NBA Academies wing Bennedict Mathurin chose Arizona over Baylor on Wednesday, giving the Wildcats athleticism and defensive potential on the wing in the class of 2020.
A 6-6 wing with a Haitian-Canadian background, Mathurin announced his choice in French via Canada's RDS network during halftime of Wednesday's Raptors-Thunder game.
Mathurin unzipped his black sweatsuit top to reveal a red UA shirt and smiled, saying in French that he was "going to follow my dream at the University of Arizona." He also said he liked UA's history and playing style, while RDS flashed several minutes of Arizona basketball history.
Mathurin had visited both Arizona and Baylor in November, and told 247 that he was impressed with UA's facilities, practices and team chemistry.
“I’m going to Arizona because I feel like it’s a great place to be,” Mathurin said. “I feel like I’ll be comfortable over there. I feel like they have a great coaching staff and my impact on the team is going to be a big one.
“I like the fact that they came straight to me and asked me if I was ready. I feel like Arizona was a family, not really a team, but a family. I felt like they want me a lot.”
Mathurin also told 247 he felt close to both UA coach Sean Miller and associate head coach Jack Murphy.
“If something happened I can talk to him right away," Mathurin said of Murphy. "Coach Miller is a great coach and he knows what he’s doing. I felt like if I’m playing my best and doing the work that’s asked of me, that I can achieve my dream.”
Mathurin has been playing for the NBA Academy Latin America program in Mexico City, competing with that club last month in the Tarkanian Classic at Las Vegas.
Last week, he received all-tournament honors while playing for the NBA Global Academy Australia in the well-regarded 2020 Torneo Junior Ciutat de L’Hospitalet in Barcelona, Spain. Over five games in the event, Mathurin averaged 13.6 points, including a 30-point, six-rebound outburst in the semifinals.
Mathurin became the 21st NBA Academies player to commit to a Division I school and effectively the third player UA added to its 2020 recruiting class.
The Wildcats signed Hillcrest Prep forward Dalen Terry in November and added Georgetown transfer James Akinjo for practices this week, although Akinjo won't be eligible to play until next season.
UA will lose point guard Nico Mannion and is expected to also lose at least wing Josh Green, so there are multiple opportunities likely on the perimeter next season. UA coach Sean Miller has said he expects to add about five players total for the class of 2020.
Mathurin is listed as a two-star prospect on Verbal Commits but 247 moved him to No. 72 overall after he committed to Arizona on Wednesday. Rivals rates him a four-star player, although he is not listed in the Rivals 100 because he is an international player.
"He's very strong, has athleticism getting to the rim and is a streaky jump shooter from deep," Rivals analyst Eric Bossi wrote. "Mathurin looks like he should be a top flight defender in college because of his physical tools."