As part of its new student orientation, Ball State allows a student to attempt a half-court shot in hopes of winning free tuition for a semester. And Thursday, for the second time in three years a student managed to make the shot.
Lem Turner, who’s a member of the school’s volleyball team and played basketball in high school, knocked down the shot and as a result has one less bill to worry about. Maybe basketball coach James Whitford is considering giving the 6-foot-6 Turner a call.
Video credit: Ball State Sports Link
Reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year transferring to Ball State
On the heels of a freshman season in which he won Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year honors, guard Tayler Persons made the decision to leave Northern Kentucky following the firing of head coach Dave Bezold. Friday evening the Indiana native announced his next college stop, as he’s decided to play for James Whitford at Ball State.
I am very excited to announce that I will continue my academic and basketball career at Ball State University! #chirpchirp
In his lone season as a member of the NKU program Persons averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the field. Persons will have three seasons to play after sitting out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules.
Persons is essentially the first piece to Ball State’s 2016 recruiting class, and he’s an important one as the Cardinals have to account for the fact that guards Jeremiah Davis III (rising senior) and junior college transfer Naiel Smith are both upperclassmen. Francis Kiapway, who made 20 starts and averaged 6.6 points per game as a freshman, will be a sophomore next season.
In addition to Ball State, Persons held an offer from Xavier with Purdue showing some interest before landing graduate student Johnny Hill earlier this week.
Former Northern Kentucky guard receiving interest from Purdue, but no offer just yet
The 2014-15 season was a productive one for 6-foot-3 guard Tayler Persons, as he averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest at Northern Kentucky. However things changed for Persons shortly after the end of the season, as NKU made the decision to replace Dave Bezold as head coach.
Persons decided to transfer, and at this time he’s one of the best available players heading into the summer. Going through a transfer process that includes offers from Ball State and Xavier, Persons’ available options became slightly more complicated earlier this week. The change: Caleb Swanigan de-committing from Michigan State, with many expecting Purdue to be a major player.
The Boilermakers like Persons but have not yet offered, in part because of a potential roster crunch. Purdue has two open scholarships but awaits decisions from Homestead big man Caleb Swanigan, who became available again this week, and potential graduate transfer Johnny Hill.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Persons says his own decision may be “a couple of weeks away,” and he thinks he fits in at Purdue.
“I feel like I fit the way they’re built — toughness, leadership, how hard they play on the floor,” said Persons, who must sit out a year but has three years of eligibility remaining. “I like how that transfers to my game.”
Baird will have to sit out the 2015-16 season and he’ll have three years left to play after that, and the reigning Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year would be a valuable pickup for whichever program he selects. Obviously there’s interest on both ends when it comes to Purdue, but the Boilermakers’ pursuit of Swanigan and Hill complicates things.
With Persons noting that his decision won’t come for “a couple of weeks” there’s still time for everything to shake out. This will be one recruitment to keep an eye on throughout the month of May.
Akron to play second-annual ‘Purple Out’ in purple uniforms to help raise pancreatic cancer awareness
Akron and Ball State will take the floor for a special cause on Tuesday night as the MAC schools participate in the second-annual “Purple Out” game to help raise pancreatic cancer awareness.
The event, in conjunction with the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, will honor the late Dan Peters, a former Division I assistant and head coach who was Akron’s director of basketball operations. The 60-year-old Peters passed away last October after battling pancreatic cancer. The color purple, and the white ribbon, represent pancreatic cancer awareness.
Ball State is an appropriate opponent for this game since Peters’ son, Danny, is an assistant coach with the Cardinals. The Peters Family, including Danny, his brother, Michael, and his mother, Nancy, will be recognized during a pregame ceremony.
Danny Peters spoke about his father’s legacy in this nice video from Ball State Athletics:
Besides wearing purple uniforms, Akron Athletics will distribute 1,000 purple t-shirts with “Peters” on the back with the No. 14 — his high school number at Canton Central Catholic High School in Canton, Ohio. Fans may also purchase “4 Pete’s Sake” lapel pins for $5, with all proceeds being donated to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Ball State freshman Jeremie Tyler, the team’s third leading scorer, is done for the remainder of the 2014-15 season, ruled academically ineligible for the semester.
“This is a tough lesson for Jeremie to learn during his freshman year, but I am confident he will rebound from it,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said in the statement, via the Muncie Star-Press. “Jeremie can still have a really bright future at Ball State. While we are disappointed we will have to play without him this semester, we expect him to grow from this setback.”
Tyler, the 6-foot-2 guard from Indianapolis, was averaging 12.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Cardinals.
While Tyler is sidelined, Whitford will have another guard at his disposal to fill the void. Jeremiah Davis III, the Cincinnati transfer, has been cleared to play, according to Ben Breiner of the Star-Press. The 6-foot-4 Davis, who averaged 5.5 points per game as a sophomore with the Bearcats, has yet to play this season after breaking a bone in his right foot in October.
Ball State has a current record of 4-6 with the final game before MAC play on Saturday afternoon against Bethune-Cookman.
Ball State will move on without a big man as redshirt sophomore Mading Thok will transfer out of the program. The move was announced in a release by Cardinal head coach James Whitford.
“We want to thank Mading for his time at Ball State,” Whitford said in the release. “Mading is an outstanding person whose contributions off the court and in the locker room will be sincerely missed.”
The 6-foot-11 Thok played sparingly throughout his Ball State career and didn’t get a lot of burn early this season. Thok averaged 3.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game on 66 percent shooting in four games in 2014-15.
“He is looking for an opportunity for more playing time and feels it is in his best interest to transfer to a Division II program,” Whitford said. “We completely support Mading as he goes through this process and wish him the best in the future.”
Although he didn’t prove much at Ball State, Thok has legitimate size and could find his way to a lower level program and see more playing time.