Silverswords’ Bennett Finding His Fit On Honolulu Courts
When the Chaminade campus clears out over the holiday break, there’s plenty of time for reflection for its inhabitants. Steven Bennett doesn’t mind.
“No classes and no latenight homework,” said Bennett. “I’ve been using the time to rest my body.”
The starting point guard from Los Angeles has finally adapted to life on the Island and on the basketball court, where he has stepped into the role of CUH’s team leader.
Bennett’s first foray from home, when he attended Mecca Mission Elite Christian Academy in Mississippi directly out of high school, was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
“They sold me a dream, and when I got there it was different,” said Bennett, a junior at Chaminade.“I wasn’t learning anything (academically), and my living situation wasn’t good. It felt like a scandal there. It was a bad situation, and I left after a month and a half.”
Bennett found life at Citrus Junior College — an hour away from L.A.— more to his liking. He helped lead Citrus to a 35-1 season in 2007-08 and a California State Junior College title. Division I colleges were calling on him soon after. He was recruited by CalState Fullerton, Fresno State and Eastern Washington. When he decided to give Division II schools a look, it came down to Chaminade and Cal-State Los Angeles. As was the case when he left home the first time, Bennett was going to a place he hadn’t yet visited.
“It was kind of hard at first — we don’t have our own gym, and the dorms (at CUH) are a little small, but it helps now that we are in season,” he said.“We’ve bonded now, and we’ll be a good team this season. We were judged earlier by what we did in our Division I games, and we just had to get our chemistry together. I came to Chaminade to get down to business.”
That means playing a bigtime schedule, of course. No complaints from Bennett on that note, although four of Chaminade’s six losses came to Division I schools — including games against Maryland, Vanderbilt and Colorado at the Maui Invitational and a road contest against its Oahu neighbor, UH, whom the Silverswords played to the limit in a 70-61 loss on Dec. 9 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“I wish we could play more (DI schools),” he said. “We felt we should have won a couple of those, but we got a lot of publicity for recruiting from those games. It’s great playing teams like that — especially at the Maui Invitational. You get to play on national television, and I want to prove that I’m a Division I (caliber) player. Chaminade has benefited me. Everything is fast-paced in L.A., and I need to be in a more relaxed environment.”
While smallish by DI standards at 5-foot-8, Bennett plays much bigger by way of his quickness and his tenacity. His 33.6 minutes per outing is second on the team to Shane Hanson, and he has a sparkling assist-versusturnover-ratio ( 56-27) through nine games. He handed out eight assists in the riveting game against Hawaii and leads CUH in most offensive categories. On Dec, 14, he was named Pacific West Conference Player of the Week after leading Chaminade to a 2-1 record for the previous week. CUH followed up the loss to Hawaii with wins over HPU and BYUH. All told, he averaged 16.7 points and 9.3 assists per contest, ranking seventh in scoring and first in assists per game in the PacWest for the week. He also was tops in the league in assist/turnover ratio for the week (14.0).
This week, Bennett and Chaminade are in Phoenix for Thursday’s game against Grand Canyon. On Saturday, they will be in Utah to play Dixie State. From there, five of their next six games will be at McCabe Gym on the CUH campus.
Contact Jack Danilewicz at Jackster.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Bennett of Chaminade protects the ball in a recent game. Photo courtesy of Chaminade University.