Matthews won a pair of NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Mike Powell, Getty Images).
G-Force to Play Branding Season in International Basketball League
Two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion Wes Matthews has officially been named the head coach of the Jersey G-Force, the newest professional basketball team to call the Garden State its home. The 14th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft, Matthews enjoyed a 19-year professional career, with the first nine seasons being in the NBA.
“This is a great opportunity to have the chance to coach the G-Force. I want to thank Andre Ricketts (assistant coach) and Tim Butts (team owner) for giving me this opportunity,” Matthews stated. “I look forward to giving these young players a chance to learn a system, understand what it takes to play at the next level and really apply themselves. I’ve been watching a lot of games lately, and many players are missing that fundamental piece, which is very important to have. Having an opportunity to give these young players a pro setting and professional understanding of the game is truly a dream come true.”
Butts also voiced his excitement in having Matthews come on board.
“We actively went out and recruited Wes Matthews because of his basketball IQ and reputation within the basketball community,” he remarked. “He has the ability to develop young players and take their performance to the next level. We thought he was the right person for our organization and what we are trying to build. He is full of energy and excitement, and we now look to take all of that and put it to good use.”
A 6-1 point guard who played at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Matthews was taken by the Washington Bullets with the 14th selection in the 1980 NBA Draft. Throughout his career in the NBA, the Florida native scored over 3,600 points and nearly 2,000 assists. He won a pair of NBA Championships, both with the Los Angeles Lakers, notching league titles in back-to-back seasons (1987, 1988). After his time in the NBA, Matthews went on to play in the United States Basketball League and Continental Basketball Association while also playing overseas. Basketball still continues to run in his blood line as his son, Wes Matthews, Jr., currently plays in the NBA for the Portland Trailblazers.
Joining Matthews on his staff will be Ricketts, who brings international playing experience to the G-Force. He will also have a dual role with the team as he is serving in the front office as the Director of Player Personnel and responsible for other management duties. Also on the team’s bench will be James Ryan, a former NBA scout who is well known in the New York basketball community.
The Jersey G-Force, which will play a pair of home contests this May at Bergen County Community College during its branding season in the International Basketball League, will be hosting its final open tryouts for the upcoming year of play on March 24-25th. The trials will be conducted at the Monroe Tennis and Basketball Center in New Jersey, and registration is currently open at www.jerseygforce.com.