Oregon State sophomore Corey Benjamin won't be the No. 1 selection in Wednesday's NBA draft. He might not even be a lottery pick.
Benjamin, though, might very well be the surprise of the draft with a .713 TENDEX rating, 373 points higher than the average rating for a college shooting guard (.340). The past two college guards to have ratings comparable to Benjamin's were Penny Hardaway and Michael Jordan.Benjamin, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who averaged 19.5 points and 5.0 rebounds a game while shooting 54 percent from the field, was one of four Pacific-10 Conference players to lead their teams in scoring and rebounds in the 1997-98 season.
"Corey does things athletically that wow you, things you don't see very often," Oregon State coach Eddie Payne said. "He has the potential to be a great pro."
However, Mavericks director of player personnel Keith Grant, whose team has the No. 6 overall pick, said Benjamin is not considered one of the elite players in the draft. Grant cites Benjamin's relative inexperience and his 29 percent shooting from 3-point distance.
"He's very talented, but he's more of an athlete than a basketball player," Grant said. "He could go as high as No. 8 or as low as No. 25."
Benjamin replaced Utah's Andre Miller as the TENDEX No. 1 pick after Miller elected to return to the Utes for his senior year. Miller is the projected No. 1 pick on the 1999 TENDEX draft list.
TENDEX ranks Benjamin, Pacific center Michael Olowokandi and North Carolina guard Vince Carter as the top three choices in this year's draft. Meanwhile, NBA scouts include Arizona guard Mike Bibby, Olowokandi and Kansas swingman Paul Pierce among the first three selections.
Other players rated by TENDEX to be high first-round selections this year include Iowa small forward Ryan Bowen, Georgetown power forward Jahidi White and Northwestern center Evan Eschmeyer. All three players are projected by NBA scouts to be no better than second-round picks.