UNLV Runnin' Rebels star forward Anthony Bennett officially declared he would be entering the 2013 NBA draft at a press conference Monday.
An emotional Bennett cited being projected to be a top lottery pick and being able to take care of his family as the main reasons he would be leaving the college game after one season of play.
Bennett had a very successful freshman year with UNLV, averaging 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 53 percent from the field and 37 percent from three.
The ability to score inside and out makes Bennett a dual threat on the offensive end, and the 6’8” forward’s ability to crash the boards adds another element to his game that will attract potential suitors.
Although considered to be undersized at 6’8” for a typical NBA power forward, Bennett’s athleticism and 7’1” wingspan should ease any general manager's doubts that the Canadian-born Bennett won't have the same kind of success in the NBA as he did in college.
The biggest knock on Bennett’s game while at UNLV was his lack of effort on the defensive end. During the 2012-13 season, Bennett had flashes of a solid defensive skill set, but the lack of consistency leaves many to question how Bennett will adjust once in the NBA.
Chad Ford of ESPN has Bennett projected as the No. 5 draft pick with his stock on the rise, so being chosen even earlier should not surprise anyone.
Bennett, if chosen in the top 14 as projected, will become the first lottery pick out of UNLV since Marcus Banks was picked 13th by the Memphis Grizzlies (traded to the Boston Celtics) in 2003.