Wes Ball has the ultimate hoop name, like Jack Shooter or Nick Presser. He’s also got the ultimate hoop lineage.
He is the grandson of Kenny Ball, who was a starter on the greatest high-school boys’ basketball team in the history of Southern Arizona—the 1969 Tucson High Badgers. Ball teamed with Delano Price, Chuco Miranda, and playground legend Hoegie Simmons to steamroll through the competition and grab the State big-school title. He then later played at Pima College.
The 6’ 7” Wes Ball is a senior for the Marana Tigers and is lighting up the competition. Last week against Flowing Wells, Ball got in early foul trouble, but his coach decided to stick with him.
Ball responded with a 31-point, 13-rebound performance, lifting the Tigers to a crucial 70-66 win in the Conference opener. (He fouled out with 12 seconds left.)
Ball has been in the starting lineup for Marana since his sophomore year. He was long and lean back then, but has added some weight and he’s got some serious bass in his voice now.
I spoke to him on the phone as he was on a bus headed for Casa Grande. We started with the basic
• Favorite class? “I’d say government.” (The correct answer is math, but, you know, kids these days.) “I just started taking it this semester, but it seems
• Favorite thing to do in basketball? “I like everything about the game—scoring, passing, and rebounding, but I really like blocking shots or altering shots at the rim. The intimidation is fun.”
• So, do you have a girlfriend? “I’ve got several.” (We’re sure that they will all be happy to learn that.)
At press time, the Tigers were sitting atop the 5A Sonoran Region with a perfect 3-0 mark. But it’s going to be a dogfight with defending State champion Catalina Foothills and powerful Ironwood Ridge. Ball seems ready for the challenge.
“Two years ago, we just missed going to State and I felt bad for the Seniors. I don’t want that the happen this year.”
(Last year was even worse. The Tigers had several games canceled due to COVID. Under the arcane Power Points system used by the AIA, the Tigers would have made it to State if they had played—and lost!—the canceled games, but failed to make it without those potential losses.)
Ball is focused on this season, but says that he wants to play basketball in college. He is currently in the process of narrowing down his choices. They range in everywhere from LaVerne in Southern California to Westminster in Salt Lake City to Elmira in upstate New York.
He wants to major in sports medicine and perhaps be a team trainer in the future. But right now, his eyes are on the prize in front of him. “We want to go to State.”
Ball has high words of praise for his coach, Sean Roebuck. “I love Coach, but sometimes his head is super shiny. It’s distracting.”