UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett on Monday afternoon made official what had suspected for months – that he’s putting his name into the 2013 NBA Draft’s pool of underclassmen.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pounder from Findlay Prep in Henderson is considered a top-five lottery pick after averaging a team-best 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range for the Runnin’ Rebels. He earned first team all-Mountain West honors and also is a finalist for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award.
What caught many off guard was how emotional Bennett was. His voice cracked several times during the press conference during which he also blotted away tears at times. Even 30 minutes after the press conference he was still seen wiping tears away as he hugged his now ex-teammates and coaches.
“I feel it’s a great opportunity for me,” Bennett said. “I know its not going to be easy but I’m ready to learn and work hard, and support the family. As you can see, I have mixed emotions about this. It’s not the easiest decision I’ve made in my life, but I’m pretty happy about it.”
Bennett, who will likely be the first Rebel since Marcus Banks in 2003 to be drafted in the first round, also made it a point to praise UNLV’s fans as well as his teammates and coaches. Check out what Bennett and UNLV coach Dave Rice had to say in the video below.