Some players jump into the national spotlight by making the most of their opportunities to shine in front of major college program playing high quality basketball. This past spring and summer’s Kansas Powergroup was one of the better 8th grade teams in each tournament they played, including winning the 2013 Spring Extravaganza in Minnesota. A major reason for their success throughout the travel season was the play of 2017 SG Mitchell Ballock of Eudora H.S. (KS). The Freshman wing impressed just about anyone who saw him play and continues to find success on his school’s Varsity squad this season. He spoke with NY2LASPORTS.COM recently with a look at what he felt about the summer, what his strengths and areas to improve are and how his recruitment is playing out currently...

Ballock wowed spectators this summer with his great size and frame for his age, playing the wing as a 6-5, 180-pounds, and repeatedly being one of the most athletic players in his class each time on the court. He also showed an excellent skill-package and maturity in his game that will keep him progressing throughout the next 4 years leading into college.

“My going to the rim, finishing at the rim, play good team basketball, shooting from the outside, inside, team defense, and athleticism,” Ballock listed as things he does really well on the court currently and it is tough to argue with that. He showed off his perimeter stroke consistently in every event he played and with good consistency. He knows how to get teammates involved and at times almost played too unselfish, but has a majorly competitive spirit and does whatever he can on the floor to help his team to wins, and that attitude has carried him this season at Eudora as well.

Ballock is averaging 26 points and 8 rebounds per contest through the first five games of the year as a starter, his Varsity team sitting at 3-2 having dropped the opening pair of games and heating up to win three consecutively now, something the Freshman feels will only continue now that his team has built some good chemistry. “This year I wanna make it to state and I wanna win a state championship and I think we have the personnel to do that.”

While there is a ton of good in his game right now, there is still a lot of upside for Ballock and things he can continue to improve as he develops and gets stronger and more experience. “Mostly just getting [my] teammates more involved, finding them better, getting them into their rhythm and just working my inside game, rebounding and overall my defense,” he noted as things he is focusing on improving at this time.

At this time, Ballock has one offer in his hands, having earned the respect of Creighton who Ballock says “I like the way they play, I like Coach McDermott, I like the players and I just like the school - the campus is nice - and they have a lot of fans that go to their game, like 17,500 people at every game and it’s almost sold out every game, but overall I like the school, the college.”

The exciting, high-flying 2017 phenom also has interest from schools the likes of Tulsa, Kansas, Michigan State, Indiana and Kentucky right now. As he continues to gain exposure this year and on the grassroots circuit again next year, that list is only sure to grow. However, Ballock is in no hurry to make a decision and is excited about the interest and the offer, but plans to continue working tirelessly to keep those schools on the radar and keep gaining more. About his recruitment so far, the exciting Freshman wing said “It’s actually been good, I mean I’m young and I don’t expect this but mostly you just gotta keep your head, keep playing and keep working, cause if you stop working, you’re not going to get any better and you’ll lose that interest...  My main focus is just working every day and keep trying to get better to make it to one of those schools.”

Right now, the schools in their limitations to speak with Ballock have told him “They like the way that I play and like my work ethic and how I go about things, my attitude and everything and that they’ll just keep looking at me to see if I’ll fit into their system.” Thus, as the process advances and he starts taking some visits soon the Freshman guard/wing says “I want to play at the right school, I want to play for a school that fits me and fits my play style, I want to play for a good coach and under a coach that has the most relationships with his kids and everything and also I want to play for a school that’s basketball-oriented... That basketball is the main thing, I don’t want to go to a school where football is more important than basketball.”

Ballock along with high team goals this season, is also pushing himself to consistently compete at a high level he mentioned and discussed having a strong grassroots season against next year, though he is unsure of what team he will play for yet as his Powergroup squad ended after this past summer.

“You gotta be your own motivation... I’m playing the game I love, I’m doing all this stuff at a high level and not everybody has the opportunities to do what me, my teammates and even our opponents are getting to do so I don’t want to take those opportunities for granted.” Ballock stated about how he prepares mentally for games and what pushes him each day.

In finishing, as he does at the rim at high level, Ballock is well-versed and sent it home saying “I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a lazy player... I want them to think I’m a hard-nosed player, like if I’m on the bench or I get taken out you gotta have a good attitude and play the game the right way, and overall I want people to realize that [I’m] a tough kid giving 100% every time [I] step on the floor.”

There will certainly be more and more big moments for Mitchell Ballock in the near future and it will be exciting to watch his game continue to progress and see what levels he can reach as he plays the next four years and moves on to compete at the next level. While some things are not always certain, his work ethic and passion for the game are two things you can bet will always push him to succeed.