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Fri, Aug. 19

Indiana Pacers take Arizona’s Mathurin at No. 6

University of Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin was chosen as the sixth pick in the NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by MGoBlog, cc-by-sa-2.0, https://bit.ly/3N5NrP3)

University of Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin was chosen as the sixth pick in the NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by MGoBlog, cc-by-sa-2.0, https://bit.ly/3N5NrP3)

INDIANAPOLIS — Arizona sophomore Bennedict Mathurin figures he has a lot to bring to the Indiana Pacers.

“I feel like I'm a winner," said Mathurin, who was taken No. 6 overall by the Pacers in the NBA draft Thursday night. “I'm a really competitive guy. Off the court, I feel I'm a pretty funny guy.. I like doing a lot of fun stuff."

The Pacers could use some fun after a 25-57 finish in the first season of coach Rick Carlisle’s second stint with Indiana — the Pacers’ fewest wins since 1984-85 when they finished 22-60.

Mathurin, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward, averaged 17.7 points. 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season, when he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. He shot 45% from the field, including 36.9% from 3-point range in helping the Wildcats reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Mathurin was born and raised in Montreal and the Pacers added another Canadian at No. 31 in Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard.

“We went the Team Canada route with those two players,” general manager Chad Buchanan said. “Mathurin is a very tough-minded player with a lot of upside. He's very driven and overcome a lot in his life both off the court and on the court. He thrives on coaching.

"Our team has a lot of needs. At pick 6, we had to pick the best player and best talent and and we felt (Mathurin) was that.”

Mathurin said the looking forward to having an impact right away.

“The staff was really good to me when I went there for my team workout," he said. "I feel like they believe in me. Having people trust in my game is great.”

Mathurin, who turned 20 June 19, said the workout went well.

“This is a player that we have targeted for quite some time because we believe he has the ability to contribute immediately and become a key part of our foundation moving forward," Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard said.

Arizona guard Dalen Terry was also drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 18 pick. Arizona center Christian Koloko was the 33rd pick, going to the Toronto Raptors.

The Phoenix Suns did not have a draft pick.

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