Some athletes find themselves switching sports by the time they get to college. Senior business major Ben Norton did just that, as he left baseball to focus on basketball. Norton has played for the University of Dallas men’s basketball team every season since his freshman year in 2015.
“I’m from Kentucky, and basketball is the sport in Kentucky,” Norton said. “I’m also the youngest of five, [and] all my other siblings played. I started playing in first grade and went from there. I was bigger than everyone else, too.”
Norton played high school baseball for the Fighting Angels of the Holy Angels Academy. However, he decided to pursue his love for basketball instead, and eventually earned the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association (KCAA) All-State honors.
“I actually stopped playing baseball my junior year of high school,” Norton said. “The real choice there was that my school was small, so we didn’t have enough guys to field a baseball team. The reason I chose basketball over baseball here is because I enjoyed playing basketball more.”
Norton was named to the 2017-18 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. The qualifications for entry are that the student has to be a junior or senior and a varsity player, have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, have matriculated at least one year at their current institution, and must be a member of a NCAA Division I, II, III, or NAIA Division I or II institution with a NABC member coach.
“I’m just glad I am able to play basketball and still go to school while taking care of my academics,” Norton said.
In the 2017-18 season, Norton played in 17 games, scored 52 points, garnered 47 rebounds and had a season-high eight points in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Quarterfinals against Texas Lutheran University on Feb. 23.
“We go through scouting reports for each team,” Norton said. “We spend a week or a couple days leading up to the game practicing running through some of their stuff that we know they run. We just try to come as prepared as possible.”
Some of Norton’s greatest contributions to the team, however, have been off the court.
“The past three seasons I’ve definitely been a support player with a specific role,” Norton said. “I’m a screener/rebounder back to the basket post player. In past years I’ve gone in when the coaches need someone to be physical. That’s probably my biggest contribution off the court in practice. I try to bring physicality and mental toughness to practice and act as a role model for the other guys.”
Finally, Norton commented on his favorite part about being on the UD men’s basketball team.
“Definitely being able to hangout with the other guys on the team,” Norton said. “It’s a lot of fun to hangout with those guys and travel.”