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Arizona wing Bennedict Mathurin declares for NBA Draft

arizona-wildcats-bennedict-mathurin-nba-draft-2022-ncaa-tournament-pac12-all-american-tommy-lloyd Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Bennedict Mathurin’s 2-year plan is complete.

Arizona’s leading scorer, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, Mathurin has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft after two seasons with the Wildcats. He is expected to go in the first round in June.

The 6-foot-6 Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists this season for Arizona, ranking ninth on the school’s single-season scoring list with 655 points. He made 83 3-pointers, 8th-most in a season in school history, and shot 45 percent from the field as well as 36.9 percent from 3-point range and 76.4 percent from the line.

Mathurin had 15 points in his final game with Arizona, a 72-60 loss to Houston in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. The game before he had 30 points, including a game-tying 3 in regulation, to help the Wildcats outlast TCU in overtime.

A native of Montreal, Mathurin played for the NBA Academy Latin America before signing with Sean Miller in the Class of 2020, picking the UA over Baylor. He averaged 10.8 points per game as a freshman but thrived in Tommy Lloyd’s more free-flowing offense.

“Obviously you could see he was really talented,” Lloyd recalled from when he first saw Mathurin play. “When I first saw him, he was kind of an undersized, skinny, athletic, underskilled four man. And then somewhere between there and last year, he learned how to shoot.”

Lloyd said that in one of his first conversations with Mathurin he told him he had a 2-year plan for his development.

“He’s like, ‘I know, I am on a two-year plan. This is the second year.’ I said, no, no, no, two years from now. Because I didn’t want him to carry the burden this year of feeling like he had to be perfect and play well every game to get to the NBA.

“I just said, hey, listen, we can make a two-year plan on development and see how you progress, take a little bit of pressure off you. If you outperform it, great. Obviously, I think he’s well on his way to outperforming my 2-year plan.”

NBA Draft projections have Mathurin going as high as fifth, with many others putting him in the lottery and nearly all projecting him as a first-round pick. He would be Arizona’s first first-round selection since Josh Green (18th) and Zeke Nnaji (22nd) in 2020.