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Kevin Schnepf, Published April 01 2009

Final Four bound: NDSU senior guard Woodside picked to participate in All-Star Game on Final Four weekend

Ben Woodside is heading to the Final Four.

North Dakota State’s point guard accepted an invitation late Monday night to play in the Hershey’s College Basketball All-Star Game that will be held Friday in Detroit’s Ford Field – the same court where the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball semifinals and championship game will be held Saturday and Monday.

Woodside is one of 20 seniors not playing in the Final Four who were asked to play in the game that will be held at 3:35 p.m. Friday, after the conclusion of practices held by the four Final Four teams. It will mark the 47th annual all-star game sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the second straight year in which the game will be held on the same court as the Final Four.

The all-star game is scheduled to be televised on the CBS College Sports Network.

“When they asked me, I said ‘no doubt,’ ” Woodside said. “It’s a great honor to be selected. I’m doing it for the exposure and to get North Dakota State on the map again.”

Woodside, The Summit League’s player of the year, was instrumental in guiding NDSU to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. The 5-foot-11 point guard from Albert Lea, Minn., averaged 23.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. His

37-point performance in a first-round loss to Kansas is still a single-game high for this year’s NCAA tournament.

Named an honorable mention Associated Press All-American this week, Woodside was also invited to compete in the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament that will be held April 8-11. Woodside will be one of 64 seniors to participate in the four-day, 12-game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team. A good showing in that tournament could lead to more tryouts for NBA teams.

“This all-star game in Detroit won’t necessarily help my draft status,” Woodside said. “But it will be a heck of a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

Woodside departs today for Chicago, where he said he will be meeting with a prospective agent. He’ll fly to Detroit tonight before a practice on Thursday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com