Senior-to-be Lucas Kroft commits to play basketball at Ball State

Lucas Kroft playing with 1 Nation during the Memorial Day Run N Slam at Spiece Fieldhouse on May 25, 2018. (Photo by Dan Vance of
Lucas Kroft is introduced prior to a March 10 Regional game at Logansport during his junior year at North Side. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)
Lucas Kroft playing with 1 Nation during the Memorial Day Run N Slam at Spiece Fieldhouse on May 25, 2018. (Photo by Dan Vance of

Fort Wayne native Lucas Kroft committed to Ball State University on Friday, ending a quick but whirlwind spring recruiting season that saw him tally up nine Division I offers.

“They have a really good program and the relationship I have with coach [James] Whitford is really good,” said Kroft, who will be a senior next year, making his college decision before his final high school season starts.

“When I went on my unofficial visit, he put some of my videos from AAU into how their offense runs. He talked well about his program and how it is better on a player development.”

Playing for 1 Nation on the Under Armor circuit, Kroft averaged 30.5 minutes per game this spring, leading the team with 16.1 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 42 percent from three point range. Kroft also logged a team high 5.1 rebounds per game with a team second 2.4 assists per contest.

At Ball State, Kroft plans to study architecture, which help heap Ball State to the top of the recruiting pile when making a decision.

“My mom has been as a realtor as long as I can remember and going to different houses with her and seeing the different designs and concepts, my uncle is a landscape artist, watching HGTV, its always been a fascination to me,” Kroft said.

Kroft appeared in 26 games for the Legends after an injury-filled sophomore campaign. He was named to the News-Sentinel’s preseason Fabulous Five team and went on to average 12.5 points and five rebounds per contest for the Summit Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament and Sectional champions. He was named to the All-SAC Second Team at season’s end.

Kroft’s breakout performance of his junior season with North Side was a 32 point outing in the second day of the SAC Holiday Tournament, where he hit his first five shots from the field, including three three-pointers.

At Ball State, he will join area players Kyle Mallers of Carroll and Brachen Hazen of Columbia City. The Cardinals were also recently joined by assistant coach Ben Botts, who both played and coached for IPFW.

“I feel like it gets to a point Ball State is going to provide me with the best chance beyond college. I don’t see a reason to wait for something that isn’t going to come and risk losing my opportunity with a program like Ball State,” Kroft said.

“It shows that the hard work pays off and what hard work can do,” he added.

Ball State went 19-13 in 2017-2018, dominating Fort Wayne’ St. Francis in a scrimmage 91-67. The Cardinals also topped then number-8 Notre Dame in South Bend in December as a marquee win on their schedule.