Meet Ben Bentil, a 6'9" 235 lb. product from Ghana. Bentil moved to the United States at the age of 15 in search of an American education. Not only did he bring a desire to learn, he brought his natural athletic abilities that earned him a spot on Delaware's First-Team All-State for soccer - according to Pacers.com writer Wheat Hotchkiss. Taking his footwork to the court, Ben found himself accepting a scholarship to play basketball for Providence.
In his freshman season, Bentil was okay. He averaged 6.4 points while bringing down 4.9 rebounds in 21.5 minutes of play. That's not too shabby for a freshman, but it's nothing spectacular. Fast forward one year, and Bentil was arguably the most improved college player in the nation. In his sophomore season, he averaged 21.1 ppg and 7.8 rpg - good enough for first and fourth in the Big East, respectively.
What makes Bentil's scoring average even more impressive is the fact that he shared the court with Kris Dunn, a potential top-five pick in this year's NBA Draft. Sometimes shadowed by Dunn's stardom, Bentil was perhaps Providence's biggest threat.
Come Sunday, May 22nd, the Providence forward announced that he will be staying in the NBA Draft and forgoing his junior year for the Friars. Just one day later, he participated in the Pacers' third pre-draft workout, which made it apparent that the team has at least some interest in the Ghanaian.
His game translates perfectly to the modern NBA as he is able to score inside with his strength as well as shoot it from the perimeter. Check out his 2015-16 season highlights here:
During Nate McMillan's press conference, he mentioned that Myles Turner is a true five. If he sticks to his word, the Pacers are in dire need of a stretch four. And let's face it: Lavoy Allen is not going to get it done. If you think it should be Paul George, then you probably need to go back and watch the Toronto series. Rakeem Christmas out of the D-League? No chance. Even if Bentil is not the immediate answer, he will provide much needed depth at the position.
"My versatility, my intensity, hard work," Bentil replied when asked what he could add to the Pacers. "This is a team that's relentless. They just pressure and try to play up-and-down and I think that fits with my game."
Bentil's highlights showcase why he can succeed as a stretch four in the modern NBA. His versatility allows him to guard multiple positions while being a mismatch nightmare on the offensive end. Still not sold? What if I told you that he scored 38 points and collected eight rebounds against Butler in the Big East Tournament? How about 42 points and 12 boards against Henry Ellenson and Marquette? He can play, hands down. The Indiana Pacers need Ben Bentil.
The NBA Draft will be televised live on ESPN on June 23rd at 8:00 pm ET.