Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slow Down on NBA Talk for Bennett

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slow Down on NBA Talk for Bennett

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

It's hopefully a good thing for Jason Bennett that he signed with Kansas State and a basketball coach, Bob Huggins, who he believes will help him eventually reach the NBA. But it might be best to tone down the hype for the Arlington Country Day center because, despite his improvement over the past year, Bennett's ability to dominate at the next level isn't a sure thing.

At Bennett's signing ceremony Wednesday, ACD headmaster Fred Lichtward laid the P.T. Barnum act on pretty thick when he proclaimed to the student assembly: "J.B. Bennett will be in the Final Four in his second season [at Kansas State], " and "he runs the floor better than any 7-footer in America."

The truth is Bennett is a mixture of raw talent and promise, but his game needs polishing. The work-ethic adjustment, especially with the demanding Huggins barking at him, will be a significant upgrade from ACD. If Huggins ends up signing two 2007 top prospects, point guard O.J. Mayo and forward Bill Walker, from Cincinnati's North College Hill next year to join Bennett, then K-State will have the foundation to reach lofty goals.

Until then, the best thing for Bennett is to put aside this two-year plan to reach the NBA and simply focus on becoming a better player. The job is hard enough for any big man without burdening him too soon with unrealistic expectations. . . .

If NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch are going to sustain this rift between them, and their significant others are going to engage in garage catfights, how much longer before ESPN attempts to turn this soap opera into a reality show and call it The Rumble Bs? . . .

Once Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan signs his new contract extension, it will be interesting to see if the raise from his current annual salary of $1. …

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