TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.) — Growing up in Syracuse is where Quincy Ballard’s journey in his ongoing basketball career began.
Ballard will realize a bit of nostalgia on Saturday when the Seminoles play host to Syracuse in their first ACC game of the season. The tip off comes at 4 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State’s game against Syracuse will be the first time Ballard will face the Orange after the one game scheduled between the two teams was cancelled last season.
A Seminole victory over the Orange will allow Florida State to grab a piece of Atlantic Coast Conference history. A win by the Garnet and Gold would match the longest home winning streak in conference play in ACC history at 26 straight games.
In the suburbs of New York, at the age of only five years old, Ballard picked up a basketball for the first time. Being the only athlete in the family, he didn’t realize the lengths the sport would take him to until he started playing seriously at Hanninger High School.
After his one season at the Hanninger — after leading his team to the sectional playoffs in the state championship — he moved to Quality Education Academy in North Carolina. It was at QEA is where he showed his true potential as a rising basketball star. He averaged 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocked shots during his postgraduate season.
“My mom got a call from the school in North Carolina [QEA],” said Ballard. “She thought it would be a great idea to visit there. The next weekend we visited. I started practicing and playing games with them. Both schools were fun to play with, they were both winning schools, and we had winning seasons. I think that I improved a lot when I went to the school in North Carolina [QEA]. I had a great coach. He was smart; he really knew how to use the players on all occasions.”
His decision to play basketball at Florida State was not one that came lightly, as he had four other offers including from the hometown school — Syracuse University — as well as Cincinnati, Maryland, and N.C. State.
“It was a pretty hard pick, but I chose Florida State because there is a great atmosphere here,” said Ballard. “Coach Hamilton, he is a great coach, he really knows how to develop his big man. It was a great pick coming here.”
Ballard is one of four seven-footers on the Florida State basketball team. After growing five inches in the past four years, he has reached his current frame of exactly seven feet tall.
“Developing their big man,” in the words of Ballard, has taken hard work and dedication from not only himself, but all his coaches as well.
“In basketball, it (height) …….