Knowing the difficulties that lie ahead, Matthews is ready to take them on.

"I’ve been working my whole life for basketball," Matthews said.

Matthews is not the only one who is confident in his chances of success at William Penn.

"I think Corey will be able to score for them," said Jamie Chapman, men’s basketball coach and principal at Gordo. "He scored for us in high school and he knows how to distribute the ball. He’s a playmaker off-the-dribble."

Matthews consistently led the team in scoring during his career with the Greenwave, scoring 20 or more points at times.

William Penn will need performances like that from Matthews right away, as the Statesmen led the Midwest Collegiate Conference in scoring last season by over 11 points per game, but still finished tied for second by a four-game margin in the final conference standings.

There will be a void to fill for Matthews, as the Statesmen lose Alan Douglas to graduation. Douglas led the team in points per game with 19.2, and no other teammate averaging more than 15. Douglas also led the team in free throws made and rebounds.

Chapman was ready to see how Matthews plays when he has more talent surrounding him, noting that Matthews excels at passing.

That being said, Chapman recognizes the unusual circumstances Matthews now faces.

"In my six years as principal and 12 years of coaching, they’re very few and far between," Chapman said. "He better report in good shape and ready to rock and roll."

Chapman remembers a former player who has done it, though. A former football player at Gordo did what Matthews has done and went on to play for West Alabama.

Chapman added, "He’ll be fine."

Matthews and Washington will depart for their freshmen year on Aug. 5.