If you’re a college basketball coach, I can’t imagine there is much out there that is more disconcerting that finding out that one of your star recruits is considering picking up another sport for his senior season.
When you’re John Calipari and that recruit just so happens to be Karl Towns Jr., one of the best centers in the Class of 2014, that concern gets magnified.
According to Adam Zagoria, the 7-foot Towns, who Rivals has ranked as the No. 11 player in the class, is toying with the idea of returning to the baseball diamond as a pitcher. He stepped away from the game for the last two years to focus on hoops, but when it’s summer time and the weather starts getting warm, that itch to get out on the diamond hits all of us.
Why do you think beer league softball is so popular?
“Yeah, I’m thinking about playing baseball for St. Joe’s, so I’m really happy,” Towns Jr. told SNY.tv after putting up 21 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks as the White Team beat the Black Team, 119-114, in the Mary Kline Underclassmen game at Philadelphia University. “I’m trying to make a return.”
He said when he last pitched in the eighth grade, he threw in the “high-80s.”
“He was big, let’s put it like that,” Karl Towns Sr. said. “The first thing you saw, was his feet.”
A pitcher that tall, that can throw that hard and, in all likelihood, doesn’t quite have pinpoint control — two years off can make your form a bit erratic — seems like a terrifying proposition.
But a seven-footer putting the wear and tear on his shoulder and his elbow that comes hand-in-hand with being a pitcher seems more terrifying, to say nothing of the possibility of one of those fastballs being lined back at his head.
Towns has a promising and potentially profitable career in front of him on the hardwood.
I’d say leave the cleats hanging up for now.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.