Bennedict Mathurin, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard out of Arizona, is one of the best 3-point shooters in this draft class, particularly among players projected to be selected in the lottery. This past season, he drilled 83 triples, which were second most in the Pac-12. With unlimited range, defenders must play him well beyond the 3-point line. He took nearly 20 percent of his threes from 25 feet or beyond and made 39.6 percent of them. While most comfortable in catch-and-shoot situations – via spotting up or coming off screens (pindowns and flares) – he’s a decent pull-up 3-point shooter as well, although at times in college he settled for contested outside jumpers.
Explosive Finisher/Off-Ball Movement
Great 3-point shooters typically play below the rim. But that’s not the case with Mathurin, a high-flyer who loves to get out into the open floor and finish with authority on fast breaks. He threw down several jaw-dropping jams this past season, including one during the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament victory over TCU in the second round when he flashed into the paint and posterized the 6-foot-11 Eddie Lampkin. Another one of his highlight-reel dunks came against Oregon State earlier in the season when he went behind the back before flushing home a one-handed windmill. Defenders have a hard time staying connected to him because of how good he is moving without the ball (makes excellent backdoor cuts).
Getting to the Free Throw Line
While it remains to be seen if he can become a better shot creator at the next level, the 19-year-old does get to the free throw line quite often. He took 178 foul shots his sophomore year, second most in the Pac-12. In the conference tournament championship game against UCLA, he went 13-of-15 from the stripe. Although he connected on just 22 percent of his shots when drawing a foul, he has no problem initiating and absorbing contact on drives. He also got bumped quite a bit while in the act of shooting threes.
Interesting about this year’s draft class is that most of the top prospects are above-average defenders, with Mathurin certainly being one of them. His 96.8 defensive rating ranked 13th-best in the Pac-12 this past season and his 36 steals were 16th most in the conference. At his height and weight, he should have no problem guarding ones, twos, and threes. If he fills out even more, he might be strong enough to handle some fours as well. Not only a stifling on-ball defender (when locked in), but Mathurin will also step into the lane and draw charges, fly in from the weak side and block shots, and use his instincts to deflect away passes.
Areas to Improve
Shot Creation/Mid-Range Shooting
The overwhelming majority of Mathurin’s shot attempts in college were either from 3-point distance or within four feet of the basket. Only a third of his shots came from between four feet and just inside the 3-point line. He has a hard time generating shots for himself off the dribble because of his lack of creativity and shiftiness. When he attacks the basket, he relies more on power rather than craftiness. He’s more likely to jump straight into a defender than he is to stop on a dime and take a runner, floater, or mid-range jumper.
Mathurin is more of a shot hunter than he is a play orchestrator. He averaged just 2.5 assists this past season and dished out fewer than three of them in 20 of his 37 games. He can get a little sloppy on his dribble drives and sometimes misses cutters or open teammates on the perimeter. While he did keep his turnovers in check, averaging just 1.8 of them in 2021-22, many of his passes were off target or were delivered a tad late.
Ceiling: Milwaukee Bucks version of Ray Allen, Jason Richardson
Others he’s like: J.R. Smith, Terrence Ross, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Position: Shooting Guard
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Strengths: 3-Point Shooting, Off-Ball Movement/Cutting, Verticality, Initiating Contact, Transition Offense, Defensive Versatility, Rebounding
Weaknesses: Shot Creation, Ball Handling, Playmaking, Facilitating, Defensive Consistency
College Roundup: Improved his scoring average by seven points his sophomore year. Scored in double figures in 34 of his 37 games this past season, including twice erupting for 30 points. Named both the 2022 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus second-team All-American.
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