Jun 23, 2022 - Sports

NBA Draft: A trio of Arizona Wildcats are on the radar

Mock draft courtesy of Jeff Tracy/Axios.
Mock draft courtesy of Jeff Tracy/Axios.

The 2022 NBA Draft is Thursday at 5pm PT and as many as three players from Arizona schools could be on their way to the pros next season.

The big picture: Just about every mock draft in the country has Arizona Wildcats star Bennedict Mathurin as a top lottery pick. The Axios mock draft is no different, with the Detroit Pistons selecting the sophomore guard with the fifth pick.

  • Mathurin was the driving force behind the Cats' unexpectedly stellar first season under new head coach Tommy Lloyd. He led the team with 17.7 points per game, along with 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
  • Anyone who watched Mathurin's 30-point performance that saved Arizona from a second-round upset to TCU in the NCAA tournament, which included one of the best dunks of March Madness, knows what he's capable of.

Meanwhile: He likely won't be the only Wildcat to get selected. The Axios mock draft projects 6-foot-7-inch sophomore swingman Dalen Terry going to the Memphis Grizzlies as the penultimate pick in the first round.

  • Other mock drafts have Terry going a little higher: NBAdraft.net has him going 27th to the Miami Heat, The Athletic predicts the 76ers will take him with the 23rd pick, while CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports bumped him up to the 20th pick, sending him to the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Terry averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

What we're watching: Arizona center Christian Koloko isn't getting as much love as the other two, with several mock drafts projecting the junior bigman, who averaged 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, to go in the middle of the second round.

Our thought bubble: As a proud University of Arizona alumnus, I watched most of the team's games this year and was stunned by Mathurin's development from his freshman season. I think he's going to shine in the NBA.

  • I'm crossing my fingers for Koloko. I predicted big things for him when he was a talented but unpolished freshman, and this is the year he reached that potential.

What we're not watching: The Phoenix Suns. The team doesn't have any picks this year, so barring a draft-day trade, it will be an uneventful day for them.

  • The Suns gave up their first-round pick this year to Oklahoma City as part of the trade that brought Chris Paul to Phoenix, while Indiana got their second-round pick in the midseason trade for Torrey Craig.

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