It’s not often players becoming something new over the course of one season, but Dakota Mathias went from heady bench player his first two seasons at Purdue to a do-everything guard and best perimeter defender in the conference his junior year.
The transformation was breath-taking. With the loss of Raphael Davis, there was an urgent gap for a shutdown defender at the wing and guard position. All signs pointed to it being Vincent Edwards or perhaps even true freshman Carsen Edwards that would fill the signature spot of stopper for the Boilermakers, instead, a kid who hadn’t ever averaged 20 minutes a game in a college season turned into a two-way star playing over 30 minutes a night.
Dakota Mathias was named to the All-B10 defensive team.
Of course, he didn’t just improve on the defensive end. Already a good shooter, he became a great one his Junior year. He had the second highest true shooting percentage in the conference last year despite nearly doubling the amount of shots he took his previous season.
He was a long-range dead-eye, he connected on 72 of his 159 three-point attempts. That 45% shooting mark from distance was the 32nd best in the country while leading the Boilermakers in attempts and makes.
But ‘Dirty’ Dakota could always shoot. It was the expansion of his offensive game and the added variance of being able to create his own shot that helped him become a fully-rounded player. Through his first two seasons, Dakota had taken just 84 shots inside of the arc and made just over 40% of them. His junior year, he more than doubled the amount of shots inside and made an even 50% on his 92 attempts.
This is to go along with Dakota’s team leading 3.8 assists a game, quietly his best skill since he walked onto Campus for Painter as part of the class that helped rejuvenate Purdue basketball.
Mathias one of the un-nicknamed four that came to Painter’s program after years of entire recruiting classes leaving and missed tournament appearances. Along with Vincent Edwards, P. J. Thompson, and Isaac Haas, Mathias helped put Purdue back on the map and into the NCAA tournament every season of their careers, as well as bringing home another Big Ten championship last season.
Mathias came into Purdue as a shooter who could pass. He’s entering his senior season as the Big Ten’s best shooter and perimeter defender.
The basketball season is just a month away.
As for Dakota Mathias, he has already arrived.