ELIDA — There are many different ways for a player to get his or her name into the mix for a player of the year honor.
Scoring 42, 41 and 41 points the first three games of the season is one sure way to get the job done.
That is exactly how Elida junior Dakota Mathias began the 2012-13 season. And he never looked back from there.
As a result, Mathias has been named The Lima News Dream Team Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Bath coach Doug Davis was selected as the Coach of the Year.
Mathias also garnered Western Buckeye League Player of the Year honors and was named Division II First Team All-Ohio.
Mathias led the Bulldogs to a 17-9 record, a second straight WBL title — sharing this year’s with Bath — and a trip to the District finals.
He finished the year averaging 25.5 points per game and added 9.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.2 blocked shots.
He accomplished all this despite seeing every defense known to coaching — straight man, 2-3, 1-3-1, 3-2 zones, box-and-one, and even a triangle-and-two in which both of the “two” chased him all over the court.
“After his hot start we saw something different defensively every week the first half of the season,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “I’ve talked to some coaches who didn’t have great experiences dealing with elite players, but Dakota is great to work with. I hold him to a high level of expectation and he responds well to that.”
Mathias saw teammate Reggie McAdams, now playing at Akron, go through similar defensive tactics last year.
“It’s just something you have to deal with,” Mathias said. “I watched Reggie go through it last year.”
Toss in the fact that a college coach was in attendance at most Elida games this season and the pressure could have taken a toll, but not for the well-grounded Mathias.
“I was aware that they were there but it caused more excitement than pressure,” Mathias said. “You just get used to it and go out and play.”
Matt Painter from Purdue and Bob Huggins from West Virginia were in attendance at games this year. Both have offered scholarships to Mathias. Numerous other schools, including Butler, Dayton, and most Mid-American Conference teams have watched him play in person.
Thompson has been through the whole recruiting process with McAdams and knows what Mathias is going through.
“I’ve had the luxury of five years of coaching an elite player,” Thompson said. “The thrill never goes away and every year is special.”
For Mathias, it’s another summer of AAU ball before he will be ready to make a commitment.
“It can get overwhelming but I still enjoy the whole process,” Mathias said. “There are a couple of schools (unamed) we are still waiting on; I plan to play summer ball and to make a decision before next season begins.”
So for now, find the time to get to an Elida game and watch a future Division I player in action.
BOYS DREAM TEAM
Devon Allen (Lima Senior) 6-0, Sr., 19.7 Garet Fledderjohann (St. Marys) 5-9, Sr., 19.9 Curtis Geise (Delphos St. John’s) 5-10, Sr., 20.4 Tre’on Johnson (LCC) 5-9, Sr., 12.5 Devin Mangas (Leipsic) 6-0, Sr., 16.9 Dakota Mathias (Elida) 6-4, Jr., 25.5 T.J. Metzger (Ottawa-Glandorf) 6-1, Sr., 16.9 Kyle Stahl (St. Henry) 6-4, Sr., 18.5 Taren Sullivan (Bath) 6-4, Jr., 15.7 Will Vorhees (Columbus Grove) 6-6, Jr., 16.2
Player of the Year: Dakota Mathias (Elida) Coach of the Year: Doug Davis (Bath)
Honorable mention: Alex Greve (Wapakoneta), Conner Rockhold (Bath), Ryan Hoyng (Celina), Michael Rosebrock (Ottawa-Glandorf), Joey Hurless (Van Wert), Travis Bertram (Wapakoneta), Derek Goecke (Spencerville), Tyson Bolenbaugh (Crestview), Martyce Kimbrough (LCC), Lance Foor (Paulding), Kyle Williams (Lincolnview), Tanner Richardson (Allen East), Ben Bowers (Spencerville), Michael Donley (Bluffton), Trey Smith (Delphos Jefferson), Austin Horstman (Kalida), Austin Brown (Leipsic), Ross Kaufman (Miller City), Derek Rieman (Columbus Grove), Brandon Kohli (Fort Jennings), Cody Mathew (Kalida), Zach Kuhlman (Leipsic), Luke Schimmoeller (Ottoville), Austin Bruns (Coldwater), Ryan Buescher (Delphos St. John’s), Wade Gelhaus (Fort Recovery), Elijah Kahlig (Fort Recovery), Devon Poeppelman (Minster), Carson Manger (New Bremen), Jake Allen (New Knoxville), Ryan Mikesell (St. Henry), Justin Kroehler (Temple Christian), Jared Poling (Perry), Lee Turner (Waynesfield-Goshen), Dylan Hunsicker (Upper Scioto Valley), Bruce Hodges (Perry), Tyler Tillman (Ridgemont), Evan Sutton (Temple Christian), Shane Rofe (Upper Scioto Valley), Andrew Rhoad (Temple Christian), Alex Meyer (Jackson Center)