Arizonans in 2017 NCAA Tournament: Casey Benson makes Final Four

Arizonans in 2017 NCAA Tournament: Casey Benson makes Final Four

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Arizonans in 2017 NCAA Tournament: Casey Benson makes Final Four

Oregon Ducks guard Casey Benson (2) goes up for a shot as Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) guards during the first half in the finals of the Midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center.

Oregon Ducks guard Casey Benson (2) goes up for a shot as Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) guards during the first half in the finals of the Midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center.

There were 62 former Arizona high school boys basketball players on the rosters of NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams during the 2016-17 season.

Nine of them were on teams that made the NCAA Tournament.

One of them, Oregon’s Casey Benson, a former Tempe Corona del Sol High standout, has made it to Glendale for the Final Four.

MORE: Oregon Ducks end Pac-12’s Final Four drought

RELATED: 62 former Arizona high school boys basketball players on Div. I rosters

WIN $1,000 IN PRIZES: NCAA Tournament bracket contest

Benson had nine points in 19 minutes in the Ducks’ first round victory over Iona. He had four points in 16 minutes in the second round win over Rhode Island.

In the Sweet 16 win over Michigan, he had five points in 24 minutes. He scored four points in the Elite 8 win over Kansas in 21 minutes.

MORE: Countdown to Arizona’s Final Four | RELATED: NCAA Tournament schedule

Benson was All-Arizona his last two years at Corona del Sol.

During his junior season, he was azcentral sports’ Big Schools Player of the Year.

Arizonans on NCAA Tournament teams:

  • Oregon: Casey Benson, guard, 6-3, 185, junior, Tempe Corona del Sol (Team plays in Final Four)
  • Arizona: Talbott Denny, forward, 6-5, 215, senior, Tucson Salpointe Catholic (Team eliminated by Xavier in Sweet 16)
  • South Dakota State: A.J. Hess, guard/forward, 6-7, 200, senior, Phoenix Country Day (Team eliminated by Gonzaga in first round)
  • Marquette: Markus Howard, guard, 5-11, 175, freshman, Gilbert Perry (Team eliminated by South Carolina in first round)
  • St. Mary’s: Tommy Kuhse, guard, 6-2, 185, freshman, Mesa Mountain View (Team eliminated by Arizona in second round)
  • Kansas: Mitch Lightfoot, forward, 6-8, 210, freshman, Gilbert Christian (Team eliminated by Oregon in Elite 8)
  • NC Central: Pablo Rivas, forward, 6-6, 210, junior, Laveen Cesar Chavez (Team eliminated by UC Davis in First Four)
  • St. Mary’s: Elijah Thomas, forward, 6-5, 210, freshman, Peoria Sunrise Mountain (Team eliminated by Arizona in second round)
  • Nevada: Collin Weaver, guard, 6-3, 205, junior, Phoenix North Pointe (Team eliminated by Iowa State in first round)

Of the nine former Arizona high school players in the NCAA Tournament this season, Howard was the highest-scoring player during the regular season.

He averaged 13.2 points per game. Benson averaged 4.9 points per game during the regular season. Hess averaged 9.8 and Rivas averaged 6.8.

ARIZONANS IN MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Top scorers during regular season

ARIZONANS IN COLLEGE HOOPS: Clarke steps up | Markus Howard shines

Final Four schedule

Saturday

No. 1 Gonzaga (36-1) vs. No. 7 South Carolina (26-10), 3:09 p.m., Channel 5 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson).

No. 1 North Carolina (31-7) vs. No. 3 Oregon (33-5), 5:49 p.m., Channel 5 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson).

Monday

Semifinal winners, 6:19 p.m., Channel 5 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson).

To see photos of all 62 former Arizona high school basketball players on Division I college basketball rosters this season, click here.

For more from The Heat Index, go to heatindex.azcentral.com.

Follow Jeremy Cluff on Twitter.

Photo gallery: 2017 NCAA tournament field: Meet all 68 teams

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