Anthony Harris Bennett (born March 14, 1993) is a Canadian professional basketball player for the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League. He played college basketball for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He was the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first Canadian to be drafted number one overall. Bennett is also a member of the Canadian national team.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bennett was raised in the city's Jane and Finch neighbourhood, and in nearby Brampton, where he moved at age ten. He is the son of Edith Bennett, a nurse who is originally from Jamaica, and Delroy Harris. He also has an older sister, Danielle, and an older brother, Sheldon. Edith raised her family as a single mother, working two jobs, at a hospital and a mental health facility. As a teenager in Jamaica, his mother ran track and field and played netball.
High school career
Bennett attended Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School in Brampton. At age 16, he relocated to Beckley, West Virginia to play basketball for Mountain State Academy, and after the school closed a year later, he moved to Henderson, Nevada to play for the basketball preparatory academy Findlay Prep. He was the #1 forward and the #7 player overall in the high school class of 2012 according to ESPNU 100, the #7 player by Scout.com, and the #7 player by Rivals.com.
During the 2012–13 UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball season, Bennett played 35 games. While mostly starting at power forward, he would occasionally play small forward. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game despite only averaging 27.1 minutes a game due to injury. He shot 53.3% from the field overall and 37.5% from three-point range. He was extremely efficient in college, averaging a PER of 28.3. Halfway through the season, Bennett was plagued with a shoulder injury. His minutes were cut to allow him to rest and he even came off the bench in a few games. After making it to the NCAA tournament, UNLV lost in the second round to California.
2013 NBA draft
Bennett was one of thirteen players invited to the green room for the 2013 NBA draft, meaning he was expected to be chosen as a top lottery pick. He was compared to Larry Johnson, a former UNLV great, NBA All-Star, and number one overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft. He was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the first Canadian ever. The choice was met with skepticism by analysts.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2013–2014)
On August 20, 2013, Bennett signed his rookie scale contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After producing multiple mediocre performances to begin his rookie season, he was ranked by some as one of the worst first overall picks in recent memory.
On January 28, 2014, Bennett recorded 15 points and 8 rebounds in a 100–89 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. It was the first double-figure scoring game in his NBA career, coming after 33 games—three times as long as any previous No. 1 overall pick. Almost two-thirds of all previous top picks scored in double digits in their first game. On February 11, 2014, Bennett recorded his first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 109–99 win over the Sacramento Kings. In 2013–14, he played 52 games while averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.
In July 2014, Bennett joined the Cavaliers for the 2014 NBA Summer League where he averaged 13.3 points in four games.
Minnesota Timberwolves (2014–2015)
On August 23, 2014, a three-team trade was completed involving the Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of the deal, Bennett and teammate Andrew Wiggins were traded to the Timberwolves, along with Thaddeus Young, then of the 76ers. The Cavaliers received Kevin Love from Minnesota while the 76ers received Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved from Minnesota and a 2015 first-round draft pick from Cleveland.
On October 19, 2014, the Timberwolves exercised their third-year team option on Bennett's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2015–16 season. On November 21, 2014, he scored a career-high 20 points in a 121–92 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. On February 21, 2015, he was ruled out for two weeks due to an injured right ankle he sustained the day before playing against the Phoenix Suns. After recovering from the injury, Bennett appeared in just four more games to finish the 2014–15 season. In 57 games (three starts) for the Timberwolves, he averaged career highs of 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 15.7 minutes per game.
On September 23, 2015, Bennett was waived by the Timberwolves via a contract buyout.
Toronto Raptors (2015–2016)
On September 28, 2015, Bennett signed a one-year deal with his hometown Toronto Raptors. He made his debut with them on October 30, recording three rebounds and one steal in a 113–103 win over the Boston Celtics. On December 20, Bennett requested that the team send him to Raptors 905 of the NBA Development League. He played for Raptors 905 in their game against the Delaware 87ers, recording 13 points and 4 rebounds in a 105–94 win, becoming the NBA's first No. 1 overall pick to play in the D-League. He returned to Toronto later that night for their game against the Sacramento Kings. He later received three more assignments to Raptors 905. On March 1, 2016, he was waived by the Raptors. Bennett's love for the game was questioned during his tenure in Toronto, and the organization grew increasingly frustrated with his inability to grasp the cut-throat world of the NBA despite their attempts to work with him.
Brooklyn Nets (2016–2017)
On July 14, 2016, Bennett signed with the Brooklyn Nets. He made his debut for the Nets in their third game of the season on October 29, scoring nine points in 18 minutes off the bench in a 110–108 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. On November 18, he scored a season-high 12 points in a 124–105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. On November 27, he was assigned to and played for Brooklyn's D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. He was recalled by Brooklyn prior to their game later that night. He was reassigned to Long Island on November 28, and was recalled the next day. On December 3, he made his first start of the season and had 7 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a 112–103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. On January 9, 2017, he was waived by the Nets.
On January 13, 2017, Bennett signed with Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball Super League. He signed with Fenerbahçe on a 1+1 contract. Fenerbahçe went on to win their first ever EuroLeague title in 2017, beating out Olympiacos 80–64 in the championship game. On May 25, 2017, he was released by Fenerbahçe.
Northern Arizona Suns (2017–present)
On September 22, 2017, Bennett signed with the Phoenix Suns. On October 11, 2017, he was waived by the Suns. He would be called up to the Northern Arizona Suns G League affiliate team on October 24, 2017. He made his official G League debut on November 4, 2017, playing in 22 minutes and recording 10 points and a team-high 7 rebounds in a 126–118 loss to the Agua Caliente Clippers. Bennett would continue playing for Northern Arizona for a few games before being called up for the Canadian team's 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. While he'd still be a part of the team's roster during this time, he'd be listed as an inactive player, instead having center Damonte Dodd taking over for Bennett until further notice.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Bennett's team won the EuroLeague|
National team career
Bennett participated in the 2009 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship and 2010 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, helping Canada win a bronze medal in each tournament. In the 2010 tournament, he was a teammate of Andrew Wiggins, the number one overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft and his former teammate on the Timberwolves.
In July 2015, Bennett was named on the Canadian national team roster for the 2015 Pan American Games. Playing in his hometown of Toronto, Bennett helped Canada win the silver medal with four victories, including an upset win over the United States in the semi-final, before losing in the final to Brazil. Bennett averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in the tournament.