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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Kito looking forward to another highly successful season

With the announcement that he will return to Oakland for his senior season, center Keith Benson remained upbeat and looked forward to leading the Grizzlies in their defense of the Summit League title.
“I want to have a winning, successful season and win some of the bigger games in the non-conference schedule and get back to the tournament,” Benson said.
Benson was unable to work out for any teams due to an injured right thumb, which will require surgery, scheduled for next week. The injury forced the Summit League Player of the Year to withdraw from NBA Draft consideration, citing it was a risky proposition relying on stats and hearsay to get him drafted, and Friday announced his returned for a senior season.
Benson and other NCAA underclassmen who have declared for the NBA Draft have until May 8, provided they have not hired an agent, to return to school.
The injury turned up during a routine physical and Benson said he only noticed the pain when drawing contact. He suspected the injury occurred during the Grizzlies’ visit to Seattle in December. The surgery will strengthen the ligament in his thumb.
The NCAA tournament-bound Grizzlies of a few months ago were largely spurred by the all-around play of the 6-foot-11 center, but led by seniors Derick Nelson and Johnathon Jones. Benson said he’s ready to take next year’s team on his back.
“I’m going to step into a leadership role, and a lot of things rested on me last year, so I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a difference this year, even though we had those seniors there for the leadership part of it,” he said.
Benson is scheduled to receive his bachelor’s degree in integrated studies Saturday and said he plans on studying architectural design, a subject he said he’s been thinking about for the past couple years, next year.
Benson’s return likely makes the Golden Grizzlies the early favorite to repeat as Summit League champions.

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