Bennett Announces He Will Declare For NBA Draft
April 1, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV men's basketball freshman forward Anthony Bennett announced that he intends to declare for the 2013 NBA Draft at a press conference in the Mendenhall Center on Monday.
He was also named honorable mention Associated Press All-America as the organization announced its awards on Monday.
Sitting alongside UNLV head coach Dave Rice, an emotional Bennett announced his decision in front of a gathering of Las Vegas-area media, several teammates and the entire Runnin' Rebel coaching staff around 3 p.m.
"This is a great opportunity for me to be able to support my family, but I know it is not going to be easy," Bennett said. "I am ready to learn and work hard. As you can see, I have mixed emotions about this. It is not the easiest decision to make. A lot of things made it a tough decision: the fans, my teammates and the coaches to name a few.
"I became a better man and a better player by coming to UNLV. Even though I won't be wearing the UNLV jersey any more, I will always be a Runnin' Rebel for life."
Bennett, who is from Brampton, Ontario, and went to Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nev., is the first player in UNLV history to come to the program out of high school and leave for the NBA after one season. Shawn Marion played one season at UNLV (1998-99) before leaving and getting drafted ninth overall, but he started his collegiate career at Vincennes, a junior college in Indiana.
"Today is a very important day for our program," Rice said. "We celebrate Anthony Bennett, a great Runnin' Rebel, and the tremendous impact that he has had on our program, as well as the great national exposure that he has brought to UNLV."
Bennett's AP All-America honor marks the second straight year a Runnin' Rebel was named honorable mention AP All-America as Mike Moser became UNLV's first recipient since 2003 at the end of the 2011-12 season. Bennett is the 11th Runnin' Rebel to earn honorable mention AP All-America.
Bennett also became the first UNLV player to be named Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 13 years, was named as a member of the Sporting News' All-Freshman Team and was also a part of the United States Basketball Writers Association's Freshman All-America Team. In addition, he was a first-team National Association of Basketball Coaches' All-District 17 selection, was one of 15 players appearing on the final ballot of the John R. Wooden Award and was included as a finalist for the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy and Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the National Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively. He was also named to the list of top 30 candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year Award.
Bennett was also named First Team All-Mountain West and to the USBWA's All-District VIII Team as well as selected to the MW Championships All-Tournament Team.
For the season, Bennett played in all 35 games, starting 32 of them. He led the team and ranked seventh in the MW with a scoring average of 16.1 ppg and paced the team and ranked fifth in the conference with 8.1 rebounds per game. He was second on the team with 43 blocked shots and his 1.2 blocks per game average was fourth in the league. He also led the team in 3-point shooting percentage at .375.
He recorded 12 double-doubles on the year, which ranked third in the country among freshmen, and had at least 20 points in 13 games this season. He scored in double digits in 28 of 35 games, including a run of his first 17 games on the college level.
The Runnin' Rebels finished the season with a record of 25-10 and earned their fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid, making their sixth appearance in the Big Dance in the last seven years - only 11 other teams in the country have matched that.