Mitchell Ballock has already seen a big-time college atmosphere in Norman, taking his first unofficial visit with Oklahoma during a home Bedlam match-up last year – and then watching Oklahoma play Kansas at the Phog Allen Fieldhouse two days later while visiting the nearby Jayhawks.
He’s coming back to Norman again for his second official visit this weekend, looking to get a better feel of the inner workings of the program.
“It’s just a different atmosphere kind of thing,” said Ballock, a four-star 2017 wing. “I’ve never seen practice, like the behind-the-scenes stuff and see how everything goes down and how it translates to the game, some of coach Kruger’s coaching philosophies and how they run practice and how they do specific stuff. I’m looking forward to that and seeing how that goes.”
Ballock, who has offers from Kansas, Indiana, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Maryland among other schools, recognizes that Oklahoma has a good team and good facilities, but he wants to see more than that this weekend. Ballock will also be attending Oklahoma’s football game against TCU.
It’ll be Ballock’s last visit for a while, he said.
From here, he’ll concentrate on rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder. After having surgery to fix a torn labrum in his left shoulder a little more than two months ago, Ballock won’t be playing high school basketball this season for Eudora.
He said he thought he damaged the cartilage during football his freshman year in high school. He’s played through the pain ever since, but the idea of finally playing at 100 percent has him eager.
Ballock is a 6-foot-5 left-handed wing with above average 3-point shot but needs to improve his mid-range game, according to Scout analysts.
“To know that I was kind of doing it on a torn labrum, I’ll see what I can at full strength and see if I can get better and stronger,” said Ballock, who added that he might check to see if local Sooners’ 2017 point guard target Trae Young is also going to be on campus.
Young and 2017 commit Brady Manek are expected to make unofficial visits this weekend as well.
Ballock, the 53rd overall player and eighth-ranked shooting guard in the class, is hoping to be cleared by March in time for his final AAU season. His recruitment right now is still wide open, although he’s got a couple hidden favorites.
“I like a couple schools,” Ballock said. “Honestly, I’m just open to everybody and listening to everybody. I’m just going about it. I’m going to go into the next spring and summer and maybe before the summer. I’ll have a narrowed list. Right now, I’m just staying open to everybody and keeping everybody as an option. I’m not really narrowing or singling anybody out.”