Ben Beauchamp’s primary reason for committing to play basketball at Black Hills State University ended up being his same reason for leaving.
A talented guard from Monarch High School, Beauchamp went to South Dakota to play for Black Hills because he wanted to play for head coach Bradd Shafer. But when Shafer took a job for the upcoming season at Western State Colorado University, Beauchamp’s interest in Black Hills state waned.
Beauchamp followed Shafer to South Dakota, and now he has followed him back to Colorado. After one year apart, Beauchamp has transferred to Western State and will reunite with Shafer in 2015-16.
“Going down to Western was a big decision,” Beauchamp said. “I stayed up in South Dakota because I liked the area and it just wasn’t a great fit. But I love Gunnison. I was down there the whole month of June working out with the team and I wanted to play for coach Shafer in the beginning, so I think the writing was on the wall to make that the next step.”
Shafer coached at Black Hills State for eight years, the last four of which he spent as head coach before moving to Western State. Beauchamp played in 21 games there last season as a true freshman.
In Shafer’s first season at Western State, the team struggled. But Shafer has brought in 11 new players for the upcoming season, including lots of Colorado players, and everyone involved is excited about the potential for a turnaround.
“We have 11 new guys on the team this year so it’s really exciting,” Beauchamp said. “Nobody really has a spot guaranteed so it’s going to be fun to see that competition this year. We’ve all bonded together and we have a great head start toward creating that chemistry that we can build on. We just need to keep getting better every year and there’s really no limit with the team that we have.”
What Beauchamp brings is the versatility to play multiple guard positions and quality shooting ability from all over the floor. In the 21 games he played for Black Hills State, he posted marks of 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from the floor, 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from behind the 3-point line and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) from the free throw line.
“I first recruited Ben right out of high school,” Shafer said. “I was the coach up at Black Hills State when he committed there. He’s a tremendous young man and he has everything you want from a player standpoint and what he brings to your program off the court. I was extremely lucky to get him back a year later.
“Those calls to let those guys know that I wasn’t going to be at Black Hills State last year were some of the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make. But now Ben has three basketball years with us and we’re excited about where we’re headed at Western State.”
A Colorado guy himself, Shafer was born in Gilcrest, played his high school ball at Valley High School and then played his college career at Western State.
While at Monarch, Beauchamp averaged 17 points, seven boards and five assists during his final two seasons and helped lead the Coyotes to a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2012-13 Class 5A state tournament and to the second round in 2013-14.
“We recruited Ben right out of high school for a reason,” Shafer said. “We look at him as a guy that’s going to step in and have an immediate impact for us.”
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