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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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Benson impresses at NBA Combine

It comes as no secret to those who have been paying attention to Oakland hoops outside of the NCAA tournament the past two years, but center Keith Benson appears to be introducing himself to a new audience of potential employers at the Chicago job fair.

Here's a sampling of what the impressed sightseers said via Twitter Friday afternoon:
  • @rpravato (Stacheketball contributor): Chuckling at all these people just now figuring out who Keith Benson is
  • @vgoodwill (Detroit News): Keith Benson outjumped the marker in workouts. Meaning he jumped past 12 feet. #WOW
  • @Patrick_Hayes (Great Lakes Hoops/Pistons Powered contributor): Always underrated athletically
News out of Chicago during measurement day Friday is that Benson leaped up and touched higher than the 12-foot measuring stick given to prospective NBA players. Several tweets from reporters insinuated Benson is doing incredible things there, but you're probably used to that.
One report said Benson was smaller than listed at Oakland, and that could be a potential detractor for teams, because the one knock on Benson has always been his size.
MLive reported Friday that Benson doesn't yet have a date to work out for the Pistons, but does expect to line something up. He told the Detroit Free Press playing for his home team would be "huge." Kito could fit the bill for the Pistons, who have two second-round picks, Nos. 33 and 52 in the June 23 mixer.
Benson ranks in the second half of a recent top-10 list of center prospects.
"He's got the requisite size and terrific hops, but needs to get much stronger," the reports says.
Projections usually have Benson going late in the first round or early second, and multiple mock drafts have him settling down in Boston after the Celtics dearly missed big man Kendrick Perkins this postseason. Some prognosticators have him joining fellow Summit League alum George Hill in San Antonio. Hill went No. 26 to the Spurs in 2008. Valparaiso legend and new coach Bryce Drew went No. 16 back in 1998. Benson would of course become the first Oakland player drafted by an NBA team, but Rawle Marshall played in the NBA for Dallas and Indiana from 2005-2007 after signing with the Mavericks as an undrafted free agent.
Pretty good job done by not only Benson, who recently signed with agent Leon Rose (LeBron, Carmelo, Dwyane Wade), but the Oakland staff that snatched him away from Fairfield along the recruiting trail.


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