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Purdue tops list for Ohio shooter

– Dakota Mathias, a guard from Elida, Ohio, who is in the class of 2014, has been one of Purdue’s top priorities from the start of his recruitment.

As the 6-foot-4, 190-pound sharpshooter prepares to make his college decision, the interest is mutual.

“I’m a big priority to them,” Mathias said after scoring 36 points in a pool play win over Meanstreets from Illinois at the Spiece Run-N-Slam with his Northwest Ohio 17-and-under squad. “I talk to the coaches three, four times a week, they did a home visit, I’ve been there on unofficial visits.

“I’d definitely say they’re the leader right now.”

That’s big news for the Boilermakers because Mathias, who will be a senior next season, said he plans to make his decision within a few weeks. Purdue needs skill players like Mathias, who can shoot well from all spots on the court. His pull-up jumper, three-point shooting and attack off the dribble make him an attractive option at shooting guard.

“That’s one of the things the coaches like to see,” Mathias said. “A lot of guys can catch and shoot, but when you can be versatile like that, it’s tough to match up with.”

Mathias has been a difficult matchup at Spiece this weekend. Mathias went 8 for 9 on threes against Meanstreets and credited his work back home for his performance in Fort Wayne.

Mathias has a half-court basket at his house and uses it to work on shooting and other abilities.

“You can always improve your skills, like shooting-wise,” he said. “For me, I think it’s a matter of quickness and stuff like that, athletic stuff. … I have two older brothers that always beat up on me, so that always helps.”

The 2014 prospect also has offers from Boston College and West Virginia. The only official visit he has made is to Boston College, but the Boilermakers have taken a firm hold on his recruitment.

A trip to West Lafayette might not come before his decision, but Mathias said he doesn’t need to make the trip. He is already plenty familiar with coach Matt Painter and the Boilermakers.

“I love the coaching staff,” Mathias said of the Boilermakers. “I spend a lot of time with them, and I really enjoy them. And Purdue’s a good time. The fan support, the fan base – I really like it.”

For now, he will focus on finishing a strong run at Spiece.

“The style we play, we like to get up and down a little bit,” Mathias said. “So that kind of stuff happens.”

smorrison@jg.net

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