Introducing Robin Benzing

Robin BenzingRobin Benzing appears to be the kid Beilein has been checking out across the pond over in Germany. This article (German) links Michigan and Benzing. Heres the school list (translated):

In late Benzing will pack the suitcase and the United States, either to San Diego or Michigan. has the scoop on Benzing:

Robin BenzingBut the risk of being suspended for one season does not stop Benzing’s dream to play in the NCAA. In a recent article in the German press, he states that he will do extra session in the weightlifting room while the other guys are practicing. He has even rejected a professional offer by the German team of Frankfurt Skyliners in order to go to the States. And after some rumors sending him to Fresno States, there are currently only two teams left on the list that he may join: San Diego or Michigan. Michigan coach John Beilein even went to Germany and visited Benzing recently in order to explain him the advantages of moving to Ann Arbor.

But first of all, Robin will have to get his High School degree and play the Final Four of the U19 League with Langen on the 31st May and 1st June. I will be present for the two days of the tournament and give of course a detailed scouting report about his progress

Benzing seems to be the type of player Beilein loves. He is definetely long and seems like a perfect fit for the 4 position in Beilein’s offense. This page names him the best newcomer in the Bundesliga 2 for 08/09. I hvae no clue as to the level of competition in the Bundesliga 2. In 2006 at the adidas Super Star Camp Euro Robin was named to the All-Star team and the best defense. I exchanged a few emails with Christophe Ney from European Prospects and he has seen Benzing play a couple times and had this to say:

  • 6 foot 10
  • Very good shooter
  • Lacking physical strength
  • Very good ball handler for a 6-10 man

NBA Draft.Net had this to say on Robin (over a year old) – 06/07 stats:

Robin BenzingRight now Robin is too skinny but reminds some of Dirk Nowitzki at the same age, but a better defensive player. He lacks Dirk’s frame however, with thin shoulders. He takes pride in good defense and taking charges. Besides that, he has quite good ball handling and can shoot threes pretty well. Competes hard, strong motor. The top talent in the 89 class in Germany by far. Has a long ways to go, but decent talent and size.

Another profile, this one from DraftExpress on Benzing (also over a year old):

Robin BenzingPerhaps the most freakish combination of size relative to his position, Benzing plays like a real wing despite standing around 6-10. However, he’s a very raw player, particularly in terms of his physical profile. He’s a long and skinny kid who shows a pretty average frame, enough for a perimeter player but rather underwhelming if we envision a possible future at the power forward position. His lack of strength limited his effectiveness on court, not allowing him to operate comfortably on both ends of the court.

Anyway, it’s pretty remarkable to see a 6-10 guy like Benzing putting the ball on the floor as easily as he does. He’s not the quickest guy around, but he can attack the basket going both ways and shows nice footwork. Still, he struggles finishing his slashing attempts, lacking some ability to score around the basket in traffic, but also some aggressiveness to attack the rim. He can pass the ball off the drive with mixed results: his intentions seem pretty interesting, but he’s not that precise with his passes. In the shooting department he looks quite inconsistent. He enjoys range out to the three point line, but his mechanics probably need to be polished. Benzing barely uses his size to post-up his opponents, emerging as virtually a pure face-up player at this point. Perhaps when he gains some strength he will try harder to cash in off his size. Defensively, he enjoys the lateral quickness of a small forward, although again he sometimes gets outmuscled.

There are some issues with the Benzing situation though. The first problem is eligibility, there have been numerous NCAA issues with European players coming over and playing college ball. So it’s a pretty safe bet that Benzing will have to deal with a lot of paper work and issues early on. I think Benzing is graduating high school this spring (making him a 2008 recruit) but would most likely sit a year which basically turns him into an 09. If he has to sit out a year it probably wouldn’t be that bad of a thing because he certainly needs to put on muscle as is evident in his pictures. If the issues can be worked out I think taking a chance on a guy like this would be a great move. One of Beilein’s best players at West Virginia was German Johannes Herber. Robin just strikes me as one of those super skilled big men that would just make Beilein drool and I think the situation is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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