high school basketball:

Findlay Prep’s Anthony Bennett talks about his recruitment, will be a game-time decision against Gorman

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Steve Marcus

Findlay Prep’s Anthony Bennett, recovering from a hamstring injury, shoots during practice at the Henderson International School in Henderson, Jan. 19, 2012. Findlay Prep plays Bishop Gorman at the Cox Pavilion Saturday.

Prep Sports Now

Breaking down the Bishop Gorman, Findlay Prep showdown

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a look at Saturday's high school basketball game between Bishop Gorman and Findlay Prep. They also break down the Palo Verde-Centennial game.

A pulled right hamstring is limiting Findlay Prep senior forward Anthony Bennett and could force the prized UNLV recruit out of Saturday’s anticipated showdown against Bishop Gorman High at the Cox Pavilion.

The 6-foot-7 Bennett, a consensus top-10 prospect, is considered day-to-day with the nagging injury and was a nonparticipant for most of Thursday’s practice. While UNLV fans are salivating about potentially watching Bennett and Gorman’s Shabazz Muhammad duel, Findlay coach Mike Peck won’t risk further injury by prematurely returning Bennett into the lineup.

“We don’t want to make it worse and make it something that lingers beyond us next fall into college,” Peck said.

Bennett is the nation’s No. 7 overall prospect by recruiting website Rivals.com. Earlier this month, he narrowed his suitors to five schools: UNLV, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and Washington. And UNLV is very much in the mix.

“The coaching staff is real cool. They are playing that up-tempo style and getting out running,” Bennett said. “That is my style and how I want to play.”

Khem Birch, who transferred this week to UNLV from Pittsburgh, is doing his part in trying to recruit Bennett. They are close friends from their days growing up in Montreal. Birch on Tuesday said, “I’ve talked to him a hundred million times about UNLV, but it’s up to him.”

UNLV has one scholarship remaining for the class of 2012 and has offers to four seniors in Saturday’s high school game — Muhammad, Bennett and Findlay post players Winston Shepard and Matt Willms. Along with UNLV signee Demetris Morant of Gorman and 2013 commit Christian Wood of Findlay, it will create a heavy pro-UNLV crowd.

Most of the fans will continue in their passionate pursuit of Muhammad (the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect) and Bennett — a dream one-two combination for the scarlet and gray.

Some feel UNLV is out of its league on the recruiting trail and consider it a long shot to land either player. But Bennett was very complimentary of UNLV and even talked about potentially playing alongside Muhammad.

“That would be pretty cool, especially with Khem Birch already there,” he said. “That would be cool to (be in the lineup) with both those guys.”

Saturday’s game begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU. Findlay, which is ranked No. 6 nationally and Monday beat No. 1 Simeon High of the Chicago area by 25 points, won last year’s contest with Gorman in double overtime on a buzzer beater.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. I am perplexed at all the talk about recruiting both Muhammad AND Bennett. Isn't there only one scholarship spot left for next year? Is Rice willing to strip someone of their scholarship? I would certainly understand doing so for such highly recruited players, but it hadn't even entered my mind as an option.

  2. There's a number of ways things like that can be worked out. Players may leave for one reason or another. A current scholarship player may volunteer to give up his scholarship to allow another player to be signed.

    Obviously you don't want to "strip" someone of their scholarship to make room for someone new. But by that same token, you also don't tell the #1 or #7 overall recruit in the country that you don't have room. If, and thats a BIG IF, both of these players decide they want to be Rebels, they'll work it out.

    Let me close this by saying I have no idea how this will work out. I have no inside information about anyone leaving for any reason; just throwing out scenarios of how it could work.

  3. didn't someone give up their scholarship a few years back?

  4. Trust me, if both Anthony and Shabazz wanted to play for UNLV, they would find a scholarship to make it happen. I know in the past, certain players have volunteered to forfeit their scholarship if needed.

  5. Scholarships are one-year renewable awards. If a player elects to transfer or drop out of the program, scholarships can become available.

    Anthony Bennett is a flat-out stud basketball player.

  6. Mashour's scholarship should be forfeited. Great guy, but from what I understand he has well-off relatives to pay for his education.

    Make that happen if you could be both Bennett and Shabazz.

  7. Make it happen if you could get* both Bennet and Shabazz. sorry for the typo.

  8. gats - His scholarship should be forfeited because he just simply hasn't worked out. I remember the articles that hyped him as the most underrated prospect in the country, and they were flat out wrong.

  9. It's probably hard to take away a scholarship from a kid who works hard in practice and has been on the team a couple years already. College basketball is not professional basketball, so a certain amount of attention needs to be paid to the well being of the kids in the program. That said, In hindsight, Karam probably should never have been offered a contract to begin with, but it's hard to accurately predict the future.

    The other option would be to revoke offers from guys who already accepted (i.e. Morant or Cook). Again, this doesn't make your program look good, and really sucks for the kids who committed, but you have to way that against the benefit of having 2 top 10 recruits from the same class.

  10. If anyone was paying attention yesterday in the thing that Rice wrote about academic achievements he said that Hawkins is on pace to graduate in 3 years (meaning this year) and going on to work towards his masters. He also said Thomas is on track to graduate this year but didnt mention anything about him going to grad school. So if Thomas graduates this year that leaves the open scholarship for 2012 and his scholarship. If he wants more playing time, he can go for his masters at a school that has a subject that UNLV does not offer and not sit out a year (Kevin Kruger rule). That leave Birch as the prime back up for Moser next year. Not saying that is whats going to happen, but im just saying.

  11. @yellowsub I read the article and immediately thought the same thing. but Hawkins going to grad school will not matter with respect to the graduate school aspect. What I was curious about is if the amount of scholarships they are talking about is including Q leaving... and I think it might. We already have 4 guys coming in and if include Q five going out. If we were using all our scholarships then we will still be using all our scholarships. But I think if Both guys wanna come they will absolutely find a way. If both guys come you will be looking at a preseason top 5 team that may lose 0-1 games all regular season.

  12. I would rather get Bennett if I had my way. Not that I wouldnt jump for joy for Shabazz, but I think Bennett will be a more effective college player.....Hes unbelievable.....Many times plyers like Shabazz, who are NBA sized two guards struggle in college....There is not as much room to drive, and the lane is clogged up with a bunch of little guys....6'7 guards struggle......But to get either will be a huge moment!

  13. Was not impressed with Mohammed thru the 1st half. He had zero composure - It looked like he actually threw an elbow @ a teammate while going after a ball. Not a team player. Trust me, I think we can let him slip away, we'll be fine.