After being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, Men’s basketball coach Sam Ballard Jr. knew he was going to have to replace five position players, so he got started right away.”We were picked to finish tenth and we finished third so we’re pretty happy,” Ballard said.
Ballard has already recruited more than four players for next season and will continue to look for key athletes to play a part on his team.
In order to help these student athletes pay for the cost of attending MCC and bolster the amount of funding available for the basketball team, coach Ballard is hosting a fundraising golf tournament on May 16 at the Dobson Ranch golf course.
A silent auction will be held for items donated to the MCC basketball team.
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown, a former Thunderbird, has donated a pair of autographed shoes from Ben Wallace to be auctioned off.
The team also has some items for the auction from the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics.
Former Suns player, and current Charlotte Bobcat Boris Diaw has also agreed to attend the event.
“Since we are the only Maricopa county school competing at the NJCAA Division I level we have to augment the amount of money available to compete with the other Division I schools,” Ballard said.
This fundraiser will generate a large portion of the money needed in order to recruit for next season.
The money that the school is allowed to offer students in the form of athletic scholoarships cover about one-third of the total needs on the men’s basketball team, Ballard said.
The team will have six returning players next season and hopes to go even farther in the playoffs next year.
“We got the job late,” said Ballard referring to the fact that he took over the men’s basketball program with very little time to recruit before the 2008-2009 season began, “We knew there were six possible returners but three opted out immediately and one ended up quitting during the season.”
But Ballard’s assistant coach Mike Grothaus, who had been working on recruiting for Grand Canyon University, ended up pulling some players over to MCC in order to fill the team.
“We had a couple guys transfer in late who played a big role. Clint Hamilton, who was All-Conference, transferred in from Concordia University in Texas,” Ballard said.
Ballard looks forward to the opportunity to get out in the community and recruit players for next season.