NEW YORK – No Quebec player has ever been drafted so early in the NBA: Benedict Mathurin was named sixth by the Indiana Pacers Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
• Read also: Special Adviser to Benedict Mathurin
At the age of twenty, the young man from the Montreal Nord neighborhood was fully enjoying his dream, and at the same time became an inspiration to many Quebecers willing to follow in his footsteps. When he took to the stage to don a Pacers hat, Mathurin looked emotional, but smiling.
He commented in particular after his selection, “To be the first to be drafted in Quebec, it’s really nice to be honest. I think it opens doors. All eyes are now on Montreal. It opens the door for young people and those who will come after me.”
Prior to Mathurin, Chris Duarte, who was picked by the Indiana Pacers as No. 13 in 2021, represented the Quebec-related player having been drafted as soon as possible in the NBA, against Bill Winnington, who was once named No. 16 by Dallas Mavericks in 1985.
“I will bring my heart to the Pacers,” said Mathurin, “I am grateful and lucky enough that they recruited me.”
Greetings to his brother
Even before knowing which team he would pick for the evening, Quebec had caught the eye on the red carpet. On this big day, Mathurin donned a gorgeous red and black suit with a necklace emblazoned with the words “DomixWorld” to honor his brother Dominic, who died seven years ago in a bicycle accident. After choosing it, he quickly rolled his eyes.
“I am here, today, in the name of my brother,” Quebec admitted.
The Orlando Magic, which was the first choice, for its part set its sights, without surprise, on Paolo Banchero. He followed up the Oklahoma City Thunder by calling Chet Holmgren. So these two guys were favorites over Jabari Smith Jr., who was eventually called up to third by the Houston Rockets.
He was followed in order before Mathurin: Keegan Murray (Sacramento Kings) and Jaden Ivey (Detroit Pistons).
Canadians at the top 7
Mathurin became only the seventh Canadian to be selected in the top 10 in the NBA draft, and was immediately joined by Ontario’s Shydon Sharp as eighth when called up by the Trail Blazers, seventh overall in Thursday’s draft. Tristan Thompson (4th for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011), Anthony Bennett (first for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013), Andrew Wiggins (first for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014), Nick Stauskas (8th by the Sacramento Kings in 2014), Jamal Murray (Post Seventh of the Denver Nuggets in 2016) and RJ Barrett (third at the hands of the New York Knicks in 2019) were the first to achieve the feat.
Producer of the University of Arizona Wildcats, Quebec has positioned himself for the project after his final season with the University of Arizona Wildcats, in the NCAA. In 37 games, he then held an average of 17.7 points per game. Quebec participated in the recent “March Madness” tournament in which, after two big victories, his club surprised Houston in the round of 16.
Prior to joining the University of Arizona in 2020, Mathurin worked on its development in Mexico, as of 2018, within an academy set up by the National Basketball Association. He also became the second player from the Latin American academy to be recruited after Australian Josh Gedi of the Oklahoma City Thunder last year.
#Coined #Pacers #Benedict #Mathurin #NBA #history