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Oumar Ballo following Tommy Lloyd's path to Arizona

Posted at 8:34 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 23:36:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — If anyone knows about first-year Arizona men's basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd, it's Oumar Ballo.

"He's like a Dad, honestly," said Ballo.

Lloyd first recruited Ballo to Gonzaga when he was a Zags assistant coach

"His personality," added Ballo. "Honestly, it's not always about basketball. For him, it's about life and what's going to help after basketball. And, what's going to help him be a good basketball player."

Ballo was a member of the Zags rotation early last season as a freshman. However, after a promising start, he suffered a thumb injury.

"I struggled a lot from that and that's the reason I fell out of the rotation."

Ballo's playing time was reduced. And, when Lloyd went from Zags assistant to Arizona head coach, Ballo wasn't far behind.

"The way he builds a relationship with his players is the reason that I followed him."

The seven foot Ballo was once given the nickname, 'Baby Shaq,' by a reporter.

"He said I look like baby Shaq and I play like baby Shaq."

"He's a force," said teammate Dalen Terry. "When he's in that paint, and you go up there, you better come up strong. You've got to jump. It's not so easy."

Ballo's style complements the other members of the Wildcat front court. He's ready to contribute for his new team, and his old coach.

"For me, I bring so much energy and power. We are all versatile and that will make us a different front court this year."