NBA or MLB: Pat Connaughton’s Decision

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 prospect for the Baltimore Orioles, Pat Connaughton, may turn down the MLB for another childhood dream. The Notre Dame product plays, not only baseball for the Irish in the spring, but also basketball for the school in the winter.

In three seasons playing for Notre Dame men’s basketball, Connaughton has 549 points (8.0 ppg.), 314 rebounds (4.6 rpg.) and 105 assists (1.5 apg.). His tough, hard-nose style of play makes him a strong candidate for any NBA team to draft come next summer.

And despite getting drafted by the Orioles in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft, Connaughton apparently is still unsure about which path he wants to take: MLB or NBA.

Notre Dame men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey is a Maryland native and a big Orioles fan. In fact, Brey told reporters that he called Connaughton the night before he was drafted by Baltimore and told him he had a feeling the Orioles might draft him.

During the team’s media day, one of the topic’s of discussion for Brey was the Orioles and Connaughton. Brey told reporters he had fun talking with Connaughton about the Orioles; that is until the ALCS. The question of if Connaughton will choose baseball over basketball came up. Brey said it’s not a lock that Connaughton is just a baseball guy moving forward and he [Connaughton] could have a future in professional basketball.

This past summer Connaughton pitched for the Aberdeen IronBirds in six games; starting in four of them. He maintained a 2.45 ERA over 14 2/3 innings pitched. He also struck out ten batters and had a 1.091 WHIP.

Connaughton’s fastball reaches up to 95 mph and has good sink to them. Although he is not the next Cy Young, his “bend but don’t break” style of pitching is reminiscent of Bud Norris.

Hopefully for Birdland, after his senior year of basketball, Connaughton will hang up his basketball shoes for good and choose baseball as his profession.