April 24, 2009

Brust talks Iowa offer and upcoming visit

For a few minutes on Tuesday, it looked like Ben Brust's audition for the Iowa coaches wasn't going to happen. High winds in eastern Iowa kept Coach Lickliter and Coach Walthall on the ground in Iowa. But, the two coaches made a quick change of plans, jumped in a car, and drove to the Chicago area. The result, Brust, a talented guard in the Class of 2010, now holds an offer from the Hawkeyes.

"He (Ben) was really happy with the effort that Coach Lickliter and Coach Walthall made just to be there. They were going to fly over and then the plane got cancelled because of high winds. Ben was with me when they called and he was a little down about it at first, but then a few minutes later they called me back and said they were going to jump in the car and get there to see him. I could tell right away that Ben was pumped up about it," said Rising Stars AAU coach Mike Weinstein.

Brust, who averaged 29 points a game this past season, is still getting back to full strength after breaking his ankle while blocking a shot in the 18th game of the season, got the call he was hoping for after an open gym on Tuesday evening.

"There were a lot of coaches there on Tuesday night and I am still trying to get back into top shape and get my wind back, but I gave it my all during the open gym. Afterwards my AAU coach got a call from Coach Lickliter and they gave me a scholarship offer," Brust said.

What is his reaction to the offer from Iowa?

"It is a very good feeling because this is my first high major offer," said the 6-foot-2 guard. "The offer was somewhat unexpected to be honest. Last summer I was in contact with Coach Walthall quite a bit and he said that they were very interested. Then during the season I didn't hear from them a lot. Then they started to get in touch again and said that they were going to come see me and they came to the open gym and liked what they saw."

Brust was having an outstanding junior season at Mundelein High School, averaging 29 points a game, until he broke his ankle in January after blocking a shot.

"If he didn't get hurt this season, he was about to get a lot of high major offers. He has made a very quick recovery from his injury and is probably only about 70% right now and he is picking up a lot of offers," Weinstein said.

The offers are starting to roll in for Brust. In addition to Iowa, he holds offers from Butler, Davidson, Bradley, and Southern Illinois. Coach Weinstein said that Stanford and Northwestern were in attendance on Tuesday evening and they are expected to offer very soon, with a scholarship from Virginia possibly coming shortly as well.

Brust will be visiting Iowa on May 16th with his family and AAU coach and hopes to find out more about the Iowa program.

"I am going to look at the basketball program and also see if I get the feeling that it is the place that I want to spend the next four years," Brust said.

Iowa is also getting an assist from recent Hawkeye 2009 commit, Cully Payne. The soon to be Hawkeye freshman guard played for the Rising Stars program and happened to call Coach Weinstein as Brust was receiving his offer and immediately left a message for him.

"He is already talking to me about Iowa. After I got the offer, he called Coach Weinstein and he told him about the offer and then I went to my phone and there was a text message from him and all it said was, "IOWA!", "he said.

According to Weinstein there are plenty of comparisons that can be drawn between the two guards who have been part of his program.

"He is one of those guys who at 6-foot-2, is athletic enough to go up and dunk on guys and get on the glass. He is the fastest guy on the floor and he has an unbelievable motor. He is a basketball junkie. Of all of the guys that I have had, I can count on one hand the number who love basketball and do everything they can to be a good basketball player. Cully Payne was one of them and Ben Brust is another," Weinstein said.

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