ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Bennedict Mathurin will declare for 2022 NBA Draft, likely a lottery pick

Apr 13, 2022, 4:30 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm
Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin drives around Houston center Josh Carlton during the first half of...

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin drives around Houston center Josh Carlton during the first half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 24, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Bolstered by a prospect resume that includes Pac-12 Player of the Year, Arizona Wildcats wing Bennedict Mathurin will declare for the 2022 NBA Draft, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony Wednesday.

 

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Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a sophomore, taking significant steps in his development after barely averaging double-digit points as a role player his freshman season.

He committed to Arizona under former head coach Sean Miller but broke out this past season under first-year coach Tommy Lloyd.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound wing did it with efficiency despite seeing an uptick in volume compared to his freshman season, shooting 45% overall and 37% from three-point range on 13.1 shots per game.

He did that while flashing potential as a playmaker in ball-screen situations, in addition to improving his own scoring.

“When I made a decision about coming back, my goal was to be a better player,” Mathurin said before Arizona’s season-ending loss to Houston in the Sweet 16. “Myself, just getting better with the ball in my hands and off the ball and just tightening up things a little bit just to be a better player.”

A product out of Montreal, Mathurin built himself into a 4-star college prospect at the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City.

Mathurin won conference player of the year but used a strong postseason to cement his stock as a surefire first-round pick and likely lottery choice.

He scored 27 points to go with seven assists in the Pac-12 Tournament title game, an 84-76 win against the UCLA Bruins. He added 18 points against Wright State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and then 30 to go with eight boards and four assists facing TCU in the round of 32.

Mathurin was held to 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting but added three assists and four rebounds in the Wildcats’ 72-60 loss to Houston.

“I was in the NBA for six seasons, and he’s an NBA guy,” Houston’s Kelvin Sampson said before his team eliminated Arizona. “He’s not going to go in and be a role player. He’ll start. He’s going to get drafted so high that they’re going to start him.

“I mean, he’s a first-day starter for an NBA team. He has everything you need. He can create a shot, tremendous defender. He’s got next-level acceleration, and he can really shoot.”

ESPN’s latest 2022 NBA Draft Big Board has Mathurin ranked as the 11th-best prospect available.

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