There aren’t many college basketball players who are also excelling at another sport at present time, but one who can make such a claim is Notre Dame guard Pat Connaughton. Last season the 6-foot-5 Connaughton posted averages of 13.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, finishing the year ranked second on the team in both rebounds and assists.
In addition to playing basketball Connaughton is a also a member of the Notre Dame baseball team. This past spring he made ten appearances for the Fighting Irish, posting a record of 3-5 with a 3.92 ERA. Prior to the start of the season Baseball America rated Connaughton as the sixth-best prospect in the ACC, and on Friday his name was called during the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Connaughton was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the 121st pick in the Draft (fourth round), and according to MLB.com’s scouting report on Connaughton he was considered to be the best two-sport college athlete in this year’s draft.
With Connaughton being drafted some may wonder if he’s considering leaving the basketball program early to begin his professional baseball career. However it was reported last week by Irish Illustratedthat he’ll be back for his senior season, and it’s something Connaughton really wants to do.
“There are some teams that aren’t willing to negotiate something like that,” said Connaughton of his desire to play a couple months of professional baseball this summer, return to Notre Dame in time for its August basketball trip to Italy, and then participate in Notre Dame’s 2014-15 basketball campaign.
In addition to wanting to finish his playing career on the basketball court, Connaughton is just 15 credits shy of completing his degree.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.