SharpShooter Likes the Hawks

When the Hawkeyes lost out on JUCO Devin Smith this spring, a lot of attention was suddenly focused on two guards from the state of Illinois. One of those guards, 6'5 185 Ben Rand, would appear to be the more likely candidate with his shooting skills that better fits Coach Alford's system. Ben recently narrowed his list to a top four and hopes to make a decision very soon. Could the Hawks be on the verge of offering? Ben's recruitment will certainly be one to keep an eye out for this next month.

Summer basketball recruiting is starting to heat up, and Coach Alford and staff still have plenty to accomplish with the hopes of signing two premier prospects this fall.

One prospect who is really intriguing to Coach Alford and the Hawkeyes happens to be Ben Rand from Rochelle, IL. Ben has been working hard this spring on his game and he is also seeing an increase in interest from schools.

"This weekend, I played in the Windy City Classic," Ben said. "I played for my AAU team, TABA, and we finished 3-2. I didn't shoot very well on Saturday, but I thought I played very well on Sunday."

Ben recently sat down and compiled his top four schools. The Hawkeyes made this list, and Ben will be completing a visit to Iowa City within the next month.

"My top four would be Marquette, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Michigan State. Marquette is the only one who has offered me a scholarship, but I feel I have a good chance at getting offers from Iowa and Michigan State. I have not spoke to Notre Dame in around a month, but Coach Brey told me they wanted to evaluate my game more this summer."

Boston College, Southern Illinois, and Northern Illinois have also extended offers. Ben would prefer to stay in the midwest, and that is why he has shyed away from schools like Boston College and Stanford.

"I would like to make my decision before the start of July. I'll delay my decision a bit if I have to, but Coach Alford told me that they would likely know my status by that timetable, also. I plan to take visits to all of my top four schools and then make a decision."

So what will be the deciding factors in Ben's decision?

"I want to enter a good business school where I can succeed. I also want to play for a perennial NCAA tournament team. I want to know that I'm on a team that can contend in March."

So who has been the toughest player that Ben has faced?

"I actually had to defend Amare Stoudamire for a few possessions. I would not recommend that to anyone. Sean Dockery would probably be the toughest guard I have gone against as he is so quick. Shannon Brown is real good as he just so athletic."

How would Ben describe his athleticism compared to those around him?

"I was always a post player growing up so I still need to work on my ball handling and quickness. My lateral quickness on defense will be the key to my improvement as I would struggle defending the two position in the Big Ten right now." has had Ben's name on the radar screen since we saw him play in the FutureStars tournament this past October.

Ben is one to closely watch this next month as Coach Alford will make a decision on whether to extend a scholarship offer. His shooting skills could be a good addition to the athleticism that the Hawks will display the next few years.

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