Ballard and the Bods look for big wins

Winter is quickly approaching and with it will come the highly anticipated basketball season. Washburn men’s basketball will look to build on a successful 2017-2018 season and head back to the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive season.

Leading the charge will be second year head coach Brett Ballard who took over last season for the legendary Bob Chipman who won more than 800 games in his 38 years with the program. Ballard led the Ichabods to a 22-10 record and their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2012. In addition to playing in the NCAA tournament, they also played for an MIAA tournament title. 

The Ichabods will look to senior Javion Blake to lead the offense as he has amassed nearly 1,200 points in his career as well as being named MIAA Freshman of the Year three years ago. Blake will be accompanied by three fellow returning seniors, David Salach, Tyas Martin and Emeka Ogbonna who have all played in over 50 career games. 

Rounding out the upperclassmen are two juniors, Drew Pyle and Clayton Holmberg. Pyle shot well from behind the three-point line last year hitting nearly 44 percent of his shots.

In addition to four incoming freshmen, Washburn will welcome two Division I transfers along with a Division II transfer. Devyn Wilson is a senior who transferred in from Portland State while Jamaal David spent a year at Charleston Southern before coming to Washburn for his sophomore season. The Division II transfer is senior Pedro DaSilva who is coming from Union College.

Freshman Jalen Lewis is excited for the season and can’t wait to learn and grow from the upperclassmen.

“As a freshman, I’m going to try to learn as much from the coaching staff and the seniors as possible,” Lewis said. “Since this is my first year of college basketball it’s going to be crucial that I soak up as much information from the guys who have been through this process before.”

Sophomore Jamaal David agrees with the great team atmosphere surrounding the team. 

“I think the season will go pretty well. The vets are teaching the newcomers a lot and, as newcomers, we are learning and catching on fast,” David said. “All we have to do is work on knowing each other’s game and we will be off to the races.”

Washburn will kickoff the season with an exhibition game Nov. 1 in Lawrence against the top ranked Jayhawks and then travel to Oklahoma to start the regular season. They will then play seven of their next nine games at home with a road trip to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Hoopla in between. Postseason play will begin with the MIAA tournament taking place at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium before the NCAA tournament and they will look to improve upon last year’s Central Region quarterfinal exit.