ROCHELLE — There haven’t been any basketball players at Rochelle Township High School who could score and rebound the way Ben Rand could. In fact, not many boys in the state of Illinois could produce the way he did throughout his remarkable time with the Hubs.
Rand finished his four-year prep career as the greatest scorer and rebounder in RTHS history, totaling 2,144 points and grabbing 829 rebounds while leading the Hubs to IHSA Regional Championships during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Rand has already been immortalized as an RTHS Athletic Hall of Fame (2014), but the former Hub will have his name cemented once again, this time as an IBCA Hall of Famer in the Class of 2020.
“It was definitely humbling,” Rand said. “When coach [Tim] Thompson let me know, I thought a lot about the time I spent with the program and the teammates I had. Having the opportunity to play for coach [Russ] Zick and coach Thompson, who was a mentor to me since my freshman season, for so many years brought back a lot of fond memories.”
Rand graduated from RTHS in 2003 before starting his collegiate basketball career at The University of Iowa. After spending one season with the Hawkeyes, Rand transferred to Northern Illinois University and played for the Huskies through the 2007-08 season. Rand studied marketing at NIU, where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He currently lives in Sugar Grove and works as a senior marketing manager at PepsiCo.
“The pace at which we played at Rochelle translated really well to college,” Rand said. “Both coach Thompson and coach Zick taught me a lot about how to compete and I think that was the mentality of our team. We expected to win every game we played and we worked hard. They taught how to understand leadership later in my career.”
Rand averaged 25 points and eight rebounds per game as a sophomore, and his production remained consistent over his junior (23.1 points and 8.5 rebounds) and senior (23.5 points and 8.3 rebounds) seasons. His accomplishments garnered three-time Dixon Telegraph Player of the Year honors as well as All-State recognition from both the IBCA and the Associated Press. Rand closed out his high school career as an All-American Honorable Mention and a unanimous All-Conference First Team player as a senior.
“I’ll always remember the home games we played at the old high school,” Rand said. “That gym was something that was extremely unique, and playing there gave us such an advantage. When I reflect on my high school career, I think about how compact that gym was and how loud it got. Having all of my friends and family members there was something I’ll always remember.”