GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 16 Smitten, Purdue rolled the dice, using just about every recruiting opportunity permissable under NCAA rules to get him committed early. Gary: "I'd have to go back and look, but I'd be shocked if we didn't use all of them. At least most of them. But as soon as we saw him, and as soon as the boss man saw him, it was, 'Hey, let's try to get this one committed.'" Painter watched Mathias in high school three times. He did an in-home visit in the spring. At the beginning of April, they brought him in for an official visit. It was a risk. Had Mathias not committed in May, Pur- due's coaches would be hamstrung, having burned most of their recruiting opportunities. Painter: "I don't know if we used every single (contact or evaluation), but we came close." The roll of the dice, though, paid off. During the May 5 weekend, Mathias played at the an- nual Spiece Run 'N Slam tournament in Fort Wayne. Though Mathias could have played for any of his state's bigger brands on the AAU circuit, he stuck with his Northwest Ohio Basketball Club team out of personal loyalty to the group. After one Northeast Ohio game, several media mem- bers surrounded Mathias to discuss recruiting. The team's coach, a white-haired, white-mustached throw- back named Al Welch who just wins games on the circuit with whatever he has, asked some of them which "news- papers" they wrote for. Mathias looked to want no part of it, but told the group he'd likely be making a decision "very soon." He wasn't kidding. On Sunday, after leaving the event, he didn't even make it the 56 miles back to Elida before putting an end to it. He called Painter and committed. Mathias: "I'd talked to my brothers before, and I re- member talking to my parents on the way home from that tournament. I just knew I wanted to go there. I can't re- member who it was, but it was probably my dad, who said, 'What are you waiting for then?' It was the right fit, the right place, and there was no reason to delay it any more. It was the right fit for me and I knew I had to make that decision." He says that the attention he found waiting for him wasn't the reason he ended things so quickly, but he probably didn't mind putting an end to that too. Mathias: "I'm not big on all the attention, all that stuff. That's not what it's about for me. I don't think it put me over the edge or anything like that, because I think I knew I was going to make that decision for Purdue pretty soon anyway." And the timing couldn't have been better for Purdue. Mathias already had West Virginia wanting him badly; Bob Huggins was just as drawn to him as Painter, as Hug- gins has playfully chided Purdue coaches about over the years when crossing paths on the road. Brad Stevens and Butler were increasingly interested, as were numerous programs from around Ohio. Boston College had an offer on the table. And Mathias had just blown up at Spiece, an event from which word spreads fast and offers often follow. Had Mathias not committed when he did, Purdue might have faced an increasingly competitive marketplace for him with significant disadvantages to overcome after us- ing so many of their recruiting tokens on him early. There might not have even been a close second for Mathias, however. He was just as sold on Purdue from the jump as Purdue was on him. Mathias: "That was one of the big things. They knew they wanted me, they really cared about me and wanted me to come there and really made me a priority. It always feels good to be wanted by a place, but also needed, and I felt like I'd fit a pretty important role here. "I knew from the beginning it was a special place and there was a connection I had with all the coaches, Coach Gary and Coach Painter. I had a great connection with those guys." VINCENT EDWARDS As was the case with Mathias, Vince Edwards — you now know him as Vincent — had Purdue at hello, basi- cally. Only difference: It was two years earlier. Assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry got Purdue in- volved with the do-everything forward from Middletown High School, midway between Dayton and Cincinnati, and Painter was enthralled with Edwards' skill and versa- tility, but more than anything, his rebounding. It did everything in its power to get him. For a moment, it looked like it might quickly. It was Feb. 25 of 2012 — Purdue had just spoiled Mich- igan's senior day, 75-61, in Ann Arbor — when Edwards, then a sophomore, tweeted at Shrewsberry. Edwards: "I was talking to Coach Shrews and I told him

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4