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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

After two seasons Bennedict Mathurin is headed to the NBA

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Nathanial Stenchever

Bennedict Mathurin, a guard on the Arizona men’s basketball team, points to the sky after hitting a three-point shot on Saturday, Feb. 19 in McKale Center. The Wildcats would go on to win the final second of the game 84-81. 

Bennedict Mathurin finished his second season at the University of Arizona on the men’s basketball team, being named Pac-12 Player of the Year, a consensus Second-team All-American and a Jerry West Award Finalist which is given to the nation’s top shooting guard. 

Mathurin first arrived in Tucson as a freshman for the 2020-21 season. This was the season the team served a 1 year self-imposed postseason ban stemming from NCAA violation allegations. Mathurin had an up and down season for the most part, but he really showed his potential against Oregon State. In this matchup, he posted his career-high 31 points on 10 of 12 shooting and he went 6 for 7 from 3-point range, he also added eight rebounds. Mathurin finished his freshman season averaging 10.8 points per game shooting, 47.1% from the field and 41.8% from the 3-point line earning him a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman First team. 

The 2020-21 season would also be the last for long-time head coach Sean Miller as the University decided to go in a different direction by hiring Tommy Lloyd. During his first off season, he made it a point to try and keep the existing talent on the roster, Mathurin was one of eight players that decided to stay. 

This decision proved to be a great one for Mathurin, as he was able to take the next step many Arizona fans were hoping for. Mathurin took on the star role for this Arizona team, leading them in the scoring department as he raised the point per game average to 17.8. He cemented his place as the star of the 2021-22 Arizona team early in the year in the Roman Main Event tournament against Wichita State and the University of Michigan. In these games, Mathurin became a name known around the country. In the overtime game vs. Wichita State he led the Wildcats to a victory with 25 points and 10 rebounds. In the tournament final Arizona faced a Michigan team that was ranked No. 4 at the time. Mathurin again took advantage of the big stage as he posted 16 points, while Arizona went on to win 80-62. 

Just before entering Pac-12 play Mathurin and the Wildcats faced two more big matchups, both on the road vs. the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee. Mathurin showed up for both of these games. In the 83-79 win at Illinois, he posted a stat line of 30 points (10-17 FG, 5-8 3pt FG) and 7 rebounds. In one of Arizona’s worst performances of the season in the loss at Tennessee, Mathurin had a very good individual game posting 28 points (8-16 FG, 3-9 3pt FG), 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

Entering Pac-12 play, the Wildcats only had one loss on their record and the expectations were sky-high for Mathurin. He started hot, dropping 27 points on the University of Washington. He would face some adversity after his performance in the loss at UCLA. The first meeting against UCLA was in Los Angeles, and Mathurin had one of his worst games of the season posting 16 points while shooting 5 of 22 from the field. In the rivalry game at Arizona State, the Mathurin from the beginning of the season showed up again, putting up 18 points on 50% shooting. 

Once again on the big stage in the Pac-12 Tournament, Mathurin showed up, taking home the tournament MVP honors. His best game came in the final against UCLA as he made multiple late threes as part of his 27 point performance and led Arizona’s 84-76 victory. He continued his hot offensive performance in the NCAA tournament. His skill set was on full display against TCU as he put up 30 points 8 rebounds and 4 assists, including a monster dunk to give the Wildcats the momentum they needed to close out the game. Unfortunately, his Sweet 16 performance against the University of Houston left a lot to be desired only scoring 15 points on 4 for 14 shooting. 

Mathurin finished the season averaging 17.8 PPG, 5.6 REB, and 2.5 AST, he is projected by many to be taken in the lottery of this year’s upcoming NBA draft. On April 13, Mathurin announced on his twitter account that he is declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft. 


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