Location, location, location.
Anthony Bennett – not the famous crooner, whose real name is Anthony Benedetto, for the record – is from Canada and stars at Nevada’s Findlay Prep, but it’s unclear where he’s going to go from there.
However, last month, Bennett narrowed his choices down to UNLV, Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and Washington.
“The pressure now has been lifted because I can now deal with just these five schools and watch the teams play and the coaches coach their teams.”
Well, there is no longer pressure on his end. But those who are chasing Bennett – the No. 7 overall player in the class of 2012 and the fourth-best power forward – still are feeling the heat.
Why are schools fawning over him?
The 6-foot-7 Bennett possesses a combination of skills that make him a dangerous offensive player – including a bruising post-up game in which he uses his 235 pounds and an ability to face up and shoot the ball.
Most impressively, the native of Brampton, Ontario, looks like a player ready for high Division I with his sculpted body that’s reminiscent of former Connecticut forward Jeff Adrien – an enviable build for a power forward in college basketball.
Bennett does his damage in Henderson, NV, which is a hop, skip and jump from Las Vegas. As such, UNLV is hot on the trail for Bennett’s services – and hopes to team him up with Shabazz Muhammad, the similarly undecided No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2012, who plays at Sin City’s Bishop Gorman.
“They have been on me for a while. I’m really attracted to the new style of play with the new coaching staff,” Bennett told ESPN.com, speaking of UNLV. “Their players show up to my games and give me support. I was impressed when they beat North Carolina.
“It shows me that they can compete and win against the best teams in the country.”
One of those players supporting Bennett, Khem Birch, transferred last month from Pittsburgh to UNLV. He also happens to be a friend of Bennett’s from the pair’s days growing up in Canada. Birch said he has talked to Bennett “a hundred million times about UNLV,” according to the Las Vegas Sun, but leaves the decision up to his friend.
“That would be pretty cool, especially with Khem Birch already there. That would be cool to (be in the lineup) with both those guys,” Bennett told the newspaper, speaking of playing with both Muhammad and Birch. If those three were all playing for UNLV by the end of 2012, it would remind Runnin’ Rebel fans of the glory days in the early 1990s with the likes of Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon (currently an assistant for the team) and Greg Anthony.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other schools on Bennett’s radar. He already has taken an unofficial visit to Kentucky, which Bennett told ESPN.com he likes because he feels “close” to the coaching staff and knows that the program produces a lot of NBA players.
Speaking to ESPN, he cites Florida’s success with inside players Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Udonis Haslem, while he acknowledges that Oregon has players at his position that will be leaving next season.
And then there’s Washington – a school that has put on a full-court press for Bennett’s services for a while – which Bennett told ESPN plays the fast style of basketball that he prefers.
However, we have a feeling that it will come down to staying home at UNLV or heading to play at the basketball factory known as John Calipari’s Kentucky program – similar to the decision facing Muhammad.
So maybe Birch should mention the Rebels a hundred million more times.