By Mark Smith
Editor In Chief
With apologies to Bill Self and Dorothy Gale, he’s not in Kansas anymore.
Actually never was — although Anthony Mathis very well could have been.
It only took one visit to convince now former New Mexico Lobo basketball player the best place for him to continue his collegiate career.
There’s no place like home.
On Wednesday, Mathis told Enchantment Sports that he would be a graduate transfer at the University of Oregon — where he visited during the day — near his hometown of West Linn, Ore.
“I just announced it on Twitter about two seconds ago,” Mathis said. “I called (Kansas coach) Bill self today, and told him thanks for reaching out, and that I really appreciated it. I told him I decided I wanted to stay home, and he said he told understood.
“He said, ‘I know it’s an incredible opportunity for you to play back home with your brother. I completely understand.’ I feel really good about everything and I’m really excited.”
Mathis’ brother, Payton Pritchard, is a star guard for Oregon. Pritchard’s parents became Mathis’ legal guardians when he was in sixth grade.
At Oregon, Mathis will play for a guy with a big-time New Mexico connection as well. Ducks coach coach Dana Altman is an Eastern New Mexico alum.
Mathis, a 6-foot-3 guard, was the Lobos’ leading scorer last season as a senior at 14.4 points a game. He became one of the program’s all-time leading 3-point shooters in his four-year career, despite rarely playing during his sophomore year in 2016-17 — which culminated in the firing of then-UNM head coach Craig Neal.
This past April, the NCAA granted Mathis a fifth year of eligibility, based on issues from his sophomore season. The NCAA didn’t release why it made that decision and Mathis has not gone into detail.
But on Monday, Mathis announced he would use his extra year as a graduate transfer, and coaches from around the country started calling. He told Enchantment Sports that he spoke to Michigan, Northwestern, Kansas, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Boston College, Texas A&M on Monday and UCLA, Houston, Arkansas and Kansas again on Tuesday.
However, he had not set up a recruiting visit with any school but Oregon.
He said that Wednesday convinced him he didn’t need to.
Because, Toto, there’s no place like home.