The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Gold’s competitive nature was forged against brothers in New Zealand

Ben Gold put on 25 pounds this offseason ahead of his sophomore season. (Marquette Wire Stock Photo.

As a child, Ben Gold spent countless days and nights battling his older brothers for possession in the paint. 

The sophomore forward has carried that same competitiveness halfway across the world from Wellington, New Zealand to Marquette.

“I was the youngest in my family, so I was always the one coming last the whole time, so it gave me that competitive nature,” Ben said. “I never wanted to lose against them, so I feel like that’s something I grew up with at a young age. It’s translated pretty well into where I am now.” 

Sharon, Ben’s mother, said that basketball has always been a part of her sons’ lives and has been a factor in the strong bond they all share. 

“All you need is a ball and a hoop, and you can go anywhere and play,” Sharon said. “They’ve always been really sporty kids and active. They’re naturally competitive and that may come from the appearance a bit as well. The basketball thing is just they could do it together, they could play it together anywhere. They just immediately loved it.” 

Sam, Ben’s second oldest brother, said that their parents played a key role in introducing basketball to him and his siblings.

“Growing up, our dad influenced us to play a bit because he played,” Sam, who plays basketball at Milligan University in Tennessee, said. “We watched him play quite a lot at his games, and then just picking it up from there… My mom was pretty big into sports as well. It’s just a family thing.” 

Sharon played netball the main women’s sport in New Zealand as a kid and got called up to the national team at the age of 18. The non-contact sport is played with two teams of seven players, and the objective is to score goals by throwing the ball through a ring that is mounted on a 10-foot-high pole.

“I just went through school and kept training and worked pretty hard myself,” Sharon said. “I was just in the right place and pretty good at what I did. It didn’t hurt that I was reasonably tall, so that made it a bit easier for me.” 

She has passed that same mentality, and height, down to the 6-foot-11 Ben, influencing his decision to travel over 8,000 miles away from home to pursue a future in basketball.

When Ben visited Marquette for the first time, he was by himself due to the restrictions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“He’s made a lot of huge decisions himself he chose to go to Marquette because we couldn’t visit with him — so he’s made some really big decisions,” Sharon said. “He comes across as quite quiet and relaxed, but he’s actually quite determined. He’s really strong because you’ve got to be really strong to be able to leave home and travel that far away and do these things. You don’t get to go home when everyone else gets to leave.” 

Although Ben battled through a shin splints injury over the summer, he still managed to put on a significant amount of weight, going from 220 to 245 pounds in preparation for this year.

He said that his focus during the offseason was not only adding to his size, but also his overall skillset. 

“I just wanted to take a big step on getting my body right,” Ben said. “Just working on my shooting, my handle, finishing around the rim. Obviously, I had a little setback with my injury, but I felt like I made a big jump before that. Starting to get back into things now, I’m still going upwards.”

Head coach Shaka Smart said that Gold is going to play a much bigger role for Marquette this season. 

“If you said to me ‘Hey, I’ll give you one guy that’s going to have an awesome season, that’s going to take a big job?’ Benny Gold man, Benny Gold,” Smart said after the Blue and Gold scrimmage. “It just changes our team, because he’s 6-foot-11 and he can shoot, and he gives us just such versatility out there on both ends of the floor.”

Ben’s improvements have not gone unnoticed by his fellow teammates. Senior forward Oso Ighodaro said he has been impressed with how much confidence Ben is playing with.

“(He’s) handling the ball a lot more. When he gets open, he’s shooting. He’s growing as a player,” Ighodaro said. “He’s gotten a lot stronger and just the belief in himself. He has so much potential, and he still has so much more growth to go.” 

Beyond the sport of basketball, Ben said that his family is what keeps him going every day. 

“My family is really important,” Ben said. “I live halfway across the world. They keep in contact with me every day. We (Sam) help each other out whenever we’re going through tough times. They’re just there for you whenever you need them.” 

Sharon said that she is not just proud of Ben and how far he has come, but also of the relationships he has with both his brothers. 

“As a parent of a 17, 18-year-old, it’s a bit hard to see them halfway across the world,” Sharon said. “But especially the three of them, they’re really close. They have a little group chat, and they talk to each other every day. I know that if any of them have a problem, they just immediately go to each other. They’ve got a pretty good support network.” 

This past May, Ben went back home and got the chance to play with his brothers again, but this time, he was the one who had the upper hand.

“They like to see it, but they don’t like playing against me anymore,” Ben said. “Just being the youngest, it always used to be the other way around them beating me the whole time. Whenever I get home, the first thing I want to do is play against them, and they’re not happy half the time.” 

This story was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *