Laney’s Benjamin signs with Alabama

A two-time state champion crossed another accomplishment off her list Wednesday.

 

Laney’s De’Sha Benjamin signed a national letter of intent to play women’s college basketball at Alabama during a ceremony in the school’s gymnasium.

“It’s very special. It means a lot,” Benjamin said. “I’m signing to where I want to go, Alabama.”

Benjamin has been one of the top players in the area since jumping on the scene as a freshman and averaging double-digit points per game. The Lady Wildcats won it all that year, and the state was aware that a star was in the making.

After leading the team with 17.8 points per game as a sophomore and earning The Augusta Chronicle’s Georgia Girls Player of the Year honors, Benjamin continued her climb as a junior last season by averaging 20.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Her production helped guide Laney to a second state title in three seasons.

“She’s been a good player,” Laney coach Otis Smart said. “She’s a two-time state champion. I think during her whole career here she’s only lost eight games. A great player and I hope she does well at Alabama.”

Alabama gets a versatile player capable of playing most positions, from handling the ball like a guard to being physical in the paint. She was heavily recruited and decided on the Crimson Tide, who posted their highest win total last season since 1997-98 and won three games in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Benjamin said Alabama had been her school of choice and she signed with the program because of its family atmosphere. Laney’s pressure style of play and the conditioning involved will also benefit her at Alabama, which runs a similar style.

“The coaches, they’re loving, and I’m a family-oriented person,” she said. “I’m all about family and that’s what they provide. I know it’s going to be hard, so I know I’m going to have to work hard. No expectations, just being there and living in the moment.”

One season remains for Benjamin at Laney, which is aiming for another state championship run behind the play of its star along with Jaiden Hamilton and others.

Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or david.lee@augustachronicle.com.

 

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