Wisconsin F Ben Mills Gets Minnesota Interest

Ben Mills, a 6-foot-11, 205-pound junior big man from Hartland (WI) Arrowhead, attended Tubby's Tip Off Friday night and has gotten some early recruiting interest from Minnesota. Mills has received eleven scholarship offers already and has gotten increased interest from mid major and major programs. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Arrowhead head coach Craig Haase to learn the latest on Mills.

Ben Mills averaged 7.5 points and six rebounds per contest as a sophomore as Arrowhead finished 14-8. Mills was named honorable mention All-Classic Eight Conference.

Mills has received scholarship offers from North Dakota, Utah State, Ball State, Montana State, Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana State, Loyola University, Texas State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Weber State and is starting to attract looks from mid major and high major programs, according to Arrowhead head coach Craig Haase.

"He has been obviously drawing a lot of interest this fall. I think that some of the bigger schools that have been come in like Creighton and Tulsa. He has been to Marquette numerous times and played at their open gyms this fall. He was up at Minnesota and will be at Marquette for their Midnight Madness this weekend. California has called me and talked to me and is going to come out and watch him play. I think that a lot of the bigger schools, like Minnesota and the Big 10 and Pac-10 and Missouri Valley schools are watching him closely and see how he progresses this year. Those other schools are kind of playing the waiting game and see how much bigger he is going to be. He definitely has some filling out to do. He has been working on that consistently."

Haase said that colleges are looking at Mills at different positions on the court, depending on his ability to get stronger.

"I think that a lot of them see him as a multi-faceted kid who can play inside and outside. He has some good post moves got a nice jump hook and can shoot the three outside. He is just starting to shot the three more this fall and will shoot the three a little for us this year. I think that most of the big time schools are looking at him as a 4 right now. The mid majors are looking at him as a 4 and 5. His weakness is his weakness. That is not a secret. He weighs 205. He just has to put on the weight. He works awfully, awfully hard at everything. He has grown ten inches in the past two years. It has not been an easy process for him to put on that weight, but he has been working out hard and trying to get stronger. But that is the one area where he is need to continue to get better. The upside is that he is already a big kid that has got skills. Her can pass it. He can catch. He's got great hands. He catches everything. Has a great feel for the game. A natural feel. He has a great shooting touch. People that have offered him see that skill and are thinking two or three years down the road that he is going to put on another 20, 30 or 40 pounds and be at 230 or 240 and play at that weight in college and be a good player. The big time schools are waiting to see if that actually does happen I think and if he is going to be strong enough physically to play at a high level."

Mills comes from a basketball family. His father, Patrick, played at St. Mary's in Texas and older twin sisters, Amanda and Meghan, played college basketball. Amanda was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and a member of the WBCA state all-star team. She started her career at Rhode Island and transferred to East Carolina after her freshman season. Meghan started her career at Mercer before transferring to Bridgeport. Mills' third sister, Katie, played high school basketball and is currently attending Minnesota, but not playing sports in college.

Mills was able to visit Minnesota and get to know a bit more about the Gopher basketball program. Haaase admitted that both sides are getting to know each other.

"They called and were showing some interest. They had not really seen him play too much. I think that like the rest of the big schools, they told him that are going to watch him play this year. They told him that he is going to have to have a good year and that is kind of where they are at. They have some big guys that they are looking at right now. The feeling is that he is on the next list and they are going to keep a close watch on him on how well he develop this season. They had not really since him at all, honestly I think. They called me about him because they heard good things about him. It just worked out where he could get up for that weekend. He was not able to play with them because practice officially started, so that was kind of disappointing, but he was able to shoot around on the side and from what his parents said that when they saw him shoot at 6-foot-11, they were interested in him that he can shoot the three. I think that it is pretty much like the big schools. They are just going to wait and see where he is at by the end of this year."

Haase said that plenty of schools have watched Mills at open gyms this fall.

"We have had a ton of schools come through for open gyms. We have probably had 15 plus that have come through. The eleven schools that have offered have all been here. He had several unofficial visits. He went on an unofficial to Ball State, an unofficial to Utah State and Weber State. He took an unofficial at North Dakota. He took an unofficial at Loyola. All of those places have been through open gyms. Montana State was supposed to be up here yesterday."

Haase has high expectations for the team this season.

"I think that we have a chance to be really good. We are young, but we had three kids who played a lot as sophomores. Ben started the last 15 games last year for us as a sophomore. We have got two other sophomore guards who played quite a bit and have a good chance to start for us this year. We are going to be a little bit young. Not a lot of seniors, but I think that once we get going and figure out the intensity of the game, I think that we have a chance to be really good by the end. We just see how quickly we develop. We have a tough non-conference schedule. We are hoping that it will get us ready for the conference schedule."

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories