What Could Have Been: Terrelle Pryor The Basketball Player

Charlie Ward. Antonio Gates. Tony Gonzalez. Terrelle Pryor? Yes, Pryor could have been the latest in a long line of crossover stars that played basketball and football in college. The 6-6 Pryor was a standout on both the gridiron and the hardwood, and could have pursued a career in basketball if he wanted to. In May of 2008, before the quarterback entered his freshman season at The Ohio State University, he was ranked the No. 7 power forward prospect on ESPN U’s Top 150, and put up 23 points, eight rebounds, five blocks, four assists and four steals in Jeanette High School’s Class AA championship victory, their first in over 20 years. This was after he led the football team to the state title in the fall.

His ranking as a football prospect (no. 3 overall) was a tad-bit higher, yet Pryor was very close to committing to play for Jamie Dixon at the hometown University of Pittsburgh. There he may have struggled to compete for playing time with DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, Levance Fields, Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee, and Gilbert Brown all on the Panthers. Wait, how did that team not win it all?

Would Pryor have done better selling Pitt hoops memorabilia than he did Buckeyes football swag? Hard to tell. But according to ESPN’s Player Evaluation, Pryor was described as a “GREAT ATHLETE… big, quick, tough, smart” who “does everything well.” It goes on to say, “Terrelle is a great rebounder because of his vertical ability. Right now his shooting is only fair. He needs to improve his ballhandling. His defense is good but his best attribute is taking the ball to the rim. He’s a great competitor and a winner in every aspect.”

His speed and size on the football field made him one of most unstoppable players in Ohio State history. In three years, he threw for 6,177 yards and 57 touchdowns and rushed for another 2,164. Although the memorabilia selling scandal tore apart Ohio State football in the last few months, few can deny how successful Pryor was on the field, taking the Buckeyes to the Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl in consecutive years, winning the latter of the two. In three years at quarterback, he only lost six games.

The last we all saw of Pryor was him getting an earful on John Gruden’s QB Camp, and it seemed as though Pryor was intent on making it in the NFL. However, it is now being reported that Pryor might actually be ineligible for the NFL’s upcoming Supplemental Draft, his presumed ticket into the league, because that draft is reserved only for players whose “circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular college draft,” and not a “mechanism for simply bypassing the regular draft.” Either way, Pryor has too much ability to not play either football or basketball professionally, and he doesn’t seem too keen on sitting around dejectedly, waiting for an opportunity. Watching his highlight tape, he seems to have the athleticism and leaping ability to play pro basketball somewhere. I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to see Pryor lace up the basketball sneakers one more time and take his talents back to the hardwood, you know, if the whole football thing doesn’t work out.

What do you think? Should Pryor try to go pro in hoops?

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