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No place like home for Benson
Four years ago, Craig Benson had a big decision to make. The all-star guard from Hamden High School was trying to decide which college he should attend. Schools like Manhattan, Central Connecticut, and Lehigh were all high on Benson’s list.
But ultimately, he decided that there was no place like home, signing a letter of intention to Quinnipiac University. With his senior season coming to a close and graduation coming up in May, Benson couldn’t be happier with the path he chose.
“The Quinnipiac and Hamden communities have been great to me. I wouldn’t trade these past four years for anything in the world,” Benson said. “Home is home.”
Benson had tremendous success playing basketball for Hamden, averaging 21.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during his senior season. During that year he was also nominated to participate in the McDonald’s All-America Game, which has featured NBA talents such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire in 2002.
This season he is averaging 9.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was also appointed as one of the captains in the beginning of the season. While his point production is down from 12.3 from last season, Benson feels he has contributed in other ways for this Bobcats team.
“I think that last year my role on the team was more of a scorer. Rob (Monroe) was the main scoring option and I was his number two,” Benson said. “This year it’s more of an all-round team scoring effort, with no one guy getting the bulk of the shots, so almost everyone’s scoring is a bit lower, but more people are getting points.”
For Benson, the benefit of playing college basketball in his hometown has been the support he has received from both his family and the Hamden and Quinnipiac communities.
“I get recognized around town a lot. Everywhere I go I run into someone that I know or that knows me,” Benson said. “It was real important for my mother and the rest of my family to be able to come to my games. Someone from my family has seen just about every one of the home games in my four years here.”
Benson has taken a lot away from his time at Quinnipiac.
“I definitely matured at college. The transition from senior year of high school to freshman year of college is very difficult for anyone,” Benson said. “Learning time management and the whole college experience was different. I’ve gotten some new perspectives.”
After graduation, Benson hopes his basketball playing days will continue. He plans to try out for leagues overseas, trying to make it where he can. If that doesn’t pan out, he would like to work with kids, as a teacher of a social worker.