MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There’s no denying the transfer portal has changed college athletics.

Whether that’s for better or worse is something that is a little more complicated.

There are plenty of stories out there that make the transfer portal seem like its only impact can be negative, but for Emmitt Matthews, it was much more personal.

Matthews started his college career at WVU and played for Bob Huggins for three seasons. After the 2020-21 season, he decided he needed a change.

He transferred to the University of Washington, just a short car ride from where he grew up in Tacoma.

“With the COVID year, dealing with all that stuff and not getting to see many people. Not seeing my family or friends. I think I saw my parents one time that year. I just wanted to go home,” Matthews said in an exclusive interview for the Bob Huggins Show.

“My situation was, I just wanted to go home and be around my family. Once that year was over and with COVID, everything kind of went back to normal, I wanted to come back here and be around my people.”

Being back in Washington had its perks. Matthews got to look up in the stands and see his parents in the crowd at every home game, something that definitely didn’t happen when he was across the country in West Virginia.

Those experiences are exactly what he wanted: time with his family in a familiar place.

While his parents were excited to have their son closer to home, that only created more distance elsewhere as his younger sister, Ahmani, remained back in Morgantown.

“My sister called me halfway through the season. She was crying and said ‘I miss you so much, can you please come back?’ I was like come back? What are you talking about? She said please come back, I miss you,” Matthews said. “So I said, ‘alright, we’ll see what we can do here.’ I played the rest of that season out and came back.”

As he weighed his decision to return to the Mountain State, a lesson from his father echoed in his mind.

“My dad always told me that one day, my mom and dad are going to be gone, and always look after my little sister,” he said. “Her role in my life, that’s my best friend, and I’ll always do my best to take care of her.”

So after one season as a Huskie, Matthews followed country roads back to West Virginia, and a few months later, he graduated alongside his sister.

“Being here for four years, I’ve put in so much time, blood, sweat and tears trying to win games, trying to do something great here,” Matthews said. “You transfer, you go there for a couple of months or a year and you aren’t there long enough to feel like you are really attached to something. Being back home, that was probably my only real attachment, but I always just felt like here is where I wanted to be.”

Matthews has said before he wishes he never left WVU in the first place. He just wanted to be back home, in the place he grew up — the place where he spent the first 18 years of his life.

As he walked out onto the court for Senior Night as a Huskie, he realized home had a different meaning.

Home was really back in Morgantown, and that was the place he wanted to experience his sendoff.

“Senior night here, walking out, seeing the fans. It just has a little more meaning. Just everything. Being around the guys, the team the culture, the staff. These are all people I’ve been around since I’ve been 18,” Matthews said. “Just going out there for the last time, seeing all that, taking it all in. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Experiencing senior day at the WVU Coliseum is near the top of Matthews’ list of reasons he’s back in the Old Gold and Blue. The moment he has been waiting for the past year is finally here.

On Saturday, Matthews will take his final walk down the carpet as WVU welcomes #11 Kansas State for the regular-season finale.

“A little bit of tears. A lot of joy. I’m excited,” Matthews said of his expectations for senior day. “That last roll out of the carpet, walk out with my family and see Huggs at the end holding the jersey. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. I’ll be a little nervous, but hopefully after the first few minutes of the game the butterflies will be gone and I can just enjoy the game and have one good last time at the Coli’.”

Watch an exclusive interview with Matthews Friday and Saturday on a new edition of The Bob Huggins Show. The program will air on the following stations:

  • AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh — Friday at 5 p.m.
  • WTRF My Ohio Valley — Friday at 11 p.m.
  • WBOY (Clarksburg) — Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • WOWK (Charleston) — Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • WTRF (Wheeling) — Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • WVNS (Beckley) — Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • WDVM DC News Now (Hagerstown) — Saturday at 11 a.m.

Each episode of The Bob Huggins Show is archived at and on the free Gold and Blue Nation app. Check your local TV listings for more details on how to watch The Bob Huggins Show in your hometown.