something something love letter something shaka smart something something valentine’s day
There’s never a bad time for recruiting news, that’s for sure, and we got some on Monday evening. Ben Gold, a 6’11” forward in the Class of 2022, made his verbal commitment to play for Shaka Smart and Marquette.
Gold’s Twitter bio is incredibly helpful here for basic info. He lists himself at 6’11” tall and calls himself a small forward. I suspect that there’s nothing about anyone who is 6’11” tall that can be qualified as “small,” but at the very least it tells us that Gold sees himself as a wing player. At the very least, he believes himself to have the ability to play out there.
“Versatile. I can play the three-man. In fact, I usually play the three-man, but I can play the four and the five if need be. It’s my versatility.”
As of the first of the year, Marquette was the only college basketball program to offer Gold a scholarship according to that Rivals article. The New Zealand native has been spending the last two years in Australia as part of the NBA Global Academy, which led to him playing in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas around the same time that he took an official visit to Marquette for the home game against Villanova. He did an interview with Prospective Insight around that time, which mentions he had an offer from UC Santa Barbara as well, as well as drawing interest from Utah, Washington State, and Georgia Tech.
How about some videos?
Here’s a three minute clip of interviews and highlights from June 2020:
Little bit over a minute from December 2021, where you’re watching #11 in green:
Came away really impressed with New Zealand stretch big Ben Gold (@BenGold24854048) today. He can really shoot the ball from three at 6-10, even off movement. Also showed some flashes putting the ball on the floor. Gold plays for the NBA Global Academy in Canberra. pic.twitter.com/m7WVtvfUwB— Wilko (@wilkomcv) December 19, 2021
And now, the newly updated scholarship chart!
The addition of Gold to the roster for 2022 creates an interesting situation for head coach Shaka Smart. It would appear, at least based on current projections, that Marquette is leaving one scholarship open for each of the next two school years as the 2022-23 roster doesn’t project to have any seniors. It would seem that the most likely option for that roster spot in both years is a graduate transfer, although that “transfer” in 2022-23 might just be Greg Elliott electing to take his COVID bonus year of eligibility at Marquette.
Of course, all of this presumes that there’s a lid on Justin Lewis’ professional options by the end of this season. Honestly, if this season ends up with Lewis grabbing the Big East Player of the Year trophy and a quality postseason run of some sort, it’s believable that Lewis won’t be in a Marquette uniform by the time Ben Gold arrives on campus. That obviously changes the calculus, but that’s a bridge for Smart and his staff to cross when we get there.