BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Samford University basketball team continued to bolster its 2015-16 roster Wednesday as the Bulldogs added highly-touted recruit Matt Rose (pictured) from Lexington Christian High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Rose averaged 22.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game as a senior and was a finalist for Kentucky Mr. Basketball.
“We’re extremely happy to have Matt join the Samford basketball program,” said coach Scott Padgett, a former UK standout. “He’s a very coachable guy and is a gym rat. Every day, he’s in the gym and that’s exactly what we’re in the process of adding to this roster. We want guys that just love the game and want to be in the gym all the time, because that’s how you get better.
“He has high aspirations for his career, but he also wants to come here and help Samford win Southern Conference championships and hang banners in the Pete Hanna Center.”
Rose, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound swingman, closed out his prep career as one of top players in Lexington Christian history. A three-time team captain, he led the Eagles in scoring twice and in rebounding three times. Rose also finished his illustrious career as the second leading scorer (1,506 points) and rebounder (654) in school history.
“Coach Padgett played a significant factor in my decision,” said Rose on Wednesday. “I see the fast-paced style being very successful. Coach P has experience as a player playing that style and I know he will help us every way possible.”
Rose turned in a brilliant 85.6-percent free-throw percentage as a senior and finished his high school tenure with a 78.7-percent mark, which is ranked second in school history. He chose Samford over heavy interest from a multitude of Division I offers, including Columbia, UNC Asheville and Lipscomb.
“There are many different things about Samford that made me want to become a Bulldog,” said Rose. “The academics played a big role, because I realized Samford is listed as one of the best schools in the South. I also realized that I can help contribute to the basketball program. The coaches and players made me feel at home and I want to do my best to make us the best team we can be.”
A prolific scorer at LCHS, Rose averaged 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds as a sophomore and increased his totals to 17.7 and 7.2 as a junior. He ended his career with a 50.8-percent shooting percentage and knocked down 39.1-percent of his 3-pointers in 2014.
“Matt will remind a lot of Samford fans of (2014-15 senior forward) Tyler Hood,” Padgett said. “He’s a 6-foot-7 lefty and can step out and make the 3-point shot. He can go out on the perimeter and do some things, but he can also post up down low because he’s an extremely athletic player. He can play above the rim, run the floor and we expect big things from him.”
Rose was honored as a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the talent-rich state of Kentucky. He was also ranked in the top 10 in the state in free-throw percentage and top 20 in scoring. Additionally, Rose was chosen to compete in the annual Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game and was named First-Team All-City by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“My expectations are for our team to be the best we can be,” said Rose, speaking of his future at Samford. “Also, I know the players (including myself) and coaches want to win championships and play in the NCAA Tournament. I know that we have a great chance each year and I am very excited for what will come.”
In his senior season alone, Rose tallied 21, 20-point performances and recorded 10 double-doubles in 29 games. He earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Central Bank Basketball Classic, the Woodford County Invitational, the Clem Haskins Classic and at Lexington Christian High School.
“Matt is very excited about being here and he really fits everything that Samford is all about,” said Padgett. “His shooting ability allows him to do a lot of other things on the court. He’s also a very versatile player and should play both the No. 3 and No. 4 positions on the floor for us. He’s an intelligent guy, he knows how to play and will bring a lot of things to the table for us.”
Rose comes from an outstanding family, which includes his father, Jamie, and his mother, Kris. He also has a pair of twin sisters, Scarlett and Lauren, as well as brothers, James, Clay and Neil, who are triplets.
“Matt is a great young man and a very good student,” Padgett said. “He comes from a great family and gets outstanding support from them all. They are there for him in everything that he does.”
Rose joins Nashville native Dakota Quinn thus far in Samford’s 2015-16 signing class. Quinn was added to the Bulldogs’ upcoming roster during the early signing period in the fall of 2014.
Photo provided by Samford University