With Johnathan Loyd heading into his senior season, the Oregon basketball program needed another point guard to go with Dominic Artis in 2014. With the commitment of Tempe, Ariz. (Corona Del Sol HS) product Casey Benson, the Ducks have their man.
The news was first reported by Josh Gershon of Scout.com.
The 6-3 Benson also held offers from schools such as Creighton, Nebraska, Stanford and Arizona State according to 247Sports.com. Named Gatorade State Player of the Year after his junior season, Benson led Corona Del Sol to a Division I state title with averages of 20.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
In addition to his work on the floor, Benson also maintained a 3.93 GPA.
“In addition to being a tremendous player, Casey Benson is a true leader and very coachable,” Corona del Sol head coach Sam Duane told USA Today when the honor was announced. “He is very competitive and he makes players around him better. He does not care about individual stats and only cares about what it takes to win.”
If everyone with eligibility remaining returns for the 2014-15 season Oregon has the potential to be a very difficult team to stop on the perimeter. In addition to Artis and Benson there’s also shooting guard Damyean Dotson, who earned Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors last season, and Houston transfer Joseph Young.
It remains to be see whether or not Young’s request for an immediate eligibility waiver is granted, but whenever he’s allowed to play Oregon head coach Dana Altman will have a very good scorer at his disposal.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.