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…
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 first of a three-part series of rankings, here’s Prep Hoops Colorado’s top-5 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:
- Chris Helbig: The Holy Family do-it-all leader had Dan Marino-like numbers at quarterback as a junior with 33 touchdown passes, seven interceptions, and 3,117 passing yards in just 11 games. He also had six interceptions as a defensive back and earned Class 3A first team all-state honors. As for hoops, the 6-foot-3 and 185-pound guard poured in over 18 points per game and garnered 4A second team all-state after displaying a tremendous mid-range jump shot and court vision. Helbig, a 2016 prospect, should have numerous options to compete at the Division I level in football or basketball.
- Mike Ranson: The Northern Colorado basketball commit can absolutely put the ball in the bucket. He averaged 25.6 points as a junior and led all classifications in scoring. For his efforts, he was named 4A first team all-state by CHSAANow.com. The 2016 guard is a bit reminiscent of a current UNC Bear starter, Cam Michael, as both players can really knock down shots. Ranson is four inches shorter, but more athletic than Michael. For his play at quarterback, the Pueblo Central Wildcat also got local Division I looks in football. On top of all of that, Ranson is one of the best students in his school.
- Dylan McCaffrey: Yes, the McCaffrey name lives on at Valor Christian with another superstar athlete in Dylan, a 6-foot-5 quarterback who started for the Eagles as a sophomore, an impressive feat at a nationally good program. He’s a four-star football prospect who is ranked as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the nation for the 2017 class by Rivals. While his play on the gridiron is what McCaffrey is most known for, understandable when you are blue-chip status, he’s also a very good basketball player, one who averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds last winter and is ranked in the top-40 2017 prospects by Prep Hoops Colorado.
- Justin Engesser: There’s little doubt the Colorado Springs Christian wing is talented enough to play Division I basketball. He’s 6-foot-6, he’s powerful, and he has a complete game as evidenced by his averages of 15.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2 steals with a 44 percent mark from the three-point line as a sophomore. He’s easily one of the top players in his class in the Centennial State. But, he also plays a little pigskin and accounted for 18 touchdown passes, only nine interceptions, and 1,637 passing yards as the signal-caller for the Lions.
- David Thornton: The soon-to-be senior at Cherokee Trail is the type of kid who could probably step into the lineup in just about any sport and find success. Thornton has size at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms. He has plenty of leaping ability and good wheels for a player his size as he can be a menace in transition in basketball. He is a high Division II or low Division I prospect in basketball who also excels in track and field for CT with a personal best of 6-foot-7 and a half in the high jump.