Meet Ben Eaves

When we took a trip to the National Tip-Off Prep Showcase in Barrington, RI., Jon Mandeldove was not the only UConn prospect in the gym. Playing for the Hilltoppers of Worcester Academy was 6-7 combo-forward, Ben Eaves. caught up with Eaves and got his thoughts on his game and his commitment to UConn.

Although Ben Eaves had a quiet eight points and five rebound effort, he displayed some impressive athleticism adding three blocked shots to his totals.  He struggled to get off his jumpshot throughout most of the game, missing badly on a couple highly contested perimeter shots.  Even so, it did not escape the watchful eye the quick, accurate and deep stroke he possessed as he nailed a number of jumpshots during the pre-game warm ups.  Eaves described himself as a wing who can score both inside and out, though admitted that his shot was not falling that day. 


"I look to give a shot to defend, when they respect that, go by a guy." 


We have little doubt that if his shot were falling during the game, he would have had some success taking it to the basket based on his ability to put the ball on the floor and elevate above the rim.


We were a bit disappointed that his teammates were unable to deliver the ball to Eaves in good scoring position throughout the game against a tough Hargrave team that soundly beat Worcester by 21 points. 


Eaves recognized such saying, "We got to work on jelling as a team from today's performance.  We got some work to do.  Get everyone on the same page." 


Other than a handful of returning players, most are post graduates, who like himself are new to the team, and it showed. Eaves was frequently wide open around the three-point arc, but his teammates rarely kicked it out to him.  He had to resort to creating for himself and crashing the boards to score, which he did quite impressively, soaring well above the rim for a two handed dunk off a teammate's missed shot.  Although Eaves did not have a great deal of success scoring off the dribble, I was impressed by his combo-guard type handle.  Eaves appeared quite capable handling with either hand, demonstrating such on one memorable and impressive play.  Just outside the three-point arc Eaves dribbled between his legs a couple times, then blew by his man and delivered a nifty dump-off pass that resulted in an easy dunk by one of his Worcester teammates.


At the other end of the floor Eaves displayed his impressive hops by exploding off the floor and pinning the basketball against the glass for one of his 3 blocked shots.  Eaves also demonstrated solid footwork as he frequently kept his man from driving by him.  It is hard to draw conclusions by watching just one game, and an early season one at that, but it appears that Eaves needs to develop more of a midrange game.  He has the athleticism, handle and shot making abilities, both deep and around the basket, to be a dangerous scorer.  Eaves just needs to learn how to create space to get his shot off more easily and to discover how to score in that middle area that few learn to master.  He looks to have the potential to be a capable offensive weapon during his development at UConn. 


Although the level of play has been improving in England, Eaves realized the opportunity he had coming over to the United States to further develop his skills.  When asked if he had aspirations of playing in the NBA, Eaves said, "It is a long term dream of mine." 


Eaves is quite aware of the opportunity he will have at Connecticut. 


"There is an opportunity to come and contribute as a freshman because they are losing a lot of wings…Rudy, Denham and Rashad.  The goal for me is to push for a spot on the team.  Coach Calhoun said he would like me to play a lot as a freshman…but obviously nothing is guaranteed.  You got to keep working on everything, but I want to go in there work hard as possible next year to make that happen."


When asked what the deciding factors were in his choosing the Huskies, he replied, "I want to play at the highest level and I knew that the tradition spoke for itself.  A lot of what I saw in the visit confirmed what I already thought and heard about from others about the school.  And obviously when you see what they've done in the past with the players and the teams, and the success they've had, it kind of speaks for itself"


 "They have a great coaching staff.  The relationships they have with the players is good.  They want to push players to the next level. (My visit to UConn) confirmed what I had already thought. Once you are a Husky you are one of them…you're one of Coach Calhoun's guys for life.  I knew that I was going to be part of something special."



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