Colleges court Woodside

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 9, 2003

The mail is piling up at the Woodsides’. The phone is ringing off the hook. And it doesn’t look like any of it will be stopping soon.

As Ben Woodside readies for his senior year at Albert Lea High School, his recruitment by college basketball programs nationwide is becoming more and more intense.

&uot;This summer, it skyrocketed,&uot; he said. &uot;I traveled all over the nation with the Minnesota Select Gold team. Since our summer season ended, I’m getting about three calls daily from different schools.&uot;

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Woodside’s young basketball career had its crowning moment so far in his junior year, when he broke the high school’s all-time scoring and single game scoring records. According to Matt Addington, the boys basketball coach at ALHS, universities began noticing Woodside during his sophomore year.

Since then, more are noticing him. Addington said the summer league put him on the court in front of the best college teams in the nation.

&uot;He had such a strong summer,&uot; Addington said. &uot;One of the Gopher coaches said that he has all the game without all the hype.&uot;

Addington is as much a part of the recruitment as anyone. Most interested programs call him to see if Woodside is coachable.

&uot;They ask a lot of personality questions,&uot; Addington said. &uot;They want to know how he responds to adversity, how competitive he is, what kind of player he is.&uot;

Addington has had to answer a lot of these questions.

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wichita State University, University of Missouri at Kansas City, Drake University, Indiana State University, California State Polytechnic University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and, locally, the University of Minnesota, have all shown interest in Woodside.

Addington said coaches he’s talked with and have seen Woodside play are high on him.

&uot;All of the attention he’s getting is for a good reason,&uot; Addington said. &uot;He practices hard, works hard in the weight room. All of those things are starting to reap reward for him.&uot;

Though the University of Minnesota recruits from all over the nation, Addington said they have strong interest in Woodside.

&uot;They wouldn’t be recruiting him if they didn’t see potential in him,&uot; he said. &uot;One Gopher guy said without a doubt, he’s the best high school point guard in the state.&uot;

Woodside said basketball isn’t the only aspect he’ll look at in picking a school, but it will play a major role.

&uot;I have five official visits to take,&uot; he said. &uot;Then I’ll have to weigh my options.&uot;

(Contact Peter Cox at or 379-3439)