Sure, much to the chagrin of an older generation, dual-sport athletes have seemed to fade away in a lot of cases, something many people are attempting to reverse.
And yet, even in the world of high-pressure hoops with such a focus on the grassroots scene, there are still those who step away from the court and excel in another sport, as well.
In the second of a three-part series of rankings, here’s Prep Hoops Colorado’s No. 6-10 dual-sport athletes in Colorado—those who are not only basketball talents, but are star players for their schools in the fall and the spring:
6. Isiah Pannunzio: A Colorado State football commit, Pannunzio is a perfect blend of speed and power at tight end and defensive end in football and, while Pueblo South is a heavy run-first offense, he averaged 30 yards per reception as a junior. The athlete is also a post presence in basketball as a physical player who has surprising passing ability. He averaged 10.9 points last season and has started the past two years for a Colt program that has boasted a 41-10 record. Pannunzio is a 6-foot-3, 210 pound specimen who also ran 11.51 seconds in the 100-meter dash in track last spring.
7. Alijah Halliburton: Halliburton is the latest in a recent line of Overland athletes who have excelled in multiple sports. Austin Conway, a Wyoming basketball commit, had several Division I offers in football as an electric playmaker on both sides of the ball. Josh Wright, a Class 5A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles, will play Division II football this fall. Halliburton has his pick of the litter in football with seven Division I or Division II offers. A member of the 5A state championship team as a junior, Halliburton provided firepower off the bench for the Trailblazers. If he wants to play hoops at the next level, the fluid and explosive athlete could hoop anywhere from the NAIA to potentially the Division II level.
8. KJ Sapp: Widely recognized as one of the speediest players with or without a basketball in the Centennial State, Sapp can get anywhere he wants on the court. He is an exhilarating weapon, possessing a knack for finding teammates in transition and in the half-court. Despite his height of 5-foot-9, the Cherokee Trail guard is a top-25 prospect in the 2017 class. He’s also a slotback and cornerback in football, a gifted one, and has run 11.38 seconds in the 100-meter dash and cleared 6-feet in the high jump. Sapp is the type of kid who could play a college sport of his choosing with the athletic ability to make an impact in football, basketball, or track.
9. Colbey Ross: The Eaglecrest guard is one of the most publicized basketball players in Colorado. The No. 2 prospect in the 2017 class, Ross has at least mid-major and perhaps high-major ability. Dominant performances weren’t uncommon for him while competing for the Colorado Chaos in July. Whether on a stage with the state’s best or even some of the nation’s best, Ross has a habit of standing out in hoops. But, as a sophomore he was also a productive wide receiver and defensive back for the Raptors and is expected to step into a starring role on the gridiron in 2015.
10. Tate Kembel: When a coach evaluates his or her talent, they look for what a player can do. When it comes to Kembel, a better question might be, ‘what can’t he do?’ The Fort Morgan Mustang had a memorable sophomore year in three sports. On the gridiron, he had 252 and 246-rushing yard performances and finished the season with 1,216 yards on the ground and 23 total touchdowns. The Mustangs reached the 3A semifinals. In basketball, he averaged 10.4 points, 3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.4 steals for a team that finished with a 17-7 record. On top of that, Kembel won Colorado 7 League crowns in the long jump and triple jump and has personal bests of 21 feet, 5 inches and 42 feet, 1 inch, respectively. By the time Kembel graduates in 2017, he could be a four-year varsity participant in three sports and have a number of accolades in all of them.