Being from Minnesota and becoming a Badger is one of the most popular trends you will see in this program as my colleague Brian Denu pointed out. Wisconsin constantly does a tremendous job evaluating the talent northwest of Madison that best fit their system. It was a blueprint Bo Ryan started and now continued by Greg Gard and company. Wisconsin has done this by building lasting relationships with the top AAU programs and high school coaches. Ben Carlson from East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota is going to be the next great player from the “Bread and Butter State” to don Cardinal and White. Although being recruited by the Wisconsin staff from his Freshman year of high school and staying on him to the bitter end, Carlson surprised many when he indeed committed to UW when most thought he was headed elsewhere. It was the cherry on top for Greg Gard when Carlson gave his verbal commitment in mid-September, and ultimately put the pen to paper in November.
Finishing his career with 2,000 points, Ben was named Suburban East Conference MVP leading his team to a 17-1 conference record while coming just short of the state tournament. The top- 100 forward according to multiple recruiting services took some time to share his thoughts on the season and the next step in his journey with Badger Notes.
Q: How would you describe your season personally and as a team?
A: I thought our team had a really good season. We played one of the hardest schedules in the state and lost the game to go to state on a buzzer-beater. I thought I had a really good season personally as well. I worked hard in the offseason before this year and all the hard work paid off.
Q: How are you spending your time off with the Coronavirus?
A: I’ve been hanging out a lot with my family and I’ve been working out a lot to get ready for next year.
Q: When you step foot on campus in June (Hopefully) what is Wisconsin getting not only as a player but as a person from you?
A: They are getting a very versatile player who is the hardest worker on the floor. They are also getting someone who treats everyone with respect and is a great teammate.
Q: When Wisconsin won the conference championship at Indiana, what did that show you after all the adversity that went Wisconsin’s way this season?
A: It showed me that they can push through adversity, and that is important because most teams that went through what they did would have given up but they kept fighting and ended up on top.
Q: Who has been your greatest mentor growing up?
A: My parents have always been there for me and definitely are my greatest mentors.
Q: What will you miss most about high school?
A: I will miss all the support I had from the community and everyone that would come to our games.
Q: What’s your message to Wisconsin fans in the coming years for the basketball program?
A: I think the program is only going to continue to get better and build off this last year as we have two great recruiting classes coming in.