From Adélard-Desrosiers elementary school to the NBA
First launched in jest, the assertion of Martin Duquette saying that Bennedict Mathurin would not be in the NBA without him was perhaps not so false. The credit goes first to the athlete, but we have to admit that he was well guided.
• Read also: A youngster from Montreal North drafted into the NBA
Present at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday evening to attend the NBA draft, the Quebec teacher was at the heart of a delegation representing Adélard-Desrosiers elementary school, located in Montreal North. Living a dream trip, the group saw this alumnus being picked sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers. Mathurin, now 20 years old, thus became the Quebecer having been drafted the earliest in the history of the league.
“The people of the Adélard-Desrosiers school, that means everything to me, decided Mathurin, when questioned on the subject. That’s where it started. Martin was my first basketball coach and it’s fantastic to know he was there for the draft. »
“I also thank all the other teachers who made the trip and the director, Monique Desrosiers, added the new color holder of the Pacers, with gratitude. It’s really something good that they still follow me. A lot of talent has gone to Adélard-Desrosiers, there was my sister [Jennifer] and many others. Now to be the first to reach the NBA is an honor.”
His immediate family, including Jennifer, greatly contributed to Mathurin’s career, as did Nelson Ossé and Michel Metellus, to name a few.
“Obviously there are all these people who mentored him when he was in high school, but what I do know is that he had a lot of help and support from the team of Adélard-Desrosiers school,” noted Duquette simply.
Met by chance in the corridors of the amphitheater, the mentor quickly became emotional when talking about Mathurin. A physical education teacher, he was her basketball coach in fourth, fifth and sixth grade. It is clear that the bond woven over the years remains very strong with the Mathurin family, no doubt amplified by a terrible human tragedy (see other text).
BENOIT RIOUX/QMI AGENCY
« With Alex [Charles], we had always imagined having a kid who would go to the NCAA one day, said Duquette, insisting on praising the physical educator in question as well as the many people involved in Adelard-Desrosiers. First there was his sister Jennifer who played in college in North Carolina… We went to see her play, bringing Benn there. He was in sixth grade. With eight teachers from the school, we had gone down to Raleigh. Did that help create his dream of one day playing in the NBA? We hope so.”
Beyond the basketball player, the teacher says he is proud of the man who has become Bennedict Mathurin and of his stay at the University of Arizona. He knows too well that the young boy would have had every reason in the world to sink.
“It is important for us to bring young people on a school path, we have always wanted to create activities so that children like school, summarizes Duquette. The youngster knows he has to go to school to, in this case, play basketball. To see that Bennedict Mathurin ended up at university is even better, even before saying that he is a basketball player. It is a great pride.”
“All the sacrifices I made, all these training sessions, the extra hours playing basketball, it was for the good,” agreed Mathurin.
Adélard-Desrosiers Elementary School (Montreal North)
Georges-Vanier High School (Laval)
Charles-Lemoyne College (South Shore)
NBA Academy Latin America (Mexico City)
University of Arizona (Tucson)
Drafted in the NBA, at the sixth overall, by the Indiana Pacers
PHOTO COURTESY / NBA CANADA
Seconds after being drafted sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, Bennedict Mathurin rolled his eyes at the thought of his late brother Dominique.
In his neck, a chain bearing a sparkling « domixworld » pendant paid tribute to the man who, at the age of 15, was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle. Bennedict was then 12 years old.
“It was his dream to play in the NBA and with this chain, he is always with me, confided the new color holder of the Pacers, when questioned by the author of these lines. That’s why I’m here, on behalf of my brother. Everywhere I go, he is next to me.
Just before the repechage, Quebecer Martin Duquette, who was his basketball coach in elementary school, had taken the trouble to write a few words to his former student. In the firmament, a star would always shine, that of Dominique. Faced with those words, Bennedict agreed that was the message he needed to hear.
« I coached his brother Dominique before Benn, at the same school, he was his idol with his sister Jennifer, necessarily, » said Duquette, recalling the passage of the Mathurin family to Adélard-Desrosiers primary school, in Montreal North.
“It is sure that this accident touched us more than deeply, continued the teacher, the voice knotted by the emotion. I was present at the funeral… You should never see a child in a coffin.”
It was by continually thinking of Dominique that Bennedict ended up reaching the NBA. Determined, the 20-year-old athlete now intends to continue his momentum in the uniform of the Pacers.
« I’m very excited to know that I’m a Pacers player, » Mathurin said enthusiastically. I will have the chance to play with Tyrese [Haliburton]Chris [Duarte] and all the others. Tyrese is a good leader, he likes to pass the ball, I can’t wait to play with him. »
Mathurin also expressed his desire to one day represent Canada in the biggest international competitions.
« It’s always good to play for Team Canada and it’s something I want to do later on, » he said. I think the future is bright for Canadian basketball.”