Former Arizona Basketball star Bennedict Mathurin came off the bench for the Indiana Pacers fans, but that didn’t stop him from performing at a high level.
Putting words into action, former Arizona Basketball star Bennedict Mathurin scored 19 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and added two assists and two steals in 28 minutes played in his official NBA. His former head coach Tommy Lloyd was sitting in the front row.
In Mathurin’s words pre-season, “I’m coming with the same confidence I’ve always had – The confidence that every time I step on that court, you’re going to learn who I am.”
And Pacers fans learned last night what kind of player Mathurin is under pressure; a clutch player. Ten of Mathurin’s 19 points, including two three-pointers, came in the first quarter. Mathurin even connected with even connected with fellow Wildcat alum T.J. McConnell whose assist came in the early parts of the game. McConnell went 3-of-5 from the floor.
As for Mathurin, his first points in the NBA came from a fade-away floater on the left side using his right hand, wow!
The No. 6 overall draft pick for the Pacers, who will hopefully soon start, didn’t disappoint coming off the bench. Benn served up Pacers fans with an exciting and fabulous performance even though the Pacers lost to the Washington Wizards. He kept the Pacers in the game with just 45.6 seconds left scoring a pull-up three bringing his team within five points, 110-105. Washington won 114-107.
As a side note, Wizards assistant coach and former Wildcat Joseph Blair, was there to witness Mathurin’s performance as well. Before every game, if you follow Blair on social media, he takes you through the tunnel to the court, showing fans the players and coaches warming up. He always says “Game Day” in an extremely deep and loud voice, and you have to giggle because usually, it doesn’t phase anyone on the court.
There were Wildcats everywhere last whether it was coaching, playing, or witnessing!
But perhaps the best part of the night came when the Pacers were down 11. Mathurin made the game exciting with a chance to make a three-point play with a reverse acrobatic layup while getting fouled on an inbounds play with 31.2. seconds left in the game. The camera found Coach Lloyd smiling and nodding his head like “I know, and you will soon know, Bennedict is an exciting, clutch player.” The fans erupted!
Jack Murphy, Arizona Basketball associate head coach was also sitting with Lloyd in the front row and he tweeted out some pictures.
Following the game, Rick Carlisle, the head coach of the Pacers, praised Mathurin highly, “The possibilities are amazing with him. He has tools that really nobody else in our team has, and that’s exciting.” Carlisle added, “And he’s obviously a crowd favorite. I mean, when I put him in the game the place went crazy.”
“It’s always been my dream to play in the NBA. Stepping on the court today was amazing,” said Bennedict Mathurin post-game.
The Pacers are a team to keep an eye on for Arizona Basketball fans. And with TJ and Bennedict playing, how could basketball get any more exciting?