Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin comments on his future after Sweet 16 loss
Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin has a decision to make this offseason. Run it back with Tommy Lloyd and the Wildcats or jump to the NBA? After a breakout sophomore campaign, the Pac-12’s Player of the Year can become a likely lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
That’s a decision that will come later, though. After the Wildcats’ season came to a close Thursday night, Mathurin was asked what his next steps are. He said he’s only thinking about one thing.
“The next step for me is to get in the gym and get better,” he told reporters. “Whatever the future has for me it has for me. That’s basically it.”
Guard Dalen Terry and center Christian Koloko, whose play this season has also generated some draft buzz, were asked a similar question and Terry responded in the same way. “We’re not thinking about that,” he said. “We just lost the game.”
Arizona fell 72-60 to 5-seed Houston in the Sweet 16. Mathurin finished with 15 points to go with four boards and three assists in 37 minutes. It was his 21st game of the year scoring at least 15 points. He also had at least 20 in 14 outings and two 30-point games.
Mathurin thrived in Lloyd’s system, freed up to weaponize his size (6-foot-6) and athleticism in transition. Despite a usage rate that climbed from 19% as a freshman to nearly 26% this season, Mathurin’s efficiency remained high. He posted a true shooting percentage of 58%.
At his size, with his scoring ability, Mathurin will be a popular name on draft boards should he choose to turn pro. In Kevin O’Connor’s big board at The Ringer, Mathurin is listed as the 10th-best player in the class. In a Ringer mock draft that was updated Thursday morning, O’Connor had Mathurin going ninth overall to the New York Knicks.
O’Connor also has Koloko listed as his 19th-best player in the class, projected to go 22nd overall to the Dallas Mavericks.
With Terry, Pelle Larsson, and Kerr Kriisa all sophomores by eligibility, Arizona’s backcourt could completely run it back next season and chase a national championship. Arizona also has 5-star point guard Kylan Boswell and high 4-star shooting guard KJ Lewis committed for the 2023 class already.
Getting everyone back would be a major coup for Lloyd. We’ll see what Mathurin, Koloko, and Terry choose to do.