While 2020 recruiting wasn’t the main focus of power five programs this past spring/summer, schools better get acquainted with Saint Paul (Minn.) East Ridge forward Ben Carlson. A skilled, versatile prospect who first gained attention in the NY2LA Sports Generation Next Basketball Association "GNBA" middle school platform, Carlson has continued to grow and develop and he is receiving plenty of high major attention prior to his sophomore season.

Looking to keep Carlson at home, Minnesota has taken an early shining to Carlson, who visited the Gophers last season.  “Since I’m an in-state kid, they really want me to go there,” Carlson told NY2LA Sports. They’ve got good stuff going on there. They had a really good season last year.  It was a really fun atmosphere. They have a good coaching staff. The fans are really good. It’s an exciting time for them.” 

Carlson is also receiving interest from Creighton, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and others.  The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward has been hearing from the Badgers regularly and visited Madison last season for the Maryland game.  “They think I fit them really well,” said Carlson. “They’ve had a lot of players like me at Wisconsin. They think it’s a good fit.  They have a really good campus as well. I liked the atmosphere of the game. Maryland is always good, so it was good to see they beat them. I really liked the campus. They have a lake and it was a great time.” 

Carlson will be busy this fall and has already lined up three unofficial visits. He’ll start with a trip to Kansas State on Sept. 2.  “My sister plays volleyball there,” he said. “I’ve been down there a couple times. They have a really nice campus. They like to push it a lot, really athletic team.” 

Carlson also has family connections at Iowa State. He’ll be in Ames on September 14, 2017.  “My dad played there, so I’ve always liked them,” he said. “It’s crazy down there, the fans are great. They push the ball a lot and play fast.”

While in Iowa, Carlson plans to see Creighton as well.  “They’ve had a lot of players like me and they develop their players well,” he said. “I like that a lot.”

Carlson is also talking with Minnesota and Wisconsin about a fall visit as well. 
Looking for his first offer, Carlson likely won’t have to wait long. In the meantime, he’s looking for a good balance between academics and basketball at the next level.  “Academics is a high priority,” he said. “It has to be the right fit and I want to play right away. The coaching style and if I feel welcome there.”

Carlson plays with D1 Minnesota during the travel season.