The first day to sign National Letters of Intent came and went Wednesday for basketball prospects, and Dre Mathieu had no problem with not having his future set.
The former Knoxville Central High School standout knows he has until May 15 to choose from a list that includes Memphis, Ole Miss, Minnesota and Pepperdine.
“I just want to make the best decision, no matter how much time it’s going to take,” said Mathieu, a 5-foot-11 sophomore point guard at Central Arizona.
The National Junior College Athletic Association First Team All-American is approaching the finish line in his recruitment.
He visited Pepperdine last week. Memphis offered him a scholarship Monday, and Mathieu set up an official visit there for April 27 — two days after his visit to Ole Miss. Minnesota likely will offer Sunday or Monday, Mathieu said.
“I don’t even know where I really want to go right now,” he said. “It’s a toss-up between the four.
“It’s overwhelming, because it’s coming down to that time to get the decision made. But I’m really excited.”
Tennessee showed minimal interest, Mathieu said. A member of its coaching staff attended one game late in his season. “And I haven’t heard from them since,” he said.
Memphis piqued Mathieu’s interest because of its ability to produce successful guards.
“Memphis is Memphis,” said Mathieu. “If you’re a guard, and you like to play basketball with a lot of freedom, Coach (Josh) Pastner gives that freedom. Dribble-drive (offense), that’s the style I fit in good.”
Playing in the SEC for a winning program made Ole Miss a factor. Playing alongside volatile Marshall Henderson wouldn’t be an issue, Mathieu said.
“Marshall Henderson scores,” Mathieu said, “and I like to pass. I have no problem.”
Minnesota is the latecomer, but Mathieu said he has had good conversations with its new coaching staff — led by Richard Pitino, son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
Pepperdine wowed Mathieu last week with its scenic campus in Malibu, Calif. Pepperdine coaches also have recruited Mathieu diligently.
“It’s a good program going in the right direction,” said Mathieu. “I could see myself playing at Pepperdine.”
Mathieu’s mother, his former high school coaches and his Central Arizona coaches have helped him handle the rigors of the recruiting process.
He has received more than 15 scholarship offers since leaving Morehead State, where he was a walk-on, in June 2012.
“It lets me know they (college coaches) are finally noticing that I’ve been working hard and that I made a good decision coming out here,” said Mathieu. “It was a risky decision. It’s paid off.”