Only for the second time in history, two Canadians have been selected into the top ten in the NBA Draft.
Benedict Mathurin of Montreal was picked sixth by the Indiana Pacers, while Sheldon Sharp of London, Ontario, was picked seventh overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I feel like a winner,” Mathurin said. “I am a really competitive guy. Off the field, I feel like a very funny guy. I like to do a lot of fun things.”
The 20-year-old Mathurin finished his sophomore season with the Arizona Wildcats, taking home the Pac-12 Player of the Year and receiving the All-Pac-12 First Team Honor. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound winger was also named the Second Team All-American by the Associated Press.
He participated in the 2021 Basketball World Cup under-19 and scored 31 points during Canada’s 101-92 victory over Serbia in the bronze medal match.
Sharp, who is six feet five feet tall, was considered the mystery man in the draft, having not played competitive basketball in more than a year.
He scored in Kentucky for the second semester of 2021-22 years old, but did not play.
He was the #1 high school player in his class having collected 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 12 games for EYBL.
Sharp also has national team experience, helping Canada win the silver medal at the 2019 U-16 USA Basketball Championships.
“Going from high school to college and not playing your college season and then straight into the NBA, it’s totally the journey. Every step of the way I fought and enjoyed it,” Sharp, who added that he was looking forward to playing with All-Star guard Damian Lillard, said.
“He’s a great goalkeeper himself and has been in this league for quite some time now, so I can’t wait to really learn from him.”
The last time two Canadians were selected in the top ten was 2014 when Cleveland’s Andrew Wiggins took first overall, and Sacramento picked Nick Stauskas for eighth.
Top Canadian Players Selected in NBA Draft History:
- Anthony Bennett (No. 1, Cleveland, 2013)
- Andrew Wiggins (No. 1, Cleveland, 2014)
- Bob Hobriggs (No. 3, Milwaukee Hawks, 1953)
- RJ Barrett (No. 3, New York Knicks, 2019)
- Tristan Thompson (No. 4, Cleveland, 2011)
- Benedict Mathurin (No. 6, Indiana, 2022)
- Sheldon Sharp (No. 7, Portland, 2022)
- Nick Stauskas (No. 8, Sacramento, 2014)
Andrew Nimbard of Aurora, Ont., and Caleb Houstan of Mississauga, Ontario, two other top Canadians, were also selected – with back-to-back picks at the start of the second round.
Nembhard, who is a WCC First Team Honor and WCC Player of the Year with Gonzaga, will join Mathurin as the Pacers picked him with the 31st pick. The 22-year-old goalkeeper already has experience with Canada’s top team competing in the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
Hustan was later selected by the Orlando Magic, who used the first overall selection to select Paulo Banchero.
The 19-year-old Hustan averaged 10.1 points per game for 42.6 percent of shots during his first year in Michigan and was also a member of the Canadian Under-19 World Cup bronze medalist team.
The Toronto Raptors, who traded in the first round with Goran Dragic in the trade deadline for Thaddeus Young and the final 33rd overall pick, used the pick to take Christian Koloko.
Raptors added Christian Koloko, 7-1 Junior from Doula, Cameroon – yes, the same hometown as Pascal Siakam. Koloko made great strides during his three years in Arizona. Raptors give someone the size, speed, and ability to defend the edge and attack the edge to evolve.
– Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) June 24, 2022