Bennedict Mathurin bet on himself entering his second season at the University of Arizona.
As a result, he reaped huge upsides, with his stock now skyrocketing for the 2022 NBA Draft.
Mathurin helped lead the Wildcats to a resurgent season, averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game on a 57.6 percent true shooting percentage. Mathurin’s rise helped him earn Pac-12 Player of the Year honors, and along the way, he’s shown why he fits so perfectly into the modern game of pace and space. ‘today.
Offering endless versatility at both ends of the court with explosive athleticism, Mathurin’s name is one of the hottest in the draft class right now. Mathurin met the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors at the NBA Draft Combine.
Additionally, at Mathurin’s Pro Day in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Wednesday, all 32 teams were well represented. Among the herd of scouts, a number of names stood out with notable attendance: Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. and chairman Tommy Sheppard, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau and Chicago Bulls general manager Marc Eversley and vice president of player personnel Pat Connelly.
Mathurin’s immense advantage as a three-tier scorer and lockdown defender put him 7th overall for the Blazers in BasketballNews.com’s latest simulation draft via our senior NBA draft analyst Matt Babcock:
There’s a lot to love about Bennedict Mathurin. At around 6ft 5in, he has a valuable combination of attributes. He has a soft exterior, is a great thief, and is an alpha dog. He would have had a shot at being a first-round pick if he had said he was in last year’s draft. Instead, however, he opted to bet on himself and return to Arizona for his sophomore season. I expect Mathurin to be selected in the lottery on draft night, so it looks like his decision to return to school is about to pay off.
That alpha dog mentality of Mathurin is what sets him apart the most, because those are the traits you want to bet on most in prospects. Making developmental leaps in his game each season, Mathurin believes his shooting and defense are his true calling card attributes.
“I think my shooting is the biggest part of my game,” Mathurin said. “I think I’m a two-way player. I think I’m capable of highlighting to get a defensive save. I give them 30 seconds and we get the (win) because I get a stoppage or offensively because I’m able to shoot the ball and have an impact both ways.
Another promising part of Mathurin’s attacking development is his ability to take pressure off the attack as a secondary playmaker. He hasn’t been on display much throughout Mathurin’s college career, but he’s eager to prove he can quickly become a fortified tool in his arsenal.
“A lot of times teams asked me what things I wanted to show, and (the game) was definitely a thing,” Mathurin said. “I feel the USC game (6 assists with only one turnover) started to notice that I was able to pass the ball. We played in a different system where we have guards – already one of my biggest strength is scoring the ball, so i just did what the team needed me to win.
There aren’t many holes to dig in Mathurin’s game, which is why this late buzz around him is well deserved.
Offering a tantalizing two-way package with a lot more room to grow physically, don’t be surprised if Mathurin is a pick we’ll be looking back on in a few years as a home run wherever he lands next month.