NAME: Anthony Bennett
SCHOOL: UNLV Runnin' Rebels
POSITION: Power Forward
VITALS: 6’8”, 240 LBS
AVERAGES (1 season): 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG; 35 GAMES
ACCOLADES: 2012-13 Mountain West Freshman of the Year
5-Star Recruit (Top 10 in CBS/ESPN/Rivals polls)
First Team all-Mountain West Conference (only Freshman on team)
1. How is this prospect perceived on campus / how will he be remembered?
Though only gracing Las Vegas’ presence for one school year, Anthony Bennett took only that amount of time to make his statement as one of the best front-court players the Rebels have ever seen. Bennett’s ability to be a strong presence in the lane from his sheer size, combined with his ability to adequately drain shots from the perimeter, made him one of the most dominant forces on Dave Rice’s new tenure.
2. What anecdote or story best typifies his time at UNLV?
Bennett’s time at UNLV was probably best remembered by his consistency, instead of perhaps one single moment. It’s well known that he played in all 35 games this past season; starting 32 of them; never missing a practice. He recorded 12 double-doubles, with 20 or more points scored in 13 games this season.
3. What parts of the prospect's game do you think need more attention?
Because of his size, one of the concerns about Bennett’s game has been ability to get back on the ball. The transition game has never been the strongest, but like any draft prospect we present to you here, these aspects are all treatable. Some might chide Bennett for his lack of overall “will” to play more aggressively on defense; and one hopes he didn’t view UNLV as a simple “stepping stone” to the NBA and held back anything on the court.
4. What will fans of the NBA love and/or hate about this prospect?
If your team is in need of a post player who can score with the dunk or tip-in, you want a guy like Bennett. If your team is in need of a perimeter guy who can drain threes, you want a guy like Bennett. If your team is in need of a physical presence that can block shots with his length and grab his share of defensive rebounds, you want a guy like Bennett.
5. Anything else you wish to share about him?
Fans who know anything about Bennett will know about his health history. At Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, Bennett was injury-prone, and was unable to fulfill complete seasons. Though mostly unaffected by this in his single year at UNLV, just this past May, Bennett had surgery on his left rotator cuff to repair a superior labral tear. Teams will need to look past his unavailability for the rest of the summer while he continues to heal, and draft based on potential and historical performance.
Final Projection: Early first round. Some draft outlooks have him going 3rd overall, others 4th.