When the season began last year, no one expected Schoolhouse Prep to dethrone Miami Christian in 2a and clinch a spot in the state tournament in Lakeland. The subject of this week’s player spotlight Jose Luis-Benitez was a crucial part of Schoolhouse Prep’s run last season and is coming off a huge summer with Miami Triple Threat. The 6 foot 1 point guard seems poised to lead his team back to Lakeland to capture the school’s first state title.
“The experience of getting to the State Tournament last year was great,” said Benitez. “I feel that we grew as a team throughout last season to be able to accomplish that. My goal this year is to improve on and off the court to be able to help us win the state championship.”
The rising senior Benitez is a dynamic guard who brings a diverse skill set to his team. He is able to penetrate at will and is a good distributor. The Dominican Republic native is great at drawing charges and getting steals. He was still recovering from an injury at the beginning of last season, but was still able to average 10 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals per game for the Wolfpack.
“I would say my ability to dribble, shoot, and make good decisions under pressure as a point guard are my greatest strengths. I still have room to improve and I am working everyday to be a better player.”
Benitez’s break out junior season came under the leadership of first year head coach Colin Campbell, who was an assistant at Eastern University prior to joining the Wolfpack. Campbell has lofty expectations for his starting point guard entering his senior season.
“Jose is a very talented player and has the ability to impact the game in many different ways,” said Campbell. “He is a great at driving to set up his teammates and can really score when called upon. We are expecting a phenomenal season from him and he has the potential to be a great college player.”
The crafty floor general spent his summer playing with Miami Triple Threat. They participated in the Hoop Group Showcase League and Benitez used that platform to improve his stock as a college prospect. He received an offer from St. Rose in Albany, New York while also attracting interest from Bryant, Albany State, NJIT, and Canisius with his stellar play. He described what he is looking for in his future college destination.
“My recruitment is still very open,” said Benitez. “I am looking for a school that is very family oriented like Schoolhouse is. I want a school with capable and experienced coaches, where I can receive a good education.”
Benitez enters his senior season as one of Dade County’s top point guards and overall players. Schoolhouse begins the season as one of the favorites in 2a and will lean on Benitez to clinch another berth to Lakeland. The Wolfpack will have to face teams like Champagnat, Miami Christian, Grandview Prep, and Brito Private to be able to return to the state tournament.
“I look forward to being a leader,” said Benitez. “We lost some great players from last year, but we gained some new players. I look forward to helping us grow and making the team better everyday.”
Check out season highlights below.