TORONTO – Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian drafted first-overall to the NBA, offered some words of wisdom to the youth from his old Toronto neighbourhood; stay in school.
“This is a great feeling to come back and see you guys and my old friends,” Bennett told an enthusiastic audience. “The most important thing is to stay in school and finish school. If you have a dream you can accomplish it.”
Bennett, a Brampton native, met with students at the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club on Thursday – the place where his basketball dreams began before moving to Brampton.
Bennett, a University of Nevada Las Vegas freshman, made history last week becoming the first Canadian to be chosen first-overall in the NBA draft after being picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he will join 2011 first round pick Kyrie Irving.
The 20-year-old player joins an elite group of players to be selected in the top spot of the draft that includes NBA legends Lebron James, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bennett had a successful year at UNLV and was named Mountain West Conference player of the year.
Next year he will join fellow Canadian Tristan Thompson who was drafted fourth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 draft.
Kelly Olynyk of Kamloops, B.C., who was also drafted being taken in the 13th spot by the Boston Celtics.
Another young Canadian prospect turning heads on the court is Vaughan, Ont. native Andrew Wiggins, a teenager, who has committed to the Kansas City Jayhawks next season and is expected to be a contender as the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft.