Ward to sign w/ SW Baptist (Basketball)

November 8, 2010

Ever since he was a little kid, North Pole’s Jesse Ward has been taught to work for everything in life. It’s a work ethic instilled in him by his father, Bob.

“He’ll be like, ‘Nothing comes easy. If you don’t do this and you don’t do that you’re not going to get anywhere,’ ” Ward told me.

Much like in life, Ward applies those principles to his game on the basketball court. No surprise, he has started every game of his high school career and earned all-state honors last season as a junior.

It’s also no surprise that several different schools recruited his services, including UAA, Denver University, Dallas Baptist and Texas A&M International.

But in the end, Ward decided on Southwest Baptist University, a NCAA D2 college in Missouri. The 6-foot-5 guard will make it official during the Early Signing Period, which begins Wednesday.

North Pole all-state guard Jesse Ward is headed to Southwest Baptist University.

Several factors went into his decision, he said, including the program’s postseason potential (NCAA qualifiers in three of the past five seasons) and the winning tradition of head coach Jeff Guiot.

“The coach has never had a losing season in his 14 years of coaching,” Ward said. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ That seems nice, you know.”

Ward averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots last season while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the line. His high scoring game was 30 points against Wasilla.

Ward is coached at North Pole by Kevin McHenry.

“He pushes me on the court and off the court, like, as a student-athlete first,” Ward said. “It’s a privilege to be asked to go to college.”

With his mind free of making a college decision, he can concentrate on some unfinished business for his final season of high school. Last season, the Patriots just missed a shot at making the ASAA Class 4A state tournament.

This year he and his teammates are more determined than ever.

“Just because we have seven seniors on our team,” Ward said. “We have the mindset: There is no next time. We don’t have another year. We’re coming all or nothing.”

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