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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

KU hoops target Mitchell Ballock talk of town

Eudora’s Mitchell Ballock (24) looks for a teammate while under pressure from a Scott City defender in the state-championship game of Class 4A-II on Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Park City.

Eudora’s Mitchell Ballock (24) looks for a teammate while under pressure from a Scott City defender in the state-championship game of Class 4A-II on Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Park City.

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Eudora High sophomore Mitchell Ballock received hugs, high-fives and plenty of pats on the back Tuesday — the day after it was made public that he’d received a scholarship offer to play basketball at tradition-rich Kansas University.

“I got a lot of comments. Basically everybody around, everybody in my school said, ‘Congratulations,’ and all that,” said Ballock, a 6-foot-4, 16-year-old combo guard who led the Cardinals to a Class 4A-II state title as a mere freshman and exploded on the AAU scene this past summer.

“When Kansas offered (Monday afternoon), it kind of blew up — 10 miles down the road, everybody likes Kansas. It kind of took off.”

Ballock, who also has been offered by Iowa State and Creighton at this early date, admits he was “really excited” to receive an offer from 12th-year KU coach Bill Self.

“I’ve been a Kansas fan since I was 6, 7 years old, since I even knew what basketball was,” Ballock said, adding, “I’m a KU fan. I like a lot of different teams. I just like the game (of basketball).”

Ballock, who averaged about 20 points a game last season and won the three-point shooting contest and “best shooter” award at this summer’s Stephen Curry camp in California, has his favorite Jayhawks from the past.

“When I was little, I liked J.R. Giddens. I like him and Keith Langford,” Ballock said. “J.R. was an above-the-rim kind of guy. Keith Langford did it all. He’s still doing it all. And Brandon Rush. I like Brandon Rush.”

Ballock says he’s fired up about the KU offer but in no hurry to end his recruitment at this time.

“Obviously, my heart is going to be there. Overall, it’s not about that. It’s about where you fit the best,” Ballock said. “I’m going to see how everything goes and take my visits and see. I am still young. I have a lot of time. There’s no pressure to commit anywhere.

“I’m going to feel it out and decide what fits my game the best and where I’ll fit playing-style-wise and the best school. I’ll see how it goes.”

He’s not anxiously awaiting release of player rankings in his Class of 2017.

“I don’t worry about any of that. I don’t look at the rankings at all,” Ballock said. “You know Jay Williams, who played at Duke? When I went out to Vegas last summer, he was our guest speaker. He wasn’t great coming out of high school. He signed with Duke when he was an underdog. He got drafted second overall. He made something out of nothing.

“I don’t care if I’m seventh, 10th, 20th, 100. I don’t care if I’m ranked at all. As long as you get an opportunity to go play, just play. That’s what I dream of doing. That’s what I care about, to keep working to get to that (major-college) level. Once you get to that level, then you just prove you can actually play at that level.”

In the eyes of KU, he has the skills to play big-time basketball, hence the scholarship offer.

“It’s kind of a sigh of relief to know all the hard work is actually paying off. It is the beginning of everything. It’s not going to stop now,” Ballock said.

Ballock is an active Twitter user and can be found at @Mitchbballin24.

“Thanks to everyone that showed me love. It means a lot that all of you guys are by my side!” Ballock tweeted Tuesday night.

Also ... “S/o to the bro @JimmyWhitt33 on his commitment to Arkansas! Best of luck to you in your future.”

KC RunGMC player Whitt has indeed committed to play ball at Arkansas. The 6-2 senior point guard from Columbia (Missouri) Hickman is ranked No. 52 in the Class of 2015. Ballock also is in the RunGMC program.

Comments

Brett McCabe 3 months, 1 week ago

Just follow your heart Mitchell. RCJHK!

Keith Gellar 3 months, 1 week ago

what's up with the name Mitchell? i mean how many guys do you run into nowadays named Mitchell? isn't that more of a female name?

speaking of female names, kelly, perry....i don't like this trend for KU bball. we need more cliffs, Trobs, sherrons,

Michael Bennett 3 months, 1 week ago

Are you confusing his name with Michelle? Mitchell (short version Mitch) is definitely a guy's name (always). So is Perry...

