Providence power forward Ben Bentil will enter this year’s NBA draft, a source told Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link). He won’t hire an agent right away, Daniels hears, so he’ll retain his college eligibility if he pulls out in advance of the May 25th withdrawal deadline. The sophomore had an impressive closing kick to the season, and rankings are split, as he checks in at No. 27 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him as only the 58th-best prospect. One Eastern Conference executive recently told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops that Bentil would go late in the first round or early in the second.
Bentil, who turns 21 next week, scored 21 or more points in six of his last eight games this season, including a 38-point explosion against Butler in the Big East tournament. He followed it with a three-point dud in Providence’s loss to Villanova the next day, but he also has a 42-point, 12-rebound effort from February 10th against Marquette on his resume. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds overall, leading the Big East in scoring even though he shared the floor with teammate and top-10 prospect Kris Dunn, who’s also entering the draft.
This season has been a breakthrough for the 6’9″ Bentil, who averaged only 6.4 points per game as a freshman. He showed some promise of developing a 3-point stroke, averaging 4.5 attempts per game and nailing a passable 32.9% of them. His defense could use some improvement, according to Ford, so it remains to be seen if he can develop into a two-way player at the NBA level.