In the months leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today’s edition will take a brief look at Dakota Mathias from the Purdue Boilermakers. The reigning conference champions are hopeful that Mathias can take another step forward and help lead this team to a possible repeat of last years magic.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - #24 Dakota Mathias
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 104 games, 2,443 minutes, 695 points, 286 rebounds, 262 assists
- 2016-17’ averages: 31.7 min, 9.7 pts, 3.9 reb, 3.8 asts, 0.9 stls, 0.1 blks
- Positional Role: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Dakota Mathias and this (now) senior class has really ushered the resurgence of Purdue basketball over the past few years. Mathias was not heavily recruited out of high school, but came to Purdue and followed the typical Purdue mold of getting better each and every year. He now figures to be a really big factor for a Boilermaker team that will be looking to repeat as conference champions.
On a team dominated by the post play of Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas last year, there was no secret that the team would need shooters around them to create the space that was required for them to work down low. Dakota Mathias filled the role of a dead-eye shooter about as well as anybody could have asked, knocking down 72 three point shots and shooting 45.3% from long distance.
While his assists numbers don’t necessarily shout it out to you, watching Mathias makes it evident that he also excels as a passer and can lead the break very well because of his vision.
Last season, Mathias became the primary defender on the opposing teams’ best perimeter scorer and typically did an outstanding job in that role. In the Big Ten opener against Iowa, Mathias was the primary defender much of the night on Peter Jok when he went 4-15 from the field—of course, Jok did get him back when they played in Iowa City. Mathias also has the necessary size at 6’4” and about 200 pounds to defend multiple positions at the collegiate level.
Areas for Improvement
While Mathias shows offensive prowess from beyond the three point line, he would serve himself well to gain a more consistent mid range and driving game. He doesn’t have high level athleticism, which doesn’t lend itself well to him being able to drive the ball to the basket at will, but he’ll have to improve at least a little bit in that area if he wants to force defenders to play him honestly.
On the same note, Purdue would certainly love to see Mathias being more aggressive to try to get to the free throw line more often as he is one of their best free throw shooters. Last season, he shot 82.1% from the charity stripe, though that number jumped to 88.5% during conference play. However, Mathias only shot an average of 1.4 free throws per game. If he even increased that number to four or five shots from the line, it could help Purdue offensively.
While Mathias has landed himself in our Top 25 rankings for this upcoming season, it would be a surprise if he landed himself on the First or Second Team All Big-Ten. Last year, however, he did find a spot on the Big Ten Honorable Mention Team.
Even as good of a shooter as Mathias is, he’s still likely the fourth or fifth option for this Purdue team offensively. Defensively, however, he will more often than not still be matched up with the opposing teams best perimeter scorer and will be looking to lock them up. Because of his value on both ends of the floor, Mathias could certainly find himself back in the discussion for a possible Defensive Player of the Year award and another spot on the Big Ten Honorable Mention Team.