2016-2017 Stats: 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Why They Are Here
Dakota “The Midwestern Cowboy” Mathias filled a key cog for Purdue last year as a three-point and defensive specialist as he averaged 47% behind the arc while also making the Big Ten All Defensive team. Along with that, he averaged nearly 4 assists per game, acting as a key instigator in the Purdue offensive scheme. Although not supremely athletic, Mathias is a smart, cerebral player who reads the game extremely well and uses this to get himself free beyond the arc while being a pest on the defensive side of the ball.
Role on This Year’s Team
After losing Caleb Swanigan to the NBA Draft, Mathias will most likely be one of the top two or three scorers on this Boilermaker squad. A lot of his open looks were off of teams doubling down on Swanigan in the post, so he will need to adjust to the new dynamic there. Along with that, Mathias will be more of a vocal leader on the court as a senior. If Mathias can continue his shooting stroke and defensive prowess then he will continue to be a vital part of a Purdue team that looks to shake off the loss of Swanigan and make their third straight NCAA Tournament.
College Season/NBA Prospects
Mathias has the potential to return to the All Defensive team in the league while also potentially making one of the three All Big Ten teams. As for the NBA, Mathias is probably too short and slow to be a shooting specialist in the league. I could see him having a successful career abroad should he choose that path, and I think his outlook on the game could lead to him being a solid coach at some level as well.
Be sure to check out tomorrow’s Top 100 player.