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Mathurin phenomenon: Quebec is all the rage at March Madness

Mathurin phenomenon: Quebec is all the rage at March Madness

San Antonio | Benedict Mathurin is more passionate than ever with his dazzling performance at the prestigious March Madness Basketball Tournament. The Quebec prodigy of the Arizona Wildcats is heading straight to the NBA and he’s thrilled to see that he’s finally become a prophet in his country.

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“There are a lot of people who got on my boat because they saw me play really well during March Madness and that is completely normal. I remain humble and continue to do the work that has to be done,” Mathurin said during the team press conference in San Antonio, on the eve of Thursday night’s game against the Houston Cougars. I have to do it because it’s not over yet.”

There are only 16 teams left in the AUC Championship, including the Southern Division teams that compete in Texas.

under projectors

Arizona is the top seed in this division, thanks in large part to inspirational play by Mathurin, who surprised the TCU on Sunday with 30 points, including six in overtime.

Despite the pressures of the moment, Newspaper He has the opportunity to chat briefly with Mathurin after his press conference, as he walks toward his family’s locker room.

“A lot of people didn’t know me at the beginning of the year and it’s good to see that people are starting to get a sense of what I’m doing. It can only motivate the young people who come from Quebec to realize that there is always hope.

“I can’t say that I don’t like the interest because the goal is to push young people. I will be one of the first of my generation to be recruited into the NBA. There is something that inspires young people and their dream can also be possible.”

NBA ready

A place in the top ten, or even the top five, in the upcoming NBA draft in June is far from elusive.

On the field, Mathurin doesn’t just score points. He does it in a frightening way. It’s better if the stakes go up. Wins on both sides of the field.

This is not a simple chauvinistic observation. Just ask Houston coach Kelvin Sampson what challenge he has in terms of the 19-year-old Montrealer to get him excited.

However he has seen others, he is a coach since 1979 and spent six years in the NBA.

“He’s not going to the NBA to play a second-tier role. He’ll start from day one. He’ll be recruited so high that he has no choice but to happen. He’s going to be beneficial to his development. He has what it takes to be a day one player for any NBA team.” He’s got a great throw, he’s incredible defensively, his acceleration is next level.”

important moments

After the TCU win, Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd claimed that Mathurin appears to have a defining gene for key moments. I nodded his face.

“It’s a perfect quote, because it’s true. The plays he gave at the end of the match against TCU are amazing. Many players dread living such moments under pressure. He showed us what he’s made of. He’s a very impressive young man,” Sampson added.

For his part, the Quebec goalkeeper continues to fully experience the championship, without falling into the trap of showing himself too quickly towards the NBA.

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“It’s a good experience for me. It’s the first time I’m watching this tournament and I really enjoy being on the pitch with my teammates. It’s a good feeling to win the first two games, but I’m still trying to win the tournament.”

If the University of Arizona beats the University of Houston, it will face the winner of the duel between Villanova and Michigan on Saturday.

advanced development plan

When Arizona State head coach Benedict Mathurin took him under his wing, he clearly didn’t expect his colt to be NBA ready after only two college campaigns in the NCAA.

“Before the season, I spoke to Ben and told him we were going to be working on a two-year plan. He looked at me and said, ‘I know, it’s a two-year plan and I’m in my second year!'”

“I didn’t want him to have to put up with the burden of being perfect all year and playing well in every game to get into the NBA. I think he went over that plan a lot,” says Tommy Lloyd.

From Mexico to Arizona

In 2018, at the NBA Academy in Mexico City, Lloyd first noticed Mathurin. The 19-year-old Montrealer, who is now 6’6″ and 210 pounds, became the first Canadian player in history to take part in the program.

Little did Lloyd realize at the time that after a few years, Mathurin would become the top player in his program with an average of 17.8 points and 5.7 rebounds that season.

“Obviously we saw the raw talent, but at first he didn’t have that size, he looked skinny and lacked a bit of skill. Then, somewhere between that time and last year, he learned to throw,” the amused pilot said.

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For fellow Cameroonian and roommate Christian Koloko, the young Quebec phenomenon has risen to that level because he believes in his abilities.

“Well, he is a special person, and what makes the difference with him is his confidence. Every time he steps onto the pitch, he does his best. He plays with a lot of intensity and tries to get everyone involved. He praised.

good behavior

Before letting Mathurin fly his wings toward the professional scene, his coach believes there is still work to be done.

“The most important thing for me is that Ben is leaving Arizona with the habits and work ethic to be a good player in the NBA because it is not going to be easy. Even the current season has not always been easy for him. Everything is never peaceful. With his attitude, he has a great opportunity real to have an amazing career in the NBA,” Lloyd believes.

Quebec has been selected in the NBA Draft over the years

2015

  • Oliver Hanlan (2And the Tower 42And the rank, Utah)

2012

  • Chris Joseph (2And the turn 51And the rank, Boston)

2001

  • Samuel D’Alembert (1 .)Dr turn 26And the Rank, Philadelphia)

*She was born in Haiti but grew up in Quebec

1985

  • Bill Winnington (1Dr turn 16And the rank, Chicago)

1983

  • Stuart Granger (1Dr turn 24And the Choice, Cleveland)
  • Ron Kriver (3And the round, 75And the Choice, Chicago)

* In 2021, Chris Duarte was drafted 13And the Arranged by Indiana. He was born in Montreal, but grew up in the Dominican Republic.