Kent Benson, Indiana's 1973 Mr. Basketball, member of the undefeated NCAA National Championship team in 1976 and 12-year NBA player, provided a motivational and uplifting program Thursday, Aug. 29 at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind. The program, sponsored by the Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), was part of a special Fellowship Night through the organization's chaplaincy program at Indiana Grand.
A native and resident of New Castle, Ind., Benson spoke to a full house which included horsemen, basketball fans and members of the girls and boys basketball teams from Shelbyville High School. His focus, which is always faith driven, dates back to his eighth-grade year in New Castle when a coach encouraged him to reach for his dream of becoming the state's Mr. Basketball.
“The coach saw a 'doodle' I had made of a basketball player with a number one on the uniform,” said Benson. “I explained to him I was working on my future and wanted to be Mr. Basketball my senior year. He told me to achieve that, I would have to implement four things to get there: desire, determination, dedication and discipline.”
Benson noted he committed to those four words through his entire playing career and later added two more words to the mix, direction and decision to create a list of “The 6 D's to Excellence.” He later realized that the coaches, teachers, parents, friends and others had given him direction to make the right decisions in both basketball and life.
Benson went on to talk about his days at Indiana University and playing for Bob Knight as well as his time in the NBA. His two most prolific quotes of the night are staples in his programs: “You never lose. You either win or you learn,” and “Losers focus on what they are going through. Champions focus on what they are going to.”
The Indiana HBPA kicked off the program with a meal and the evening concluded with several giveaways, including four red and white IU basketballs signed by Benson.
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