Elida’s Mathias heads to the Big Ten; commits to Purdue


Elida’s Dakota Mathias is headed to Purdue. (Gary Housteau)

Elida junior Dakota Mathias has enjoyed quite a ride over the past 14
months. He helped lead the Bulldogs to a Division II state
runner-up as a sophomore and followed that up with a memorable junior
season. After his ensuing senior seson, Mathias will head to Purdue. He made his decision Sunday…

Elida junior Dakota Mathias has enjoyed quite a ride over the past 14 months. Mathias helped lead the Bulldogs to a Division II state runner-up as a sophomore and followed that up with a memorable junior season leading Elida to a district runner-up, while putting up enviable stats.

As the numbers began piling up, schools began flocking to the Northwest Ohio school. On Sunday, at the Spiece Fieldhouse, Mathias ended his recruitment giving his pledge to Coach Matt Painter and the Purdue Boilermakers.

“He felt good about the Purdue staff and returning players,” said, Elida head coach Dennis Thompson. “Its not too far from home and very good academically.”

Mathias chose Purdue over Boston College, Dayton, Belmont, and West Virginia among others.

“Dayton, West Virginia, and Belmont all did a great job in recruiting Dakota,” Thompson noted. “It basically came down to feeling good about Purdue.”

Mathias has always been a terrific player, but was known more as a sidekick to 2012 Elida graduate Reggie McAdams (Akron). The 6-foot-5 junior proved to be much more than that during a year where he averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.

More-and-more schools began to find out about the highly skilled Mathias as the season continued. Tucked away in Northwest Ohio and playing for a lesser known AAU team (Northwest Ohio Basketball Club), Mathias had a hard time getting some of the bigger schools to notice him at first. However, the Elida junior scored 40-plus points in each of his first three high school games as a junior, which began his climb among the state’s best.

Credit Prep Scouting LLC’s Chas Wolfe for pushing Dakota’s name to the big boys when few had even heard of the Northwest Ohio star let alone had him rated as a high major prospect. Very few scouts get up to the Northwest part of the state throughout the year unless its to stop in Toledo, so Mathias was fighting an uphill battle from the start. Eventually, though, he was just too talented to get overlooked.

Mathias was courted by several schools over the past five months, and really enjoyed the process.

“Dakota embraced the recruiting process very well, took visits, spoke with many coaches, and investigated programs,” Thompson stated. “I’m not surprised he decided early. He had many nice options.”

This is what Purdue is getting in Mathias.

“Someone that will work very hard and is very coachable,” Thompson believes. “He has a high basketball IQ with outstanding skills.”

According to Thompson, the Elida junior continues to improve despite all the attention he has been receiving.

“He is enjoying being guarded, or trying to be guarded, by one person in his AAU games,” said the Elida boss. “I see him at the two-spot, but able to help at the point if he has to.”

Mathias, who is a 1,000-point scorer along with his brothers’ Dustin and Bo, can do virtually everything on the offensive end of the floor with his length and skill level. We would be hard-pressed to find a more skilled prospect in the Buckeye state especially considering his size.

“He sees the floor and passes the ball as well as anyone,” Thompson thinks. “He is able to score in a variety of ways and he can play multiple positions.”

On defense, he is effective with his length, but still needs to improve in specific areas.

“He needs to work on his quickness defensively and lateral footwork,” Thompson relayed.

Before he is able to help the West Lafayette, Indiana-based school, Mathias has unfinished business at Elida. He and his teammates lost three times to Lima Bath a season ago, which included a defeat in the district championship game. All three games were decided by six points or less and seven of Elida’s eight losses were by seven points or fewer.

Bath head coach Doug Davis certainly saw enough of Mathias over the course of last summer, scouting trips, and three in-season match ups to voice a valid opinion of the junior’s talent level.

“He is one of the most complete players I have ever seen,” Davis said. “His abilities to both handle the basketball and shoot the ball make him virtually impossible to defend. I believe it all starts with a great basketball IQ and a competitive nature to be great.”

Davis continued.

“He was able to average over 25 points a game despite having multiple defensive strategies employed against him in an effort to slow him down. Furthermore, Dakota is a fantastic student, great young man, and I am sure he will be a great teammate in college.”

As for Thompson, he is looking forward to next season with his leader returning along with some other talented returnees.

“We are looking to have a good year,” Thompson mentioned. “We will miss Aric Thompson (graduation) at both ends of the floor, but we have returning players in Louis Gray, Austin Allemeier, and Marquavious Wilson that will step up as experienced players. We must continue to work on establishing an inside threat. We were better in transition last year, but we will look to improve even more this season.”

Mathias led his Northwest Ohio Basketball Club to the Final 4 this past weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam All-Star Classic, which is one of the finest tournaments in the Midwest during the spring travel season. They eventually fell to Team Thad out of Tennessee.

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