Ben Eaves: Mystery Man

Ben Eaves is a guy who had no repuation in the United States as recently as a couple weeks ago. Now the 6-foot-7 1/2 athletic native of England is solidly building a rep among college coaches.

Ben Eaves is the "Mystery Man". Coaches didn't see him this past summer. Neither did recruiting fans or even analysts.

The 6-foot-7 ½, 210-pound native of England was busy playing in Slovakia in the under-18 European Championships, where he and Matthew Bryan-Amaning led a struggling team.

Now Eaves has come to the United States – Worcester Academy (Mass.) in particular – and it hasn't taken him long to make an impression.

Eaves is a big-time athlete and is extremely versatile. He's thin and needs to work on his ballhandling skills, but he can step out and knock down shots from the perimeter – and also mix it up on the inside and score in the paint.

Bryan-Amaning compares his athleticism to his teammate at South Kent (Conn.) – Gilbert Brown.

Bryan-Amaning is right.

Eaves hails from Preston, England – which is about 50 miles from Manchester. Not this past summer, but the summer of 2004, Eaves went to Eastern Invitational – and was spotted by Worcester Academy coach Ed Reilly. The rest is history.

When Eaves arrived in Worcester, his school list consisted of mid-majors: Davidson, Siena, Toledo, etc.

Now he and his teammate, 7-footer Chas McFarland, have watched as their recruitments have gone up to another level.

``His versatility strikes me as much as anything," Reilly said. "He can get it done at both ends of the floor, is a good 3-point shooter and is a strong rebounder. He still needs to work on getting by people with the ball, but he can score in a lot of different ways."

The pair has visited Providence, Rhode Island – and most recently, UConn this past weekend, on unofficial visits. Eaves fared well going head-to-head against UConn sophomore Rudy Gay.

``He guarded Rudy and he was also hitting jump shots and driving," McFarland said of Eaves. "Rudy was scoring, but Ben contested every one of his shots and had a hand in Rudy's face. Ben is a great player. He's really, really athletic and can jump out of the gym. He can also shoot the ball."

Eaves, 18, has offers from Pittsburgh, Providence Utah and could field offers this week from UConn and Syracuse. He also mentioned Boston College, Miami, George Washington and Marquette in the mix.

``This has been everything I hoped for when I came here," Eaves said. "Some of the bigger schools have come in and shown interest and it's been nice."

``He's here on a basketball mission," Reilly added. "He wants to play at the highest level."

It appears as though Eaves will receive – and take advantage of that opportunity – as he has already informed the staff at Davidson that he won't be taking a visit to the campus.

``They were the school that has really seen me play the most," Eaves said. "I spoke to Coach (Bob) McKillop and I explained the situation to him and he's been supportive. I felt I owed him honesty, that it was best to let him know what was happening because he's got scholarships to fill and this was the right way to handle it."

Eaves, who already has a 1020 on the SAT, has scheduled an official visit to Providence for the weekend of Midnight Madness. He said he'd also like to schedule an official trip back to UConn so he can get an opportunity to take a closer look at the Storrs, Conn., campus.

``I'm just trying to take it as it comes," he added. "I'm trying to learn more about the schools. I'm focusing more on getting better and not so much about the schools right now."

``UConn is probably my dream school," Eaves continued. "You look at what they've done and the fact they have a winning tradition.


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