Report: Providence forward Ben Bentil to test NBA Draft waters

Providence is going to lose Kris Dunn to the NBA Draft this season. Might the Friars also lose its other All-Big East performer.

According to a report from Evan Daniels over at Scout, forward Ben Bentil is going to put his name into the draft to test the waters.

Bentil is currently ranked as the No. 39 prospect on the CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for a Friar team that lost in the second round to North Carolina over the weekend.

From an NBA standpoint, there is a lot to like about what Bentil brings to the table. First and foremost, he’s a terrific pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop player, as his relationship this season with Kris Dunn showed. He has really strong hands at the catch point, and he also has the ability to step away and knock down shots out to the collegiate 3-point line, as he made 52 3s on the season.

Overall, his offensive game is terrific. He has great touch around the rim with his right-handed hook-shot, he can actually attack a closeout as a power forward, and he’s powerful enough to finish through contact.

That power combined with his mobility in the open floor is another thing NBA teams will be big fans of. Few people at Bentil’s height are able to combine the ability to run the floor like a guard — he’s said to be able to beat Dunn in a 3/4-court sprint — as well as the power to bang inside with big guys due to his upper and lower body strength. Those tools should make Bentil a pretty sought-after guy as far as the NBA is concerned.

There are some question marks here though. The first one will revolve around his measurements. If Bentil measures out at the 6-foot-9 he’s listed at, he could go in the first round. If he measures out shorter than expected — or with a smaller wingspan or standing reach than expected — it could significantly hinder his stock as he’s not necessarily elite in the way of vertical explosiveness.

There are also some questions about his game. Defensively, he was played out of what his NBA position will be — a pure 4. Providence also had to play a decent amount of zone — a little over one-fourth of their possessions total — in order to keep Bentil around the rim as he was their only player over 6-8. He also had to be careful with his aggressiveness on defense for that same reason in order to stay on the floor. Can he move well enough in the pick-and-roll defensively, and can he provide enough value inside when he’s able to be more aggressive? On offense, he was also purely a finisher. In the NBA, teams value guys who can move the ball and create looks for others to keep the defense honest. Can he improve his 8.0 assist rate from this season once he gets to the league?

For those reasons, Bentil should be a relatively popular pre-draft prospect. Teams will really want to see him and get to know him, especially since he’s a bit of a late bloomer that they haven’t necessarily seen throughout the entirety of his career since he was 16. As someone who has spoken with Bentil extensively, he should perform well in interviews, as he’s a thoughtful, intelligent kid. He’s also a tremendously hard worker according to everyone around the Providence program.

This is one of the more intriguing decisions of the pre-draft process. It could genuinely go either way, and his inclusion would really help a 2016 draft that is shaping up to be a bit on the weak side.

Ben Bentil will be intriguing to draft scouts. (USATSI)
Ben Bentil will be intriguing to draft scouts. (USATSI)

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