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Posted On: 06/11/18 12:00 PM
Legendary coach Pete Carrill of Princeton University once said “Passing is a lost art”. However their are still plenty of players that are keeping that art alive and well. Ben Zilberman of San Ramon Valley High School is one of those individuals. Gifted with the ability to see the game before it happens at an early age, he leverages that skill with his I.Q. for the game. I was able to chat with Ben as he prepares for his sophomore season to gain insight into how he sees the game.
What was your favorite game from your freshman season and why?
The last game of the season at our rival Monte Vista was definitely my favorite. We were at 19 wins looking to end with the significant milestone of 20 wins, and we wanted revenge after they narrowly beat us at our place. I only had 3 points but I changed the whole dynamic of the game with my passing (8 assists), and defense (5 steals), and rebounding (6 rebounds) and a big offensive rebound to seal the deal.
Are there certain NBA players that you attempt to model your game after?
There isn’t a specific player I model my game after, but I think my game resembles that of a glue guy, as I have an appreciation for the little things in basketball that make a team function more smoothly and try my hardest to be great at those. I recently started a transition from the big man role to that of a wing player and I am making quick and large strides in my development. I would like to model my game after someone like Trevor Ariza, a guy who is a reliable shooter and defender, and also does some of the little things in basketball.
What weaknesses are you looking to improve upon during the offseason?
My most glaring weakness right now is athleticism. I am working out a lot, focusing on muscle groups throughout my whole body, with a lot of emphasis on core. I would like to become quicker, more explosive, and stronger.
You have a gift for passing and understanding the game. Was that a learned skilled or something that came to you naturally? How do you think that skill helps your teammates?
Passing is definitely the strongest part of my game, and I take great pride in being a very reliable distributor. I think that passing was a learned skill for me. When I was in elementary school I played flag football and was the quarterback of my team. My arm wasn’t the strongest, so I focused on learning how to read the field and complete passes by finding holes in the defense. Even now, I am not a flashy passer, but I make good reads to find open cutters, with my signature being the High to Low lob/backcut pass. My ability and willingness to pass encourages my teammates to move without the ball and cut hard to the basket, improving the whole flow of the offense which leads to easy layups and outside shots.
If you could play for any NBA team, which team would it be and how do you think you would fit in with them?
I would like to play on the Warriors. Although the Warriors passing and ball movement is already superb, any team can always use another unselfish player. I believe I would fit in well with the second unit, as they already have smart skilled vets such as Livingston, West, and Iguodola, all guys who are very selfless, and I would love to run a pick and roll with McGee, ultimately ending with a thunderous alley oop dunk.
What would you like to accomplish by the time your high school career is finished?
By the time my high school career is finished, I want to win the state championship, and at the very least win our league, the East Bay Athletic League. Records aren’t very important to me, but my greatest achievement would be after graduating from the program, having all of my coaches say that I was a good player: smart, hardworking, and selfless, and above all a good man who didn’t complain and did whatever was asked of him.