PORT ARTHUR —
A chance meeting during a summer basketball camp has helped one Lamar State College-Port Arthur basketball player elevate his game to the next level.
Charles “Tre” Bennett III signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for Indiana State University next fall. The sophomore guard was the center of attention during a pep rally at the college’s Student Center where a throng of Seahawks fans cheered Bennett on as he secured his future in ink.
“They saw me at the MullenSports Top 100 camp in Missouri over the summer,” Bennett said of Indiana State’s initial contact. “They were my first school to visit. I fell in love with the coaching staff, the local community and the players. A lot of people had really good things to say about the school, so I knew it was the right place to go.”
Indiana State, which became part of college basketball lore when Larry Bird led it to the 1980 NCAA champinship game, is paced this season by senior guard Jake Odum who averaged 13.6 points a game with 151 assists a year ago. The Sycamores finished the season 18-15 a year ago, finishing fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“That’s another reason I was so excited about Indiana State,” Bennett explained. “They are losing their starting point guard and that position will be open. If I come in and work hard, I shouldn’t have a problem getting some playing time.”
Bennett attended high school at Milby until his senior season when he transferred to Yates in Houston. During his one season at Yates, he had one of the best performances in the state, scoring 46 points in one game with eight rebounds, nine assists and eight steals.
This past season, playing behind two strong sophomore guards, Bennett still managed 8.5 points a game as a freshman at Lamar State-Port Arthur. He had 74 rebounds and 73 assists, adding 32 steals. His 10-assist performance against Jacksonville College on Feb. 2, 2013 is third-best in the college’s history.
Already this season, Bennett is showcasing his dominance, leading the Seahawks in scoring in all three games played this year. He is averaging nearly 26 points a game, hitting for 33 against Texas Southern University JV this past Saturday.
He and the Seahawks hit the floor again tonight for a homecoming game against Northwestern State University JV. A tailgate party with free links and drinks will start at 5 p.m. with tipoff at 7 p.m. at the Carl Parker Center, located at 1800 Lakeshore Drive in Port Arthur.
A year ago, the Seahawks finished with a 21-11 season in the first season for Head Coach Lance Madison. In the second year for both Madison and Bennett, the goal is to improve upon the Seahawks’ second-round exit from the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament.
“My mind is just to win every game we can,” Bennett said. “Our main goal this year is to make sure we go to nationals. Every game we play, we treat it like it’s a regional game.”