LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly has never been the jealous type. And truth be told, he's mostly just excited that his son will be getting a college degree. But he'd be lying if he said there wasn't a part of him that's a bit jealous of his son, Preston Mattingly's new career.
After retiring from baseball a year ago, the Dodgers' former first-round draft pick, has committed to play college basketball at Lamar University in Texas for Pat Knight.
That would be Pat Knight, son of former Indiana coach Bob Knight. And for a Hoosier like Mattingly, who still makes his offseason home in Evansville, Ind., that's just about as good as it gets.
"He's always been supportive. He's a hoops fan, too. So when I told him I was going to do this, he was probably more excited than me," Preston said of his father's reaction to his decision to play basketball for Knight's son.
Mattingly has spoken often about his love for basketball. He played both sports all the way through high school. He just so happened to be a much better baseball player.
His son is the one with the real basketball ability.
"He's so much better than I ever was," Mattingly said of his son. "He can jump out of the gym, score. I loved it, but he's so much better than me.
"I'm really happy for him because I know he loves to play. But as a dad, I'm really happy too because I know he's going to get an education.
"He was out in the real world for a year and kind of found out that you don't get the regular job without that degree. Just because you have that personality and you can network ... you gotta have that piece of paper. So going back to school, it really makes me happy."
Preston Mattingly, who will turn 26 next month, briefly considered playing both sports in college at the University of Tennessee, but when the Dodgers took him 31st overall in the 2006 draft, it was an easy decision to pursue baseball. Six injury-plagued minor league seasons later, he knew it was time to move on.
"Basketball was actually my first love. So once I was done with baseball and I had the opportunity to play D-1, everything just kind of fell into place," Preston said.
"I don't think I'll be in the NBA. This is just fun. I love to compete. I never got to be a part of college athletics, so to play for coach Knight will be great. I'm old school that way."