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Ben Bentil Declares for 2016 NBA Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 19:  Ben Bentil #0 of the Providence Friars reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 19, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2017

Providence Friars forward Ben Bentil will reportedly enter the 2016 NBA draft, per Scout.com's Evan Daniels.

ESPN's Jeff Goodman later confirmed the news. 

Daniels added, however, that Bentil hasn't signed with an agent, which allows him to remove his name from the draft pool if he so chooses. In January, the NCAA and NBA agreed to extend the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft to up to 10 days after the draft combine, which runs May 11-15 this year.

Bentil is the second Friars star to potentially leave school early after point guard Kris Dunn confirmed to Goodman on Tuesday that he's headed to the NBA. The sophomore was Providence's leading scorer, averaging 21.1 points a game. Between Bentil and Dunn, head coach Ed Cooley might have to replace a combined 37.5 points, 13 rebounds and 7.3 assists a game.

While Dunn is widely considered a lottery pick, Bentil's draft outlook is a little more murky. ESPN's Chad Ford considered him a late first-rounder or early second-rounder:

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman had the Utah Jazz selecting Bentil with the 54th overall pick:

Bentil, along with the rest of Providence's lineup, had a rough game against Villanova in the Big East tournament. But prior to that, he'd gone for 38 points against Butler and averaged 29.4 points over his last five games. 

At 6'9", 235 pounds, he's a beast around the basket, and he's shown he can step out and knock down jumpers (1.5 threes made per game). Bentil isn't a great athlete, rebounder or rim protector, but his offensive game has created some buzz over the last month of the season.

Yahoo Sports' Brad Evans believes Bentil has a bright future ahead at the next level:

Bentil had a breakout 2015-16 campaign, with his per-game averages skyrocketing in comparison to his freshman year:

Ben Bentil—Per-Game Averages
SeasonGPTSFG%3P%FT%REBAST
2014-15346.4.436.300.6954.90.6
2015-163521.1.462.329.7827.71.1
Source: Sports-Reference.com

As Wasserman argued, Bentil doesn't excel in any one category. When one adds up the totality of his skill set, though, it's easy to see why he'd be considered an NBA prospect. Good rebounders don't tend to be good shooters and vice versa.

Still, it's fair to wonder whether Bentil might benefit more in the long run from another year in college. He's almost certain to hear his name on draft night if he fully commits to the NBA in May, but he's smart to hedge his bets and not hire an agent.

Bentil could have a great combine and become a surefire first-rounder. In the event his stock doesn't demonstrably rise, though, he'll have the chance to come back to Providence for another season and answer some of the doubts about his game.

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