Montrealer Bennedict Mathurin is sixth within the NBA Draft

Pacers fans, get ready for more cheer on the court. Montrealer Bennedict Mathurin was selected sixth by Indiana in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The dream came true at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A late but sumptuous holiday gift for the Quebecer, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday.

After he heard his name from Commissioner Adam Silver, we saw the emotion on Mathurin’s face as his mother hugged him. He then had an emotional hug with his older sister Jennifer. The 1.80m and 90kg athlete spent two seasons at the University of Arizona.

Pac-12 Player of the Year Mathurin improved his points per game average from 10.8 to 17.7 from his rookie season to his second. He was named one of the Top 10 Wooden All-American players.

Mathurin grew up in the same corner of town as his good friend Luguentz Dort, an impact player with the Thunder for three years. The other Quebecers on the Silver circuit are Raptors’ Chris Boucher and Khem Birch. Of the lot, only Mathurin was caught.

Asked about the Pacers on June 16, Mathurin said he would do well with them, highlighting the talent of players like Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner, but also the presence of a renowned coach like Rick Carlisle. Carlisle’s roots are in upstate New York. With 15 wins in NBA history, the 62-year-old is also president of the NBA Coaches Association.

Since 2014, Indiana has been defeated in the first round for five consecutive years, failing to reach the playoffs on other occasions. The team is coming off its worst season since the mid-1980s, going 25-57. Indiana was very successful in the 1990s, with Reggie Miller and Mark Jackson in particular. The Pacers made the top 10 for the first time since 2010, where they backed Paul George in 10th overall.

In the last decade, names like Damian Lillard, Marcus Smart and Buddy Hield have also been chosen in sixth place. The Magic started the session with the draft of Paolo Banchero of Duke, the Thunder then chose Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga and the Rockets turned to Jabari Smith of Auburn.

Several experts noted Mathurin’s explosive side, but also his confidence in the shot and the success rate of shots, especially as soon as he makes a pass. The University of Arizona was 33-4 overall. At the March Madness Sweet Sixteen, the Wildcats were defeated 72-60 by the University of Houston. Mathurin scored 15 points in this game, after adding 18 and 30 points in the first two games of the tournament.

“It has everything you need. He can create a shot and is great on defense,” University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said of Mathurin. His rate of acceleration is in a class of its own and he is formidable as a marksman.

The Wildcats were led by Sean Miller in their first season and by Tommy Lloyd in their second. Mathurin argued that the former being more focused on defense and the latter on offense helped him become more versatile. “Bennedict has always had the physical and athletic resources to be part of the elite,” said David DeAveiro, Ryerson’s men’s basketball coach since April 2020, after nine seasons at the University of Ottawa and 10 seasons at McGill. “With Arizona, he developed his shooting and ball handling. He was always tough in defense and attack, he gained confidence. The NCAA exposed him to a higher level of competition and he heeded the call. He will continue to grow as a player.

In 2018, the Canadian moved to the Latin America NBA Academy in Mexico, becoming the first Canadian to be part of the program. There are coaches with experience in the pros, in the NCAA and internationally.

Last year, Mathurin helped Canada win bronze at the FIBA ​​U-19 World Cup in Latvia. For Mathurin, the path to success was marked by tragedy. When he was 12 years old, his older brother Dominique lost his life in a bicycle accident at the age of 15. “He’s the reason I’m moving forward,” Mathurin said recently. He’s the reason I want to be the best at what I do.”

Mathurin and his older sister Jennifer found the strength to overcome the ordeal, mostly thanks to sport. Jennifer played basketball for four years with North Carolina State. “She was my idol and she still is, Mathurin has said. She always encouraged me to improve. She made sure to guide me well so that I could be successful. It is thanks to her that I have become a very confident person,” he said.

Of Haitian roots, the former Wildcat speaks French, Creole, English and Spanish. The Nets’ home has hosted the draft every year since 2013, except 2020, due to the pandemic. Another Canadian was called up shortly after Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe of Kentucky, Ontario, by the Portland Trail Blazers.

At the start of last season, there were 18 players from Canada in the NBA – a high for players born outside the United States for the eighth year in a row.

to see on video

Leave a Comment