Benson withdraws from NBA draft

After declaring for the NBA Draft in mid April, Oakland center Keith Benson announced Friday that he is withdrawing his name from the draft and returning to Oakland for his senior season.

The decision came after a routine end-of-the-season physical revealed that he would need surgery to repair and strengthen a ligament in his thumb – Benson played the entire 2009-2010 season with a protective wrap of the injured hand.

“My thumb doesn’t hurt, I am not in pain at all,” said Benson in a press release. “I played the entire season with it, but was advised that I will need the surgery down the line, so I have opted to have it now. I don’t want to take a chance of injuring my thumb by participating in NBA workouts.”

Benson was pressed to make the decision regarding his college eligibility.

 “I only have one week for workouts because I have to make the decision about returning for my senior season by May 8th,” said Benson. “The recovery time from the surgery precludes participating in NBA workouts after the surgery, before the draft. It is a gamble to enter the NBA draft without the benefit of team workouts. So, I have decided to withdraw from the draft and concentrate on preparing for my senior season at Oakland.”

Benson started to gain recognition from NBA scouts after participating in the Amare Stoudamire Skills Camp last summer and a strong senior season could place him as a first-round pick in next year’s NBA Draft.

In his junior season at Oakland, Benson was named The Summit League Player of the Year and Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year by He also received honorable mention as an All-American.

He will travel to Baltimore, Md., next week to see a hand specialist and have surgery and plans to resume working with trainers in four to six weeks.

Benson will receive his baccalaureate degree from Oakland University on Saturday in integrative studies. He will take graduate courses in architectural studies in the coming academic year.