Ball State Cardinals Preview: 1 on 1 with James Whitford

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INDIANAPOLIS (November 13, 2015) -- The first two years of James Whitford's tenure at Ball State have been filled with a lot of losses.  During that time, the Cardinals are a combined 12-48.

But Whitford feels confident wins are on the way in Muncie.

"Our turmoil of rebuilding is over," said Whitford.  "Now it's a matter of how quickly you climb the latter."

A big reason Whitford believes the tide is turning?  A more veteran roster.  Ten players return from last year's team, including six who scored at least six points per game.

"For the first time we're not relying on freshmen.  If they contribute, that's great.  But we don't need them to be all conference players for us to win," Whitford said.

As he gets ready to begin his third season as head coach of the Cardinals, Whitford says he's much different now than he was when he first took the job.

"I'm a lot different.  That's one of the job training's you have to learn on the job.  My biggest mentor was Sean Miller, and while we play a very similar system than them, I'm not Sean Miller," Whitford said.  "It took me a little while to get comfortable with making sure everything we're doing here is consistent with my value system, that I'm doing it in a way that's consistent with who I am, not with who he is.  I'm more consistent with who, knowing who I am as a coach, and being able to communicate that effectively to the players," he added.

As is the case with any program, reaching the postseason is one of the main goals.  Ball State hasn't found its way into the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and its last NIT appearance was in 2002.  Can that postseason drought end this year?

"It can end this year, no question about it.  We have the depth and talent, I think that we can compete at that level.  I can't guarantee that it will, but I will tell you that it'll end soon," Whitford said.

The 2015-16 journey for Whitford and the Cardinals begins Friday night with a trip to Bradley.

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