Posted: Dec 30, 2009
MARQUETTE, Mich. – When one looks at the center for the Northern Michigan University men's basketball team it is easy to see a player who has developed in his second season playing consistently with the Wildcats. He comes from a blood line which has produced a Big Ten women's basketball player and his father player played at NMU. Jared Benson is in his third year with the program as he redshirted his first year on campus (2007-08).
An all-state player at Carney-Nadeau High School he followed his father's path to NMU. Jared's father, Ed, played at NMU in the early 70s and led the team in scoring during the 1973 season as he helped lead the team to a 16-10 overall record. His sister, Carly, currently a graduate assistant with the women's basketball team at NMU scored over 1,000 career points at the University of Michigan.
This year Benson sees his place on the team as more of a playing down low and carrying out the plays. "We have a lot of big men down low," said Benson. "I see myself as a guy who knows the Xs and Os better and try to help the other guys through that." He likes to fill in and play to help his teammates succeed on the court after nine games he is averaging almost seven boards a game for team high honors and a little over 10 points an outing. Benson is the glue down low where all have to follow so the team is on the same page, so the 'Cats can do well this year.
According to Dean Ellis, the head men's basketball coach at NMU, Benson is a key part to the team. "He is a key part of interior on both ends of the court. Defensively he is getting better in defending in the post and offensively he is our go to man in the post right now," said Ellis.
Benson has always used his size to his advantage. He is listed as 6-10 so the process of playing at a small high school to the NCAA Division II level took some learning to adjust to the different style of play. When playing at Carney he said that he did not face that many big guys. "It is a lot more physical," said Benson. "I have to jump in and get the ball a little higher on the backboard."
Having a father and sister who have played basketball in college could be looked at both a blessing and a curse since they can always give advice and suggestions. According to Benson his father who like to see him play in the post all the time, but he has to do the pick and rolls and run the plays. "My sister tries to be laid back," said Benson. "But she helps with understanding the team work and ball handling." According to Ellis, Benson is beginning to be double-teamed in the post and he has to learn to deal with that. That will come with experience.
Benson has come a long way since his high school days. Time and experience will make him a dominate player in the post that he can become.