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BROOKLYN, NY--The Indiana Pacers took three players in the 2022 NBA Draft, one of whom has his eyes set on becoming the best player in the NBA.

The man with that goal is Bennedict Mathurin. He was taken by the Pacers at 6th overall Thursday night.

“What up Indy fans? I’m so excited to join the team. I’m a Pacer man. Let’s get to work,” said Mathurin to the Pacers Twitter account.

Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 45.0%, 36.9% on 3s and 76.4% at the free-throw line during his sophomore season at Arizona in 2021-22. He was the Pac 12 Player of the Year.

“He sees himself as a great fit as we do we. Head Coach Rick Carlisle and the rest of our staff see a lot of potential in him moving forward,” said Pacers General Manager Chad Buchanan at a news conference Thursday night after the draft.

He joins Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, and Isaiah Jackson as key parts of the team’s young core.

“It’s really great, having a guy like Tyrese. Haliburton is a leader who likes to pass the ball and just lead the team in general. It’s really what I’m looking forward to playing with,” said Mathurin.

Mathurin spoke to Haliburton on the phone and expressed his excitement about getting to play with him.

In the second round, the Pacers selected Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard with the 31st overall pick. Nembhard, who the Pacers invited to a pre-draft workout, averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 assists for Gonzaga in his final year of college. In the middle of the second round, the Pacers made a draft-night deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves to move up from 58 to 48 to draft Baylor’s Kendall Brown. Brown averaged 9.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for Baylor in his one year of college.

There were several players with ties to Indiana who were also drafted. Starting with the No. 5 overall selection, the Detroit Pistons drafted Jaden Ivey. Ivey went to Mishawaka Marian High School and played collegiately at Purdue University. Lawrence Central and Wake Forest product Jake LaRavia went 19th overall to the Memphis Grizzlies. South Bend native Blake Wesley parlayed his All-ACC freshman season at Notre Dame into being selected 25th overall by the San Antonio Spurs.

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