Move over Jonathan Goldsmith; there is a new “Most Interesting Man in the World.”
Dixie’s Tyler Bennett, who many simply call “Mr. Everything,” is a three-time state champion and sealed his legacy by leading the Flyers to the program’s first boys basketball title since 1970. Dixie defeated Juan Diego, 65-57.
“Taking state and being the first team in almost 50 years to win was really special,” Bennett said. “We had so much support from our community and I can’t thank them, our coaches, and players enough. It was a team effort.”
While Bennett will never admit it, it was his special play throughout the season that helped erase nearly a half-century’s worth of frustration.
And boy did he deliver.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder averaged 21.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game this year.
He saved his best for last with a 30-point performance on 10 of 14 shooting in the 3A championship game.
“The award couldn’t have been given to a better person,” Dixie head basketball coach Ryan Cuff said. “Tyler is a great example on and off the court. He is a team-first guy and is one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching. He makes everyone around him better and when he needs to step up, he’ll do it.”
When the team traveled to Las Vegas in January to play Bishop Gorman – one of the premier high school basketball teams in the nation – Bennett was up for the challenge.
The senior, who many coaches called the LeBron James of Region 9, scored 22 points, including 17 in the first half despite going up against Bishop Gorman’s best defender.
“We saw the stats and we knew Tyler could score,” Bishop Gorman head coach Grant Rice said. “It was our first time seeing him in person and he’s a great athlete. We put one of our best defenders on him, and when I looked at the stats at halftime, he already had 17 points. What was most impressive is that he was able to score in so many different ways.”
Scoring has been second nature for Bennett, who is also a star on the soccer field.
The striker has 17 goals in his career and helped the Flyers win two state championships.
“The bigger the game the bigger he plays,” Dixie head soccer coach Burt Myers said of Bennett. “He scored in each of our state championship games and always came up big for us. Everyone knew who he was and they still couldn’t stop him.”
Besides his jaw-dropping athleticism, Myers credits his ability to listen as to why he’s been so successful throughout his high school career.
“Not many kids are coachable and listen the way Tyler does,” he said. “Those qualities are why he’s respected by his peers.”
With his championship rings on his fingers, Bennett couldn’t help but smile thinking of all the memories he’s had over the years.
“They (the rings) weigh a lot,” Bennett said jokingly. “But honestly, it’s really cool to have them. There are a lot of memories that come to mind when I look at them. I put in a lot of hard work and dedication. But I couldn’t have done it without my support system.”
Bennett still hasn’t committed to a school just yet, but Coach Cuff knows he’ll be playing at the collegiate level.
“Tyler has the talent — no question about it,” he said. “I know there are a number of schools that are talking with him and it’s just a matter of where he wants to go.”
Bennett will be putting his talents on hold for two years as he leaves to serve an LDS church mission next month. The former Flyer will serve in the Washington, D.C., mission and reports to the Missionary Training Center on July 13th.
“I’m excited for what’s to come, but I do have to learn French,” he said jokingly.
If it’s anything like he’s shown at the high school level, it shouldn’t be hard at all for “Mr. Everything.”