It pays to multi-sport, so say high school coaches willing to share athletes and college recruiters who want teenagers to maximize their experience.
And studies show the best athletes at the highest level played more than one sport in high school.
Of the 32 first-round draft picks from the 2018 NFL draft, 29 played multiple sports as preps. Of the 106 players on the active rosters for Super Bowl LII last year between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, 102 played more than just football back in the day.
None of this is to suggest any of the multi-sport players competing this winter in the region are headed to the NFL, but kudos to involvement in an era of one-sport specialization.
What’s more, college football recruiters often take a peek at a football prospect competing in basketball, all the better to witness body English, coachability and mobility.
A peek at DeShawn Lynch of Folsom in shoulder pads would show a big guy who can rush the passer and roar down field on special teams. He was a Bee All-Metro performer for back-to-back CIF State championship football teams.
As a 6-foot-5, 270-pound junior center for The Bee’s No. 2-ranked basketball team, Lynch provides interior muscle, soft hands in the lane for hooks and a deft inside passing touch. He averages 13.4 points. Lynch fields football scholarship offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Fresno State, among others.
“Yeah, we’re really glad he plays both sports,” Folsom assistant basketball coach Matt Mills said. “He’s been great for us out here, too.”
Monterey Trail basketball features two Bee All-Metro football stars who have made a profound impact in high tops.
Zach Larrier, a quarterback/defensive back headed to Air Force, is averaging 5.6 points. He’s also a state-meet sprinter in track and field.
Andre Crump caught several deep balls from Larrier for Monterey Trail’s 12-1 team, and he just recorded the first triple-double in Mustangs history when he went for 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 70-65 win over River City. He averages 11.8 points a game (and as a 4.0 student is a recruit just waiting to be plucked).
Monterey Trail is in the running for the Metro League championship with Burbank, led by its own two-sport star.
Lavelle Bailey earned a Bee All-Metro honor in football as a linebacker who also played quarterback and on special teams, and he has signed with Fresno State. He’s the heart and soul of the basketball team, averaging 12.3 points and 8.0 rebounds for a team contending for the Metro League top honor.
And in Placer County, Alex Weir continues to make plays for Colfax, a small school big on championships and multi-sporting.
Weir was a Bee All-Metro quarterback after leading the Falcons to a CIF State championship game, and he was hailed as a campus hero - at least on the bus ride back up the hill - after hitting the winning shot to beat Woodland 53-52 on Jan. 2 at Golden 1 Center.
If he doesn’t play extra sports, Weir doesn’t experience the Golden 1 moment. He was also a key cog for Colfax’s first Sac-Joaquin Section championship baseball team last spring (a 4.0 student, Weir is also a college gem waiting to be discovered).
And there’s Levi Markey.
The single-season and career rushing record holder at Del Campo and a Bee All-Metro bruiser of a back, Markey is ranked second in the section at 285 pounds by CalGrappler.com.
In football, Markey avoided any takedowns. In the winter, he thrives on the concept. Another 4.0 student, he also is awaiting a scholarship offer.
Area wrestlers in CalGrappler’s Sac-Joaquin Section rankings include: Andrew Calvert of Franklin, third at 106 pounds; Jake Stone of Oakmont, first at 113, followed by Evan Taylor of Folsom and Damion Elliot of Del Oro; Isaiah Schannep of Whitney, second at 120; Brenden Johnson of Del Oro, first at 126; Elijah Blake of Del Oro, first at 138, and Jared Horstman of Oak Ridge, third at 138; Hezikiah Endsley of Elk Grove, third at 145; Hassan Khan of Franklin, third at 152; Noah Blake of Del Oro, first at 160, and Riley Lewallen of Ponderosa, third at 160; Joe Valdez of Placer, second at 170; Kaden West of Oak Ridge, second at 195; Kyle Richards of Folsom, first at 220, and Preston Cobabe of Oak Ridge, third at 220; Justin Ramos of Vista del Lago, third at 285.
Last week was a milestone one for two 5-11 skilled senior wing players.
Andriana Avent of Sacramento on Jan. 8 eclipsed the 1,000-point career scoring mark in a 70-11 rout of Rio Americano.
She has helped the Dragons to an unbeaten showing in the Capital Athletic League and will be off to New Mexico on scholarship. Avent averages 15 points a game.
On Jan. 11, Nailah Dillard of Inderkum hit the 1,000-point mark for her prep career in a 56-13 rout of Yuba City to keep the Tigers at 3-2 in the Capital Valley Conference.
Headed to Texas Tech, Dillard had 21 in a 69-61 loss to top-ranked Antelope on Jan. 9. She averages 19.2 points a game.
Big red record setters
Jesuit had three milestone moments last week in scoring, 3-pointers made and rebounds snagged, all delivered by two senior leaders for first-year coach Tim Kelly.
A 6-2 guard and the team’s leading scorer, Jack Jones set the Marauders’ single-game scoring mark with a 49-point effort in an 84-72 win over Franklin, bettering the 48 that Mark Wehrle - an all-time Jesuit great - had in 1969 for rookie coach Terry Battenberg.
The student-body president at Jesuit, Jones made a Jesuit-record eight threes against Elk Grove, a 61-49 victory, breaking James Moore’s mark by one set in 2009.
Also against Elk Grove, Sam Daly, a 6-4 forward, had a school-record 24 rebounds, topping the 22 that Wehrle had in 1969.
Ranked eighth by The Bee, Jesuit is 4-0 in the Delta League entering Monday night’s home game against top-ranked Sheldon, which has a 54-game league winning streak
Beaman for 3
Breckin Beaman of Sacramento Adventist Academy set a school record with his 49-point outing in an 88-29 win over Cristo Rey.
His 11 made 3’s broke his single-game mark of nine set earlier this season. A 5-9 sophomore guard, Beaman is averaging 21.8 points for the powerhouse small-school program that is 5-0 in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.
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