Move over Grandmama. You have company when it comes to being a UNLV player taken first overall in the NBA Draft.
Forward Anthony Bennett, a little over one year after helping lead nearby Findlay Prep to the 2012 national high school national championship, was the surprise No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday night by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bennett will join another Findlay Prep product, Tristan Thompson, in Cleveland. Both are from nearby Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
Bennett, who averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while earning first team all-Mountain West Conference honors as a freshman, joins Larry Johnson as the only UNLV players to go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. Johnson, who went on to earn NBA Rookie of the Year honors with the Charlotte Hornets and star in a Converse shoe commercial as “Grandmama,” went No. 1 in 1991.
Bennett also is the first Canadian born player to go No. 1 as well as the first Rebel freshman ever drafted. According to ESPN Stats & Info, UNLV has never had a sophomore drafted in Common Draft era (since 1966).
“It’s a great honor,” Bennett said on ESPN after the pick. “I’m speechless right now. I don’t even know what to say.”
Ironically, some mock drafts had Bennett slipping into the bottom half of the lottery after he reportedly gained 20 pounds following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in May that forced him to skip team workouts.
— Steve Guiremand/MyLVsports
Check out the big moment in the video below: