Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin named a semifinalist for Naismith Trophy
Arizona’s star sophomore guard, Bennedict Mathurin, has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the prestigious 2022 Naismith Trophy.
The award, given annually to college basketball’s Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, will announce four finalists on March 21 and present the winner in April.
And then there were 🔟…
Announcing the 2022 @jerseymikes Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Semifinalists📢
Our 4️⃣ finalist will be announced on March 21st.
— The Naismith Trophy (@NaismithTrophy) March 11, 2022
Mathurin has led Arizona to a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a regular-season Pac-12 title, and the semifinals of the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament. The Wildcats face No. 4 Colorado Friday night after dispatching Stanford on Thursday, a game in which Mathurin scored 20 points.
It was Mathurin’s 12th 20-point game of the season. The Pac-12’s Player of the Year is the second-leading scorer in the league at 17 points a game. He leads the conference in both win shares (5.5) and offensive box plus/minus (plus-6.3). Mathurin’s scoring has improved year-over-year by seven points from his freshman season while his shooting efficiency has remained strong.
Under first-year head coach Tommy Lloyd, Mathurin has flourished in a pace-and-space system that has harnessed his athletic ability and physicality on-ball. In transition, there are few players in the league more explosive than the 6-foot-6 Mathurin.
He’s the ninth different Arizona player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year and the first since Deandre Ayton in 2018. He has already been named a second-team All-American by The Sporting News and College Hoops Today. He has also been named one of five finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and a finalist for the Wooden Award.
The last Pac-12 player to win the Naismith Trophy was Utah’s Andrew Bogut in 2005. First presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor in 1969, UCLA’s Bill Walton won it three times from 1972-1974, and then UCLA won it again in 1977 with Marques Johnson. Bogut is the only Pac-12 player to win it in the more than 40 years since.
Mathurin will look to be Arizona’s first.