Duke lands 15-year-old local recruit

Meghan Meabon described six-foot, three inch forward Erin Mathias as a leader both on and off the court for her Western Pennsylvania basketball team. She said that Mathias was a mature, hardworking athlete who was very quiet and it was of no surprise that Mathias orally committed to Duke last week.

The surprise to outsiders is that Mathias is only a 15 year-old Fox Chapel High freshman. She became the first member of the Blue Devils 2014 recruiting class after averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds a game during her freshman season.

Baylor and North Carolina have also received oral commitments from high-profile freshmen this season, as has Indiana’s mens’ program.

Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie is in Philadelphia this week, as the Blue Devils face top-ranked Connecticut in the Women’s Regional Final Tuesday night at Temple’s Liacouras Center. But, she is unable to comment on recruits until they sign a National Letter of Intent which Mathias is not permitted to do until the fall of 2013.

“She’s very determined. The fact that she came in here as a freshman and took over her leadership role, speaks highly of her maturity,” Meabon said.

Meabon said Mathias has always had an interest in Duke as a fan and had begun to receive heavy offers after Duke watched her in an AAU game this past summer with the Western Pennsylvania Bruins and offered the scholarship, beating out Maryland, Penn State and Pittsburgh.

“We found out pretty early on that she was being recruited heavily,” Meabon said.

Doctor Geoffrey Moss, a sociology professor at Temple University, said that the main problem with Mathias decision to commit to a school this early would be if her interest had changed before the time she graduated. Although, Mathias can legally opt out of the non-binding agreement, as can Duke, Moss still said it limits her options.

“You really should wait until at least your junior year to select a school,” said Moss, “But, it does give her academic security, which can take a lot of the pressure off.”