Bennington signs to play pro basketball in Malta

2013-07-24T22:01:00Z 2013-07-24T22:36:06Z Bennington signs to play pro basketball in MaltaZACK KLEMME zack.klemme@lee.net Ledger Independent
July 24, 2013 10:01 pm  • 

Even before he signed a contract to play professionally, Jeremy Bennington's basketball career had been something of an odyssey.

That will continue in Malta in the Euroleague after the 2007 West Union graduate recently signed a contract to play for Depiro this coming season.

And, as Bennington said Wednesday, as long as he gets to make a living playing basketball and traveling the world, what else could he ask for?

"The experience is gonna be great," he said by phone from Portsmouth, Ohio, where he's still living after finishing his senior season at Shawnee State. "But just playing basketball, being able to put off doing anything else for work or money, just getting to play basketball, something I love and keep getting to do that competitively, (is great)."

Bennington will go to Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy and north of Libya, to continue a route that saw him play his four collegiate seasons at three different institutions.

After he finished his career with the Dragons in 2007 as an Associated Press Division III special mention all-Ohio selection, Bennington went to Rio Grande for one year, Southern State Community College for two and Shawnee State for his final season of eligibility.

He shone there, averaging 16.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game as the Bears went 16-14. Bennington posted a career high of 36 points in an 87-85 overtime defeat of eventual NAIA national champion Georgetown in January.

"This came about from me having a pretty good season this year at Shawnee," he said. "That's opened up a lot of the opportunities and stuff, the windows and connections. After that, I just reached out to some people and some people reached back with me and that's when I signed with an agent, and he just went about his business."

Bennington said "I really don't know a whole lot" yet about Depiro, which reached the semifinals of the Powerade League in Malta last season, but he thinks his game will translate well to playing abroad.

"There's a lot of rules changes and rules differences I'm gonna have to adjust to, but once I get over there I'll be accustomed to them and I'll see what all they are and whatnot," he said. "My game adjusts really good because of my height and I can shoot, so I feel like I'll do pretty well."

He's also still learning about his soon-to-be new home, but said he likes what he's heard so far.

"Really all I've been hearing about is the weather, just how nice it is, the living area and the weather, year-round," Bennington said. "I know there's some history background there."

Getting to see an unfamiliar part of the world also appeals to Bennington.

"Oh, I'm looking forward to it because obviously, being from West Union, Adams County doesn't have a whole lot of things out there like that," he said. "So this is gonna be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for sure just to be able to travel and see the world."

Bennington said he is to report Sept. 8, and at that point will settle into the business of trying to build a career in the Maltese league.

"This contract is just a seven-month thing," he said. "But as long as everything goes well, I plan on playing as long as I can, five, seven years, whatever."

He already knows he has the backing of friends and family back home.

"I've been getting nothing but a lot of congrats," he said. "It's a new thing for a lot of people back home ... so I'm loving it."

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