- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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The Giants tight end proclaimed Friday that he could play for the Knicks, and said his skill set has some qualities that exceed those of the Knicks' star small forward.
Bennett did play two seasons for Texas A&M before stopping to focus entirely on football, although he didn't nearly post the numbers that would have made him the face of an NBA franchise.
New York Giants
"I'm a more explosive Carmelo Anthony," Bennett said Friday. "I got better handles, though, than him."
Before he ever attended Texas A&M, Bennett declared for the NBA Draft in 2005, but ultimately decided to pull out since he wasn't getting vibes he would be a first-round pick, according to a report. Bennett was the No. 25 prep small forward in the 2005 class, per Scout.
Bennett played 30 games at A&M from 2005-07, averaging 1.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in 26 games his freshman year, but playing just four his sophomore year. The tight end explained Friday that he didn't pursue basketball because the time he devoted to football prevented him from keeping up with the other players. Bennett was one of the top tight ends in the nation at A&M.
"By the time I got back to the gym, everybody was so far ahead because they'd been dribbling. I'd lose the ball crossing over," Bennett said. "Timing was off on like and-ones, couldn't finish. Just took too much to get it back when you don't play during the season. I had to go to class."
Sunday, the Giants will face the Packers in an important game, and Bennett will square off against his former Houston AAU Hoops teammate, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. The two played together for two years and were known by the name, "D-Block."
"All we did was dunk on everybody and block shots and get rebounds," Bennett said.
While they would make a great low-post tandem now, when they played AAU, Bennett said he was a slashing guard, while Finley was a small forward. Bennett described Finley as a rebounder, a "Charles Barkley type guy," while he was the scorer among the two.
The pair of friends doesn't talk that much anymore, but Bennett said they don't miss a beat when they see each other. Bennett believes he was the higher-ranked basketball recruit in their youths.
"I keep up with every tight end in the NFL. I think he does a good job for them. I have a bunch of guys I grew up in the NFL with and we're all blessed to cross paths at some point in time," Bennett said. "Any time guys do well, that's all I want for them."
As a self-proclaimed NBA-ready player, Bennett believes he would get the best of his former teammate if the two were to have a friendly one-on-one battle before Sunday's game.
"I (win). I still got it," Bennett said. "It's not close. I could play for the Knicks right now and be productive."
2dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan