In fact, Coach Alford wasted no time in offering Ben Rand when he stepped on campus for his unofficial visit in late May. "Coach Alford took me into his office right when I got there," Ben said. "He immediately offered me a scholarship and I was overwhelmed. The only reason I did not commit right then was that I wanted to visit other campuses to have something to compare."
Marquette was the other serious competition. Marquette offered Ben a scholarship this past spring and Coach Crean had really impressed Ben. "I went to Marquette that week, also. I respect Coach Crean a lot and it was a great school. I think it was Coach Alford and the Big Ten that really drew me to Iowa, though. Alford used to be a shooting guard so I know he can maximize my potential. I grew up watching the Big Ten and always wanted to play in it."
Obviously, Ben fits a prototypical player for Coach Alford with his desire and outside shooting skills. However, more went into Ben's decision to verbal to the University of Iowa.
"I think a lot of my attraction to Iowa was Carver Hawkeye Arena. You cannot look down from there as you're always looking up. I have a close relationship with the staff as they have recruited me for over a year. I knew when I felt 100% confident in my decision that I would decide no matter when it was. Now I can concentrate on getting better this summer as this was perfect timing."
It had long been rumored of Ben's high interest dating back to last October when Ben competed in the FutureStars tournament in Iowa City where Ben competed. I was in attendance and I can tell you that many were talking about the sharpshooter as he continually cashed in bucket after bucket.
So what will Ben's summer plans include?
"Right now, I will attend the NIKE camp and I'm playing AAU ball with TABA (Tom Allen's Basketball Academy). I'll be down at Disney World to play in nationals. We will be playing around a lot this summer in AAU competitions so it should help me raise my level of game."
Obviously, Van Coleman has stated he believes Ben will put himself into everyone's top 100 this summer with his performances. Is Ben out to show everyone he is a top 100 player nationally?
"Honestly, I'm not too worried about the rankings. The guys who handle the rankings are not the guys giving me scholarships. I want to do well this summer and compete against national talent, but how I'm ranked is a not a big deal at all to me."
Ben will be hard at work this summer improving his game to get ready for the Big Ten. Coach Alford will also be assisting in that process.
"I'm going to meet with Coach Alford next week and pick-up a work-out program. It'll give me a shot diagram and work with my shot techinique. I know he wants me to really work on my ballhandling to play the two position. It'll also be important for me to get in the weight room and do some reps so I can add strength."
Coach (Greg) Lansing was the main recruiter for Iowa on Ben. Although there has not been much discussion about the staff recruiting, other than Coach Walker, Coach Lansing was a large part in Ben's decision to attend Iowa.
"We got along pretty well. I really liked his sense of humor. He was the one at Iowa that I spoke to the most. Naturally, we just kind of clicked as we seemed to have the same personality. He would speak to me about a variety of issues that would have nothing to do with basketball."
Ben also serves the community well off the court, which is very valued under Coach Alford. Yesterday, when I spoke to Ben's mother, Ben was actually at the local hospital speaking to a youngster who is undergoing a personal tragedy.
"I was visiting a local kid that was just diganosed with cancer. The doctors think he may have lukemia, but they are pretty optimistic. He is a great kid and actually a Hawk fan as both of his parents attended the University of Iowa. Our basketball team has shown him a lot of support and I think it is important for us to help out in anyway that we can."
Ben Rand gives a good start to the Hawkeye recruiting class for 2003. With Luke Recker and Ryan Hogan graduating, the Hawks need more outside shooting. In that regard, it may appear that Ben cannot arrive on campus soon enough to help Brody Boyd and others carry the load. Ben will be a significant addition as a student-athlete here at Iowa, and should help represent the program in everyway that Coach Alford desires.