Friar Basketball

Ben Bentil Opens Up on His Decision to Turn Pro

Ben Bentil Celtics Hat

In a recent interview with, Providence great Ben Bentil shared publicly for the first time that he wanted to stay at PC, but left after his sophomore year due to family considerations, “I loved school since I was young, so being at school was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I know this is the first time I’m saying this publicly, but I personally wanted to stay in Friartown. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep playing for PC because my family back in Ghana wasn’t in the best condition. It was a matter of helping my mother make ends meet. She sacrificed everything for me. To see her suffer like that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to help some way, some how. That’s why I left school, but I never left my education.”

He continued, “PC athletics and Bob Driscoll never turned their backs on me and still gave me the opportunity to finish out my degree online and I’m truly thankful and very appreciative of that.”

Bentil exploded as a sophomore at Providence playing alongside All American point guard Kris Dunn. In the spring of 2016, both Dunn and Bentil were drafted by NBA clubs, with Dunn going #5 overall to Minnesota and Boston drafting Bentil 51st.

The Celtics were loaded with draft picks in 2016, taking Jaylen Brown and a pair of big men in the first round, then drafting three more players in the second. Bentil was waived by Boston in the preseason, but made his NBA debut with Dallas in February — becoming the first player born in Ghana to play in the NBA.

Bentil’s stint with the Mavericks, and his time in the NBA, lasted three games and he has played professionally in Europe since. Bentil’s current club, Panathinaikos, was coached by Rick Pitino and features the likes of Jimmer Fredette, Nick Calathes, Deshaun Thomas, Wesley Johnson, Andy Rautins, and Tyrese Rice.

If Bentil had returned for his junior, and perhaps his senior year at Providence he would have been one of the best scorers in the country. He led the Big East in scoring (21.1 ppg), as well as both field goals and free throws made as a sophomore. He scored over 30 points on five occasions as a that year, including a 31 point, 13 rebound effort in a win at #4 Villanova and 38 points against Butler in the Big East Tournament.

Bentil was named the Big East’s Most Improved Player, 1st Team All Big East, and Honorable Mention All American as a sophomore. The Friars reached the NCAA Tournament in the two seasons following Bentil’s departure, but with him they almost assuredly would have had a higher seed in the tournament (11 seed in 2017, 10 in ’18).

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