Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Chance to Address Coaches School Excites Ballard

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Chance to Address Coaches School Excites Ballard

Article excerpt

The last thing Brett Ballard wants to do is speak authoritatively about basketball Tuesday when he visits the Kansas Coaches School.

Sure, during his Washburn practices, the first-year coach must assert his control.

Among the state's high school coaches, however, Ballard knows several with more experience coaching basketball and is willing to exchange ideas with anyone in attendance.

"I don't ever want to feel like I'm talking down to anyone,'' he said. "These guys in that room have won a ton of games. Here's hoping you can learn something from me, and then I want to learn from these guys, which I do every time I go to a high school practice to recruit.''

Kansans factored heavily into the success Bob Chipman enjoyed during his 38 seasons directing the Ichabods. Several Kansans will be returnees for WU next season as part of a roster Ballard supplemented by landing two in-state prospects as his first recruits.

Obviously, Ballard wants to build and maintain relationships with in-state coaches.

Yet the format for the Coaches School puts him in a somewhat awkward position for the presentations he provides.

"It's a little bit surreal because I've grown up just admiring and learning from so many of these guys in this room, that it's crazy for me to actually be speaking to them,'' said Ballard, a Hutchinson native who served on staffs at Kansas, Tulsa and Wake Forest, and was previously a head coach for two seasons at Baker.

Ballard will welcome high school coaches to his Washburn practices.

In addition, he will continue taking notes whenever he drops in on a high school practice while recruiting.

"There's hardly a time,'' he said, "I don't come out of a practice not having learned something and taken a little mental note or even written something down.''

Ballard wants to build a good relationship with those involved in the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

To that end, he wants to grow the game and has an immediate suggestion: Approve a shot clock for Kansas high school basketball. …

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