Canadians Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe were back-to-back draft picks in Thursday’s first round of the NBA draft.
Mathurin, a 20-year-old from Montreal, was picked sixth by the Indiana Pacers.
Moments later, the Portland Trail Blazers took Sharpe, a 19-year-old from London, Ontario, in 7th place.
This is only the second time in history that two Canadians have finished in the top 10 in the NBA draft. In 2014, Cleveland took Andrew Wiggins first overall, and Sacramento took number 8 Nik Stauskas.
Mathurin and Sharpe took very different approaches to the design.
Mathurin, a 6-6 guard, was the first Canadian to attend the NBA Academy in Mexico City from 2018-2020. He then played two seasons at the University of Arizona, winning the Pac-12 tournament’s top player honors and averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game that year.
He scored 30 points in a big game in March Madness’ second round and helped Arizona beat Texas Christian University in overtime.
CLOCK | Mathurin, Sharpe go back-to-back picks:
Senders compared Mathurin’s game to the Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby.
Sharpe hasn’t played a significant five-a-side game since last fall.
He joined the Kentucky Wildcats in January but never played a game and then raised eyebrows when he declared himself for this year’s draft.
Magic takes Banchero 1st, Holmgren, Smith follow
The Orlando Magic selected Duke rookie Paolo Banchero as the #1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
After leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four under coach Mike Krzyzewski last season, the 6-foot-10 forward was called first to start the draft by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, beating his peers freshman, Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren.
Banchero, wearing a jeweled purple suit, received a loud ovation at Barclays Center, where Duke lost in the ACC Tournament finals.
The Magic picked first for the fourth time and they did well with their previous choices. They acquired Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, traded the rights to Chris Webber for Penny Hardaway the next year, and teamed up with Dwight Howard in 2004.
All eventually reached the NBA Finals with Magic.
Holmgren finished second to the Oklahoma City Thunder after the 7-footer led the West Coast Conference in blocked shots, rebounds and shot percentage on Gonzaga. He looked smart in his black suit, but he may need a larger size to be successful in the NBA as he’s listed at just 195 pounds.
The Houston Rockets clinched Smith for third place and were happy to have a player many thought would take first place. The Auburn 6-10 forward fits perfectly into the current NBA game, capable of defending all three frontcourt positions and possessing a shot that allowed him to hit 42% from behind the arc.
Forward Keegan Murray jumped to the No. 4 position in the Sacramento Kings in his sophomore season in Iowa after a big jump. The Detroit Pistons, a year after conquering No. 1-ranked Cade Cunningham, picked athletic Purdue guard Jaden Ivey for fifth.
Before the pick began, Silver congratulated the Golden State Warriors on their recent NBA championship and reminded fans that their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green was built through the draft.
All of the teams at the top of this draft need help and already have the final top picks on their rosters, so let’s hope the Warriors path works for them too.