A former coach thinks Ben Vozolla’s best playing days are ahead of him.
Now it’s up to Vozolla, once considered a high-major men’s basketball recruit out of high school, to decide which university can bring out that potential.
Cowley County Community College assistant Donnie Jackson said Friday that Vozolla is off to visit UE, which the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard is “strongly considering” as he winds down the recruiting process.
Rivals.com lists an Aces scholarship offer for Vozzola, who averaged 9.4 points per game last season at Cowley and made 39.1 percent of his 3-point attempts.
“They’ve been in constant communication with me,” Jackson said of Aces coaches, who also visited Cowley this week, “and it sounds like if they’re being this aggressive — I haven’t heard it directly — that usually means you’re offered.
“Ben’s a combo guard that can play the one, two and three. He played the one for us this year — great ball handler, extremely skilled, and he can shoot the mess out of it.”
Vozolla previously looked at Wright State, which also lists an offer per Rivals, and plans to see Grand Canyon University before committing anywhere. Jackson expects Vozzola to choose in the next eight to 10 days, or before the NCAA’s spring signing period ends May 15.
“He’s strongly considering Evansville and talked to me about that last night, actually,” the coach said.
Vozolla came out of Centennial High School in Las Vegas rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. Gonzaga, Washington State and Colorado State, among others, offered scholarships before Vozolla signed with the University of San Diego.
He redshirted as a freshman for the Toreros, out of the West Coast Conference, and sought a release from his scholarship mid-way through the next season.
“They kind of played him out of position a bit there, and he was looking for a new opportunity when it didn’t work out,” Jackson said. “He had to grow up a little bit, too. A freshman in San Diego — sometimes that environment isn’t conducive for someone fresh out of high school if they can’t handle it.
“But he’s really, really grown up over the course of this year. He made great strides.”
Vozzola proved to be an inconsistent threat at Cowley until the end of the season, when he averaged 14.1 points per contest over the Tigers’ final seven games.
“That’s when we saw the fruits of our labor” Jackson said. “We fully expect that he’ll transition that to wherever he goes next year.”
Vozzola will have two years of eligibility wherever he ends up, and UE has room on its roster with a pair of scholarships open.
Three other players — Castle High School forward Blake Simmons, Fishers High School guard Jaylon Brown and Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s guard Duane Gibson — signed with UE in November and enter this fall as freshmen.