Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hoops & Beesball: Austin Jackson

An article from BaseballAmerica on Austin Jackson.

The opposite appears to be true for Austin Jackson, who signed a basketball scholarship with Georgia Tech with the intention of playing both sports there if he doesn't sign. The 6-foot-2 outfielder/point guard has been on scouts' radar since he was named the best 12-year-old in the country by Baseball America in 1999. Like Henry, he was a second-team preseason All-American.

Jackson continues to show his ability on the baseball field, with a.348 average in 89 at-bats to go with 16 extra-base hits this spring, but scouts say they don't think he's ready to focus on baseball and doubt his signability.

"He has just been going through the motions," one NL crosschecker said. "It is really too bad for the kid. C.J. has put himself in a place where he is going to have a choice. I don't think Austin wanted that choice."

Not everyone agrees with that assessment. "He has made it clear that if he is drafted high enough, he will go play baseball," said Omar Washington, his summer league coach. "They are playing the scout game with him, trying to get teams off him so they can get him for less."

We saw this coming years ago. In the story detailing him as the nation’s best 12-year-old baseball player back in 1999, the final line read: "Apparently, he is even better at basketball." We may get a chance to find out if that's right.