Roar of the Bison: Woodside leads No. Dakota St. Print
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Sunday, 11 January 2009 12:05
NCAAB Headline News


 FARGO, N.D. (AP) -North Dakota State is not quite so obscure a spot on the college basketball map these days.
Sure, the school made the jump from NCAA Division II to Division I. But there's also a point guard by the name of Ben Woodside.
The 5-foot-11 senior last month scored 60 points in a triple-overtime game against Stephen F. Austin, the most points by a player in a Division I game in nearly nine years. What's more, he made 30 free throws, tying an NCAA record by Pete Maravich.
``People everywhere are talking about it,'' said Colorado State coach Tim Miles, a former North Dakota State coach who recruited Woodside to the school. ``It's priceless. Truly priceless.''
Woodside grew up in Albert Lea, Minn., a town of 17,500 named for the topographer who surveyed the area in the 1830s. That bit of history was lost on college recruiters.
The University of Minnesota, 90 miles away, was more interested in point guard Rico Tucker, who had health and academic problems before transferring to Pepperdine. Only North Dakota State and South Dakota State offered Woodside scholarships.
``My parents always told me that if you're good enough, no matter where you come from, they're going to find you somewhere,'' Woodside said.
Miles also found a strong supporting cast for a program that wouldn't be eligible for the NCAA tournament until Woodside was a senior, including his redshirt year. It included forward Brent Winkelman and shooting guard Mike Nelson.
Woodside said Miles made a convincing sales pitch, considering the school would spend three years playing for pride.
``Miles told me we were going to have a great recruiting class,'' Woodside said. ``I trusted him.''
The Bison quickly found out how good that class could be. A team with four freshman starters handed Wisconsin its first nonconference loss at home in 27 games. The next year the school won at Marquette. Now the Bison are favored to win the Summit League.
Woodside, meanwhile, worked on bulking up to increase his endurance and handle the pounding in the lane. He has averaged between 33 and 37 minutes a game for his career. He played 61 minutes against Stephen F. Austin.
Woodside weighed 165 pounds as a freshman. He's 185 now.
``That's all muscle,'' said Jason Miller, the school's strength coach. ``He's one of the stronger guys on the team. He's not physically intimidated.''
s said Woodside struggled early in his career with offensive fouls.
``We tried to teach him how to make better reads,'' Miles said. ``But you're never going to stop him from going inside. It's not in his personality. He's like a black belt in taekwondo. He's truly fearless.''
When the Bison fell behind by 18 points with 10 minutes to play against Stephen F. Austin, coaches told Woodside to stick his nose into the lane. The result was 35 free throw attempts.
``I basically attacked the rim every single time down the floor,'' Woodside said. ``I was either getting a layup or getting to the free throw line. If you can stop the clock and score some points, that's a big advantage when you're behind.''
Word of the 60-point game spread quickly. The following night, an NBA scout came to watch Woodside against Georgia Southern. He scored 31 points, going 10-for-11 from the line, and had 10 assists.
Just another night in what's turning out to be a satisfying relationship between player and school.
``NDSU gave me a full ride scholarship,'' Woodside said. ``I think I owe NDSU more than NDSU owes me.''
 

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