Source says Rebels’ Bennett heading to the NBA

School sets press conference for 3 p.m. Monday, when the Rebels’ freshman forward will announce he’s leaving

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Anthony Bennett celebrates his 3-pointer against Boise State at the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett will announce his plans for next season during a press conference Monday at 3 p.m. in the Mendenhall Center, the school announced Friday afternoon. Listed by most projections as a top five pick, a source confirmed Bennett would forego his remaining eligibility and declare for June’s NBA Draft.

CBS Sports first reported Bennett's departure Sunday, though it's been expected by most people around the program since Bennett stepped on campus.

In his one season, Bennett led the team in points (16.1 per game) and rebounds (8.1) while earning first-team all-league, Mountain West Freshman of the Year and Wooden Award finalist honors, among others. Most recently Bennett and UNLV senior guard Anthony Marshall were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 17 teams. Bennett was on the first team, Marshall on the second.

Bennett is the first player in program history to come to UNLV out of high school and leave for the NBA after one season. Shawn Marion played one season at UNLV (1998-99) before leaving and getting drafted ninth overall in the NBA Draft, but he started his collegiate career at Vincennes University, a junior college in Indiana.

Barring something unforeseen, Bennett will be the first first-round Rebels pick since Marcus Banks (No. 13 overall) in 2003 and possibly the highest pick since J.R. Rider went No. 5 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1993. The Rebels have had four all-time top-five picks: Sidney Green (No. 5) in 1983, Armen Gilliam (No. 2) in 1987, Larry Johnson (No. 1) in 1991 and Rider.

The Rebels’ season, and Bennett’s UNLV career, ended last week in the Round of 64 with a 64-61 loss to Cal. Bennett had a lot of production late in that loss, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the 12th double-double of his career.

The NBA Draft is in New York on Thursday, June 27. The draft lottery, when the 14 teams that don’t make the NBA playoffs will find out the order they draft via ping-pong balls, is on Tuesday, May 21.

For UNLV, Bennett’s departure is far from a surprise and should help in the future. Bennett started the season as a fringe first round or early second round pick, according to most predictions. His vault into the lottery — the top 14 picks — and likely the top five could be huge for UNLV on the recruiting trail. The Rebels’ coaching staff can go into any home in the country and show that they’re capable of developing NBA talent.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. "The Rebels' coaching staff can go into any home in the country and show that they're capable of developing NBA talent."

    Yeah, right. If anything, he regressed, particularly after non-league play. A top coaching staff would have fixed that but didn't. Oh, they can use that as a recruiting tool--and we won't spill the beans--but anyone who watched the games knows differently.

  2. If this is true, thanks for coming to UNLV AB. Wished you stayed for one more season.

  3. blah blah blah blah blah. Coach Rice isn't going anywhere.

    Good Luck A-Beast. Do UNLV proud!

  4. What a mistake...he's a head case and he is not that good to be a first round pick. It's a shame that he is giving up a free college education that another kid would love to have if he could afford it.

  5. good riddance ball hog hot dog u will be a bench warmer and never a "player" in the nba---they will beat this kid up big time.

  6. What a waste. Didn't learn a thing in college and will be an unknown in the NBA after a couple seasons.

  7. All of his physical deficiencies can be corrected. However, I didn't like his mental makeup. I hope this was due to immaturity more than anything else.

  8. The system that allows and actually encourages the Bennetts of college basketball to play the 'one & done' game is about to make Anthony a VERY wealthy young man. NO ONE should blame the kid for 'declaring'...
    he's a slam-dunk to go high in the lottery.
    Multi-millionaire, Anthony Bennett.
    He's no doubt already 'reaping the benefits'...
    Welcome to the Show.

  9. Great talent, so so tude, AB you'll fit right in the league, best of luck

  10. i wonder if since he had in mind to move on if he really put out a meaningful effort in the rebels waning games.look at how ucla faltered and the similarities concerning shabazz muhammed.could it be said that these players were just mailing it in.maybe their handlers told them not to do much as to avoid injury.

  11. All I see are typical dumb responses from dumb Rebel fans. AB is predicted by most to be a top 5 NBA pick. No matter who you are, what school you're at, what your stats were in conference play, etc etc etc etc, you ALWAYS leave for the NBA if you're a projected top 5 pick. Turning that opportunity down would be like going back in time 10 years and not buying Google stock.

