Dakota is shutting people down, and people are starting to realize it. (No one tell TMIll I am referencing Dakich or he might fire me.)
Mathias was tremendous on Blackmon..never got away from game plan..nothing easy ..Defensive Player of The Yr in Big 10— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) February 10, 2017
2. Dakota Mathias has become this year's Raphael Davis. Except Dakota can shoot. But his defense made huge a impact against Jok last night— Purdue Boilers (@Crossroads_PU) December 29, 2016
Those are just a couple of examples. Last year, it was A.J. Hammons as the best defender in the league, the year before it was Ray Davis. We might as well just keep the award in West Lafayette every year, Dakota is our shut down defender this year.
He came to West Lafayette as a pure shooter that Painter also called “The best passer I have recruited” but now, he is turning into one of his best defenders. Mathias guards the best perimeter player every game now. This is how the B1G’s best players have fared against him:
Peter Jok: 13 Points, 4/15 shooting
JaQuan Lyle: 8 Points, 3/11 shooting
Bronson Koening: 9 Points, 3/8 shooting
Eron Harris: 9 Points, 3/7 shooting
Tai Webster: 15 Points, 5/18 shooting
Vic Law: 0 Points, 0/7 shooting
James Blackmon: 11 points, 3/14 shooting
He did have a lapse later in the season, when Jok came back and scored 29 (he was in foul trouble), also, Mason for Minnesota scored 31, but our point guards mainly took on that task.
Most of the first half, it appeared as if we were struggling on defense, there is no coincidence that Dakota was in foul trouble and sitting on the bench. He is our quarterback on defense, makes rotations smoothly and people are in the right place more often when he is on the court.
Before the season, I really believed that Basil Smotherman was going to be our lock down defender, given that he had a year to just work on that and his shooting. We all know how that has turned out.
Dakota has stepped up tremendously. He isn’t as good as Ray was but he is close. But this version can score in a variety of ways too. While he isn’t our best player night in and night out, I do believe that he is the glue to this team, he keeps the train running smooth.
Many people are calling for Ethan Happ from Wisconsin to be DPOY, but I don’t see it. When given the task of guarding the B1G’s best post players he falters. Thomas Bryant, Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas all ate his lunch and some.
For me, it is between those two right now. But, if you can stand Dakich and want to listen to his radio show, he said he is going to give a convincing argument to why Dakota should be the B1G DPOY from 1-3 on his show.
The trophy has been in West Lafayette the past 2 years, might as well make it a fixture for us.