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Big Center Back On the Block

I heard about this from a colleague last night and here is some confirmation that O'Connell center Frank Ben-Eze no longer will go to Harvard. O'Connell Coach Joe Wootten said that "he was told he needed a certain score on the SAT and after the New York Times [original] article came out, all of a sudden he needed to have 100 points more. Frank is not a bad student. They knew his academic record when he committed in the fall. All of a sudden he needed 90 points higher. He was 30 points away [from the first goal], that was attainable."

Talk about tough timing. When he first came to the U.S. before last school year, Ben-Eze was thought to be a hot prospect. Now, though, as more coaches have had the opportunity to see him more often, Ben-Eze's stock has dropped. He still has big-time size and can run the floor, but it's clear he is still quite raw. I still remember a game at Gonzaga last season when Ben-Eze went scoreless and played little because of foul trouble when Maryland assistant Chuck Driesell was in attendance with Gary Williams.

Also, Ben-Eze tore the ACL in his right knee in the WCAC championship against Gonzaga. Once the swelling subsides, he will have reconstructive surgery.

While some still labeled him as Harvard's top recruit, it has become apparent that Gonzaga forward Max Kenyi's prospects are better in the short and long term. I'm sure Ben-Eze will have plenty of suitors, but they might not be the same as in the past -- though Wootten says this is far from the case. In the past few days, he said, coaches from Connecticut, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Cincinnati and DePaul have called. While none have offered a scholarship yet, Wootten is convinced Ben-Eze will have the opportunity to play in a power conference if he chooses.

"It just shows that in basketball, size is a commodity everyone is always looking for," Wootten said. "There's not many kids unsigned that are of Frank's physical stature."

By Josh Barr  | March 11, 2008; 9:21 AM ET
Categories:  Basketball  
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