In preparation for the 2018-19 season, Sports Link and the men’s basketball team spent an October afternoon in a unique setting — an airport hangar.
As part of the Sports Link creative shoot, led by freshman Max Abrahamson and sophomore Zach Roy, the members of the team were treated to a setting, surrounded by multimillion dollar airplanes, courtesy of Muncie Aviation.
Lighting was provided by Muncie’s Sight & Sound.
The Cardinals, now in their sixth season under head coach James Whitford, boast a wealth of returning experience.
At the top of that list are returning All-MAC players Trey Moses and Tayler Persons. Ball State has averaged better than 20 wins per season during their time in Muncie, but they have their eyes set on more this season.
“It’s just one of those things where time flies by, and you have to make the most of it now,” Moses said.
The Cardinals return another pair of veterans in the frontcourt in Tahjai Teague and Kyle Mallers, both of whom made major jumps last year as sophomores. Add Ishmael El-Amin, Zach Gunn and Josh Thompson, and the Cardinals have seven of their top eight rotation players back from the end of last season.
“I think our leadership is off to a very good start; that’s an important piece,” Whitford said. “And I think this group is a very athletic team for us. I think we have a chance to be outstanding defensively and a much improved rebounding team.”
Ball State is also excited about three transfers who will suit up this season. Two of them — Brachen Hazen and K.J. Walton — were sitting out with the program last year, while Austin Nehls joined the team over the summer as a graduate transfer.
Hazen and Walton were Indiana All-Stars as high school seniors at Columbia City and Brownsburg, respectively. They made their way to SEC programs before opting to return to their home state. Nehls was a 1,000-point scorer in three seasons at Central Connecticut. He graduated in three years, making him eligible to transfer and play immediately.
Another Indiana All-Star joins the mix this season in Jarron Coleman. The freshman from Cathedral makes it five Indiana All-Stars again on this year’s roster. Coleman will debut for the Cardinals along with center Blake Huggins who redshirted last season and will see minutes in the post this year.
Ball State has roughly five weeks of practice before its exhibition game Nov. 2 against UIndy. The Cardinals will open the regular season Nov. 6 at home against Indiana State before heading to Purdue and then the Charleston Classic.