Benson tranferring to OK Baptist

Updated: June 28, 2004, 11:34 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Justin Benson is leaving New Mexico to play basketball for Oklahoma Baptist.

Earlier this month, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound player had said he was considering leaving the Lobo basketball team to play football at UNM as a tight end.

"Justin wanted a better playing situation for himself," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay said. "And he will likely be afforded that at Oklahoma Baptist."

When he recruited Benson as a Texas high school star in November 2002, McKay said he expected Benson to provide immediate help for the Lobos. But Benson was a seldom-used reserve during his freshman season, averaging 8.3 minutes, 1.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

By attending the NAIA school in Shawnee, Okla., Benson will not have to sit out a season as a transfer.

The Bison finished 31-6 last season and are the lone NAIA team to reach the quarterfinals of the national postseason tournament in each of the past four years.

Benson is the fourth Lobo to leave since the end of the basketball season. Lenny Miles, who would have been a sophomore, said he plans to play football at the University of Colorado. Walk-on Collins Ferris announced he was leaving to concentrate on academics, while walk-on Mikal Monette transferred to Eastern New Mexico after two years at UNM.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press