Steven Bennett is a 24 year old 173cm point guard from Los Angeles that is playing his first season for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (Germany-ProB). He is one of the few special players that has a tenacity and will to win that is unmatched; it is impossible to judge him based upon height alone because he can compete with anyone in the world. He has proven this in the Maui Invitational division I tournament in 2010, and was recognized as one of the top players (All-Maui Award) from a field of other top US point guards such as Kemba Walker, Kailin Lucas and Brandon Knight. Bennett is known for his great court vision and passing ability, and is able to get in the lane at will and finish against anyone with either left or right hand. Every team bases their defensive strategy around Bennett and is forced to take create his own shot and take his three point shots off the dribble. He is an excellent shooter, but wants to continue to improve his already respectable 40% three point percentage. Steven is known for having excellent leadership skills, and is highly respected by all of his peers and coaches. He played at Citrus JC (JUCO) from 2007-2009 and then played at Chaminade (NCAA2) He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
You finished school in 2011 at Chaminade (NCAA2), but didn´t play professional until 2012. Did you sit out a year?
No I didn´t. I was done with basketball in 2011, but I wanted to get my degree so I finished school getting my degree in communications.
You started your professional career this year for Ydra Asfalistiki ENAD Agios Dometios (Cyprus-Division A): 4 games: 5.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg. Why did you leave early?
It was a difficult situation in Cyprus. I had problems adjusting to the coaching staff. The team was losing and I felt that I wasn´t getting a fair chance. WE had four Americans on the team and they all left early.
Now you are playing for the German PRO B team Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig. You are tearing up the league averaging 24,0ppg. Is the PRO B too easy a league for you?
I am just getting a chance to take shots here. I came here knowing that thy needed me to do everything with scoring, getting rebounds, assists and being a leader. My whole life I have been a player where I have done what the team needs me to do. If I have great guys around me then I pass them the ball, but in Braunschweig they have a young team and need me to score here.
How would you compare the PRO B with NCAA 2?
The NCAA 2 is more athletic while the PRO B relies more people using their team as a whole even if the players might not have as much talent. The NCAA 2 really isn´t any less good than NCAA 1. Many guys in NCAA 2 are there because of some situation like grades. There are many talented players in NCAA 2.
I watched you closely in practice how intense you were following the words of head coach Liviv Calin. What is the most important thing that you have learned from him in the short time?
Right from the start, he made me feel very comfortable. He gives me a lot of freedom. He knows I have dreams and still want to go places. But he also knows that I am before the team before anything else.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I think my ability to make other players around me better. For example helping our four man play better pick and role defense.
What is the most common thing that you hear about your size?
“Do you really play basketball”? I have always heard that, but as soon as they see me play they are amazed at my jumping ability and quickness.
You are a small point guard. What NBA player is your role model?
I watch all point guards. I like the IQ of Chris Paul who plays for my favorite team Los Angeles Clippers. I also like Mike Conley who is a left hander like me, Rajon Rondo for his passing and Nate Robinson make sure he impacts the game somehow.
What is your relationship to the young German kids on the Braunschweig team?
It was a bit twisted in Cyprus as we had no good relationship, but here in Braunschweig I have agood relationship with all of them. The German kids right away became my friends and that made me very comfortable.
You played at the Maui Invitational division I tournament in 2010, and was recognized as one of the top players (All-Maui Award) from a field of other top US point guards such as Kemba Walker, Kailin Lucas and Brandon Knight. How was this experience for you?
This was the greatest basketball experience for me so far. One of the reasons why I went to Chaminade (NCAA2) was to be able to see how good I could be and keep up with these great players. After that tournament, I realized that I was as good as them.
Who was the toughest opponent at the Maui Invitational?
Kalin Lucas who played at Michigan State. That school likes setting screens and it was difficult chasing him around screens all night long.
When you practice in the Volkswagon arena you must dream a lot about where you could be?
Yes I dream much. I practice with The Phantoms and It is a great learning experience and I strive to play in a league like the Beko BBL one day.
What is your impression of Dennis Schroeder? Is he NBA material?
He could go to the NBA. He has a very tough mentality and is so quick. He has a great IQ for a young guard. We go at it in practice. We pressure each other in the pick and role.
Kobe or Lebron?
I have to pick Lebron. He just makes everyone better on the court. He just makes sure no matter how talented the players are that they are an asset no matter what. Kobe is a great scorer, but Lebron is an all round great player.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The FAB 4.
Thanks Steven for the chat.