Updated: Apr 1
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present NBA Academy Latin America guard Bennedict Mathurin, from Montreal, Quebec:
Pro Insight: Prior to NBA academy where were you playing and how did you come into this opportunity?
Bennedict Mathurin: I was playing at nationals for Team Quebec and I was playing a really good game and there was a coach there that pulled me aside and said “hey, if a train passes by you have to get on it,” and I didn’t know what he meant at first. Then, a couple weeks later I got a call and it was an invitation to the NBA Academy.
PI: Where are you playing with them right now?
BM: In Mexico City.
PI: How do you like Mexico City?
BM: It’s really cool. People over there only speak Spanish so it was hard, at first. There’s a lot of tacos and burritos, so I’ve been eating good.
PI: Is the food better in Mexico or back home in Quebec?
PI: How many languages do you speak?
BM: Three-and-a-half. French, English, Creole and a little bit of Spanish now that I’ve been living in Mexico City.
PI: How was your experience with NBA Academy been so far?
BM: I think it’s been a really good experience because ever since I got here I’ve improved a lot and I’ve matured a lot as a person.
PI: What are the most important things you’ll be taking away from your experience with NBA Academy?
BM: First, it’s a great opportunity because I get to inspire kids at home in Quebec. I come from a neighborhood in Montreal that is a bit tougher so for people to see me will inspire young people. Second, it is a good opportunity because I get to play in front of college coaches which I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity otherwise. Lastly, I am grateful because I know these coaches care about me and they believe in me.
PI: For those that don’t know your game, describe your game? First talk about your strengths
BM: My strengths are my ability to penetrate, I can also shoot well, and I am very athletic, also.
PI: How about your weaknesses?
BM: My free throws. I should also improve my defense and my communication on defense and become a better leader.
PI: What is the most underrated part of your game?
BM: My bounce.
PI: What position do you view yourself?
BM: Guard. Either a 1 or a 2.
PI: What type of system do you enjoy playing in most?
BM: A system that’s fast. I like to push the ball.
PI: What’s your high school class?
BM: If I was in Canada I was supposed to be 2021, but I’m 2020 here.
PI: Of all the opponents you’ve played recently, who’s been the toughest to matchup with?
BM: Oumar Ballo.
PI: How come?
BM: He is really strong and is 6’11. He’s tough to score over!
PI: Did anyone in particular stand out to you at the NBA Academy event in Atlanta?
BM: Blake Jones from Australia. I saw him play and I was impressed.
PI: What does he do well?
BM: He shoots the ball and does the simple stuff like make layups and make plays on defense.
PI: Let’s talk about your goals.
BM: Long term, I want to be a pro player and get to the NBA if I can. Short term, I want to be the best player on my team. I want to get better every day and be a good teammate and be like a big brother to my teammates.
PI: What’s your jersey number?
BM: #11 and #0.
PI: Is there a story behind either?
BM: I want to be better than number-one and zero is higher than one, so that’s why I’ve chosen #0. #11 is for my brother – to honor him.
PI: Are you planning on going to college?
BM: It’s always been my dream to play in college because my sister always motivated me to go to college and to continue my studies.
PI: What’s important to you as you choose a college?
BM: A place where I can play my type of game and have a good relationship with the coaches and the players.
PI: Name three words that best describe you.
BM: Smiley, positive, generous.
PI: Do you watch more college or NBA basketball?
PI: What do you look for when you watch?
BM: How the players react to different situations, to different calls and when they miss a shot if they complain if there is a foul or not.
PI: Why do you look for that?
BM: Because I sometimes do it. I need to look at them and learn from them on how they react.
PI: Which player do you model your game after?
BM: After myself. I am original.
PI: What does Bennedict Mathurin bring to the team regardless of the situation? On or off the court?
BM: Off the court, I try to bring chemistry and that we are together and a family. On the court, I want to be a leader and help my teammates when they are feeling down.
PI: What has been a defining moment in your life and why has it stuck with you and what did you learn from it?
BM: My brother has made me want to become the man of the house and help with mom and be more mature and step up. My brother died when I was 14.
PI: Who is the biggest motivation in your life?
BM: My brother.
PI: Can you talk a little bit about your family and what they mean to you?
BM: My brother is my motivation – like when I wake up, I think “this day is for him and I am going to live like you would.” My mom and my sister are really important to me. I want to be the best I can be for them and give them what they deserve.
PI: Older sister? You’re the youngest of 3?
PI: All in Quebec?
BM: My sister is in North Carolina. Raleigh. She played basketball at NC State.
PI: Who’s better? How many letters is she giving you in H.O.R.S.E.?
BM: I am better. I would only get “H” if we played.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
BM: Don’t do things for other people, do them for yourself.
PI: At the end of the day what do you want to be remembered for?
BM: I want to be remembered for who I am: for my accomplishments and for what I am doing good like helping younger people and how I learn and mature from the bad things.