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The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Head coach Fresno State men’s basketball Justin Hutson. (Photo courtesy Fresno State Athletics)

Fresno State adds Cal Poly leading scorer Junior Ballard to its 2020 roster

Fresno State adds another member to its 2020-2021 roster by adding Cal Poly’s leading scorer, Junior Ballard.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior guard averaged 13.1 points per game at Cal Poly, where the Mustangs went 7-23. Ballard appeared in every game for Cal Poly and started in 24 of those games. His best game came against Cal State Fullerton where he dropped a season-high 32 points.

The short proximity between Modesto and Fresno State played a huge factor in Ballard choosing the Bulldogs, especially as COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S.

“I’m excited to be HOME, I can’t wait to play for Fresno’s loyal fan base,” said Ballard on joining Fresno State. “The fan base is crazy. The love is unconditional. It’s unreal.”

Ballard played high school basketball at Modesto Christian. In his senior year, he averaged 16 points per game and helped the Crusaders become finalists in the CIF regional championship in 2018.

Another driving factor in his decision to return back to the Central Valley was Fresno State men’s basketball head coach Justin Hutson. 

Ballard says that within a couple of days of him entering the transfer portal, he and head coach Justin Hutson said they built a strong relationship. He also adds that when Cal Poly played Fresno State this past year, Hutson complimented his style of play.

“I felt very strongly about him and I can say that he felt strongly about me.” Ballard said.

Ballard announced it Saturday morning on Twitter.

Fresno native and veteran NBA basketball player Quincy Pondexter gave Ballard an endorsement on Twitter.

Pondexter and Ballard have a history. 

When Ballard first joined a new AAU team, he took a train to Fresno and was picked up by Pondexter at the train station. 

Ever since then, Ballard has seen the nine-year NBA veteran as an older brother, whether it’s on the court, in the classroom or his personal life.

“If I have a question about something, I call him,” Ballard said. “What better person to call than someone who has been in the league for nine years.”

Here is how the current 2020-2021 Fresno State men’s basketball roster looks like following Ballard’s transfer.

Returning members:

  • Jordan Campbell (Guard, 6-foot-3, Sophomore)
  • Orlando Robinson (Forward, 6-foot-10, Sophomore)
  • Christian Gray (Forward, 6-foot-6, Redshirt Senior)
  • Alec Hickman (Guard, 6-foot-4, Redshirt Junior)
  • Assane Diouf (Center, 7-foot-2, Sophomore)
  • Anthony Holland (Guard, 6-foot-5, Sophomore)

2020 incoming class:

  • Junior Ballard (Guard, 6-foot-3, Junior)
  • Leo Colimerio (Guard/Forward, 6-foot-7, Freshman)
  • Devin Gage (Guard, 6-foot-3, Senior)
  • Kyle Harding (Guard, 6-foot-3, Sophomore)
  • Isaiah Hill (Guard, 6-foot-0, Sophomore)
  • Braxton Meah (Center, 7-foot-0, Freshman)
  • Deon Stroud (Guard, 6-foot-5, Sophomore)
  • Destin Whitaker (Guard, 6-foot-5, Freshman)
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