We can now add another Arizona 2013 prospect to the list of fall commits, as Pinnacle High School's sharp-shooting 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior guard/forward Drew Bender has given his verbal pledge to a program in Conference-USA.
On Tuesday afternoon, our Arizona Preps' staff learned that Bender had decided to end his college recruitment and pledge to Rice University and head coach Ben Braun and his basketball staff.
Bender chose to attend Rice over heavy interest from numerous mid-major programs, but narrowed his list of schools to UC Irvine, Princeton and Northeastern before his commitment.
Bender gave a verbal to Rice after taking an official recruiting visit to the school last weekend.
Last season, Bender led his Pinnacle HS team to an excellent season, compiling an overall record of 30-4, before falling in the Division-I state semi-finals to state runner-up Chavez HS (62-58). Bender averaged 14.4 points, 5.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds per/game last season on a very loaded and well-balanced team.
This season, Bender will return for his fourth season at the varsity level and look to lead another talented group at Pinnacle for another run at a state championship, where he will team up with skilled and gifted junior guard/forward Dorian Pickens.
Bender is also an excellent student and carries a 4.0 CUM GPA - making him already a full academic qualifier.
Congratulations to Bender, his family and Pinnacle HS head coach Charlie Wilde on his decision and this terrific accomplishment.
Arizona Hoop Review Scouting Report: Bender is a very skilled wing prospect that is capable of playing several positions on the floor - 1, 2 or the 3 position. Bender is a versatile prospect that has excellent leadership qualities for a young man and competes hard on both ends of the floor, but is at his best on the offensive end where he is able to make plays for himself or others. Bender's best attribute is his ability to shoot the basketball, which he does with nice consistency and excellent range on his shot. Bender's range is unlimited and allows him to be very effective off the dribble, as he sets up his defender with jab steps and pump fakes before making his moves. Bender is a good team defender and a solid one-one-one defender with solid lateral quickness. Not overly athletic, Bender knows how to play the game and has a high basketball IQ, which allows him to make plays on the floor. Bender has excellent toughness and is a winner on and off the floor.