Bennedict Mathurin has played so well as a freshman that he may very well be the Arizona Wildcats’ next one-and-done. At least one NBA mock draft pegs the scintillating small forward as a high second-round pick.
But what if he stays another year? Or two? Or three? Well, in that case ESPN writer John Gasaway thinks Mathurin could be college basketball’s next Luka Garza. In other words, a player who continually improves and by his senior year is the top player in college basketball.
“Nobody’s paying attention to the Wildcats this season because UA’s on (what for lack of a better term is) a self-imposed pause on postseason eligibility. But for those watching, Mathurin has shown some signs of a player who could become a Garza-esque problem someday soon,” Gasaway wrote. “The freshman is making his shots and he even went off for 31 points on the road against Oregon State. On second thought, maybe he won’t stick around for four years after all, but if he does Mathurin is my Garza in waiting.”
Mathurin and the Iowa center play different positions and have much different skill sets, but they did put up similar numbers as freshmen:
- Garza: 12.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 55.7 FG%, 34.8 3PT%, 68.1 FT%
- Mathurin: 11.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 49.4 FG%, 42.7 3PT%, 84.6 FT%
Arizona fans can only hope to see the day Mathurin is averaging 24.5 points per game like Garza is in his senior season. When Mathurin was asked a couple weeks ago about his future plans, he said he is just focused on finishing this season strong.
“I feel like it’s a good freshman year,” he said. “I’ve been putting in the work a lot. I have some aspects I have to work on my game in order to reach the next level.”