HOUSTON - As Austin Benigni relished in the basketball world reacting to his news, The Woodlands Christian Academy senior in a special moment sat down with his grandfather.
Sitting there with his Navy ballcap on, Joe Eletto - who flew planes for the Navy - shared a moment with his grandson, who had just committed to the United States Naval Academy.
"He was pretty proud, I could tell," Benigni, who committed to the United States Naval Academy on Wednesday said. "[He talked] about the life that the Navy promises you afterwards. The Navy they say that it's not for four years, it's for 40 years. It sets you up for a life of success no matter what you get in to. You'll always have that Navy network to support you."
Benigni committing to a military academy shouldn't come as a surprise, if you know his family's connections.
Of course, his grandfather served in the Navy. He has an uncle who is a United States Army Ranger and a cousin who is also working his way up through the Army.
"We've always been involved in that aspect of life," Benigni said. "So getting to get the chance to go there and carry on the tradition and then getting the chance to represent my country on and off the court is a really cool thing."
113% Committed! #GoNavy!@NavyBasketball @TWCAbasketball @bigsloan32 @RcsSports @GDayHoopScout @djones8301 @TheTB5Reports @TexasHoopsGASO @TXboysbasketbal @BJenkins247 @VerbalCommits @PrepHoopsTX @vypehouston @HoustonChronHS @Rivals pic.twitter.com/nfwOElUZgh— Austin Benigni ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@AustinBenigni13) October 20, 2021
Along with the side of serving your country, the two-time TAPPS State Champion will also get to rep his country on the basketball court.
Playing at the next level for Benigni has been a dream since he was eight or nine. And now, the defending Patriot League Champions is the place for him.
"I was looking for a place I could go make an impact right away, where we had a good chance of making it to the tournament and getting a chance to play professionally," Benigni said. "You also have the added benefit of going to the Navy."
As Benigni gets ready for his senior season, which could be a historic one at TWCA, the unequivocal leader of the Warriors wanted to get the commitment out of the way so that he could focus on winning a third-straight state championship.
Something that has never been done at TWCA.
"That was always the goal to get it done before the season," Benigni said. "I just wanted to focus up fully on the season and try to go for our three-peat. It's going to be harder than other years, so just wanted to clear my plate."
What's neat about Benigni's decision is in a few years, he will be facing former TWCA teammates in Patriot League play - Tucker Nooe (Air Force) and Chanse Perkins (West Point).
“We’ve got all three of the military service academies covered,” Benigni said.