Big Man Blossoms

Rodrique Benson, a 6-9 shot-blocking center from San Diego's Torrey Pines, has made a vast improvement since summer. We spoke with him earlier this week in San Diego...

Rodrique Benson, 6-9 C Torrey Pines (Calif.) High, is a player who showed flashes of potential this past summer, but didn't appear to be on track to becoming a high major player. It's amazing what a difference a few months can make.

We saw Rodrique this past week in San Diego at the Torrey Pines National Classic and he was extremely impressive. He's become much more assertive at both ends of the court, showing off some nice, aggressive post moves on offense and blocking everything in sight at the defensive end. He still needs to get a lot stronger, and will likely need a redshirt year, but this is a player with considerable upside. We expect at least a couple high major schools will become involved before the spring signing period.

Rodrique told us that Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, Davidson, Princeton, San Diego and St. Mary's have been showing the most interest to date. We asked if he had a leader and he replied, "probably Pepperdine."

Rodrique is also a standout volleyball player and he's being recruited by UCLA, USC, Penn St. and Pepperdine for volleyball. USC has offered a volleyball scholarship. We asked if he had a preference between the two sports and Rodrique replied, "it's possible I could play both, but I prefer basketball."

When questioned about other schools that he'd like to hear from, Rodrique said, "I'd be interested in hearing from any Pac-10 schools."

Playing time is not a major issue for Rodrique. "It's not important to get early playing time. The location, academics and style of play would be things I'd consider. I prefer the west coast, but I'm open to leaving."

Rodrique told us that he has a 3.4 GPA and scored 1300 on the SAT.

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