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Benson taking a hook shot

Michael Kent Benson (born December 27, 1954 in New Castle, Indiana) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player.

Contents

High school career

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New Castle Chrysler High School(IN)

1969-1973

Kent Benson attended New Castle Chrysler High School, located in New Castle, Indiana, home of the New Castle Trojans. He was named Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" in 1973.

College career

Indiana University

1973-1974

Kent attended Indiana University, located in Bloomington, Indiana, where he played college basketball for coach Bobby Knight. As a freshman, Benson averaged 9.3 points per game, while shooting 50.4 percent. He helped lead Indiana to the CCAT Championship and onto a 23-5 record and a Big Ten title.

1974-1975

In his sophomore season, Kent Benson helped lead the Hoosiers to an undefeated conference record (18-0) and onto an Elite Eight appearance, where hey lost their only game on the season to Kentucky. Helping lead the team to a 31-1 record on the season, he averaged 15 points and 8.9 rebounds a game.

1975-1976

With seniors Quinn Buckner and Scott May, he led Indiana University to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in the 1975-76 season. That season, they were undefeated throughout the entire regular and post season. That team was the last Division I Men's Basketball team to accomplish that feat. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game on the season with his college season high of 57.8 percent from the field. He scored his career high of 38 points against Michigan State.

1976-1977

After a perfect season record during his junior year, "Benny" became the lone star for Indiana after May and Buckner both left after their senior years for the next level. He averaged 19.8 points and 10.4 rebounds a game his senior season. He led them to a 16-11 record but received no post season appearance. He was named the Big Ten's player of the year while being named an All-American for two straight seasons.

College notes

Kent Benson ended his college career with 1,740 points, 1,031 rebounds and finished with a 71.5 free throw and 53.6 field goal percentage. He is currently the number two rebounder in school history.

Professional career

1977-1988

After graduating from Indiana University in 1977, he was the number one draft pick of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Two minutes into his very first game as a professional however, Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar punched Benson breaking his jaw in retaliation for an overly aggressive elbow. It happened that Abdul-Jabbar broke his hand and was out for two months; otherwise, he could have potentially inflicted serious harm and warranted a suspension.

In his 1990 autobiography Drive: The Story of My Life, Larry Bird describes how Kent Benson taught him to be nice to freshmen. In 1974, Bird entered Indiana University on a basketball scholarship when Benson was a sophomore at Indiana. Kent Benson was one of the players at Indiana who consistently ribbed on Bird; so much so that in conjunction with other reasons, Bird left Indiana University before the basketball season ever began and never returned. In the book, Bird said he would try extra hard to defeat an NBA team if Kent Benson was playing.

Benson spent 11 solid, but not particularly remarkable, seasons in the NBA with Milwaukee, Detroit, Utah and 2 games for Cleveland in February 1988. He averaged 9.1PPG in 680 regular season games. He wore Jersey #54 for his entire career.

External links

Preceded by
Richard Washington
NCAA Basketball Tournament
Most Outstanding Player
(men's)

1976
Succeeded by
Butch Lee
Preceded by
John Lucas
NBA first overall draft pick
1977 NBA Draft
Succeeded by
Mychal Thompson

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