Boys Basketball: Ben Gamble speaks as new Mater Dei Prep coach

He’s a disciple of legendary St. Anthony boys basketball coach Bob Hurley and now he’s getting an opportunity to establish his own legacy.

Ben Gamble, the varsity boys basketball coach at Cardinal McCarrick last season, was announced as the new varsity boys basketball coach at Mater Dei Prep by the school on Thursday afternoon. He replaced former coach Bob Klatt, who was told on Wednesday by the school that he wasn’t rehired for the 2015-2016 season.

Bob Klatt not rehired as Mater Dei Prep boys basketball coach

“I want to have a program that is very good defensively and we’re going to play full court man to man 95 percent of the time,” said Gamble as the type of program he would have at Mater Dei Prep. “I’m going to use the blueprint that I was taught under coach Hurley. Last year at Cardinal McCarrick, we didn’t have a lot of size but we were a very scrappy team.”

Gamble led Cardinal McCarrick to a 21-5 record and to the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division title in the 2014-2015 season. However in May, the Diocese of Metuchen announced that Cardinal McCarrick would be closing in June due to an increasing budget deficit. So, Gamble was available to take other coaching jobs.

McCarrick students, coach move to Mater Dei

Gamble said this will be his third head coaching job after being at Cardinal McCarrick and earlier in his coaching career at Hudson Catholic. Gamble spent 14 years as an assistant coach under Hurley before ascending to the position of associated head coach before leaving to take the job at Cardinal McCarrick. Gamble also played for Hurley as a member of St. Anthony’s state championship team in 1980 and 1981.

“Kids will love to play for Ben because he will get them to believe in themselves and he will give them a formula on how to become better players and how to collectively pursue excellence,” said Bob Hurley in the Mater Dei Prep press release.

For Mater Dei Prep, celebration — and a look ahead

While at Cardinal McCarrick last season, Gambled played against two Shore Conference teams, Christian Brothers Academy and Red Bank , in regular season games. On Jan 2, 2015, Cardinal McCarrick shocked CBA, 62-61, at CBA and on Feb. 27, 2015, Cardinal McCarrick lost to Red Bank, 34-32, at Cardinal McCarrick.

“The first time I think we got noticed throughout the state last season at Cardinal McCarrick is when we upset CBA at CBA,” Gamble said. “We also beat Marist and American History and we also lost to a tough Rutgers Prep team. Overall, we had a very good year and we raised expectations at Cardinal McCarrick.”

Now, he’ll take those expectations about 12 miles to the Southeast to Mater Dei Prep.

Sherlon Christie:

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