Most know Casey Benson as the former Oregon guard who came off the bench to help the Ducks reach their first Final Four in 78 years. When the Final Four ended, however, Benson decided to transfer closer to home. The Phoenix-area native committed to Grand Canyon and is ready to help the up-and-coming program reach new heights. Mid-Major Madness recently sat down with Benson for a quick chat.
MMM: How did you enjoy your time in the PNW?
Benson: I enjoyed my time here at Oregon. I was able to grow as a person and a player throughout my 3 years. It has all flown by very quick.
MMM: Do you enjoy beating the Huskies as much as I like watching them lose? (I grew up in a Washington State Cougar household)
Benson: Every game you win in the Pac-12 is enjoyable. There are a lot of good teams and it is great every time you can come out with a victory.
MMM: How does your faith play a part with how you view and play basketball?
Benson: My faith plays a huge part in how I view and play the game. Every time I step on the court, I try to glorify Jesus because He is the reason I play the game. My faith also helps me to keep perspective as well. It is important to enjoy every time you get to play and have fun with it because it goes by quick.
MMM: With Nicole Powell being hired as the women’s GCU basketball head coach and you joining the mens team, is it true that ducks fly together? Did you cross paths with the Ducks WBB much? (it’s my lame Disney Mighty Ducks joke way of asking what should GCU expect with NP running the WBB program.)
Benson: I crossed paths with the Oregon WBB team often in my 3 years. Always seeing them around the arena and what not. I think that Coach Powell is going to do a great job at GCU. She has played and coached at a very high level and so I think that her experience will be very beneficial as she takes over the GCU women's program.
MMM: How big of a part was your brother TJ in your decision to transfer to GCU? Because a lot of the noise out there is that you just picked GCU because your brother is a coach on GCU’s staff.
Benson: My brother had a big part to play in my decision, but he didn't pressure me to do anything. He and I have always been extremely close, but he wanted me to do what I felt was best for me. It was my decision and while he obviously wanted me to come to GCU, he wanted what was best for me. At the end of the day, I obviously felt that GCU was the best place for me and I am very excited to be able to play for him.
MMM: What attracted you to Grand Canyon?
Benson: There were a lot of things that attracted me to GCU. Since making the jump to Division I, they have only continued to improve and gain momentum. The opportunity to come home and play in front of friends and family is something that is very important to me and you couldn't have written it much better. Coach Majerle has done a tremendous job thus far since he took over the program and the program continues to thrive. Coach Majerle has played and coached at the highest level and I believe that he, as well as the other coaches (Coach Lee, TJ, Coach Crevelone), are going to push me to be the best I can be. And last but not least, who wouldn't want to play in front of the havocs? Sold out crowd that never fails to bring energy and excitement, and does as good of a job as any student section in the country!!
MMM: What was your first impression of the Havocs?
Benson: My first impression of the havocs was just how unique they are. I was pretty astounded at how much energy and excitement they bring all the time. There are obviously great student sections in college basketball, but what the havocs do is different and fresh. Like I said, they are unique and I am beyond excited to play in front of them.
MMM: With next season being your last collegiate year, what do you hope to accomplish?
Benson: I wouldn't necessarily say there is a benchmark to what would be considered a success next year but I will say that I am very excited because I think we are going to have a great team. Everyone sets out to win championships and so our goal is to be WAC champions and be the first team in school history to go to the NCAA tournament. I know how tough it is and it is going to be a lot of hard work but I definitely feel that we have the team to do it and I am looking forward to getting to work.
MMM: Is there anything you want to tell Lopes students/fans?
Benson: I just want to say how excited and thankful I am to begin my time at GCU and can't wait to be home and play in front of the havocs!!