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Should Sacramento consider University of Arizona star Benedict Mathurin

Will the Wildcat become a King?

NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Championship Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you haven’t been watching collegiate basketball this season, you know about Benedict Mathurin and the Arizona Wildcats.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound, 19-year-old sophomore from Montreal has turned himself into a bonafide star in his second year in Tucson. He may be the best player out of Arizona since Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

His freshman year, Mathurin had some struggles adjusting to the Arizona style of play as well as some injuries in a turbulent season for the school. The Wildcats had a self-imposed tournament ban due to suspected recruiting violations, along with coaching issues, and the once highly sought after prospect kind of disappeared. Only starting in 12 games, Mathurin averaged 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists for the Wildcats.

But after the 2021 season ended, Arizona’s best player, James Akinjo, transferred and the Wildcats hired Gonzaga University assistant coach Tommy Lloyd to man the helm in Tucson. An opportunity for Mathurin to get a fresh start.

This season, Mathurin led the Wildcats to a PAC-12 Championship en route to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He also won conference player of the year as well as being named a consensus All-American 2nd team.

Averaging 17.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, Mathurin’s stats aren’t the most attractive. However, stats are not everything. He is the best player on arguably the best team in the nation.

How would he fit in Sacramento.

At his size, Mathurin would fit as a SG/SF for the Kings. He is kind of in the middle when it comes to height, but he is very strong and one of the most athletic players in this year’s draft class.

Though he is the player the Wildcat’s lean on when they need a bucket, Mathurin is also extremely solid on defense. And though the Kings don’t necessarily need help offensively, it never hurts.

An ideal lineup would look like this:

PG - De’Aaron Fox

SG - Davion Mitchell

SF - Benedict Mathurin

PF - Harrison Barnes

C - Domantas Sabonis

At the three, Mathurin can aid in shutting down opposing wings while providing electric momentum shifting plays on offense. A comparison he has received is Demar Derozan based on his athletic profile and build. Of course this being the high end, the low end still isn’t bad. Those comparisons were players similar to Caris Levert and Will Barton.

Regardless, Mathurin is gritty and plays with a lot of heart and pride. You can’t ask for much more than that from a rookie.

Right now Mathurin is projected to go in the later half of the top-10. If the Kings end up with a pick in that range and their top targets, if he is not one of them, are no longer on the board Mathurin could pan out to be a great decision.