Prior to the Wizards-Knicks game, Rashad Mobley of Hoops Addict and myself stopped to chat with Jonathan Bender of the New York Knicks, a man on a long-shot comeback attempt. Rashad has his piece posted on Hoops Addict, mine is posted below.
Jonathan Bender broke Michael Jordan’s McDonald’s All-American game scoring record when he dropped 31 points in the 1999 game, besting his Airness by one point.
That performance was on the stage Bender needed to forgo his verbal commitment to Mississippi State University and enter the NBA draft, becoming who I believe is the first modern-day high school player to jump to the NBA after actually committing to a school. They say Kobe Bryant would have gone to Duke, but he never offered his commitment. Today, despite being called one of the 20 biggest busts in modern NBA draft history by Sports Illustrated in 2005, Bender doesn’t think twice about the choice he made over 10 years ago to follow in the prep-to-pros footsteps of those such as Kevin Garnett.
Tags: bulldogs, College Basketball, derrick zimmerman, jonathan bender, mississippi state, monta ellis, New York Knicks, rick stansbury, robert jackson, SEC, tang hamilton, travis outlaw