Franklin's Mathews signs with Washington, relives NBA Draft night

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Franklin’s Garrison Mathews is geared up to begin NBA minicamp in Washington, D.C., this week. Mathews didn’t have the traditional NBA draft night last week, but he did get signed to a two-way deal with the Washington Wizards.

“My family and I were watching the draft and my agent had said that I would go somewhere in the 50s,” Mathews said of his potential late second round selection. “Well, that didn’t happen, and I was on my way to bed, ready to reevaluate the next day.”

Matthews didn’t have to wait long.

“I was getting into bed when my agent called me and said the Wizards had offered me a two-way contract,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep after that I was so excited.

“I couldn’t believe that my dreams of playing in the NBA were coming true.”

Mathews signed to be a part of the Washington Wizards organization and be a member of the G-League affiliate, the Capitol City GO-GOs.

“My family was excited, everybody was screaming,” Mathews said. “Nobody really knew that was going to happen. Everyone was pretty shocked.”

Each NBA team is only allowed just two two-way contracts per season, so Mathews is included in a select group. Teams offer two-way contracts to players they want to keep on retainer and as part of his contract, Mathews can spend a maximum of 45 days on the Wizards active NBA roster.

“I’m definitely excited about my contract,” he said. “I have the chance to go in there and show them that I can play and hopefully earn a full-time roster spot in the future.”

Mathews reflected on his rise into the NBA and reminded himself that it was no small feat to get to this point. Mathews finished his career at Lipscomb by leading the Bisons to the program’s first National Invitational Tournament championship game. He scored 2,478 points at Lipscomb, most in the school’s Division I-era. As a junior, he guided Lipscomb to the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth.

“It shows that all my hard work has paid off,” the former two-sport Franklin High School standouts said. “Coming from nothing having to fight for more playing time at Lipscomb, to scoring 2,000 points and getting to the NBA is really a testament to the work I’ve put in and all the people that have helped me along the way.”

Now, Mathews must keep fighting.

This time it’s for a spot on the Summer League roster and this time it’s alongside his new teammates in ninth overall pick Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga and 42nd pick Admiral Schofield of Tennessee along with the NBA veterans on the Wizards. As he competes for a spot on the summer league roster, Mathews has his sights set on their first game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas on July 6.

“Obviously Zion (Williamson) is on that team and it’ll be a cool experience to play against him and show that I can compete against that level of talent,” Mathews said. “It’s amazing to be able to play the game I love while being able to make some money and help take care of my family a little bit.”

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