Atlanta Hawks draft Keith Benson in 2011 NBA Draft
The Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night selected center/forward Keith Benson from Oakland University with the 48th overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
“Keith brings height, length, and the ability to score the ball and defend,” said Hawks Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel Dave Pendergraft. “We like his potential and had him projected to go early in the second round. He has good anticipation and is an exceptional shot-blocker, with wiry strength.”
“I’m very happy with the pick, Keith certainly has a tremendous upside to his game,” said Hawks Head Coach Larry Drew. “He’s a shot-blocker with tremendous length. As a team, we hope to improve defensively next season and what better way to do that than to draft one of the top shot-blockers in college basketball.”
An AP All-America Honorable Mention pick as a junior and senior, Benson averaged 14.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg and 2.7 bpg (.558 FG%, .379 3FG%, .679 FT%) in 135 career games for the Golden Grizzlies, while setting the Summit League record for career blocked shots (363) and the school mark for double-doubles (48).
As a senior, the 6’11 Benson averaged 17.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.6 bpg and 1.1 apg (.547 FG%, .643 FT%) en route to his second consecutive Summit League Player of the Year award while also garnering Defensive Player of the Year honors. He tallied 17.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 3.3 bpg (.533 FG%, .724 FT%) in his junior season.
Keith A. Benson, Jr. was born August 13, 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio before attending Detroit Country Day High School in Michigan. His uncle Emanuel Leaks played in the NBA for Philadelphia and Washington, while his father Keith, Sr. played collegiately at Jackson State, and another uncle, Hilton Hale played at both Northwestern and San Diego State. His family also has collegiate ties to the Atlanta area, as his mother attended Spelman College and his grandfather attended Morehouse University.
He will wear uniform number 13.