Mathews

Wherever he goes, former Franklin and Lipscomb basketball standout Garrison Mathews seems to find a way to contribute. 

After impressing off the bench with the Washington Wizards, Mathews has found a new role with the Houston Rockets, one that's helping the team find some momentum. 

In the last three Houston games, Mathews is averaging 17 ppg with 56.7 percent FG shooting and 50 percent 3-point shooting. The last two games have seen the former Admiral and Bison shooting guard getting starting minutes. 

In that timespan, the Rockets haven't lost a game. They were 1-16 prior to Mathews' surge. 

A new trend seems to be emerging: get the ball to Gary. 

New Rockets coach Stephen Silas appreciates Mathews' ability to not only play well on offense, but take charges on defense. 

“I think this might be the first game he hasn’t gotten a charge, so he is tough, super tough, and not afraid to stick his nose in there and everybody recognizes it and he has a big time skill that we need," Silas said after the team's win over the OKC Thunder Monday. 

As far as his penchant to take charges on defense, Mathews credits his old days on the Franklin gridiron playing football. 

"It doesn't feel good taking charges," Mathews joked. 

In his second year on the sideline for the Rockets, Silas mentioned how unusual it is for Mathews to come in and contribute like he is. 

"When you call up a two-way guy, you usually don't expect him to make the main playing group, but he's earned it," Silas said about Mathews. 

Mathews has stepped into the lineup for the injured Jalen Green, but more performances like this should keep him getting minutes even after Green returns. 

“He is a good shooter, he takes charges on defense, is in the right place on defense, and has a toughness about him that is needed for our group,” said Silas.

Mathews spent two years with the Washington Wizards where he played in 64 games with 24 starts in 2020. 

Last season, Mathews averaged 5.5 points a game and shot 40.9% (38.4% from the three-point line, his longtime specialty). He averaged 16.2 minutes per game.

He spent a short time with the Boston Celtics in the preseason before being cut. He later signed with Houston on a two-way deal and has made the most out of his recent call-up from the G-League. 

Mathews says he feels right at home with his new team. 

"I struggled, I think, in my time in Washington," Mathews explained. "I had some good moments...[Houston] just accepting me and accepting the way I play, and us being able to build a little bit of chemistry, it's meant a lot to me and it's helped, for sure."