James shows he can do it all
Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
If things work out the way he hopes, Florida baseball coach Pat McMahon is going to have a decision to make in the 2008 season.
The James file
Where does he play Jiwan James?
The current Williston senior-to-be, selected for the second consecutive season as The Sun's small-school baseball player of the year, committed to play for McMahon's Gators about a month ago.
At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds James is a pitcher/centerfielder who has had success at both positions.
After opening his Red Devils' career with 17 straight victories, James finished his junior season 3-3 with four saves, a 1.75 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 48 innings. He was even more proficient at the plate, posting a .554 batting average with 39 runs scored, 27 stolen bases, 23 RBIs, six doubles and three triples in leading the Red Devils to a 24-4 record and a berth in the Class 3A Region 2 semifinals.
First-team all-state as a junior after being a second teamer as a sophomore, James also has a few decisions to make.
Baseball is his favorite sport, but it wouldn't be surprising if college football or basketball programs come calling for the all-state quarterback/shooting guard. That could provide a temptation from James' non-binding baseball commitment. But he has said he is very excited to be a Gator and added before committing that wherever he decided to go if he played multiple sports, one definitely would be baseball.
But the biggest issue could come in the form of next June's Major League Baseball draft.
Athletes with James' size, rare athleticism and varied skillset are commodities, and the possibility exists he could be an early round selection.
But that is about 11 months away. Until then, opposing coaches must decide for themselves how they are going to handle the dual threat that is Jiwan James.
Contact John Patton at 374-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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