Interview by Steph Stanislao
Ben Woodside is one man that will go down as a great in Bison basketball history. Playing for NDSU’s Basketball Program from 2004-2009, Woodside lead the Bison in scoring and had over 1,000 career points for the green and gold squad. Woodside’s career after Fargo is far from done, as this hoopster is continuing to put up shots overseas as a professional baller. Bison Illustrated caught up with Woodside to see how his time as a Bison shaped the man and player he is today.
BI: You’ve continued on with your basketball career post-NDSU. Can you talk about the teams you’ve played on since your days in Fargo?
Woodside: I have played for four different teams since my days in Fargo. I played two years in France with the team Gravelines. Last year I played on two different teams. One team was Union Olympia from Slovenia and the other team was Armia from Republic of Georgia. This year I am currently playing for the team TED Kolejliler in Turkey. Each team has brought my wife and I wonderful new experiences, many laughs and many memories that we will cherish.
BI: What has been the biggest challenge to living overseas?
Woodside: Ever since day one, living in Europe hasn’t really exposed huge challenges. I have adapted pretty well to the European life and I enjoy it. If I would have to choose one thing, I would say being away from family and friends for such a long period of time. Even with that said, now-a-days technology makes it extremely easy to stay in touch with people on a regular basis.
BI: What is the funniest thing that has happened while you’ve been overseas?
Woodside: There are so many funny memories both on and off the court it is hard to choose between one or the other. On the court I would have to say when I played in Georgia we were getting ready to play a big game. We were all in the locker room getting fired up for the game and hearing the coaches speech. When we start running out on the floor our assistant coach was standing there giving us high-fives blowing cigarette smoke in our faces as we run by. I was thinking to myself, “That is a great way to get your players ready for a game!” All I could do is laugh about it after the game. Off the court, there are many situations were the communication barrier is a factor. One time after practice I was extremely hungry and my wife and I went out to a nice cafe to get some lunch. I looked on the menu and saw “American Fillet.” Seeing the word American got me excited and I decided to order what I thought was a big, juicy, fresh cut steak. To my surprise the waitress brought out what looked like raw ground hamburger that you buy from the grocery store with a little salt and pepper added on top. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. We have joked and laughed about that story quite often. Those are two stories off the top of my head that were pretty funny. Again, I have stories that I could tell for days about our European adventures.
BI: Being so far from home, how to do you keep in touch with your friends and family?
Woodside: I keep in touch with family and friends via Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter, email and VoIP Phone. As I stated earlier, with technology being the way it is today, it is extremely easy to keep in touch with people back home as long as you have an Internet connection. That is one of the first things I make sure to have when arriving at a new team.
BI: When you’re not on the court, how do you spend your free time?
Woodside: To name a few of the things that I do, I spend my free time with my amazing wife adventuring out and seeing high tourism spots in whatever country we are located (ie. Eiffel Tower in Paris, Lake Bled in Slovenia, Drove to Italy while in Slovenia, Black Sea while in Republic of Georgia). It is also fun trying new cuisine at the new places we visit. At a bit of a smaller level, we check out quite a few movies that are in English at the local movie theater. We try many different restaurants during our 10-month stay. Those are a few of the activities we do in our free time.
BI: How did your time at NDSU prepare you for your life on and off of the court?