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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Ben Strong nets 2,000

(Jeremy Bante)
(Jeremy Bante)

“I came out and missed my first lay-up, and I was like, it’s not going to happen today,” said Ben Strong. But happen, it did.On Feb. 9, varsity basketball player Ben Strong broke the 2,000 point mark. Only three other players in Guilford’s history share this honor, and two of them went on to play professionally.

Of the four players to reach over 2,000 points, Strong ranks second over all with 2,033 points. At the top of the list is Bob Kauffman, with 2,570 points, who set the record in 1968. Though it is unlikely Strong will surpass Kauffman, coming in second is no small feat.

Strong, a senior sports management major and business concentrator, hails from Chapel Hill, N.C., and has played at Guilford for four years.

“It’s a nice honor to be up there with those other guys,” said Strong. “I think two of them played in the NBA; just being in the same sentence with them, is a big honor.”

Strong’s receiving the honor he deserves for such an accomplishment.

“He’ll go down as one of the greats ever to play here, certainly the greatest Division III player to date to play here” said Tom Polombo, head men’s basketball coach.

Important to recognize is the support Strong receives from his teammates and coaches.

“It’s a great achievement for not only Ben, but also for his teammates and for his school to have someone excel at such a high level,” said Dave Walters, sports information director and assistant athletic director. “It is a great testament to the teamwork and support that Ben has received.”

Success and recognition have not always come easy for Strong. Growing up, he was on recreational and school basketball teams, but did not get much playing time. He called himself a “scrub” back in those days.

“The transition to college was pretty tough for me academically,” Strong said.

Strong adjusted well to the rigors of college courses. In his tenure at Guilford, he’s has made the Student-Athlete Honor Roll twice, which is achieved by earning a 3.0 or higher GPA for a given semester.

Strong gradually blossomed not only academically, but also as a basketball player. Walters believes that he still has room to grow.

“He’s a very gifted athlete, and I don’t know that he has reached his fullest potential physically speaking or skill-wise,” Walters said.

At 6’11”, one might wonder how much bigger Strong could get physically. About growing from 5’11” his sophomore year in high school to 6’7″ his junior year, Strong simply shrugs and says, “I didn’t really notice.”

Strong chose Guilford for many reasons, one of which was playing time.

“Here, I got to play close to home and I had the opportunity to play right away,” Strong said. “I got to come here with Caleb Kimbrough, the point guard who I went to high school with.”

Besides being a phenomenal athlete, Strong is also an exceptional person.

“It’s great when your best player is a hard worker and nice guy,” Polombo said. “It makes it really fun to coach. He is a good role model on the court and off the court; the players look up to him and they respect him, for his basketball ability and also for how he carries himself.”

Strong’s teammates agree.

“I’ve known Ben since the sixth grade,” said Caleb Kimbrough, senior and Strong’s best friend. “He is a laid-back and all around great guy.”

When asked what Strong does in his leisure time Kimbrough said, “Something that people may not know about him is that he loves to play ‘Guitar Hero’.”

In the future, Strong wants to continue playing.

After he graduates in May, Strong hopes to pursue a professional basketball career here in the United States or in Europe. He has heard several rumors concerning what his fate might be. The bottom line is, he will not know where or what he will be doing until the season is over and he attends several basketball camps.

Strong will be nominated Player of the Year for Division III, an honor that he won last year. He will also be nominated for Player of the Year in several other organizations.

It wasn’t his height or his impressive statistics that led me to believe Strong will accomplish his goals. Instead, it was his unassuming, laid back demeanor that told me he’ll do his job, and everything else will come from there.

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