The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team has landed its first committed recruit for the 2023-24 season.

Matthue Cotton, a 6-foot-5 guard, has decided to transfer from Yale and join the Rainbow Warriors in the summer.

Cotton, who was a Top 15 recruit in the state of New Jersey as a high schooler, has played in 77 games for the Bulldogs over the course of three seasons. In the 2021-22 season, Cotton made 44 three-pointers in 13 starts and scored a career high 23 points vs. UMass prior to suffering a left shoulder injury that required surgery, which made him unavailable this season. Still a member of the Yale program, Cotton has been working to make his return next season but due to Ivy League eligibility rules, he would be unable to play a fourth season with the Bulldogs, which opened the door for a commitment to play his fifth and final season in Hawaii.

“I’m defending at a high level. Of course, I feel like I can score the ball pretty well. Obviously I was injured my junior year, but yeah, just being able to do whatever I can on offense and defense and help the team win is mainly how I see myself impacting. Being able to play with players, I know we have JoVon (McClanahan) and (Bernardo) Da Silva and a few other starters coming back, so just being able to play with those guys will be fun,” Cotton told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello.

Cotton traveled to O’ahu with the Yale program this past November, where he got to see the Rainbow Warriors and the islands firsthand as part of the Rainbow Classic. The Bulldogs beat the Rainbow Warriors 62-59 in overtime of the championship game.

“I’m super excited. I mean, we were we were out there earlier this year to play Hawaii and obviously, like I was able to be exposed to the state, the beaches, how beautiful of a place it is, so I’m super excited just to be able to to join the family,” Cotton said. “It’s just a super family oriented kind of system so I’m just excited to fully buy in and have fun.”

Cotton can make his commitment official on April 12, the first day of the NCAA signing period for men’s basketball. The following month, he will earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale, then enroll at UH in June. Until then, he remains in the gym working to be ready for next season.

“Just being 100 percent, being able to play to my fullest ability and coming in and being able to buy in,” he said. “I feel like we have a lot of talent, so the goal of course, is to win, to be Big West champion. So, I’m coming in with that mindset.”