By Matt Norlander
We've got a full-fledged fad happening. Another college basketball player has left his primary sport for a new athletic endeavor.
American University announced Thursday night that to-be senior Stephen Lumpkins will forgo his final season at the school, opting instead to sign with the Kansas City Royals, who selected him in the 13th round of this year's MLB Draft on Tuesday. Lumpkins couldn't say no a second time -- he was picked by the Pirates in the 42nd round of last year's Draft.
"We met with Stephen today and he let us know that he has chosen to pursue a career in baseball. We thank him for the three years of hard work he gave our program. We wish him well," Eagles head coach Jeff Jones said in a statement.
Lumpkins, who, like recently drafted Mickey McConnell out of Saint Mary's, grew up and was successful playing high school baseball in California. But unlike McConnell (a shortstop), Lumpkins has a some serious value, i.e. an arm. And a coveted one at that: he's a southpaw pitcher. At 6-8, that's a rare combination, making him a desired product, even if he hasn't consistently played competitive baseball over the past three years. (American University hasn't had a baseball team in 25 years.)
According to the school, Lumpkins will pitch with the Laconia Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League later this summer. Basketball-wise, Lumpkins leaving means the Eagles will take a hit. He was a Second Team conference selection last season, shooting a Patriot League-best 59.2 percent from the floor. He averaged 13.5 points and 8.2 boards per game. In 2009, he helped American to an NCAA tournament appearance.
Had enough of college hoops players switching allegiances? Think this year's an exception? Not really. This not-so-new trend of college hoops players having the acumen for other sports was highlighted in an informative post by Justin Young. Do check it out for some perspective on multi-sport athletes who have stopovers at the D-I level in men's hoops.
Another hoops player chooses baseball
Posted on: June 10, 2011 1:30 pm