Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin and three other members of the All-Rookie First Team are spending time together this week in Denver at the NBA Finals.
Mathurin, along with Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, Utah’s Walker Kessler and OKC’s Jalen Williams, are serving as what the NBA calls “media correspondents” during the finals. What they do will be produced for the NBA’s app and social media channels.
Mathurin arrived at media day in a gold pinstripe Jermaine O’Neal jersey and with his hair braided.
He later asked his friend Jamal Murray, a fellow Canadian, if he remembers playing 1-on-1 against him at Basketball Without Borders camp in 2019.
The highlight of this opportunity is Mathurin and the other rising stars all getting a taste of the finals — the ultimate goal. It’s one thing to watch it on television and aspire to be playing in it; it’s whole different thing to be there and soak it up.
Mathurin is already uber competitive, as driven of a rookie as I’ve come across, and this will be good for him. It also gives him something to do besides training.
Because going into the offseason, I asked him during exit interviews if he planned to at least take a few weeks off after the packed schedule he’s had since declaring for the draft one year ago.
“It will be really hard for me,” he acknowledged. “Most of my teammates have been saying ‘Yo, you got to take some time off.’ And I get it. You got to take some time off to get your head out of basketball. Playing 82 games is a long season.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I might just sit around on my couch and watch movies and play with my dog. I’m trying to think about what I’m about to do, I don’t know yet.”
Mathurin was one of nine Pacers at the facility earlier this month for a weeklong optional training.
Scott Agness is in his 11th season as a beat writer covering the Indiana Pacers. Click here to read more of his work at FieldhouseFiles.com.
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