Prospect Profile: Anthony Bennett

April 7 2013 at 1:45pm CST By Zach Links

Last week, UNLV star Anthony Bennett officially announced that he'll forego his sophomore season and enter the 2013 draft.  In his freshman year for the Runnin' Rebels, Bennett averaged 16.1 PPG and 8.1 RPG and shot 53.3% from the floor in 27.1 minutes per contest, but doesn't have the household name of other top prospects like Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and Kansas' Ben McLemore.  If you're not among those that are familiar with Bennett, now is a good time to start.

The Canadian import stands at 6'7" but you wouldn't know it based on the way that he pushes around taller opponents.  At the same time, he has a more diverse offensive skillset than most big men out there as well.  Bennett is comfortable with the ball in his hands and can slash to the basket, shoot from the perimeter, and score in the paint.  While he doesn't have the same ceiling, his offensive range at the power forward position is reminiscent of former Syracuse standout Derrick Coleman.  He still has a great deal of potential in his own right, however, and his offense get even stronger if he can develop a back-to-the-basket game.

Defensively, Bennett has a ways to go.  He has the athleticism to be a strong defender but never seemed to apply himself to it while at UNLV.  Whether that's due to the scoring that was demanded of him or just a matter of attitude, it's something that will have to change at the next level, especially when Bennett is charged with guarding full-sized frontcourt players.  In UNLV's first round defeat to Cal this year, backup center Robert Thurman gave Bennett trouble on both sides of the floor as he used his size and muscle to his advantage.  NBA scouts will certainly test Bennett with bigger opponents in workouts but if he gets by without too much trouble, the forward should be a top ten selection.  

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