Frank Ben-Eze - Looking for the Right Fit

Frank Ben-Eze from Bishop O'Connell (VA) came to the US about a year ago. In that time the native of Nigeria has accomplished quite a bit on the basketball court, but has also excelled in the classroom. Ben-Eze has had to make some adjustments since he has been here, but he is determined to succeed. caught up with Ben-Eze to learn more about the big man.

Frank Ben-Eze from Bishop O'Connell (VA) came to the US about a year ago. In that time the native of Nigeria has accomplished quite a bit on the basketball court, but has also excelled in the classroom. "Academics are very important to me. When I talk to my dad back home, he asks how I am doing in basketball, but not until after we have talked about school." Ben-Eze has had to make some adjustments since he has been here; he was somewhat new to the game of basketball, he needed to adjust to the language, the academics and also the weather. "The cold weather was the biggest change for me, it was pretty difficult to get used to."

As Frank buckled down in the classroom and bundled up for the weather, he worked hard to make a name for himself. Bishop O'Connell coach Joe Wooten has spent a lot of time trying to help Ben-Eze get the most out of his athletic abilities, and it shows. Frank knows what his strengths are, and also where he needs to improve. "I have come a long way. I am doing very well with the physical parts of the game. My rebounding and shot blocking are the strongest parts of my game, but Coach Wooten has also helped me develop a couple of really good post moves."

Ben-Eze's development hasn't gone unnoticed as he was invited to participate in some prestigious camps this summer, including Reebok U and the NBA players association camp. "Getting invited to those camps, especially the NBA camp was a dream come true. I was nervous about the NBA camp, but two of my teammates were also invited and Joe Wooten was one of the coaches there, so it helped me feel more comfortable. The camp is great because it is not just about basketball, they teach you life skills. On the basketball side it was great. The best players are there and we did a lot of work on skills. There was a lot of focus on what you have to do to play the post well and how to counter different post moves. They helped me modify my game and feel more comfortable. I really tried to be aggressive and it helped me score a lot of points off of rebounds. "

When it comes to the style of game that Frank wants to play in college, he feels he knows what he wants there. "With my athletic ability I really like to run the floor. I am fast so I like to hit the boards and move up and down the court. That doesn't mean I want the run and gun style. I have a nice soft touch on offense, so I also like the half court game. I would like to play for a team that has a nice mix of both – a fast paced, fast break style with a strong half court game."

Frank already knows what type of coach he is looking for at the next level. "I want to find Joe Wooten II. I want someone who is exactly like Joseph. He spends so much time trying to develop my skills. He teaches me moves and works on different drills with me. He is physically demanding, tough and charismatic. He has taught me how to play hard, and is the definition of the word work. But most important, he keeps telling me to keep my priorities straight."

Ben-Eze already feels he knows what he is looking for in a school. "My family moved around a lot growing up, so I don't mind going away, but I want to be with good people. My dad has always been very serious about the education, and I want to go into engineering, so I am looking for a school with a strong engineering program along with a strong basketball program. I want to major in either Civil or Chemical Engineering. I like the physical aspect of engineering and I love math."

Frank obviously knows what he is looking for, so the question now is what schools fit that description? "Well, there are a lot of schools recruiting me. Too many to list them all, but the ones that are recruiting me the hardest are Marquette, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Harvard, Colorado, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Notre Dame. All of those schools have offered. I don't have a favorite yet, but Marquette and Harvard are the two that stand out right now, those two have been recruiting me the hardest."

As far as a timeline goes, the big man isn't really in a hurry. "I would like to take some official visits. I am not in a hurry to get it over with, but I do want to want to make a decision before too long. I think I will try to get it done either right after school starts or else right before if I am sure. I am still open to new schools, but I would like to trim it down to a list of five pretty soon. I just need to stay focused and keep working hard. I will know when the time is right."

It seems odd that someone with his physical abilities, attitude and academic standing hasn't gotten a lot of attention when it comes to the national media, but Frank doesn't mind that at all. "People don't look at me differently. It bothers me a little at times, because publicity helps because it is nice to be measured against the best, but I really don't like that stuff getting into my head. I don't need anyone other than my coaches to tell me what I am good at. My dad and Coach Wooten keep telling me to ‘forget about what other people think about my game, don't worry about them, worry about yourself - keep working hard and stay focused.' As long as I always keep that in mind I will be fine."

Frank certainly appears that he knows what he wants in a school, but he will be careful about his decision. "I will take some time and be sure about my decision. It is like making new friends. It is hard. I am not really an introvert, but I don't like it because it is too hard to be sure if people really like me or if they just like me because I play basketball."

With an attitude and personality like that, it is hard not to pull for Frank Ben-Eze whether he plays basketball or not.

P.S. – And for those that I know will e-mail wanting to know, yes – I did ask. "I am between 6'10 and 6'11. Just a little under 6'11."

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