Arizona star Bennedict Mathurin declares for 2022 NBA Draft
After an outstanding 2021-22 campaign that helped lead Arizona to 33 wins, both the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament championships, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Bennedict Mathurin is on to the next challenge.
According to ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony, Mathurin will declare for the 2022 NBA Draft. This was the long-expected outcome, but we have been in wait-and-see mode since Arizona’s season ended in the Sweet 16.
Bennedict Mathurin, Pac-12 player of the year and projected lottery pick from Arizona, will declare for the 2022 NBA draft, he told ESPN. pic.twitter.com/XjYJN4qP9D
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 13, 2022
He then shared his own message to Twitter:
Thank you Arizona for everything ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EJD44IWshy
— Bennedict Mathurin (@BennMathurin) April 13, 2022
Mathurin is expected to be a lottery pick and could be a player who sees his draft stock rise even higher once the pre-draft process gets underway. Givony has the Arizona guard going 12th overall to the New York Knicks in his latest mock draft. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has Mathurin going 11th to the Portland Trailblazers, writing this on his game:
Mathurin is like (former Blazer guard) CJ McCollum but with size. He’s a bucket-getter, but he’s also one of those guys always in the mix. Diving for loose balls. Flying in for offensive boards. Showing great defensive potential when he focuses. Portland needs size around Dame (Lillard), and Mathurin can provide that in the backcourt.
Mathurin, the Pac-12’s Player of the Year this past season, was a consensus All-American, a first-team all-conference selection, and the Most Outstanding Player at the Pac-12 Tournament.
He averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. The 655 points scored rank as the ninth-most in Arizona history, and Mathurin got there with rather efficient shooting. As the team’s go-to scorer, Mathurin shot 45% from the floor and 37% from the 3-point line. And he raised his play in the postseason, averaging 20 points across the Pac-12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
Mathurin finished the season as the second-leading scorer in the Pac-12. He also led all conference players in offensive win shares and offensive box plus/minus.
A hooper’s hooper, Mathurin told reporters following Arizona’s loss to Houston that he wasn’t thinking about the NBA or any decisions or anything other than getting back in the lab. “The next step for me is to get in the gym and get better,” he said when asked of his, well, next steps. “Whatever the future has for me it has for me. That’s basically it.”
All season long it looked like that future would feature the NBA. Now, it’ll become reality.
The NBA Draft Combine begins May 16 in Chicago, Illinois, and runs through the 22nd. The NBA Draft is June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Arizona’s attention will now turn to big man Christian Koloko and guard Dalen Terry, two more draftable Wildcats who face decisions on whether to enter the field or return for another year in Tucson. Givony currently has Koloko slotted to go 36th overall to the Portland Trailblazers and Terry 43rd overall to the Charlotte Hornets.