November 15, 2016
This edition of "Never Forget" features a guy who showed a ton of promise coming out of High school, and some flash professionally, but who had a career shortened by injury.
His name is Jonathan Bender.
Bender was drafted in 1999 by the Raptors (soon after sent to the Pacers) with the 5th overall pick.
All it took for him to get selected this high was a stellar High School career, and being awarded MVP of the McDonald's All-American game.
Bender did end up logging in 8 seasons, but due to injury, never played in a full one.
His career average concluded with a small stint with the Knicks, and a career average of just over 5 ppg and 2 rpg.
If it weren't for the injuries, I think that Bender would have been great. As a player measured in at 7 feet tall, his athleticism was great.
He could grab tough boards, swat shots, dunk over you, or knock down the three. (Think smaller Karl-Anthony Towns).
HIs final season was the 2009-10 one, after three years out of the league. It's inspiring that he got himself back in, but it closed out in a sad way.
This video below shows one of his great games. Never forget.