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Keith Benson, Atlanta Hawks Draft Pick, Will Play In Italy During NBA Lockout

Keith Benson was picked by the Atlanta Hawks with the 48th overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. Kito's professional career won't begin stateside, however, as the Oakland (MI) alum has decided to sign with a team in Italy until the NBA lockout is settled.

Benson signed a contract with Dinamo Sassari for the upcoming season, according to a press release posted on the Italian team's website. The release notes that Benson has an opt-out clause to return stateside, but only for a guaranteed NBA contract with provisions keeping him in Italy if his American options are either signing a 10-day contract or being assigned to the NBA Development League.

Benson, a four-year standout at Oakland while guiding the team to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, will join a team that already employs a host of Americans. Former NBA player Travis Diener and his cousin Drake Diener will make up the Dinamo's backcourt while former Fresno State standout Quinton Hosley will man one of the wing positions.

With Benson signing in Italy, he becomes the sixth second round pick to sign overseas for the upcoming season. The other players include E`Twaun Moore, Jon Diebler, Lavoy Allen, Jon Leuer and Justin Harper.