Inspired by the Big 12’s strong showing in the NCAA tournament, we’ve got a basketball themed Take Two. Last year, Rico Gathers converted from standout Baylor basketball player to NFL draft pick. So that got us thinking: Which Big 12 hoops star would we love to see on a football field? Here are our two nominations:
Max Olson: Take 1 – Iowa State guard Monte Morris
What football coach wouldn’t love to have a guy like Morris behind center? He’s got good size at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. He’s certainly got great speed. He takes care of the ball. To me, this just makes way too much sense.
I know Morris will be one of the Big 12’s better NBA prospects. He’s No. 38 on Chad Ford’s top 100 right now. So, yeah, he should stick with hoops. But it would be fun to see what Morris can do with pads on.
Morris can handle the leadership aspects of playing quarterback, no doubt about that. You don’t end up with by far the best assist-to-turnover ratio in college basketball without being incredibly good at making smart decisions as a passer. Morris finished with 217 assists and only 42 turnovers as a senior. He dished out 768 career assists. He’s as steady as it gets.
Am I crazy for thinking all of those traits could add up to one exciting quarterback? I don’t think so. Fortunately for Morris, all those traits also explain why I think he’ll have a quality career in the NBA.
Mitch Sherman: Take 2 -- Baylor forward Johnathan Motley
This isn’t realistic, and I don’t care. Tell me who could outjump him for a deep ball. Certainly not a Big 12 cornerback. In this air-it-out league, Motley would be a weapon, so long as a linebacker or safety didn’t light him up on a crossing route.
Come to think of it, he would have to run all post patterns, then use that size that’s allowed him to average 9.9 rebounds through 33 games for the Sweet 16-bound Bears to produce touchdowns. At 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, Motley would be plenty physical enough to outmuscle faster -- but much shorter -- defensive backs.
No account exists of Motley playing competitive football, though his North Shore High School outside of Houston has sent a handful of players to the NFL. Motley has completed the hard work, putting on 40 pounds since he arrived at Baylor. Now he just needs to catch the ball, a skill at which he’s already proven adept.
With the NBA calling, though, don’t look for him in a helmet anytime soon. Or ever, to be exact.