Odds and ends on a quiet Wednesday

By Steve Sell
March 22, 2017

Wednesday’s ramblings...

• BALLOCK JOINS ROBERTSON — McPherson High’s Taylor Robertson was chosen Kansas Gatorade Girls Player of the Year last week and now the boys’ selection has been announced.

Eudora’s Mitchell Ballock, who once committed to Kansas before changing his mind to Creighton, was announced this week as the state's top boys player.

A 6-5 guard, Ballock averaged 25.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.8 blocks as Eudora compiled a 19-3 record. The Cardinals were easily one of the best eight teams in Class 4A Division I, but had the unfortunate pairing of Miege in their regional.

Ballock was a star for Eudora beginning with his freshman year when he averaged 20 points a game.

• HIGH SCHOOL TEAMS IDLING — This is spring break at McPherson High School and this week is the first time in quite a while there are no Bullpup events, except for an alumni baseball game on Saturday.

Several of the teams are holding workouts this week, however, as the spring season begins in earnest next week. The McPherson High girls soccer team already has played one game, a 2-0 victory over Salina South — the same team it will open with next week in the McPherson Invitational at McPherson Stadium.

Until today, the teams have had nice temperatures to practice in this week, including Monday when it was literally like summer.

• NCAA TOURNAMENT THOUGHTS — I’ve probably watched more NCAA Tournament games this year than the last five years combined.

A couple of things have jumped out at me.

First, the Big 12 should be thankful for its level of officiating. Other than Svi’s obvious travel in KU’s game with Kansas State, I thought the Big 12 officiating was outstanding.

In the tournament, there have been some terribly blown calls, especially when it comes to traveling and goal-tending. The goal-tending call that was missed in the Northwestern game led to Wildcats coach Chris Collins getting a technical and basically costing his team the game.

Secondly, I never realized just how the 3-point shot has impacted the game. It’s not uncommon now for teams to take 25 to 30 3-pointers in a game. The reliance on the shot has forever changed the game, sometimes making me wish the arc were just a little further back. There is far less emphasis on big men and more on the athletic, wing types. 

The tourney has been a delight so far and now we’re getting into crunch time. Hopefully the Kansas Jayhawks can get past Purdue and then either Oregon or Michigan.

• BETHANY LOADED — My good friend Paul Mogenson wrote a story for The Salina Journal recently updating the Bethany College football team.

According to Mogie, the Swedes have 86 players who are taking part in spring drills. Bethany is coming off a 2-9 season as it had to forfeit one of its three wins. Paul Hubbard, entering his third year as head coach, has loaded up on transfers and had about another dozen players sitting out last year as redshirts who should make the Swedes much better. 

The Swedes have struggled ever since the legendary Dr. Ted Kessinger retired in 2003 after 28 years, 219 victories and 16 KCAC championships. But Hubbard may finally take a big step in getting them back to the glory days.