Creighton got its second commitment for its 2017 recruiting class from a Kansas boy with a Jayhawk basketball scholarship offer in his back pocket.
Mitchell Ballock, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooting guard from Eudora, Kansas, informed Creighton’s staff Sunday that he will sign a letter of intent next fall to become a Bluejay. His announcement ended a long wooing process in which Creighton coaches first became interested in him three years ago.
Kansas entered the picture last spring, when Ballock — who lives 10 miles from the front door of Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence and grew up a KU fan — received an offer from the Jayhawks.
“It was really hard to tell them no because they’re always one of the top programs in the country with great teams and a great coaching staff,” Ballock told The World-Herald on Sunday night. “But at the end of the day, I was looking for the best situation for me that would let me excel as a player.
“I just really believe Creighton gives me the best opportunity to do that.”
Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Kansas and 43rd nationally on ESPN’s list of the top 60 prospects in the 2017 class, Ballock joins Ty-Shon Alexander of Charlotte, North Carolina, as a Creighton commit. Alexander committed last fall.
Alexander, who plays at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, also is considered the top prospect in his home state. ESPN ranks him 44th nationally, and both Ballock and Alexander are listed as four-star prospects.
Ballock also had received scholarship offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri and Nevada-Las Vegas, according to ESPN. Other recruiting sites also listed offers from Oklahoma, Maryland and Nebraska.
“I had a few options and I enjoyed the process and everything,” Ballock said. “This just takes a little weight off my shoulder. I can just play and know I don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Unfortunately for Ballock, a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required surgery last fall has kept him off the court this season. He said he hopes to get medically cleared before the end of the month to try to help his team make a bid for another state championship.
As a sophomore, Ballock averaged 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. He followed up tht strong season by earning the best shooter award last summer at an elite shooting camp run by NBA superstar Steph Curry.
“I shoot it well,” Ballock said. “But I think I’m also a guy that can make the right play at the right time. I pass it well. I think my game fits well with the up-and-down system that Creighton runs.
“In the end, I thought that Creighton’s facilities were great, they have great fan support and great tradition and a great coaching staff. It’s just a great fit for me.”
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