Scott Oswalt 3 months, 1 week ago

What are you talking about? There are a lot of men named Mitchell. I've actually never hear of a girl named Mitchell before.

John Randall 3 months, 1 week ago

Mitchell is a common surname as well. Could be mom's maiden name or G'ma's.

Kye Clark 3 months ago

I don't like the trend of people naming their girls with boys names. Ryan, Blake, etc.

Walter Bridges 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't like the name Keith. Why does the 'e' come before the 'i'? My brother is named Keith and I've never liked him.

Bryce Landon 3 months, 1 week ago

Dear Mitchell, Why would you want to go anywhere else? Go anywhere else, and most nights you'll be playing in front of a half-full arena full of fans who are looking for something to pass the time while waiting for football season. Go to Kansas, and EVERY SINGLE NIGHT you'll be playing in front of a full house, whether the opponent is Duke or Duquesne, surrounded by the Rock Chalk chant, with lovely co-eds holding up Fat-Head size cut-outs of your person, cheering you on out of a pure, unadulterated love for the game of basketball. Sincerely, Every Jayhawk fan in the world

John Randall 3 months, 1 week ago

Bryce – when you grow up, you'll understand that being idolized isn't all cookies and cream. Mitch seems to have the good sense to look around and evaluate situations realistically. KU is a great school, with a great b-ball program, but there may be one where he fits better.

Best wishes for him, however things work out.

Robin Smith 3 months, 1 week ago

'Ballock says he’s fired up about the KU offer but in no hurry to end his recruitment at this time.

“Obviously, my heart is going to be there. Overall, it’s not about that. It’s about where you fit the best,” Ballock said. “I’m going to see how everything goes and take my visits and see. I am still young. I have a lot of time. There’s no pressure to commit anywhere.

“I’m going to feel it out and decide what fits my game the best and where I’ll fit playing-style-wise and the best school. I’ll see how it goes.”

-- that's some Self-level PR right there

Steve Corder 3 months, 1 week ago

Hey, LJW, I could be wrong, but the photo looks like a practice shot. The state tourney must have been poorly attended. Nice jerseys, too.

Kurt Eskilson 3 months, 1 week ago

Maybe you know this … but what you see above is only part of the photo. Click on it and you'll see the entire shot. That will answer your question.

Aaron Paisley 3 months, 1 week ago

And let continued descent to the lower levels of relevance continue in Columbia. Mike Anderson still owns recruiting in Missouri (except for the elite recuits).

Gary Bedore 3 months, 1 week ago

I want to remind everybody Mitchell Ballock is a 16 year old high school sophomore. With that in mind, I was pretty darn impressed at how well spoken he was when I talked to him the other day. When I was 16, the LAST thing I ever thought about doing was speaking with a media member. People sometimes expect too much out of these kids in terms of their public comments. At 16 years old, I'd say Mitchell Ballock deserves an A for his ability to express his thoughts! Looking forward to following his recruitment and career. The city of Eudora is very proud of him.

Suzi Marshall 3 months, 1 week ago

I hope he can play at the elite D-1 level. It's a long jump from playing in front of 56 people at Eudora HS to major collegiate games in front of +16k on national tv in AFH.

A heavy burden to carry being a local boy from a small town competing against kids that grew up playing in places like the Chicago Public Schools League.. Look at the transition difficulties Ellis had coming from Wichita.

Joseph Bullock 3 months, 1 week ago

I don't think this young man will have any problems with the pressure of playing D-1 Basketball. He seems to know that he can't just sit back, and rest on what he has accomplished, thus far. Also, the fact that he won the 3-point contest, and took home the 'Best Shooter Award', at the Stephen Curry Camp, says that he has got ice water in his veins! Also, being a combo guard, is a plus, and being 6'4" (and hopefully, still growing, excites me. I also don't think the K.U. Staff, or the Iowa State, and Creighton Staffs, would have offered so early on, if they didn't see a whole lot that is 'Special', in this young man. Rock Chalk!

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