Here's a 19-year-old athlete the country should be ready to lose its mind over. By this time next year, Brampton, Ont.'s Anthony Bennett will be in the NBA.
The reaction by basketball insiders south of the border on Sunday only confirmed what Canadian eyes have seen, but it was a-star-is-born stuff. Bennett led his UNLV Rebels to a last-second 76-75 win over the California Golden Bears and kick-started the hype machine for the NBA draft. The main post-game story from a UNLV perspective was their best experienced forward, Mike Moser, suffered a serious injury. The buzz was about Bennett, who had a man-sized 25 points and 13 rebounds and threw down a nasty dunk late in the game that set mouths to "salivate."
Bennett has been pegged as part of a coming golden generation in Canadian hoops for some time, especially after helping the national men's under-17 team win a bronze medal at the world championship in 2010. Observers also knew UNLV was getting a 19-year-old with NBA potential coursing through that tank-like 6-foot-8 frame when Bennett chose to play in Las Vegas rather than for John Calipari at Kentucky. Crushing it against Cal seemed to launched him to another strata. Never mind that Bennett has only played eight games for UNLV. It tends to happen that fast with one-and-done freshmen.