- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
Anthony Bennett (Brampton, Ontario/Findlay Prep), the best remaining player in the 2012 class, has narrowed it down to two schools -- UNLV and Oregon -- after eliminating Kentucky and Florida recently.
Once he chooses UNLV or Oregon, he will be expected to be one of the main guys right away. Bennett is a hybrid scorer who has the body of a power forward in terms of width and girth, but not height, as he stands 6-foot-7. His skill level is terrific as he knocks down deep shots and punishes like-size defenders in the paint with power and finesse. He makes up for his lack of height with his 7-foot-plus wing span that enables him to contest shots, rebound and get deflections and steals.
If UNLV is to land the local product, who plays for Findlay Prep, it would send shock waves through the MWC and the nation. He would join fellow ESPN 100 recruit, SG Katin Reinhardt (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Mater Dei) who is battle tested playing at Mater Dei under legendary coach Gary McKnight. Reinhart is a long-range shooter who has a scorer's mentality and good vision to make the assist when needed.
On top of that, coach Dave Rice is bringing in two immediate impact transfers in center Khem Birch from Pitt and shooting guard Brice Jones from USC. Birch will impact the game with his shot blocking and by attacking the rim, while Jones can impact the game with his handle, passing and dribble penetration.
A roster with Bennett, Reinhardt, Birch and Jones, as well as the return of all-league player Mike Moser, would put the MWC on notice and there would be a whole new level of excitement for the Rebels nationally.
If Oregon is to land Bennett, it would continue the the Pac-12's huge comeback in recruiting.
Coach Dana Altman is building off the momentum of a 24-win season and a tie for second place with California in the Pac-12. The Ducks are doing a good job of attracting talent to campus as their top recruit for next year is ESPN 100 PG Dominic Artis (Richmond, Calif./Findlay Prep), who just happens to be Bennett's teammate.
Artis has really stepped his game up a notch at Findlay Prep under Michael Peck. He is a scoring point guard who understands how to run a team and possesses a 3-point shot to stretch a defense and the important floater, once in the lane. The familiarity and chemistry between Artis and Bennett is an inviting situation for Bennett as he can be one of the top scorers in the conference next year, along with returning forward E.J. Singler.