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Arizona star guard Bennedict Mathurin declares for NBA Draft

Bennedict Mathurin has declared for the NBA Draft after two seasons at Arizona.
Bennedict Mathurin has declared for the NBA Draft after two seasons at Arizona.

The first domino to fall in Arizona's offseason became public Wednesday afternoon as guard Bennedict Mathurin announced his plan to enter his name in the NBA Draft after two seasons with the Wildcats. Mathurin became a star for UA in his second season building from an impressive freshman year to end up as the team's leading scorer.

Mathurin averaged 17.7 points to lead the Wildcats while averaging 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a sophomore. He eventually finished as a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy and was voted as a member of the Wooden All-American team. Mathurin also earned a spot on the Associated Press second team.

“I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me through my career at Arizona,” Mathurin wrote in a tweet announcing his decision. “The city of Tucson has been great to me & the best fanbase in the world has welcomed me with open arms. I would also like to thank coach Sean and coach Tommy for everything that they’ve done for me and the opportunities they’ve given me. I am a Wildcat and will be a Wildcat for life.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and I am ready to take that step forward. With that being said, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.”

Mathurin proved to be capable of carrying the team offensively as a freshman, but he became a focal point for the team in his second season coinciding with Tommy Lloyd taking over the program as the new head coach.

Lloyd's system ended up being a perfect fit for the slashing wing who scored at least 20 points in 14 games last season. His energy sparked the team to a 33 wins and eventually earned Mathurin the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.

"Benn's not afraid of the moment," Lloyd said after Mathurin led the Wildcats to an NCAA Tournament win over TCU by scoring 30 points last month. "And he's a special player who has an ability to rise it up another level when needed. And he has that clutch gene."

The 6-foo-6 guard is projected as a likely lottery pick in this summer's NBA Draft.

Junior center Christian Koloko and sophomore guard Dalen Terry are two other UA players who have generated some NBA buzz, but neither one has yet announced his intentions about the future as of now.

Lloyd is set to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon to discuss the spring and recap the season after UA's NCAA Tournament exit a few weeks ago.

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