Heading into his senior season, Michigan stretch forward Jack Ballantyne needed a concerted boost to his recruitment and found just that. After transferring to Macomb (Michigan) Dakota and playing for The Family, a prominent AAU team in the area, Ballantyne experienced the type of surge he was looking for in his recruiting process this offseason.
“It went pretty well,” Ballantyne told Today’s U. “I played with The Family. It’s a team based out of Detroit, a Nike team. We had a lot of kids on the team, a lot of talented players. Obviously the playing time wasn’t there for everyone because someone gets the minutes and someone doesn’t.
“Some kids got frustrated and quit, and I went from an eight or nine as a stretch forward to playing the whole game. It really worked out for me well, and it really benefited my recruitment.”
One difference Ballantyne noted is going from 800 boys to a school of 2,500, but this change paled in comparison to the work the new Dakota forward put towards his physicality and presence down low.
“I think mainly my body,” Ballantyne said. “My muscle for my size, I’ve been very skilled and I can shoot the ball really well, so sharpening those tools up and working on my body and getting stronger physically. Things like getting my fat-to-muscle percentage down right and in better shape so I can stay in games longer.”
As a result of this committed focus in improving his game, Ballantyne feels more confident in a variety of matchups. If a smaller man is guarding him, Ballantyne has the confidence to go to the block and post him up. If it is a larger opponent assigned to Ballantyne, the rising senior thinks he can break him down with the dribble or shoot if a shot presents itself.
“I would say I’m a stretch four. I’m really good at handling the ball and causing mismatches for my opponents. There’s not many payers that are 6-9.5, 6-10 that can handle the ball and shoot from the outside and pass to the open man and see the floor like I do. I think I have the ability to cause mismatches.”
As far as his recruitment goes, Ballantyne experienced a noticeable surge during the offseason. This time will prove to be pivotal in his decision-making process as a host of Division I schools are now keying in on the talented Michigan power forward.
“It’s been going good,” Ballantyne said. “I started out, coming into this summer, I had three offers. After that, we had three or four sessions of AAU, and I picked up about 7 or 8 more offers, so it’s like 11 or 12 offers right now — all Division I. It’s been really beneficial to my recruitment to stay the course and continue to have confidence and try to get better each and every day.”
In getting better at each opportunity, Ballantyne went into further detail on which schools have shown him the most interest as of late.
“The University of Akron extended me a scholarship,” Ballantyne said. “They’ve been really good in the MAC. I’ve had Kent State. It’s been mostly all mid-majors that have offered me. I’ve had Kent State, Akron, Bowling Green, U of D — based of Detroit — with Bacari Alexander, who just came from Michigan. I’ve had Toledo, Oakland, Robert Morris and a few others.”
On top of that list, Ballantyne’s cousin recently committed to Houston Baptist University. With that coming to the surface, Ballantyne has received auxiliary interest from the same school, so that may be an option for him down the road after receiving an offer from the program as well.
“My cousin just committed to Houston Baptist,” Ballantyne said. “He was committed to Butler then decommitted and just committed to Houston Baptist, so they offered me a scholarship down there. He liked it, which is cool to possibly play with your cousin.”
This past weekend, Ballantyne took an official visit to Akron. With his remaining officials, Ballantyne plans to take further officials to Kent State, Bowling Green, the University of Detroit and the last one is still to be determined. His list is scheduled to be determined in the next two to three weeks.