Ben Rand Speaks About Playing Time

With freshman reserve guard Ben Rand racking up as many DNPCD's (Did not play, coaches decision) than points this year, some fans and members of the media have begun to speculate on what Rand's future might hold. When Adam Haluska, Mike Henderson, Pierre Pierce, Carlton Reed, JR Angle and Jeff Horner fighting it out for minutes next year along with Rand, more than one player is going to be be unhappy. Members of the Iowa media spoke with Rand today and he offered some interesting comments.

Ben Rand:

Do you have an idea why you haven't been in the rotation?

I'm not 100 percent sure. I've continued to do the same things that I've been doing all season. For some reason…you know that's really not my decision. I really haven't pinned it down at all for like a specific reason. But it just happened, and I'll continue to deal with it.

Do you feel like you're making progress?

I feel like I'm getting better as a player. That's my opinion. It's kind of tough to have a comment on it.

Obviously, the back court could get more crowded next year with Haluska, Henderson, Carlton Reed, maybe even Angle. He's considered a guard. What do you think your future is going to be here as a Hawkeye?

Right now, I'm a Hawkeye. I made a commitment here. We'll see how things go, obviously. In the off-season, I've got a lot to work on. In terms of next year, we'll see.

Are you kind of hinting that maybe you'd look elsewhere?

No. Not at all…yet. We'll have to see what happens the rest of this year.

How far is Rochelle from DeKalb?

Rochelle is only 15 minutes from DeKalb.

Was Northern Illinois chasing you in high school?

Northern was the first school that offered me at the end of my freshman or beginning of my sophomore year. But, right now, that's not an option at all.

Going back near home Wednesday night (at Northwestern) will have you have some family and friends come in to check you out?

I've got my AAU coach. He's bringing some of his players. Then, I'm sure my family will be there. It will be nice to get back to Illinois.

When you look at this year, are you frustrated or disappointed? How would you sum it up? Or, would you say just "I'm a freshman, and I've got time?"

I'm young. We've got three really good guards who are capable of playing a lot of minutes. You've got to look at that and take it for what it is. It doesn't say anything against my talent. It just brings a lot of light to those guys and how good they are.

How is you health?

My health is good right now. With the concussion, I was kind of out of it for a few days. I went and saw the doctor. It was more his decision than mine to sit me out of the Illinois game. Obviously, that was a game that I'd want to participate in.

Have you been frustrated at all this year by getting playing time and then not getting any?

Anybody that doesn't play, they're lying if they tell you they're not frustrated. That's just the way that it is. But my interest is still in the best interest of this team right now. I want us to try to make a run at the tournament and do a great job in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Illinois fans were kind of teasing you at the end of the game (last Wednesday). Coach came down and talked to you. You couldn't play that game, right?

That was a game that I had to sit out regardless of the coach's decision. The student section really didn't have any effect on me. I don't think they knew what Dr. Phillips wanted done.

What happened with the concussion?

I just got elbowed by Erek Hansen by the basket going up for a lay-up. He got me on the nose, and I kind of fell back on my head. It was a mild concussion, but I was out of it for a few days. I sat out of practice the Tuesday before that game.

This was the Saturday before the Illinois game?


It was last Monday, wasn't it?

Well, I got hit in the nose on Saturday. And then Monday, I got kind of jarred up against just playing. I talked to Streif on Monday night, and I was still kind of out of it.

What have the coaches said to you with regards to playing time? Have you asked what they want of you or what they need out of you?

Ummmm (smiles and laughs)…I don't know. It's hard to comment on that right now. We've talked to them, and they've just…besides that I need to continue working on the stuff that I need to work on defensively and feel more comfortable. Right now, that's just what I'm doing.

They've never said to you that you're not going to play in a given game, right? Do they tell you to be prepared to play every night?

That really hasn't happened. I just go in there assuming that I'll take advantage of the time that I'll get. That's really the way that I look at each game that if I do get an opportunity to be ready.

Coach Steve Alford on Rand:

Ben Rand played about 10 or 12 minutes at Illinois, and it looked as though he may be ready to make a contribution. What happened to him, do you think, since then?

It would be view points of others versus mine. Spurg is a senior. Spurg has been through the wars. He's played Big Ten basketball. We're down to seven people or down to playing seven. I don't really want to play any more than that because I want those five that are starting on the floor as much as possible. It's really more of a coach's decision on whether he's more ready at this point than what Spurg is. In my mind, he's not. Spurg gets rebounds. He can shoot the basketball. He doesn't make mistakes. He's not uptight to make mistakes because he's been in it before. Ben just hasn't been in it, and it's just too hard of a situation for me. As I've told Ben, those are very vital minutes that there's not slippage of play. I'm not in a position to get freshmen minutes just to get freshmen minutes. The bottom line is that one's a senior and one's a freshman. Ben's time will come. But this just isn't the time to do it.

Next year, presumably you'll have Haluska into the mix, Mike Henderson, Carlton Reed. Is Angle a guard?

He can play guard. He's a guard-forward. He's a swing type player. He's similar to DeWitz in that he can play multiple positions. He's much more fundamental, not quite as athletic as Nick.

So anyway, those three guard position will be even more crowded next year. So, what kind of future do you see for Rand?

Jim, I'm one week left here in the Big Ten race. (Coach Alford is clearly annoyed by the line of questioning). Next year is a long way off. I've got spring recruiting that I can deal with. It's no different than anything else. If Mike Henderson doesn't learn to go to class and do the things in the classroom, there'll be another kid from Waterloo playing in front of him. Guys either produce on the floor, produce in the classroom and get those minutes or they don't.

Next year, we're deeper. We did not know that Adam Haluska was going to fall into our lap last spring. That's a pretty good guy to have fall in your lap. I hope we have other guys fall in our lap like that every spring. It's just not a worry right now. If our talent level can get to the level where guys are fighting for the minutes instead of like it is right now, that a much better situation to be in. We've go to kind of wait and see how all of that falls out.

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