Canadians Mathurin, Sharpe picked back-to-back in NBA Draft

Bennedict Mathurin became the first Canadian picked in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday.

The 20-year-old from Montreal was selected sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers.

Mathurin finished his sophomore season with the Arizona Wildcats capturing the Pac-12 Player of the Year award and earning first-team All-Pac-12 honours. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound wing was also named a second-team All-American by The Associated Press.

He competed in the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup and scored a game-high 31 points during Canada’s 101-92 win over Serbia in the bronze medal match.

Shaedon Sharpe of London, Ont., was then selected seventh overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

The six-foot-five swingman was considered the draft’s mystery man, having not played competitive basketball in more than a year.

Sharpe registered at Kentucky for the second semester of the 2021-22 year, but did not play.

He was the No. 1 high school player in his class after putting up 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 12 EYBL club games.

Sharpe also has national team experience, helping Canada win silver at the 2019 FIBA Under-16 Americas Championship.

Andrew Nembhard of Aurora, Ont., and Caleb Houstan of Mississauga, Ont., are also high-profile Canadian prospects who could hear their names called Thursday night.

Nembhard grabbed first-team All-WCC honours and the WCC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award with Gonzaga. The 22-year-old guard already has experience with Canada’s senior team competing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Houstan, 19, averaged 10.1 points per game on 42.6 per cent shooting during his freshman year at Michigan and was also a member of Canada’s bronze medal-winning squad at the U19 World Cup.

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