IU Kokomo Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Eric Echelbarger, has announced that DJ Balentine will serve as the new assistant coach for the Cougars. Balentine will be the director of player development and scouting for the program in addition to assisting with on-floor coaching and recruiting.
Balentine had a decorated career for the tradition-rich Kokomo Wildcats from 2008 to 2012. He finished his career as the third all-time leading scorer in program history and was named to the prestigious Indiana All-Star Team in 2012.
He comes to IU Kokomo after embarking upon a professional basketball career which gave him the opportunity to travel around the world to countries such as Lithuania (2016), Netherlands (2017), Iceland (2018), and Cyprus (2019).
“We are very excited to add DJ to our coaching staff. He had an excellent college basketball career at the University of Evansville and then professionally overseas. I am confident that these experiences will allow him to connect with our players and be a great role model to them for how to do things the right way and achieve success on and off the court”, said third-year Head Coach Eric Echelbarger.
“DJ has a deep passion for the game of basketball, and I believe he has a bright future in the coaching profession. It will be enjoyable for his fans to have the opportunity to watch his coaching career begin right here in Kokomo!”
Balentine’s basketball career from 2012-2016, at the University of Evansville, is one that Aces fans will not soon forget. He became the all-time leading scorer in Evansville history with 2,464 points in February 2016. He also led the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring for three years in a row, a milestone only achieved by two other players in history, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson.
DJ was a three-time All Missouri Valley Conference performer and finished his career in 2016 as the active leading scorer in the NCAA. Additionally, he finished his career as the fourth All-Time Leading Scorer in Missouri Valley Conference history.
“I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a program that is heading in the right direction. I want to give a huge thank you to Coach Echelbarger and the players for wanting me to be a part of this journey”, said DJ Balentine.
“I’m so excited to begin my coaching career in my hometown. Coaching is something I have always envisioned myself doing and Indiana University Kokomo is a great fit for me with the start of my career. Let’s Go Cougars!”
The IU Kokomo Men’s Basketball team is coming off its top season in program history. In their 2019-2020 campaign, the Cougars won 27 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Championship for the second year in a row. The program repeated as West Division Champions of the River State Conference and Runner Up in the RSC Championship Tournament. The Cougars have also earned a combined 53-15 record, two NAIA National Tournament berths, and finished ranked in the NAIA Top 25 National rankings for the past two seasons.