Villanova sophomore guard Bilal Benn is transferring to Niagara, a source told the Daily News.
Benn, a former Cardinal Dougherty standout who graduated from Hargrave Military Academy, has seen limited playing time in his two seasons on the Wildcat bench. But with three talented guards coming in this year and Reggie Redding earning the second spot off the bench this season, Benn likely saw the writing on the wall for his Villanova future. This season, he averaged 1.9 points and 9.3 minutes in 28 appearances.
At Niagara, Benn will join a talented NCAA Tournament team led, of course, by Philly's own Joe Mihalich. This year the Purple Eagles stormed back from a 1-6 start to finish 23-12, win the MAAC and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Placed in the play-in game, Niagara beat Florida A&M but then fell to top seed Kansas, 107-67 in the first round. Mihalich was rewarded with a contract extension at the end of the season.
Benn will have to sit out this season as per NCAA mandated transfer rules but will be part of a bright future when he gets on the court for the 2008-09 season. Along with Benn, Connecticut guard Rob Garrison is planning to transfer to Niagara, the source said, giving the Purple Eagles two Big East players on their roster down the road as well as talented guard Tyrone Lewis, a Harry S. Truman graduate who averaged 12.9 points in this, his rookie season. *