Among the many talented underclassmen competing in Under Armour’s Association this spring and summer, Mitchell Ballock has established himself as one of the league’s mainstays.
Already a familiar name to recruitniks nationally and particularly in the Midwest, Ballock brought his No. 35 overall ranking with him into the travel season. The rising junior has delivered on his promise, averaging more than 12 points per game and actually leads K.C. Run GMC in rebounding with more than five boards per outing.
Ballock has struggled with his jump shot on the UA circuit but rediscovered it last weekend at the Jayhawk Invitational. The southpaw first emerged known for his smooth stroke, but the truth is that he’s far more of a high-level utility wing than he is a designated shooter.
|Ballock can stretch defenses but may be better attacking off the bounce|
With excellent mobility and an aggressive, slashing style, Ballock makes frequent trips to the free throw line and is a fine passer on the move. Along with his toughness as a rebounder and defender, he projects as a continued presence in our national rankings.
He also has notched a signature performance already this year. A couple weeks ago in Louisville, Ballock squared off against elite rising senior Josh Jackson and scored 30 points, nearly leading his squad to the win. When asked about that game and how he assesses it as part of his career portfolio, however, Ballock reveals his true competitive nature.
”Individually, I played well, but obviously we lost that game,” Ballock said. “At the end of the day we didn’t get the ‘W,’ so it doesn’t really mean anything to me.“
Ballock and his mates have compiled a 3-5 record and hope to turn that around later this month at the UA event in New York. Despite being a young guy on the team, he understands that he must shoulder a heavier scoring load.
”I just have to be more aggressive and also get my teammates involved more,” Ballock said. “I need to get to the rim more and score the ball and defend.”
As mentioned, Ballock’s name carries significant grassroots clout in the Midwest. He’s a priority recruit for several of the region’s major college programs.
It’s far too early to forecast how things will unfold, but Ballock already has developed strong relationships with some of his favorites.
”I talk to Coach (Norm) Roberts at Kansas a lot and I talk to Coach (Steve) Henson at Oklahoma a lot, and also Coach (Charlie) Henry at Iowa State,” he said. “Those three, more than the other three (schools).”
But while Big 12 schools largely populate his recruitment, don’t assume Ballock will choose to remain close to home.
”It would be cool to play at home,” he said, “but I’m less attached to that because I need to just look at the school that’s best for me and where I can just grow as a player.”