Dayton’s Grant on signing Jhery Matos: ‘He fits us really well’

Dayton recruit Jhery Matos plays with Monroe College in 2018. Photo courtesy of Stockton Photos
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Dayton recruit Jhery Matos plays with Monroe College in 2018. Photo courtesy of Stockton Photos

Matos a junior-college All-American at Monroe College

The Dayton Flyers signed Jhery Matos, a 6-foot-6 guard from Monroe College, on Wednesday, the first day of the April signing period.

Matos verbally committed to Dayton on Feb. 18, one day after watching the Flyers beat Fordham at UD Arena. He's originally from Villa Juana neighborhood of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. He averaged 17.7 points last season as a sophomore at Monroe, a community college in New Rochelle, N.Y.

» RELATED: Matos left Dominican Republic to pursue basketball dream

Matos has two seasons of eligibility remaining and can play for Dayton in the 2018-19 season. He’s the 27th-ranked junior-college player in the class of 2018, according to JucoRecruiting.com.

“I’m really excited,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “We feel like he fits us really well. He’s a long, athletic guard who can play multiple positions. He has the ability to do a variety of things with the ball in terms of making plays for himself and facilitating for other people, which I feel we need to improve. Defensively, he’s versatile enough to guard multiple positions, especially on the perimeter.”

Matos was named to the 2018 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball All-American Third Team on Tuesday. Matos led the Mustangs in scoring and 3-pointers (58 of 189, 35.8 percent). He shot 43.1 percent from the field and 71.3 percent from the free-throw line. He averaged 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

» SCHEDULE NEWS: Dayton to play Tulsa next season

Matos came to the United States for his final two years in high school. He attended Calusa Prep in Miami for one year and then spent his senior year at West Oaks Academy in Orlando. He played first season of junior college basketball at Eastern Florida State before transferring to Monroe.

“He fits not only from a basketball standpoint,” Grant said, “but being a guy that’s had international experience and has played a couple years of junior-college basketball. He walks in here more of a mature guy, an older guy. Especially when you have the youth that we have in our backcourt, it’s good to get a veteran with some experience walking in the door.”

Jhery Matos, second from right in second row, watches a game against Fordham from behind the Dayton bench on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
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Jhery Matos, second from right in second row, watches a game against Fordham from behind the Dayton bench on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Matos is one of two members of Dayton’s 2018 class. Dwayne Cohill, a freshman guard from Holy Name High School, is the other. Dayton still has five scholarships open for the 2018-19 season.

Matos is finishing academic responsibilities at Monroe, Grant said, and he didn’t know yet when Matos would arrive on campus, saying it could be May or early June.

Dayton assistant coach Ricardo Greer played a huge part in the recruitment of Matos, Grant said. Greer was born in the United States, but has family from the Dominican Republic and he played for the Dominican Republic national team from 1999-2009.

“He obviously is very, very well connected from the Dominican side of things,” Grant said, “because he’s had experience with the Dominican national team and forged a lot of relationships with Jhery or with people close to Jhery. Ricardo was very instrumental in making the connection to give us a chance to sign him.”

Matos is the first junior-college player to sign with Dayton since Detwon Rogers, who transferred to Dayton in April 2014 and left the program in March 2015. He never played a game for the Flyers.

While Matos isn’t the only junior-college player Dayton has recruited this year, Grant said that doesn’t mean there’s a pattern developing in recruiting. He doesn’t label players as “junior-college guys or this or that.” Grant doesn’t see Matos as different than any recruit.

“I think Jhery is a good fit for us from a basketball standpoint,” Grant said. “From an academic standpoint, he’s done extremely well. To be able to come from the Dominican Republic and have to learn a new language, make the adjustment to basketball in the states, to go through the process of what he had to go through from high school to junior college to get here, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his journey that he’s taken.”