Standing 6-foot-6. shooting guard Matthew Cleveland ducks. The five-star out of Pace Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia could bonk his head on the rim when gliding in to flush it. It’s only a concern for the highest flyers.
This high flyer was swimming in college basketball scholarship offers before committing to Florida State.
Matthew Cleveland Highlights
Cleveland is a slasher. He’s at his best moving downhill towards the rim. He can maneuver through defenses off the dribble, or catch and finish with a dunk. He’s not overly explosive. The Pace Academy grad glides than rockets past defenders. He picks his spots and breaks out a controlled Euro-step. At the rim, he finishes strong.
Cleveland’s shot isn’t anything to write home about, but it is a good foundation for development. There’s room for more arc and a quicker release. From the mid-post, he has a reliable floater.
Already a versatile defender, he has the potential to be a go-to perimeter stopper. Buoyed by length and athleticism, Cleveland can guard multiple positions and rebounds well. He loves the chase-down-block in transition.
Matthew Cleveland Recruiting
The Alpharetta native is the 22nd ranked player in the 2021 basketball recruiting class per 247Sports‘ Composite Rankings. He held offers from Florida State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Miami, Arkansas, Tulane, Appalachian State, Maryland, Missouri, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Seton Hall, Stanford, Iowa State, Clemson, and TCU.
He also had interest from North Carolina and Kentucky. Michigan head coach Juwan Howard threw his hat into the Cleveland sweepstakes at the last minute. Lousiville and Florida State were his top choices before he decided to go with FSU.
Cleveland’s proved his playing style can translate to wins. Room for expansion is in front of him when he arrives in Tallahassee.
Matthew Cleveland Commits to Florida State
UPDATE (July 22, 2020): Cleveland took to Twitter ahead of his senior season to make a verbal commitment to head coach Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles.
Matthew Cleveland Signs With FSU
Cleveland has been elevated from a four-star to a five star since signing with FSU basketball. Joining him in Tallahassee are four-star guard Jalen Warley, four-star center John Butler, and three-star center Naheem McLeod. Five-star shooting guard Bryce McGowens was originally a member of the class, but he switched to the Nebraska Cornhuskers to play with his older brother.
Hamilton’s NCAA recruiting class is ranked fifth nationally and second in the ACC.
Cleveland proved he’s more than a scorer in high school and on the AAU circuit. If he can keep the momentum going at Florida State, the NBA is certainly in his future.
This article was originally published June 3, 2020.