Class of 2022 rookie gives Golden Eagles versatility and maturity – Marquette Wire
After losing three members of last year’s roster either to graduate or transfer portal and potentially a fourth to Justin Lewis, Marquette men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart picked up a gold medal in forward Ben Gold’s class of 2022.
Smart announced last Wednesday the Wellington, originally from New Zealand had signed his national letter of intent that day and will join the Golden Eagles at the end of next month.
“I’m super excited about Ben Gold,” Smart said during a press briefing last Wednesday. “I believe he has a lot of attributes, once he gets his feet up here, and that takes time for any freshman, but once he transitions, it’s really exciting what he can become as a player.
Gold, who announced his commitment to Marquette in February, joins guards Sean Jones and Chase Ross in Smart’s first recruiting class at Marquette.
“I am thrilled to announce my commitment to @MarquetteMBB. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the journey“, Gold said on his Twitter when he engaged to Marquette on Feb. 14.
Gold comes from a family of basketball players like his father. and two older brothershers played the sport in New Zealand.
“As the youngest of three, he’s used to trying to compete with these guys, but he kind of overtook them in size and size,” Smart said. “The way his body has changed over the last two or three years is amazing. You always try to get guys who tend to go up.
Smart said that for a new first-year player, Gold has “very good maturity.”
Along with his level of maturity, the 6-foot-11 forward brings a level of toughness to Marquette’s roster.
“One thing I like about him (is) he has a rugby background,” Smart said. “Which for me is like the football players of this country. They (the rugby players) will not be tender.
gold joins redshirt first-year forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper as members of the Golden Eagles roster which are products of the NBA Global Academy.
Currently, Gold plays for NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia, while Prosper played for NBA Academy Latin America.
“These NBA academies have a lot of good players, so there’s a lot of talent on those teams,” Smart said.
Some NBA Academy alumni who participated in last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament include Oumar Ballo (Arizona), Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona), Alex Ducas (Saint Mary’s), Francisco Farabello (Texas Christian University) and Hyunjung Lee (Davidson).
Smart said he got to see Gold perform in person in December at the Tarkanian Classic and the G League Showcase in Las Vegas while playing with the Latin American NBA team this weekend.
“He was playing a bit out of position (because) it was his first few weeks with this team and luckily we had watched a lot of tapes on him so we knew what he was about as a player,” Smart said. . . “(It was) just getting the chance to see him in person. “We had already offered him a scholarship and he is a guy with character, who has a chance, I think, to become a great player.”
In a game against NBA Academy Africa in Las Vegas, Gold racked up 22 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes at the showcase.
In addition to playing at the NBA Global Academy, Gold has represented his home country nationally on several occasions. End of February, Gold played for Basketball New Zealand in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers in Manila, Philippines.
In two games in in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, gold averaged 3.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 0.5 blocks.
With the New Zealand senior national team, Gold played with a group of professional basketball players in their thirties.
“And one of the reasons they included him, he was by far the youngest guy that was included when he played a few months ago with this group, is that they see a bright future in him and potentially in the long run could be an important piece in their national team, maybe even in the Olympics or big, big international competitions.
As for where Gold could play on the pitch next season, he comes off as a small forward. Smart said that, like others who play one through four on the team, Gold will be interchangeable in rotations.
“He’s gotten stronger, so the way the game has evolved, you want as many guys in the game to have versatility,” Smart said. “But I think you’ll see him play all four a bit, but for us he’s multi-position and (we’re) happy to move him.”
As a big man, Gold is able to stretch the floor with games inside the paint and beyond the arc, providing some interesting options for how Smart could use him on the floor in november.
“One of the best things about him is that he could really, really move for that size,” Smart said. “That’s what we call a clean player and that’s very important in basketball. He has a lot of positive attributes and I think his best basketball, like a lot of these guys, is still ahead of him.
This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.
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