Thursday, November 4, 2010

Expectations: Keith Benson

We realize that Oakland will need a complete team effort in order to be successful this season. A major part of that team, however, is center Keith Benson. His presence in the post gives the Golden Grizzlies an advantage over all other Summit League teams and helps to even match-ups against some of the power-six squads. Benson's performances this season will directly impact his standing in the NBA draft circles. The expectations for him are clearly high, as coverage throughout the off-season indicates. In dedicating one of these expectations posts to a single player, we do so to bring light to the overwhelming expectations facing Benson in 2010-11. Let's take a look back on some of the expectations heaped upon the OU big man this off-season.
  • Named one of top non-BCS players to watch in 2010-11 by (link)
  •'s 2010-11 All-Senior Second team (link)
  • First-teamer for's Preseason All-Low Major Team (link)
  • Made ESPN's Andy Katz's list of top 2011 draft prospects (link)
  • Featured on Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman's Mock 2011 NBA Draft (link)
  • ESPN's Fran Fraschilla's "Ten Players To Know" From Small Conferences (link)
  • Ranked the ninth best center NBA prospect by (link)
  • Ranked 36th on's Preseason Top 50 Players (link)
  • Checks in as the sixth best senior NBA prospect from (link)
  • Shows up on Luke Winn's ( Naismith Award watch list (link)
  • Part of's Low-Major Frontcourts to Watch in 2010-11 (link)
  • One of six "upper midwest" players named to Rush The Court's Impact Players (link)
  • Named one of Blue Ribbon's Top 10 players in the country outside of Big 6 conferences (link)
  • Projected as Summit League Player of the Year by every major preseason preview print publication
  • Preseason Summit League Player of the Year as voted on by coaches, athletic directors, and media members of The Summit League
In addition to being included on all of these preseason lists, Benson was also the subject of a few national media stories this summer. featured him on the front of its website to go along with an excellent story by Steve Megargee (link). Jeff Goodman of also ran a feature story on the redshirt center, a rarity for an outlet with a power-six focus (link). And just the other week, Benson was at the center of an article on Yahoo! Sports' NCAA basketball blog, The Dagger (link). Clearly, this type of exposure takes the Oakland program into uncharted territory. And with the added publicity will come additional pressure to perform. After all, no one will be surprised by Benson this season. He'll have to earn every basket and every rebound with teams and high-profile players gunning for him. We know a lot about Benson already, but we'll learn a lot more in 2010-11. After all the coverage, we will find out just how well he can respond when under the national microscope.

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