For Mailey Ballard, basketball never stops. After a prep season that included a Foothill League title and an undefeated league record with Valencia, she gets ready for club basketball. And she practices on her own time, too.
The consistent hard work is paying off for Ballard, who just finished up her sophomore year. She was selected for the Adidas All-American Camp earlier this week.
The Adidas All-American Camp is a national camp that hosts 50 freshmen and sophomore girls basketball players from across the country and is held in Orange County in late June.
“It really meant a lot to me, just knowing that hard work does pay off and it gets you noticed,” Ballard said. “I think it’s a cool opportunity for me to learn and play with the best and be coached by the best coaches around.”
Ballard was selected for the camp by scouts who watched her play at tournaments. When she’s not playing for Valencia, Ballard plays for Troop West, a Platinum Adidas Program that competes in the Adidas Gauntlet.
Troop West is a year-round commitment. Even in the summer, the players practice during the week and compete in tournaments on the weekends.
“It’s pretty much non-stop,” Ballard said of her basketball life. “When I’m not practicing with Troop West or Valencia or weight room or speed and agility, I’m training on my own, getting shots in when I can, make sure I get to where I want to be. I can never stop working. There’s a lot more that I can learn and that I want to learn.”
During the prep season, Ballard and the Vikings reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, but lost in the first round to Alemany by four points.
In her sophomore campaign, Ballard averaged 11.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She was selected to the All-Foothill League first team at the end of the title-winning season.
“It was exciting knowing that my team and I, we did it,” Ballard said. “Our hard work did pay off and it’s exciting to know that we are ready … and can compete at another level and it boosts up my confidence.”
Valencia began practicing again a week after the prep season ended and Ballard said she’s been working on “everything” since then.
It’s all part of the process to achieve her current goal: earning an NCAA Division 1 scholarship. Playing in the Adidas All-American Camp will only help make that process smoother.
“I’m super excited,” Ballard said. “I’m really excited to just meet other girls around that have the same dreams and get to play with them and learn from them, so it’s exciting.”