The Clippers, in an effort to hasten rookie center Benoit Benjamin's development, are bringing in former Boston Celtic great Bill Russell as an unofficial, unpaid tutor.
Clipper Coach Don Chaney had lunch with Russell, a WTBS commentator, in Portland Wednesday and struck an informal deal to have former teammate Russell work with Benjamin after practice when the Clippers are at home in January.
"Bill won't get paid for it," Chaney said. "He's just going to be in L.A. in January and I'd like him to help Benoit. He worked with (Portland's) Sam Bowie last season and it helped him a lot."
What was Benjamin's reaction?
"He was all for it," Chaney said. "I'd hope so. Anyone would be fortunate to learn from Bill Russell."
Benjamin, 21, was born and reared in Monroe, La. Russell was born in West Monroe. That, however, is where the similarities end. Going into Thursday night's game against Philadelphia, Benjamin averaged 5.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while averaging 19 minutes a game.