CARNEY - Former Carney-Nadeau and recent Northern Michigan University basketball standout, Jared Benson will carry his talents to another level when he joins the Dresden, Germany Titans this season.
"I've wanted to play in the European league since I was in high school," said Benson. "That's been my dream."
Benson is the only one of seven freshmen from the NMU recruiting classes of 2007 and 2008 to play four years for the Wildcats.
Benson endured a string of losing seasons at NMU while working hard to sharpen his skills.
"When it comes to adversity, people's true character comes out," NMU coach Doug Lewis told the Marquette Mining Journal. "Jared never quit. He never complained. He never cried about playing time or not touching the ball. He wanted to do whatever he could to win games and every day he worked hard on and off the court."
He finished his college career with 1,026 points and led the team field goal percentage (57.6) and blocked shots per game (1.7), while scoring 11.7 points and clearing 5.6 rebounds per game in his senior season.
Benson will join Menominee's Jason Boucher on the Titans. Boucher, a 5-11 point guard, led the Titans in scoring and assists last season.
Boucher and Benson are good friends and the former Maroon point guard has assured Benson that the German people are very hospitable to American players. More importantly, the coaches speak in English in practice.
"Basketball is the same there as it is here so it shouldn't be too much of a transition," Benson explained. "Jason's a fun guy to live with so that should be pretty entertaining."
A silky-smooth turnaround jumper has been the go-to move for Benson, but that may change.
"It's more of a face-up game in post game over there than it is here," he noted. "It's a shooting league with a lot of mid-range jump shots."
Benson noted that former Carney-Nadeau head coach Paul Polfus has been a major influence in his career.
"He always been a leader. He always told me to stay calm when I'm on the floor," said Benson. "He's still very much a part of my life."
Benson leaves for Dresden this morning and plans to become an annual part of the Dresden team.
"I want to play as long as my body lets me," he said. "That's my goal."
Benson is the youngest of three basketball standouts in the family. Carly Benson, who earned all-state honors at Carney-Nadeau and went on to play for the University of Michigan, is an academic recruiter at Michigan Tech University. Tara Benson, an All-U.P. Dream Team player for the Wolves, works for a company in Montana that builds windmills.