For Mathias, Purdue just felt right

Dakota Mathias became the Boilermakers' member of their 2014 recruiting class, giving his verbal commitment on Sunday. The Elida, Ohio swingman was ready to wait for a decision, but couldn't hold off any longer.

Early Sunday afternoon, Dakota Mathias walked out of Spiece Fieldhouse with his father and began the hour drive home from Fort Wayne.

Mathias was quiet as he left the gym. His 26-point performance wasn't enough for his team to advance and the tournament run was over. There was more on his mind than the game.

Just one day before, Mathias declared his recruitment would wind down in the coming weeks, but held his cards tight. All along, he knew it would be Purdue.

Somewhere along Highway 30, Dakota's father jumped in with a question.

"My dad just asked me, what are you thinking about right now and [which school] is in the lead," recalled the standout swingman. "I told him Purdue; it's a great fit, great coaching staff and I enjoy the people there.

And then it hit him.

"It's a great fit and there's no reason to hold off anymore," said Mathias shortly after making his commitment to the Boilermakers.

Upon arriving home, Mathias explained his decision with his family, then he gave Purdue head coach Matt Painter a phone call.

"He was really excited," said Mathias of Painter. "He said it made his day and it was a perfect situation."

Mathias, a 6-foot-4 swingman, is Purdue's first commitment in the 2014 recruiting class. He picked the Boilermakers over Boston College, Butler, Dayton, West Virginia and others.

Purdue became his leader after a campus visit in March. While in West Lafayette, he met with the players, coaches and academic support staff. That remained fresh on his mind.

"After my official [visit] there, I really enjoyed it and I kind of felt that I'd go there eventually," he said. "I was just thinking about it through the week, it was just the right feel, the right fit, and I knew it was time."

With his decision in hand, Mathias will work as a recruiter to help build the Boilermakers' 2014 class. Purdue can now focus on its other top targets, four-star forwards Vince Edwards and Trevon Bluiett, plus point guard Tyler Ulis.

Mathias is relieved to have his recruitment in the books and is eager to become a Boilermaker.

"It's a great feeling," he said of the decision. "Ever since you're a little kid, you dream of playing big time basketball in division one. I worked really hard for it and I'm excited for the opportunity."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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