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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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Status update: Oakland’s two other potential pros

The NBA draft is still nearly two months away, but 6-foot-11 center Keith Benson has come to terms with an agent, but not yet signed, according to Oakland coach Greg Kampe. Benson flirted with the draft last season, before withdrawing after a physical revealed damage to his right thumb, which needed immediate surgery. He returned for another romp through the Summit League, and will head to New Jersey for the draft if he is one of the picks invited out east.
If you watched the Golden Grizzlies at all this season, you probably noticed Benson isn’t the only pro talent on the roster. Guard Larry Wright, a Saginaw native who transferred to Oakland from St. John’s two years ago to be closer to his family, is near a deal with a German professional team, Kampe said. Wright was rewarded for his patience, as Oakland's shuffling at the point guard position resulted in a reserve role for Wright, when he was awarded the Summit League's Sixth Man of the Year award.
Proficient rebounder Will Hudson is near signing with an agent and has hopes of getting invited to an NBA summer league.
“He’s got NBA aspirations,” Kampe said of Hudson, a second-team all-league pick.
“I’ve had calls interested in him for summer leagues, if there is a summer league,” Kampe said, noting the NBA’s current labor unrest which could result in another lockout for the league.
“Everybody is bracing for the worst and it’s bad for Will.
“He’s not going to get drafted, so his best chance is going to a summer camp and playing well. Not only does it enhance his chances of making an NBA roster, it gives him a better chance at a job in Europe.”
If Wright and Hudson make it overseas, they would join the hordes of former Oakland players to make the voyage. Benson would be the second Oakland player in the NBA, but the first to get drafted. Rawle Marshall, who starred on the 2005 Cinderella Oakland team which made the program’s first entry to the NCAA tournament, made the Dallas Mavericks’ roster out of their summer league roster. He played two seasons before moving overseas.


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