A guy from Montreal North at the gates of the NBA

Bennedict Mathurin is about to enter the NBA through the front door, he who is seen as one of the best hopes for the next draft.

A guy from Montreal North at the gates of the NBA

Bennedict Mathurin is about to enter the NBA through the front door, he who is seen as one of the best hopes for the next draft. Despite the magnitude of the scene, he will never forget where he comes from: Montreal North.

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The 19-year-old athlete grew up in a rather disadvantaged neighborhood, and yet, he retains practically only good memories of his youth.

“When I was young, I used to go to the park and all the other young people were there. It allowed me to improve, to face adversity every day, said Mathurin, Tuesday, during a conference with the media. We could start at 10 in the morning and play until 11 in the evening. It's been positive for me to be surrounded by basketball every day. I don't see a lot of downsides, although where I'm from you could say it was a bit dangerous. We had to hurry back home when we were done, because late at night was not a good time.”

Mathurin also intends to leave his mark on the Montreal North community, among other things by helping children who, one day, could become the next athletes to hear their name in the NBA Draft. He would like to hold training camps there, when the weather allows him.

"Being a youngster from Montreal North, I had a lot of trouble growing up, but I had the opportunity to go to the NBA Academy, and that really helped me," added the product. of the Arizona Wildcats. But there are a lot of young people who can't afford to pay for school or pay for the basketball team, so I find that to be miserable and that's really my goal to want to help young people who want to continue the sport in Montreal North.”

"I haven't really had a lot of people, when I was young, who took the time or were in the situation that I'm in to talk to me, to tell me how possible the NBA is. In life everything is possible. If you work, if you do what you have to do, if you stay out of trouble and if you go to school, everything is possible. That's really the message I'm trying to get across to Montreal North."

Even if he has not yet played a single minute in the NBA, the Quebecer already knows that at the end of his career, he would like to return to the metropolis of La Belle Province to be a coach there... and even build a school.

"I don't know if it will be in Montreal or in Haiti, but just to build a school so that young people can play basketball."

There thanks to his family

Mathurin does not hide it, even if he himself made Herculean efforts to reach this stage, he owes part of his success to his family, who still today are never far away. to offer him support.

His older sister, Jennifer Mathurin, is also a basketball player, having played for the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the NCAA. Today, she is back in Quebec, as an assistant coach for the Bishop Gaiters.

“My sister played basketball, so she was always there to help me, to give me advice. Afterwards, whether in Anjou or for my other teams, she was always there to motivate me. My family has been there for me, which has motivated me and kept me focused on the things that matter most.”

Many interested, one lucky formation

Mathurin is not only seen as a first-round pick, but one who could hear his name among the top 10 at the NBA's amateur auction.

He would thus join a select group of Quebecers in the Silver circuit, which includes, among others, Chris Boucher and Khem Birch, with the Toronto Raptors, as well as Luguentz Dort, of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Mathurin will not be the first representative of the Belle Province to reach this level, but he could well be the first to be drafted in the top 10. The one who trains in California this summer already has several teams interested in his services, including the Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans.

“There are a lot of things that are coming, day by day, moment by moment. It's something I've always wanted, to get drafted into the NBA, so I'm taking the time to savor, [enjoy] every moment.

“I work hard every day to improve myself and improve certain aspects of my game. It's all about adding pieces to the puzzle. Everything is going well. I'm working on myself and enjoying the process."

The NBA draft will be held on June 23 in Brooklyn.