Q&A with Illini Senior Outfielder Brady Ballard

Illini senior outfielder Brady Ballard
Illini senior outfielder Brady Ballard

April 17, 2001

Nick Obradovich - What were your expectations coming into this spring?

Brady Ballard - Team wise, our goal is always to try and win the Big Ten. After that, we want to go to the NCAA Tournament and win as many games as possible. Personally, I don?t set any statistical goals. I just want to contribute anyway I can, on and off the field. I?m a senior and we have a young team, so I?m trying to help some of the guys off the field, taking care of getting them in the weight room when we are suppose to and to hit the books.

NO - Will you pursue baseball after Illinois?

BB - I think it?s everybody?s goal that plays at this level to pursue baseball as long as they can. If someone gives me the opportunity, I?ll keep playing. But that?s not in my hands.

NO - Why did you choose Illinois?

BB - I had a great visit here when I was in junior college. I knew I would have the opportunity to play right away. Even in high school, though, I liked Illinois.

NO - What is the biggest difference playing junior college baseball (at Southeastern Illinois) and playing at Illinois?

BB - The main difference is the range of players. In junior college, there are players that are Division I caliber, but some were just good high school players. At Illinois and against the teams we play, all the players are Division I level.

NO - What did it mean to be named third-team All-Big Ten last season?

BB - I was proud. To be voted that be the coaches in the league is a nice recognition. I just hit well in Big Ten play last year.

NO - Last season, Craig Marquie said that there was a memory a day with this team. Do you agree?

BB - Yea, I agree. We have a young team this year, so somebody is learning something new everyday and sometimes it?s funny.

NO - Who was your favorite player growing up?

BB - Bo Jackson. I just admired everything he did on the field.

NO - How has Coach Jones helped your development?

BB - He knows hitting. If you look at the numbers, Illinois is always at the top of the league in hitting. He especially knows left-handed hitters like me. He just picks up on little things that help me a lot.

NO - What is your most prized possession?

BB - Our Big Ten tournament championship ring. It says we accomplished something and I helped contribute to that.