Three years ago, Cody Ballard was busy working on his transition game. The Westerville, Ohio native was between training sessions and playing professionally before he made the move to work in youth basketball in Columbus, Ohio with aspirations of launching a basketball Pro-Am league during the Summer.
In 2017, the BRICK League was officially born thanks to the partnership of Ballard and Coach Renny Tyson of IBT Academy. The hard work continues to pay off in Columbus entering year three with Ballard and Coach Tyson, as the BRICK League and IBT Academy become the newest sponsorship partner of Wooter Apparel. A former college basketball standout at both Morehead State and Division 2 USC Aiken, Ballard was part of the 2008-09 USC Aiken Pacers team who advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division II Tournament and became a member of the program’s All-Decade team and remains 7th in school history in steals.
The team captain who turned pro in 2009, Ballard recently talked about transitioning from playing college basketball, to making the coaching jump, starting a midwest Pro-Am, and the opportunity to partner with Wooter Apparel this season.
Before asking about teaming up with Wooter Apparel and your work with BRICK League/IBT Academy, can you share about your days playing college basketball at Morehead State and USC Aiken?
At Morehead State I learned a lot from my first coach Kyle Macy, most importantly the fundamentals of basketball. Under my second coach Donny Tyndall during my Sophomore year, I learned the importance of work ethic and what it takes to play at the college basketball level. At USC Aiken I learned how to become a leader and a man, under coach Vince Alexander. Along with how to play at the next level and become a professional basketball player.
What are you most proud of during those days? What did you learn the most or biggest takeaway?
My most proud moment from my days playing in college would be being a part of the evolution of these programs. We turned these programs into winning schools when it comes to the game of basketball. The year I was playing at Morehead State we had a big win against Louisville in the NCAA Tournament and I am proud to be a part of that growth. At USC Aiken, we worked to take a team that was 8-22 and turned it into a Division 2 national powerhouse basketball team during my time there. I learned how hard it is to be successful and that it is even harder to sustain your success. I learned being a leader you have to care about everyone before you can care about yourself.
How did you become involved with coaching/training and with BRICK League/IBT Academy?
I started training because I needed something to do during my off time. So, I decided to use my knowledge and my skills to work with youth basketball. My trainer who is now my partner Renny Tyson had already started IBT Academy, so I joined him. Together, we wanted to start a Pro-Am, so we started BRICK League in 2017. Really, none of this would have been possible without Coach Tyson.
Cody Ballard teamed-up with IBT Academy’s Coach Tyson to launch the BRICK League Pro-Am three years ago and have grown both its youth development program and the summer Pro-Am into some of the best basketball in all of Ohio.
What does it mean to be able to partner with Wooter Apparel while growing BRICK and IBT in Ohio?
It shows us that they believe in us, our brand, and the future of BRICK League. It means a lot for us to partner with Wooter because it brings recognition to our brand. We are the only Pro-Am and youth league that the company sponsors in Ohio and this chance to give back helps us make a true impact in our community. This opportunity gives us a platform to do bigger and better things.
Pro-Am season is right around the corner…what can people expect from the BRICK League when this summer rolls around for Year 3?
You can expect for us to have the best League in Ohio and one of the best in the Midwest with presentation and competition, and now with quality gear created by Wooter Apparel. Year three is going to be a big year as we are adding more teams, increasing our exposure (website/social media), featuring a live DJ at games, and live streaming, we will be playing different Pro-AM’s from around the area this summer.