The Golden State Warriors have called up rookie 6-foot-11 rookie center Keith Benson, as Scott Shroeder of SB Nation's NBA Development League site Ridiculous Upside reported yesterday.
In 19 D-League games this season, Benson averaged 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds to go with 1.4 blocks per game. It wasn't until after Friday night's performance of 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, however, that the Warriors decided to tell him they planned to call him up (he was matching up with Brian Butch, a fellow call-up candidate, for what it's worth).
There aren't a lot of big men in the D-League, but Benson (along with Jeff Foote) were my personal favorites when it came to call-up candidates.
Benson was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft out Oakland University in Michigan but cut in the preseason.
I actually saw Benson in action in college a little more than two years ago when Oakland traveled west to face the Seattle University Redhawks and then-hot draft prospect Charles Garcia. What stood out then was that although he was a shot blocking presence, his slight frame made it difficult for him to establish position on the low block, even against one of the Redhawks' bigger guards.
It seems strength in the low post is still a problem, based upon the insight Kris Willis of SBN's Peachtree Hoops offered when Benson signed with the D-League.
Some of Benson's noted weaknesses during training camp were the need to add strength to be effective in the low post. His length and prowess as a shot blocker make him an intriguing prospect and it will be interesting to follow his progress in the D-League.
Obviously, the Warriors must be intrigued with his defensive presence, but we'll see what he can offer in the low post given his track record.