Ben Woodside gets look by Gopher coaches

Five-foot-11 point guard Ben Woodside of Albert Lea (MN) High has seen his recruiting interest grow with a strong summer playing for the Minnesota Select Gold AAU team.

Ben Woodside led the Select to the silver championship of the Kentucky Hoopfest in Louisville, scoring 19 points in the championship game and to a 4-1 mark in the adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas. Select is 32-10 this summer and finished second in the Dakota Showcase and River City Classic and lost in the Sabes Invitational semifinals.

Woodside is a heady point guard with a good outside shot. He is a creative passer who is quicker than he appears. He has received offers from most of the schools in the Division II NCC (North Central Conference), but now has caught the attention of several Division I schools such as North Carolina Wilmington, Wichita State, UMKC, Indiana State and Minnesota.

Gopher assistants Bill Walker and Mike Peterson and head coach Dan Monson all took turns watching Woodside.

"They told me that they were coming to watch me," the guard said.

The Minnesota coaches like Woodside's game, but some high Division I coaches wonder if he is capable of playing at a high major conference or if he would be better off going to a mid major school where he could get more playing time.

Despite the offers to go to a Division II school, where he would likely start more quickly, Woodside admits that he is looking to play at a higher level.

"I want to go Division I. It has always been a dream of mine to play Division I basketball."

Albert Lea finished 12-12 overall last season as a member of the Big Nine Conference. They lost to Mankato East in the Class AAA playoffs. Woodside averaged 24 points, five assists and three rebounds per game last season as a junior.

Woodside competed in track and field as a freshman and sophomore and finished eighth in the Minnesota True State track championship in the 100-meter dash and high jump.

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