LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — Las Cruces point guard, William “Deuce” Benjamin Jr., has been named the 2020-21 Gatorade New Mexico Boys Basketball Player of the Year, announced by the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) on Friday.
The award, which recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Benjamin as the best high school boys basketball player in the Land of Enchantment. He becomes the third player from the Las Cruces boys basketball program to receive the prestigious honor and will automatically become a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.
“My phone started blowing up and the NMAA said I’d won Gatorade Player of the Year,” said Benjamin. “I called my dad [Las Cruces head coach William Benjamin] and he was more excited than I was. It just felt like an accomplishment for him and me because he was proud of what I did. All my hard work paid off in my junior year. I still have to keep working and try to get it again next year.”
The 6-foot-1 junior led the Bulldawgs to a 14-1 record and the Class 5A state championship game this past season, averaging 27.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game. Benjamin scored at least 30 points in six games this season while maintaining a 3.0 grade point average. He was also named MaxPreps Player of the Year last month and is a two-time first team all-state selection.
With Division I offers from New Mexico State — the same program his father and head coach, William Benjamin Sr., played for in the 1990’s — and Florida International, Benjamin will most certainly be on college recruiters’ maps next season as a senior. Benjamin telling KTSM on Friday that he’s also receiving interest from Colorado, Northern Colorado, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and UC-Santa Barbara. Playing for a high-powered AAU program in Texas, Benjamin should get even more looks later this summer.