New head coach James Whitford has plenty of senior leadership to work with.
Joining fellow Cardinal, #17 ranked forward Chris Bond, on our list of the top 25 MAC players entering the 2013-14 season is shooting guard Jesse Berry. Berry and Bond will be tasked with improving a Ball State team that finished 15-15 a year ago and decided it was time for former head coach Billy Taylor to go. Last year's Ball State team won 7 of the final 8 conference games to earn a first round bye before falling to Buffalo in the MAC Tournament. Lost from that team is leading scorer Jauwan Scaife, creating a sizable offensive hole for the Cardinals this season.
But fear not Ball State faithful, there's hope. Berry, the 6'2" 192 pound Lafayette product was the team's second leading scorer last season at 12.8 points per game. Berry enters his senior year at Ball State fifth all time in school history with 158 three pointers, 45 behind Scaife's school record. Berry led the team in three point percentage last season, connecting on 37 percent, good for 11th in the conference.
Berry will be looked up to provide leadership this season to the Ball State back court. With the departure of All-MAC freshman Marcus Posley, Ball State's guard play is the most questionable element of the offense. While not running the point, Berry will be expected to play an increased role in distributing the ball. Last season Berry was third on the team in assists per game, at 2.5. Even so Berry must improve upon his .809 assist to turnover ratio if the back court is going to be successful.
Berry came to Ball State in 2010 as the all time leading scorer in the history of Jefferson High School. Berry scored over 1,500 career points and averaged over 23 points per game his senior year. Each year at Ball State, Berry has played significant minutes and to his credit, contributed. Last year Berry was a preseason All-MAC West selection, but was derailed by a mid-season injury and came off the bench late in the season. This is the year for Berry to shine. With Scaife gone, Berry will be looked upon to be the team's leading scorer, and with Chris Bond and Majok Majok cleaning up on the offensive glass, he should have plenty of opportunities. If the Cardinals are going to contend for a MAC West crown this season, Jesse Berry will be key for Ball State.