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2022 NBA Draft: Bennedict Mathurin's fire burns deep

2022 NBA Draft: Bennedict Mathurin's fire burns deep

One of the biggest risers through the pre-draft process, Bennedict Mathurin could be set to change a NBA franchise with his electric style of play.

Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals last season, and his overall shooting efficiency shows serious promise (59.0% True Shooting percentage; 38.3% from deep). After a dominant sophomore campaign for the University of Arizona, which resulted in winning Pac-12 Player of the Year, Mathurin will hear his name called at the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Although Mathurin is already a decorated prospect, his passion displayed throughout the game is infectious. Winning is the most important thing for Mathurin, and he’s shown that he's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

“I think the fire in me comes from as a young kid. I always wanted to be the best,” Mathurin said. “I mean, I love winning. So, it was all about winning for me. That’s really where my fire comes from.”

Mathurin’s journey to potential NBA lottery selection began in Montreal, Canada, but led him to Mexico City as a teenager when he joined the NBA Academy. Living on his own at 15 years old, Mathurin was forced to adjust to a professional lifestyle early, which he feels is an advantage compared to everyone else.

“The experience I had at the NBA Academy was amazing. It was something I think I would never get again. Just to have the chance to go to a different country, learn a new language, getting used to living by myself. I feel like it was a great experience," Mathurin said.

"It’s going to be an advantage for me, obviously, as I started living by myself when I was 15. So, it really won’t be a problem. But the basketball part, I mean it’s just great. I was able to be around great people, see a lot of things. You know, my dream was to play in the NBA, so I was able to see a lot of things at a young age. I just understood what it took for me to get to the next level.”

In BasketballNews.com's latest mock draft, Senior NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babock has Mathurin going to the Indiana Pacers at No. 6 overall. Mathurin’s growth trajectory is what makes him stand out, according to Babcock:

After a strong freshman campaign for the Arizona Wildcats, Bennedict Mathurin made a jump in his second year in Tuscon. Mathurin’s size, athleticism, defense and shot-making ability make him an intriguing NBA prospect. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 204 pounds, he is an explosive athlete and capable slasher and finisher. This past season, Mathurin solidified himself as one of the best wings in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Mathurin worked out for three teams during the pre-draft process: the Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. It makes sense considering that Mathurin is projected along that range. Alluding to Babcock’s latest mock, it’s hard not to love the potential of Mathurin alongside dynamic young point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Mathurin actually believes Indiana could be a spot where he ends up.

“The Pacers (meeting) was great,” Mathurin said of his visit with the organization in Indianapolis. “I had the chance to meet a lot of people, the players and Coach Rick [Carlisle] obviously. I see myself fitting there. Tyrese [Haliburton] is a great point guard. Myles Turner, one of the greatest shot blockers in the game right now. You know, just Coach Rick being a really good coach. I see myself going over there for sure.”

Whether it’s Indiana or elsewhere, Mathurin’s on-court impact and infectious energy will make him a high-floor prospect to monitor throughout his NBA career.

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