The Benjamin basketball sequel for the New Mexico State Aggies will never make it to the court, after all.
Deuce Benjamin, the former New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year and state champion at Las Cruces High School, where he played for his father and former Aggies star William Benjamin, announced on Tuesday he has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will be leaving program he grew up dreaming to be a part of and before ever having played in a regular season game.
“Due to the actions of others (which I will not go into here) that dream changed into a nightmare,” Benjamin wrote in a lengthy statement he posted on his social media accounts on Tuesday.
“Adding insult to injury, coach Hooten (new NMSU basketball coach Jason Hooten, who was hired last month), recently informed me that it would be in my best interest to continue my education and basketball career elsewhere.”
#✌🏽Boogie #OntopNext pic.twitter.com/WWbVSpH12J
— deuce🥷🏽 (@21BabyBenj) April 18, 2023
Benjamin, a 6-foot-1 guard, was on scholarship for the Aggies this past season, but never played in a regular season game. He still has four seasons of playing eligibility remaining.
NMSU had not responded Tuesday evening to a Journal request for comment at the time of this publication.
Benjamin played in a preseason exhibition game against Division II Western New Mexico, but then decided he would redshirt this season. As such, he practiced and even traveled at times with the team, which had a tumultuous season, to say the least.
There was the November shooting in Albuquerque in which NMSU player Mike Peake shot and killed a UNM student who police say plotted to ambush the Aggies player while he and several NMSU players had snuck out of their team hotel in the early morning hours before their game against the Lobos. The Aggies’ season was later canceled by the NMSU administration amid a still-being-investigated hazing allegation on the team.
Head coach Greg Heiar, who gave Benjamin the scholarship to be an Aggie, was fired in February, less than a year after he was hired to replace former head coach Chris Jans.