Times are good for the future of German basketball right now with Robin Benzing, Elias Harris and Tibor Pleiss three young NBA prospects.
Benzing, who turned 21 in January, is the oldest of the trio with Harris celebrating his 21st birthday in July and Pleiss not turning 21 until November.
One day all three could be in the NBA.
Benzing followed up his promising EuroBasket 2009 coming out party with a strong debut in professional basketball at ratiopharm Ulm, where he averaged 12.5 points along with 2.5 rebounds in 33 games.
Benzing is currently in Treviso, Italy at the adidas Eurocamp, where he will be playing in front of a number of NBA scouts. The 6-foot-10 small forward spent 17 days working out with legendary coach Svetislav Pesic – the father of his agent, former German international Marko Pesic.
In an interview with the German news portal spox.com Marko Pesic discussed the latest on Robin Benzing’s draft status and what is planned after the Eurocamp.
In the interview, Pesic was asked if he had already booked a flight to New York for the NBA Draft on June 24, with the answer being: “No, I can’t plan that far in advance.”
Describing the exact schedule, he added: “On June 8, one day after the Eurocamp, I will sit down with Robin and we will determine our strategy. We have to announce by June 14 at the latest if Robin will stay in the draft or if we will withdraw his name and put it back in next year.”
When asked why Benzing didn’t take part in workouts in the U.S. like fellow German Tim Ohlbrecht, Pesic answered: “There were a lot of inquiries from NBA teams, but we decided against the workouts for two reasons. First, we did not want to add unnecessary pressure. Robin does not absolutely need to be drafted this year. Second, it made more sense to stay in Germany to individually work on Robin’s game. After all, the summer is when the foundation is laid to continue to develop.”
Pesic was also adamant that Benzing would remain at Ulm for next season – regardless of who comes calling, be it the NBA or another European club.
“One thing is 99.9 percent certain: Robin will play 2010-11 in Germany. Regardless if, where and when he may be drafted.”
When asked if Benzing will stay in Ulm even if a bigger club wants him, the former German international said: “Robin has a contract until 2011 in Ulm. There is nothing more to say.”
Pesic said there are both positive and negative examples of Europeans going directly to the NBA after getting drafted and of Europeans staying on the Old Continent.
Staying in Europe, for example, worked for Pesic’s good friend Marc Gasol.
“Gasol was drafted No. 48 in 2007 and stayed another season in Spain. Now you couldn’t imagine leaving Memphis and is among the best centers in the league.”
Pesic added: “You cannot tell anything ahead of time. It could be that Robin is drafted and then never goes to the NBA. Everything is possible. Dejan Bodirgoa was also drafted but never played in the NBA – and is among the legends of basketball. When Brandon Jennings went straight from high school to Rome in 2008, everyone thought it was a catastrophic mistake. And then one year later he goes to Milwaukee and scored 55 points in an NBA game. It always depends on the individual player.”
The spox interview was accompanied with videos of Benzing’s workouts with papa Pesic.
Here for your enjoyment.