American senior guard Pee Wee Gardner had himself quite a day on Wednesday, which he capped with a game-winning three with eight tenths of a second remaining to give the Eagles a 62-59 win over Lehigh. Gardner finished the game with eight points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals…and one fist bump from baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.
The fist bump was shared after Gardner tallied one of his three steals earlier in the game. Gardner served as an intern for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation last summer according to CSN Washington, so obviously there is some familiarity there. Following the game baseball’s “Iron Man” posed for a photo with Gardner, John Schoof and Jesse Reed, who have been nicknamed “The Iron Men” due to their averaging more minutes per game than any other player in college basketball.
All three are averaging at last 39 minutes per game, with Schoof (39.4 mgp) ranked first followed by Reed (39.3) and Gardner (39.1).
There were concerns that Notre Dame junior wing Pat Connaughton would have to forego his senior season of basketball after being selected in the 2014 MLB Draft.
But after being selected in the fourth round by the Baltimore Orioles, Connaughton will be allowed to play for Notre Dame this season and finish his season, according to a report from Tom Coyne of the Associated Press.
Connaughton will be allowed to sign a contract for a few weeks that allows him to be back in South Bend on July 30th so he can have a week with the basketball team to prepare for the team’s trip to Italy. Until then, Connaughton will be in Sarasota, Florida with the Orioles’ minor league affiliate.
The 6-foot-5 Connaughton averaged 13.8 points per game last season for Notre Dame. With the return of Jerian Grant to school for his senior season, Notre Dame will have some experience on the perimeter and could surprise some in the ACC next season.
For now, Connaughton needs to focus on baseball. In his junior season, the starting pitcher was 3-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 10 starts for the Irish.
“Until then, I try to make as much baseball improvements as I can, and basically start plugging through the minors as quickly as possible,” Connaughton said to the AP.
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 Illustrated that 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.