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Player Review: Dakota Mathias

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A key player gets an excellent grade.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Player: Dakota Mathias

Class: Junior

Grade: A

Stats: 9.7 Ppg, 3.9 Rpg, 3.8 Apg, 100% Midwestern Cowboy

Dakota Mathias is our glue.

Everything seems to be so much better when he is on the court. The offense flows better, nothing seems to be wrong and it just seems so smooth out there. We all saw it, game in and game out, if Dakota was off, we struggled in the game.

When he came in as a freshman, we knew he was going to be a really good shooter and passer. He was a key member of this junior class that has brought Purdue back, and he was a part of Coach Painter’s plan to bring in one shooter per class. He has followed that up with, Ryan Cline, Carsen Edwards and now Sasha Stefanovic.

But what we didn’t know about the Midwestern Cowboy, is that he would become the best defensive player on our basketball team.

He constantly guards the best player on the other team and majority of the time, holds them in check. If it wasn’t for his tenacity on the defensive end, I believe he would be in double digits in the scoring column for his average. He expends so much energy on that end of the court.

I think that may have been the reason he struggled offensively in the tournament, as he was paired up with guarding the best perimeter player for the opposing team.

I wrote a post earlier this year, surprisingly agreeing with what Dan Dakich said, that Dakota should have been player of the year. Instead, it went to Reggie Lynch, who fouled out 13 of his games.

Dakota did make the All-B1G Defensive team though. Which is impressive, as non of us really expected it. Coach Painter asked him to do it, so he did it. He changed his body, got faster and stronger and became the best defensive player on the team and top 5 defensive player in the league.

The reason he gets an A and not an A+ is because he disappeared late in the NCAA tournament, and it seemed to be the same offensively in Big time games.

Here are the offensive numbers in “Big games”

Kansas - 3 points, 14 shooting

Iowa State - 8 points, 3/9 shooting

Michigan (2 games) - 7 points 3/14 shooting

Minnesota - 4 points, 2/7 shooting

Notre Dame - 5 points, 2/8 shooting

Villanova - 3 points, 1/6 shooting

Louisville - 5 points, 14 shooting

So, against better competition, he needs to be better. Like I said, I am kind of giving him a pass, as he expends so much energy defensively. But, we need him in these big games, as you can tell, in the big games where he struggled, we generally didn’t win, besides Iowa State & Notre Dame.

I don’t think it is out of the realm for him to average around 12-5-5 next season and keep it up on the defensive end. I am looking for a defensive player of the year season.

Great year Dakota, Boiler Up!