    And by the way, AB had offers from colleges all over the country pitching the "one and done" line, claiming they could set him up the best for the NBA. He chose to come to UNLV after being begged to do so by coaches and Las Vegas residents. He owes UNLV absolutely nothing, he owes UNLV fans absolutely nothing, and he owes the idiots slamming him on message boards even less. I appreciate the entertainment value and the national recognition he brought to the program, and as icing to the cake, he will add a top 5 NBA pick to Coach Rice's and UNLV's resume.

    If those of you being critical of his decision had any sense beyond your own petty desires, you'd realize that this is the best thing for him, for the program, and for UNLV.

  12. @UNLV-123 - You're 100% right that Anthony Bennett should leave and go pro. The people who think he would benefit from another year are idiots. He's not going any higher next year than he is this year.

  13. The NBA's go to school for one year rule is awful.

    Bennett was ready to go last year, would have been a first round pick and one year into his rookie deal. How the league gets away with this is unreal.

    As for my scouting report, AB was bored playing in college. His eyes were always on the next level, with the result being moderate but never full domination.

    When he does get drafted, time for him to rise and grind. The big boys up there will cut him no slack.

    Wish Bennett well.

    And wish Marshall well as he heads to Portsmouth. Likely overseas for him, but that's a nice way to earn some great money and see the world.

  14. Why would he stick around for a college education, have you heard him speak? Within 2 yrs it will be Bennett ? oh yeah I remember him now he's playing in Europe.

  15. Hope you learn to defend.

  16. He's too soft to do anything in the NBA, will be a short career. What an idiot.

  17. @ Audentes---- the NBA "gets away with it" because they are. Private company...they can do whatever they want when it comes to this...they are the employer....they can mandate college degree if they wanted to. Same as any other employer can require any educational requirement they want. People kill me when they complain about this stuff..........

  18. Plus I love it when idiots shout " they don't have a right to deny someone the right to work and feed the self!! Uuuuhhhhhhhh you aren't denied a right to work....feel free to put in scores of apps like the rest of us. Maurice claret tried the same song and dance........private company can require you to do pretty much what they want

  19. I hope we continue to get 1 and done talent like AB. It's a sign of a good program that can recruit.

    Our problem is not athletes like this, our problem is a coach who can recruit them but can't coach/motivate them properly in the short period of time we have them.

    I've toned down my position on Coach Rice, I think we should keep him as an assistant coach/recruiter and we should go after a real coach.

  20. Good bye AB- and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Kid is a headcase- no defensive talent and he is SOFT. Get your 3 year guaranteed contract and them off to the B leagues or Europe. Any team that drafts this bum in the top 10 is assinine. This is why I have not watched an NBA game in 20 years- the league is full of clowns like Bennett.

  21. One and Done's are a blight on College Basketball. I agree with Sinatra(Inorite?) shockingly, One and Done's are a sign of a programs maturity.

    Dave Rice should be given the same respect we would have shown Rick Patino. 3 seasons is the "norm" for judging the competency of any coach. Sinatra and the other UNLV trolls here at the Sun gave Dave exactly .3 seconds when he was announced as the Head Coach at UNLV. As we can all see growth comes over time even for trolls. Dave will blossom, bloom, and stay.

    That's why we hired a Dave Rice over a (insert your favorite hires name here), he is a Rebel has always been a Rebel and wants to stay a Rebel always.

    Dave, on a personal note, the One and Doner's are a cancer for you personally. 10 years from now, a few Sweet Sixteens, a Final Four from now you will have the coaching chops to handle the Anthony Bennett's of the world. This kid, showed you and UNLV, little to no respect at all. His lack of respect for his teammates showed to everyone who follows college basketball. His lack of desire to even attempt to play defense and his smug trite "they don't play defense in the League", showed where his head was at late in the season. Do yourself a favor and when a kid with AB quality talent shows up again... Mike Moser him.

    Now there is a kid who has learned his lesson in life. Those hangers on don't do you ANY favor whispering in your ear about how you're gonna be a pro. Life is what teaches these kids. AB will have to learn the hard way, maybe I can tell him when I see him working security or as a doorman at a local casino in 4-5 years.

  22. BTW, Good luck and Godspeed Anthony Bennett.

    On a side note all those thinking AB is the second coming of Shawn Marion? LOL good luck with that.