I got to watch Bender from very close range. And I can assure you that he’s the realest of deals. The slender 7-footer doesn’t turn 18 until November, but he can already do a little bit of everything. Bender runs the floor. He handles the ball. He scores inside and outside. He knows how to pass. He’s not afraid to bang even though he clearly needs to add bulk and strength. And, most of all, he’s already an impact player defensively who, despite his tender age and slight frame, can play the 3, 4 and 5.
The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has waived guard Daniel Nwaelele (wah-LAY-lay). Nwaelele (6-5, 205) was signed by Memphis as a free agent on Sept. 28. Undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft, the 31-year-old Air Force product has played professionally in Israel (2010-11) and in the NBA Development League with the Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-14). The Grizzlies’ roster stands at 19 players.
The hype is real even if Bender swears he’s not paying attention to it. “I actually don’t see (NBA scouts) in the crowd of people,” he said after game. “I just focus on the game and come trying to learn new things every night from my coach and teammates.”