Wesley Matthews, to state the obvious, is a lot of things. Hardworking, skilled, resilient and tough-as-nails are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when describing the second-year guard out of Marquette.
But for all the things that Matthews is, the word "flashy" doesn't often come to mind when categorizing the style of play or personality that comprises one of the saviors of a team that is a surprising 32-24 at the All-Star break. After all, players are often a reflection of their coaches, and both of Matthews' pro skippers, Jerry Sloan and now Nate McMillan, are about as flamboyant as buttered toast.
There are brief moments of flash, like those created with a baseline cut to the rim
, a leak-out after a steal
or a falling out of bounds buzzer-beater for three
, but for the most part, when it comes to razzle dazzle, Matthews, much like his fellow Trail Blazers, is more humdrum than P.T. Barnum.
But expect that to change when Matthews takes to the floor Friday night for the Rookie/Sophomore game at the 2011 All-Star weekend. Matthews says he's got the requisite skills and desire to turn in a performance befitting the Entertainment Capital of the World.
"It's more of a show," said Matthews of the All-Star festivities. "I have no problem doing that. It's fun. I've got that part of my game."
It's not hard to takes Wesley's word for it, despite being known more for his tenacity and maturity than his showmanship. He possesses better athleticism than he probably gets credit for, is instinctual when it comes to running the open court in transition, possesses a better than average first step and is a decent, if not sore ankle impaired, leaper.
But Matthews' most powerful weapon is his deeply engrained desire to prove he can do whatever he puts his mind to. For whatever the reason, Wesley takes no small amount of pride in proving false seemingly every notion, preconceived or otherwise, of whom he is as a basketball player.
"I've got that (flashy) part of my game," said Matthews. "Everyone likes to think they can pinpoint what I am as a player and all that stuff. When need be, I’ve got some stuff up my sleeve."
We’ll know soon enough what "stuff" Matthews is waiting to reveal, but there are a few things you can bank on. It's not exactly a Griffin-esque dunk or a Nash-ian no-look pass, but as the foremost optometrist specializing in Three Goggles, Wesley has already vowed to throw a pair on should the opportunity arise (he's also considering getting his fellow sophomores in on the act as well).
The other guarantee as it pertains to Matthews' upcoming performance is his willingness to ditch garishness in exchange for a victory if need be. It may be an exhibition game in a city that gave birth to the "Showtime" era, but in Wesley's world, winning trumps everything, including entertainment
“It's going to be a huge market, a lot of fun," said Matthews. "You put the All-Star game anywhere, it's going to be an experience. But when the fourth quarter hits, the flash will go out the window."