Washburn head coach Brett Ballard was lucky enough to play under Roy Williams at Kansas, then spent time on Bill Self’s staff once he got the job in 2003. He also coached under Kansas great Danny Manning at Wake Forest and picked things up from all of them.
“Been really fortunate to play for a Hall of Fame coach and work for a Hall of Fame coach and coach Manning was a great coach as well, so I learned a lot from every one of them, how you treat people, how you treat players, how you run a program, the culture you’re trying to establish and ultimately what it takes to win games at a high level,” says Ballard.
That’s exactly what the Bods have done. The second year coach is 36-14 since taking over the program and he led team to its first postseason birth since 2012 last year. His players have recognized the difference.
“We could be up 30, down 30, tie game, it doesn’t matter, he still wants to get the best out of us. As a player I think that’s awesome,” said Washburn senior David Salach.
“He brings the intensity to us every day to and our team, just that D1 mentality, intensity, like I said before, he brings it everyday, energy, he never lets us take a play off, he’s always trying to help us get better on and off the court, and I think that’s the biggest thing coach Ballard brings to our team,” added senior guard Javion Blake.
More than anything, Ballard wants his players to enjoy the process.
“I think for us we want to bring a players first program and again it goes back to I played and I remember what it’s like to be a player, and so I like to mess with these guys, I like to joke with these guys, I think it shows we care about them a little bit,” said Ballard.