Ballard, former director of basketball operations at the University of Kansas, had been involved with the Jayhawk basketball program for the past decade. He played for the Jayhawks in 2000-02 and was an integral member of the administrative staff for the past seven years.
After the Wildcats’ 10-20 finish last season, including a 3-17 mark in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, Ballard is well aware of the challenges that loom ahead
“This is one of the best NAIA conferences in the country,” Ballard said. “We look forward to the challenge we know that we will face night in and night out. We understand there are some tremendous players and coaches in this league, and we are very excited about the opportunity to compete against them.”
The Wildcats return five seniors, including three starters from the 2009-2010 squad. Leading the veterans will be 6-foot-1-inch swingman Jaris Wommack (Taylorville, Ill.) and 6-4 forward Andre Strozier (Phoenix, Ariz.). Wommack averaged 9.6 points as a junior. Strozier averaged 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.
Several new players will fill major roles for the ’Cats. Samer Jassar, a 6-9 senior from Barton County Community College, and Curvonte McGown, a 6-2 junior from Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC, will add depth to the forward and guard positions.
“We have a solid group of seniors that are very hungry to have a successful year,” Ballard said. “We also have some newcomers and underclassmen that are ready to contribute. These guys have worked very hard in the offseason, and I have been pleased with the progress we have made.”
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Kansas Wesleyan enters the contest at 0-1 after dropping its season opener 82-71 on Tuesday to Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
The Coyotes were picked ninth in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll. The Coyotes, coming off a 12-16 campaign, lost 55 percent of their scoring from a year ago.