In this Scorers 1st series, we will be meeting the new additions to our agency who have joined after finishing their respective college careers and as they prepare to make the jump from campus to the pros.
A 6-foot-9 big man, Ben Aird provided skill and toughness on both ends of the floor during his college career at Utah Valley University. Along with averaging 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks per game (29.6 minutes per game) for the Wolverines, Aird also left a lasting mark on the program.
Aird is the third all-time leading scorer in school history and was all-WAC First-Team selection as a Senior, while helping UVU capture the WAC regular-season championship and locked up an NIT bid with 13 league wins...
Give us the scouting report on Ben Aird. How would you best describe yourself as a player?
I would describe myself as a skilled big man. Being a PF/C many times you are put into a category of players who aren’t skilled. This isn’t the case for me. I am a big man who can pass the ball, set screens to get my teammates open, score on the block with my back to the basket as well as face up and shoot the ball from mid-range and stretch the defense to the three point line. I am very comfortable with the pick and roll/pop and ability to make good decisions while running an offense.
I have carried the scoring load for most of the teams I have played on in my life and am comfortable being counted on to score. One of my strongest characteristics comes from a high basketball IQ. I pride myself on understanding the complexity within the game of basketball and knowing how to make those on my team better. Can foster great synergy on a time to achieve much more than 5 guys individually would. My basketball IQ comes from the incredible coaching I have had throughout my life, having played the game competitively for over 16 years. I also have a great ability to rebound the ball at a high level. I pride myself in boxing out and rebounding on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. I am a great defensive player who can protect the paint and defend bigs on the block. I have experience defending some of the biggest players in the NCAA. Blocked shots, steals, and creating turnovers are a specialty I enjoy as much as scoring.
Looking back on your college career at Utah Valley University, what do you appreciate the most about that experience?
Utah Valley University has been an incredible experience for me. It’s hard to summarize into a short statement what UVU has meant. First and foremost, the coaches I have had throughout my college career have been second to none. They have taught me how to play the game of basketball, but more importantly they have taught me how to grow and stretch on and off the court in ways I didn’t know were possible.
Coach Dick Hunsaker and all of his assistants over the last four years have helped to make my experience at UVU very special. I really enjoyed helping take UVU to the next level while I was there. We won three out of four championships including winning the WAC regular season championship my senior season. I appreciate being a part of growing a program and taking it to the next level. It was a sweet experience for me to play in front of great fans including friends and family. The professors and faculty at UVU also helped me to get my degree and were a huge support in my educational pursuit.
This is a great University, the largest in Utah, yet it was personal for me. It was a terrific four year experience on all levels, on and off the court, having been involved in student government, the College of Health Sciences, as well as one of the great schools in the USA.
What goal/goals have you set as you consider your first year playing professionally?
Playing professionally has been a dream and a goal of mine ever since I started playing basketball as a kid.
One of the main goals I have set as I embark on my professional career is to never settle but to also get better. I know I can always improve as a basketball player and I want to continue to push myself and strive for greatness. In my first year as a professional I want to show everyone all of my talents and what I can really bring to a team. I played in a very structured system at UVU, which helped our team to be very successful, however at times, didn’t showcase all that I am capable of on a basketball court. My Senior season we had a very balanced scoring attack where I played mostly with my back to the basket, also setting screens and rolling to the basket.
I want to show that I can not only play with my back to the basket, but stretch the floor and operate in a variety of systems and be very successful.
Can you break down your offseason training schedule?
My offseason training is something I am taking very seriously. Training and getting better are huge goals for me as I enter my rookie season playing professionally.
I have been mixing up my training regiment in order to maximize my offseason training. Four times a week I spend about an hour to an hour and a half working on skill development with my trainer and other workout partners. Skill development consists of shooting drills, post moves, pick and roll/ pick and pop drills, Face up drills as well as a variety of other drills to develop and hone my skills. I’ve also gotten involved in biking and swimming to increase endurance and cardio.
I compete and play ball with other professionals in my area three times a week which helps me maintain basketball shape, but also stretches me as a player. Along with my skill development and conditioning, I spend three days a week in the weight room increasing my strength.
Who has helped influence you as a person/player and what words of advice have they shared?
Many people have influenced me throughout my life. I have had countless coach’s and people influence me. From my coaches when I was a little kid to my high school coach Mike Maxwell, each of them played a role in helping me become a better player and person.
The person who has influenced me the most as a player is my coach at UVU, Dick Hunsaker. Coach Hunsaker has truly pushed me farther than I thought I could be pushed. Because of his influence in my life I am mentally stronger. This gives me a great advantage going into my professional career. I know that I can be successful in any situation I am put into, because I have overcome many obstacles and challenges that he has put in front of me. He has also taught me the game of basketball. I understand the game so much more because of his coaching and influence. With all of the coach’s in my life, my parents are still my biggest influences in my life and have helped me become the person/ player I am today. They have always helped stretch me and push me to get better everyday. My dad is a great example of hard work and how working hard is the way to achieve success.
My mom is the same way, she has always encouraged me to be more than I thought I could become. She has always told me “No stinking thinking” There is a great power that comes from positive thinking and knowing you can accomplish more in life than you might dream up for yourself. My parents are my biggest fans and supporters.
Little by little they have influenced me and taught me and because of them I am able to reach my goals as a professional basketball player, but more than that as a person.
Ben Aird Player Profile Page
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