ELIDA — It’s been a lengthy process for Elida basketball standout Dakota Mathias.
Heading into this past season as a junior, Mathias already had the attention of many NCAA Division I basketball programs.
For months, Mathias talked to many college coaches and visited schools as the recruiting process heated up.
However, after playing in an AAU tournament this past weekend in Fort Wayne, Ind., Mathias decided to continue his basketball career at Purdue University.
Mathias accepted a scholarship from Purdue University this weekend, becoming the first member of the Boilermakers' 2014 recruiting class. He made an official visit to Purdue in April when he told Purdue coach Matt Painter he hoped to make a decision before July.
This past season, the 6-foot-5 Mathias averaged 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game for the Bulldogs. Mathias began the season with three consecutive games in which he scored more than 40 points.
This past season, Mathias was named Division II First Team All-Ohio, as well as the Western Buckeye League Player of the Year.
Mathias liked what he saw when he visited Purdue.
“Me and my family made a visit there recently,” Mathias said. “We had a good visit. Coach Painter made me feel comfortable. I met some of the guys. It just felt like a good fit for me.”
Mathias was in contact with Purdue for quite some time.
“It was three or four games into the season when he (Painter) contacted me. He (Painter) came to the Bath game and the Celina game (during the tournament). He showed a lot of interest,” he said.
Mathias can play at several spots on the floor. He can handle the ball out front at the point-guard position. He can play at the shooting-guard spot. He will even post up inside, if he gets the opportunity.
“I think it’s going to be a good fit,” Mathias said of Purdue. “They get up and down (the court), run a lot of ball screens; things that I like to do. I’ll probably play wing, but I could also play at the point.”
One of the shining moments of Mathias’ career was when Elida made it to the Division II state basketball championship in 2012. The Bulldogs lost a hard-fought game to perennial-power Dayton Dunbar 54-52. Mathias, a sophomore at the time, scored 16 points, had four assists and was 9-for-9 from the free throw line against Dunbar.
Other schools Mathias considered were West Virginia, Boston College, Dayton, Butler and Stanford.
After going through the recruiting process, Mathias feels good about his decision.
“I really didn’t want to make a decision really early. But, when it feels right, why not?” he said.
The Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier contributed to this article.