Sold-Out Crowd Packs Breslin Center to Tip off Basketball Season
Third-Team All-Big Ten Selection by the league?s media ... Co-recipient of MSU?s Most Improved Player Award, while also earning the Chariman of the Boards Award as MSU?s best rebounder ... Appeared in 27 games, starting 25 ... Started 12 of 14 Big Ten contests ... Ranked third on the team in scoring (11.2 ppg) and is MSU?s leading returning scorer in Big Ten games, averaging 11.9 points per conference game ... Led the Spartans and ranked third in the Big Ten in rebounding (6.8 rpg), while ranking third in the conference in Big Ten games (6.7 rpg) ... Ranked fourth in the Big Ten in defensive rebounds (4.81 drpg) and 10th in offensive rebounds (2.00 orpg) ... Led Spartans in field goal percentage among players with at least 50 field goal attempts and ranked seventh in the Big Ten, shooting .545 (116-of-213) from the field ... Led the squad in free throw percentage, shooting .864 (51-of-59) from the charity stripe ... Tied for the Big Ten lead in three-point field-goal percentage in conference games, shooting .500 (15-of-30) from behind the arc ... Ranked third on the team with 19 made three-point field goals ... Second on the team with 26 blocked shots, ranking 13th in the conference at 0.96 blocks per game ... Led MSU in rebounding in 15 games and in scoring in seven contests ... Third on the squad with 17 double-figure scoring games ... Opened the season with a nine-point, eight-rebound effort vs. Detroit (11/12) ... Led the Spartans with 13 points and nine rebounds vs. Oklahoma (11/14) ... Earned Preseason NIT All-Tournament Team honors after collecting 10 points and eight rebounds vs. Syracuse (11/21) and 10 points and six rebounds vs. Fresno State (11/23) ... Posted his first-career double-double vs. Lamar (12/1), collecting 12 points and 11 rebounds to earn a spot on the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic All-Tournament Team ... Tied for the team high with eight rebounds vs. Florida (12/5) ... Scored 12 points vs. Nicholls State (12/9) on perfect six-of-six shooting from the field ... Scored a then career-high 18 points vs. Arizona (12/15), while grabbing a team-best nine rebounds ... Followed with a 17-point effort vs. UNC Asheville (12/19) ... Suffered a severe right ankle sprain in practice on Dec. 18, forcing him to miss four games (vs. Seton Hall, Stanford, Minnesota and Indiana) ... Returned to action vs. Wisconsin (1/12), but took just one shot in 13 minutes ... Came off the bench vs. Purdue (1/16), scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds ... Returned to the starting lineup vs. Penn State (1/19), playing 27 minutes and registering six points, five rebounds, three assists and a career-best four blocked shots ... Led the team with seven rebounds vs. Iowa (1/22) ... Scored 14 points vs. Michigan (1/30) while collecting a team-high seven rebounds ... Tied his then career high with a team-high 18 points, including 14 in the second half, at Illinois (2/3), while also grabbing a team-best eight rebounds ... Tallied team highs with 15 points and seven rebounds in a career-high 38 minutes vs. Northwestern (2/6) ... Posted his second career double-double vs. Ohio State (2/10) with 18 points and 10 rebounds ... Narrowly missed a double-double vs. Purdue (2/16), scoring 12 points and grabbing a team-best nine rebounds ... Led all scorers with a career-best 20 points and pulled down a team-best nine rebounds vs. Minnesota (2/21) ... Scored 13 points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds vs. Indiana (2/24) ... Scored 12 points, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and blocked three shots vs. Ohio State (2/26) ... Tallied 13 points vs. Iowa (3/2) ... Scored 12 points and led the team with eight rebounds vs. Indiana (3/8) in the Big Ten Tournament ... Appeared in the NCAA Tournament vs. North Carolina State (3/15), scoring six points.
Played in 25 games, including all 16 Big Ten contests ... Missed the first eight games of the season with a broken right thumb ... Made the first start of his career vs. Ohio State (1/21), scoring a season-high 10 points and establishing a season best with 16 minutes played ... Grabbed a season-best five rebounds vs. Wright State (12/30) ... Came off the bench to score five points at Penn State (2/24) ... Played 16 minutes off the bench vs. Iowa (2/18), scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds ... Scored four points in NCAA Tournament games against both Alabama State (3/16) and Gonzaga (3/23) ... Recorded a season best with two blocks against Gonzaga ... Connected on his only field-goal attempt in the NCAA Final Four vs. Arizona (3/31).
Played in 37 games to earn his first varsity letter ... Appeared in 15 Big Ten contests ... Posted an impressive .644 field goal percentage, tops among all Spartans, connecting on 29-of-45 attempts ... Also productive at the free-throw line, shooting .789 (15-of-19) ... Started the season on a strong note, scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds in 16 minutes in the season opener against Toledo (11/22) ... Grabbed seven rebounds in the first game of the Puerto Rico Shootout against Providence (11/25) ... Scored a season-high eight points against Valparaiso (3/16) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament ... Recorded four rebounds each against Howard (12/3), Michigan (3/4), Iowa (3/10) and Illinois (3/12) ... Played 10 or more minutes in 20 games ... Notched a season-best 23 minutes against Minnesota (3/2), scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds ... Scored six points against Michigan (3/4), connecting on 3-of-4 shot attempts ... Connected on his only shot attempt in the NCAA Championship game against Florida (4/3), hitting a 16-foot jumper to give the Spartans a 37-29 lead in the first half.
Redshirted after a fractured fibula suffered on Dec. 3 forced him out of action ... Played in four of the team?s first six games before the injury ... Longest playing stint was a nine-minute outing vs. Central Florida (11/27) ... Played eight minutes in the season opener vs. Northeast Louisiana (11/13) and registered three rebounds ... Scored two points in three different games.
Averaged 26 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Bluffton High School, playing for Coach Wayne Barker ... Helped his squad to an overall record of 22-2 during the 1997-98 campaign and a No. 3 ranking in the state of Indiana ... First-team All-State selection and played in the state?s North-South All-Star Classic in April of ?98 ... Gained honorable mention recognition on USA Today?s All-America Team ... Named Fort Wayne Area Player of the Year ... Played in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Classic in the summer of ?98 ... Was on the Indiana squad that participated in the Wendy?s Classic against all-star clubs from Illinois, Michigan and Ohio ... One of seven finalists for the state of Indiana?s Mr. Basketball Award during the 1997-98 campaign ... Shot 63.7 percent from the floor as a senior and had high-point games of 45 and 41... Earned first-team all-conference and all-sectional honors three straight years ... Averaged 18.5 points and 8.3 boards per outing as a junior as Bluffton finished with an overall slate of 17-5 ... Played AAU basketball for Bloomington Red.
Born June 12, 1979 ... Son of Ken and Donna Ballinger ... Advertising major.