I’ve got some big news to announce about this blog and its future. I’ve been offered, and accepted, the role of lead Ball State contributor at Hustle Belt. I’m not entirely sure when I’ll start posting at Hustle Belt, I’m still reading through the training guide for the site, but I’m not going to be writing any further posts at this site. Sorry for my absence and lack of posting lately, the end of December is one of our busiest times of the year at my full-time job and I’ve been too busy to write an opponent preview and game day article as I had originally planned.
Hustle Belt is a member of SB Nation, the premier collection of sports blogs, so I couldn’t be more honored to be joining Bryan Vance and his team and I’m humbled about being given this opportunity. Thank you all very much who have read this blog over the past three-plus years and who have regularly read and commented on this blog, it is truly appreciated. I hope that you will make the move over to Hustle Belt with me if you don’t already read their content and I’ll still be on Twitter so you can follow me there as well @Ball_U_Blog. Thanks once again for reading!
Majok Majok led the Cardinals in scoring Monday night
Ball State basketball dropped its seventh straight game last night on the road against James Madison. The game was pretty close until James Madison went on a 13-2 run to end the first half and at the beginning of the second half. Ball State didn’t give up and tried to mount a comeback, cutting JMU’s lead to one possession on four separate occasions. However, the Cardinals didn’t have quite enough offense to get the job done and fell to 2-8 on the season with the loss.
Majok Majok had his best game of the season so far, he and Jesse Berry led Ball State with 18 points apiece and Majok pulled down 14 rebounds as well. Zavier Turner scored 10 points to go with six assists and five turnovers, Chris Bond just missed out on a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Mark Alstork had a well-rounded game, scoring seven points while pulling down five rebounds and making five assists.
Ball State continues to turn the ball over too much, 19 times yesterday, which is not overly surprising given how young the roster is and the fact that Turner is the only true point guard on the roster. Still, the team impressed me last night by staying in the game and competing hard until the final whistle. The Cardinals managed to keep the game close despite playing with only an eight-man rotation, Quinten Payne missed the game due to injury, Chase Brogna continues to suffer from post-concussion symptoms, and Kindon Crowder missed the game due to illness.
Ball State hosts its first home game in a month this Friday when they host Oakland City, tip off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Stewart Turner has also left the team after the Miami game and will not play in the GoDaddy Bowl. His departure is a bit of a shock since he was Jamill Smith’s backup for most of the 2013 season and looked to receive a lot of playing time next season with Smith’s graduation. Stewart played in five games this season but did not record any stats on offense or on special teams. Best of luck to Stewart in whatever he decides to do next in life.
Freshman wide receiver Aaron Clay left the team during the 2013 season while redshirting his first year as a Cardinal. The North Carolina native would have competed for a backup wide receiver role as early as next season and could have earned some playing time since the Cardinals lose Jamill Smith and Connor Ryan to graduation. Good luck to Aaron in the future, no word if he plans to transfer to another school to continue his career.
While looking over the Ball State roster today, I noticed multiple players have left the team in addition to Chris Pauling, I’ll be covering each departure and am starting with freshman defensive tackle Damerrian Petty. Petty was in his first season at Ball State and was redshirting after being a three-star recruit and Ball State’s third best player in the 2013 class according to 247 Sports. According to his team bio, Petty left the team in October.
This is a potentially big loss for the Cardinals since Joel Cox and Nathan Ollie are both seniors this season. Petty was one of the bigger defensive tackles on the roster and had an opportunity to carve out a significant role for himself in the defensive line rotation next season. Best of luck to Damerrian as he moves on with his life, it’s unfortunate things didn’t work out for him in Muncie.
Coach Pete Lembo confirmed today in his press conference that sophomore defensive back Chris Pauling has left the team and will not participate in the GoDaddy Bowl. Per Ben Breiner of the Star-Press, Coach Lembo stated that Chris never quite felt comfortable in Muncie and as much as you hate to see a player end his Ball State career early, you also don’t want players to stick around and be miserable.
Chris started last season as a starting safety as a true freshman before he was replaced in the lineup by J.C. Wade. This season he primarily played nickel back and was the starter at the position with Quintin Cooper being lost to a season-ending injury in the Northern Illinois game. No word yet on whether Chris intends to continue his playing career in his home state of North Carolina, I wish him the best of luck in the future. (EDIT: Chris has updated his Twitter bio to state he’s now playing for South Carolina State)
Ball State has a new tight ends coach and he’s a familiar face to Ball State fans. Patrick Dougherty is returning to Muncie as the new tight ends coach, filling the vacancy created when Joey Lynch was promoted to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Patrick spent the 2012 season in Muncie as a graduate assistant and spent 2013 as a defensive quality control coach at Northwestern University.
Congratulations to Coach Dougherty on returning to Muncie, the coaching staff is now complete for the 2014 season barring any departures caused by the job opening being filled at Texas.