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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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Keith Benson won't get ALL the recognition he deserves from the Summit League

Reigning Summit League Player of the Year Keith Benson, also recently voted Summit Preseason Player of the Year, just received his first player of the week endorsement from the league. A couple questions to ask: Can he win the award each remaining week through March and 2. Why didn't he get the award the previous two weeks?
"He probably should get it every week," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said during a WXOU radio broadcast Monday. "I don't even pay attention. I didn't even know he got it.
"The bottom line is, if he's cutting down the nets in March, he's had a successful year. If he's not and he's been Summit Player of the Week 57 times, who cares."
Benson averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds, 4.7 blocked shots and three assists in three games during the week. In a victory over Austin Peay, one of his 22 rebounds was a kick out to Reggie Hamilton, who hit the game-tying shot. The Grizzlies went to overtime and won the game.
"He made the all-tournament team this weekend and I threw the plaque at him and said 'Here, they said to give this to you,' " Kampe said.
"This is a team event. It says 'Oakland' across the front of the jersey. Kito can do some of the stuff he can do because of what the other players do. They get him the ball. They are good enough they can't put five guys on (Benson)."
As good as he is, the league isn't going to give the award to Benson each, week, regardless whether he is the league's best player.
The award was given most recently to UMKC's Jay Couisnard and was shared by North Dakota State's Michael Tveidt and South Dakota State's Nate Wolters. Not to say those guys didn't have good games, but I would argue Oakland's non-conference schedule is by far the most challenging of any in the league. That being said, Benson is still posting great numbers every time he takes the court in a tough game like West Virginia or Purdue. It's as if the league requires a player to WIN games to be given consideration for the award.
When things were crumbling versus ranked teams last year, Benson was the one who played like his normal self. That trend seems to be continuing.
Kito is a guy who's being projected as high as the late first round of the NBA draft from a largely unrecognized mid-major and the league is saying he's not the best player in the conference week in and week out?
"He's probably good enough he could get it every time he steps on the court," Kampe said.
I'm all for fairness to other players, but maybe this season they should give out two awards each week — one for Benson, the actual player of the week, and another for the runner(s)-up.

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