In December 1999, Wellesley High senior forward Ben Cluff became the program’s first 1,000-point scorer in a victory against Dedham.
A year later, as a freshman at Harvard University, he was presented the Bay State Conference’s Doug Flutie Award at halftime of the Wellesley-Newton North basketball game.
The award recognizes character, dedication, leadership, sportsmanship, and outstanding athletic achievement.
“I felt gratitude about the award more than anything,’’ recalled the 37-year-old Cluff.
“High school kids cannot choose their coaches and teammates. I was very fortunate playing four years for coach [Mike] Reidy and playing my freshman season with my older brother, Adam.”
A four-year starter at power forward, Adam Cluff is now the boys’ basketball coach at Noble and Greenough in Dedham. Their father, Barry, was a varsity tennis and hockey player at Wellesley High.
“My dad was my biggest fan,” said Ben Cluff. “He struck just the right balance of being supportive without pushing me.”
Now a principal with the private equity firm Fisher Lynch Capital, Cluff received an economics degree from Harvard.
A two-time Bay State Conference basketball MVP, he was also an all-conference sweeper on the soccer team. He was Wellesley’s Male Athlete of the Year and received the Senior Cup at graduation.
“I was most proud of the Senior Cup because it was an award voted on by my classmates,’’ said Cluff.
These days, he resides in Brookline, with his wife, Hana (Peljto), who is second in career scoring for the Harvard women’s basketball program (2,109 points), and also class of 2004.
“I am definitely not the best basketball player in the family,’’ Ben noted. The couple has two children, Leila, 3, and Allen, 1.Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.