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Bennedict Mathurin: at the gates of history

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June 23, 2022. Brooklyn. First round of the annual NBA draft. Everything will be ready to write a new chapter in the history of Quebec basketball. RDS-Info will be there from 8pm and RDS2 will join shortly thereafter. We have been talking to you about this young prodigy for more than two years. In fact, he even came to announce his university choice in our studies in January 2020. Well, the moment of his consecration has finally / already arrived.

Not only will Bennedict Mathurin become a lottery choice, chosen in the top 14, but will surely be the Quebec-born player previously selected in NBA history. All forecasts indicate that he will not come out after eighth place. He could also be called as early as the 5th selection.

For any young aspiring footballer, this in itself would be a prodigious feat. But for a young man from Montreal North, after passing extraordinary personal tests, this result is almost a miracle.

I’m often asked the question: Why aren’t there more Quebecers than that in the NBA? I often try to summarize my explanation as simply as possible (and some math to back it up). In a typical season, how many athletes are active on an NFL team? Circa 1700. Major League Baseball? About 830. The NHL? Around 660. And finally the NBA? 450. As many as 450 miserable players from all over the planet find their place in the world championship par excellence. When we see that it is a sport practiced and recommended on all continents, the percentage of elected officials to aspirants is unlikely and almost impossible to calculate.

Carving out a place in the NBA is a real privilege.

Quebecers Chris Boucher, Khem Birch and Luguentz Dort have successfully paved the way for Quebec at the Silver circuit over the past five seasons. They will all have traveled a winding road to get there, as neither was selected in their respective draft. Birch will have had to go into exile to Europe to return better. As for Boucher and Dort, they will have used the G-League to build their portfolio to deserve the big call.

Thursday night, Bennedict Mathurin will enter the front door. According to our research team, only Stewart Granger (born in Montreal, 24th choice in 1983) and Bill Wennington (born in Montreal, 16th choice in 1985) were born in the province of La Belle before hearing their names called in the first round. . Granger will have played 80 games in three seasons. Wennington, meanwhile, will have collected 720 of them distributed over 13 illustrious seasons. And while he was able to harness Michael Jordan’s genius to secure championship rings in 1996-97-98, we’re mostly talking about a good support player averaging under 5 points per career game.

Thirty-seven years later, the context for Bennedict is very different. The team that selects him on Thursday will want to quickly turn him into an impactful player. Maybe even as a licensed player. The pressure will be strong and this is very normal. We are talking about a gifted person who can do everything on a basketball court. His athletic abilities are no longer to be demonstrated, especially since this sequence went viral during the last March Madness tournament:

At first glance, this magical moment in the 2nd round against the TCU gives us the creeps with its power and explosion. But looking at him more, I point above all to an ultra-competitive young man who is not afraid of anything and will not slow down in front of anyone. He had scored 30 points, including some crucial late-game baskets, during this close duel that ended with extra time in favor of Arizona.

His desire to win is evident and this is one of the elements that also emerged from the interview process with all the clubs they will choose at the beginning of Thursday evening. Many say they were very impressed by the young man of just 20 years. Presenting the required physical attributes is essential to getting noticed initially. However, that’s not enough to carve a long-term place in the NBA. You need to know how to work harder than your opponent as you impose yourself in tough or tough times. Everything indicates that the young Quebecer has all the ingredients he is looking for.

Let’s not forget that he has incredible self-confidence. At the age of 15, he left Quebec for Mexico to become the first Quebecer to join the ranks of the official NBA Academy (the branch of Latin America). Bold, but it pays off in the end.

Then in April 2021, after his first season in Arizona, the appeal of the NBA was already strong. But the experts disagreed on the potential degree of selection of him. We have seen it somewhere between the 20th and 40th degrees. You might see him polish his game more before investing in him. His clan debated it at length before deciding whether to return to school for a second season.

Bennedict Mathurin has practically bet on himself. A year later, unequivocally, we can say that he will have won this bet. With brilliance and panache.
He thinks big for his career and seems very eager to represent Quebec on the brightest stage there is.

Bennedict Mathurin thrilled to be drafted

In terms of visibility, seeing him finish with the New York Knicks would be nirvana. On a pure basketball level, New Orleans would be very attractive with its emerging core in an environment where it could have time to develop. The disaster scenario? Sacrament. Where talent slowly dies.

If you ask me to put in some $ 2, I predict it will land in Detroit at number five or Indiana at number six. At the Pistons, an association with emerging Cade Cunningham would have great potential. Just like a duet with Tyrese Haliburton at the Pacers. The pressure would be considerable, but he would have a high-level partner to share it with either way.

No matter where your next chapter begins, it will be a privilege to have a front row seat to the start of a grand adventure like the one Quebec has never seen before.

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