The author of two decisive shots in the last minute of the match against the Bulls, Benedict Mathurin (26 points, 7 rebounds, tonight) DeMar performed better than one of DeRozan’s models, a clutch scorer if ever there was one.
Above all, the Pacers rookie applied a philosophy he’s been repeating this season, a first in the elite: if his long shot isn’t resolved, he’s not afraid to look for his points in the paint through contact.
Averaging 17 points (plus 4 rebounds), 42% shooting, but a paltry 33% from 3-point range, Benedict Mathurin is already a hell of a rookie scorer. Second only to the inevitable Paolo Banchero, but unlike the Magic winger, he comes off the bench!
Quebec to Mexico
Solid on his feet, explosive in transition, not the shy type. The Quebecer will not hesitate to take his chance, even if he has a good margin of advancement at the foreign address.
But the Pacers’ rookie point guard has the potential to be one of the league’s top scoring defensemen for the next decade.
The Montreal resident, who started playing hockey, remembers his humble beginnings in Canada.
“Steve Nash played an important role [dans cet afflux], followed by other players. “Lou Dort played a big role for me, he was a real mentor.” JJ Redick revealed Benedict Mathuri on his podcast. “Chris Boucher too. And other Toronto players [Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dillon Brooks]. Anyway, the Raptors were the only team I could watch on TV because I didn’t have ESPN and all that. But then I started playing basketball seriously. »
“When I heard about the NBA Academy, everything was fine, but Mexico City was out of the question! »
Coming from a very humble background where there was always not enough food, Bennedjit Mathurin took advantage of a rather unique opportunity. After a successful tournament, he was invited to audition for the Latin American NBA Academy in Mexico City.
“We had a tournament in British Columbia with the Quebec team, I had just turned 16 years old. I had a good tournament and the CEO of the selection told me: if the train passes, you have to take it. Now after two weeks I was offered two options: either to play in Spain or to go to this academy in Mexico City. When I heard about the Academy, everything was fine, but Mexico City was out of the question! »
“Then they slowly convinced me. School, food, basketball, everything was taken care of and I just had to come and focus on my NBA goal. I said to myself: “I’m going there for a month, if it doesn’t work, I’ll come back.” But as soon as I opened the container, I was there forever. It was a great experience for basketball, but also to open up to other cultures. »
An NBA player bred by the NBA
Before college, in a quasi-university setting, so to speak, in terms of workload, Mathurin was run like clockwork on a daily basis at the NBA Academy. And there everything was done to improve his game.
“There was a school on one side and a gymnasium on the other side. I usually got up at 6:30 am and went to the shoot at 7 am. 45 minutes before breakfast and first class. Then practice at 10:30 a.m. until noon. We had muscle. We had classes from 15:00 to 18:00. And we ended up rehearsing from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, even until 9 pm. We went home to eat and sleep. And this routine more or less every day. »
Back in the NCAA, Mathurin quickly transferred to Arizona, among the best freshmen in his conference, the lightweight Pac-12. Next year, he will average 18 points.
“It was good for me because my first year was Sean Miller, who was a whiz, and my second year was Tommy Lloyd. I saw two different personalities and each gave me their own advice. First, [Coach Miller] he caught me cold because I played well but said I wouldn’t play much. And they actually hired a guy from my year, Dalen Terry, to replace me [actuellement à Chicago]. But it made me work harder and fixed my place. »
“I could blame him at certain ends of the matches”
With twenty games of 20 or more points, including two offensive bursts of over 30, Benedict Mathurin has adapted to the upper floor quite quickly. Mathurin, a promising element of the Pacers’ dynamic troop led by possible neo-All Star Tyrese Haliburton, is enjoying this smooth transition. While waiting for something better of course!
“I heard that [Rick Carlisle] teenagers did not play. But I shortened these sounds and went directly to the conversation with him. And she was amazing with me from the beginning. The whole coaching staff helps me progress. Our relationship is developing. I may have blamed him for a certain ending to the matches I didn’t play, but he took the time to come and see me on the plane to explain his point of view. He wants me to be the best I can be on both ends of the court. »
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