More NBA Basketball Without Borders Coverage
-Rosters, Preview and Camp Analysis
-Jamal Murray Highlights
-Lauri Markkanen Interview and Highlights
Bender, who just turned 17 three months ago, was named the MVP of the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, after a very unselfish performance where he displayed his impressive versatility for a player his size. Bender played all three frontcourt positions over the course of the weekend, showing terrific ball-handling skills, passing ability and an emerging (albeit) streaky jump-shot. His body looks to be progressing under the careful watch of Euroleague defending champions Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he signed a seven year contract (with comfortable NBA out clauses) this past summer.
Bender is playing 28 minutes per game for Maccabi's second team, Ramat Gan, which competes in the Israeli second division. He's averaging 10 points (51% 2P%, 24% 3P%, 69% FT%), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers per game on the year. He's expected to join Maccabi Tel Aviv's senior team next season and see minutes in both the Israeli first division and the Euroleague.
While his body and outside shot still have a lot of room for improvement, and he's still in the process of finding his role on the basketball court (particularly defensively) due to his uncommon combination of size and skills, he's one of the most unique prospects in the world in his age group.