Roundtable: Two-sport stars

In the overall recruiting world, football signing week dominates the headlines in early February. Last-second decisions, thrilling or devastating commitment reversals, it's all there for our enjoyment.

From a basketball perspective, you might assume there's no relevance. And while that's true to a great extent, caveats do apply.

In this week's roundtable discussion with the national basketball team, we revisit some very prominent football players who also starred in hoops. That list is substantial and, even in an athletics environment wherein specialization looms more critical now than ever, continues to transpire.

Let's check out our experts' takes:

Brian Snow: In the Midwest, seemingly most of the two-sport stars choose basketball over football, so this one is a little tougher, but the two names that immediately jump to mind are Josh Chichester and Adolphus Washington. Terrelle Pryor also gets mention, but I will stick to Chichester and Washington.

Chichester was a legit 6-foot-7 combo forward who was athletic, had some skill, and played with a high motor. He ended up signing with Louisville as a WR/TE. Ironically the one thing he struggled with on a basketball court was hands, but had he committed to basketball he was easily a top 100 recruit.

With Washington, who is now a defensive end at Ohio State, he was a beast on the low block. At around 6-foot-5, he was a dominant force. He went against all the top kids on the AAU circuit and never seemed to lose an individual matchup despite not being able to jump and being undersized. It was his nice touch, strength, savvy, footwork and motor that allowed him to be a good basketball player. There is no doubt in my mind he is still the best low block scorer on Ohio State's campus right now and for the foreseeable future.

In terms of football players who amusingly played basketball, I will go with Andrew Norwell, an offensive guard at Ohio State.

Norwell didn't play his senior year of football due to injury, but he did play basketball. He had absolutely no skill, and just wanted to run people over, rebound, and stay in shape. One time a kid took a charge on him and I was pretty sure the kid, who went about 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds was never going to get up off the floor. After the game Norwell walked up to me and said "I got a few pancakes tonight, didn't I," and then laughed and walked away.

Josh Gershon: I haven't seen many high level football prospects also play basketball — besides Arik Armstead, who was pretty good — but have seen a number of football prospects start off trying to play basketball, before eventually figuring out they would be better suited to play football. We often — half seriously — give an "SPF" (Should Play Football) rating on basketball prospects who from an upside perspective are flat out playing the wrong sport, but every now and then kids make smart choices to flip to football.

Oregon's Tyree and Tyrell Robinson started as 2013 basketball prospects, with Tyree being a Top 100 prospect. They were both undersized shooting guards who used their strength and straight-line athleticism to score points and defend, traits that you knew would come in handy on the gridiron. As soon as they started playing football, offers and rankings were quickly thrown at both of them.

Wisconsin has a freshman football player named Leon Jacobs who started out as a 2013 basketball player at Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery that was mostly just a strong kid with really impressive athleticism; football being the best sport for him was pretty obvious. Jacobs committed to Fresno State before opening up and choosing Wisconsin, where he played as a true freshman this past season.

Roy Hemsley is a 2015 offensive tackle from Los Angeles Windward who has been a good player for the last couple years, but as a sophomore played football for the first time, which was inevitable due to his 6-foot-6 size, frame, strength, athleticism and motor. Hemsley was a mid-major basketball prospect but just picked up an early offer from USC as a football prospect. He's one of the best football prospects I've ever seen play basketball.

Evan Daniels: I think one of the biggest football guys to shine on the basketball court was former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He finished his high school career as the No. 15 small forward. He was wing that defended at a high level. He also rebounded quite well and scored it well from mid-range and in.

There are a number of other names I could throw out there. I'll throw out one that is a little closer to home. I graduated the same year as Mike Bush at Louisville (Ky.) Male and watched him excel in both football and basketball. He had scholarship offers from Kentucky and Louisville as a freshman for either sport. He's obviously in the NFL now, but he led Male to three Sweet 16 appearances and was MVP of the KY Derby Festival All-Star game.

Rob Harrington: My basketball playing career was modest and unmemorable, to be kind, but I did play with some Division I football prospects. The most prominent was Troy Smith, a good point guard who would go on to star at wide receiver for East Carolina.

On the 1990s travel circuit, Julius Peppers was a slender power forward who could jump out of the gym. Prior to the required weight gain for football, he was a truly extraordinary leaper. Later on, Terrelle Pryor proved to be elite in both sports. He may have been the best two-sport prospect I've watched in person.

Watching Seantrel Henderson on the basketball court, for a huge man (6-7, 300-plus pounds) he had very nimble feet and fairly good basketball instincts. His football career at Miami didn't go as planned, but he should get drafted to the NFL this spring.

We tend to see more wide receivers and tight ends than anything else. Martellus Bennett was a powerful athlete on the AAU circuit on his way to tight end stardom, and Jimmy Graham also has enjoyed great success at that position.

Maybe the most intriguing story is Josh Tinch, from the Class of 2001. As a high school sophomore, Tinch (then known as "Greg") was considered a top 10 national prospect. His reputation carried through his junior season but fell precipitously as his skill level flatlined and others surpassed him.

He acknowledged his falling career trajectory and ultimately signed with Louisville for football. He enjoyed a fine career for the Cardinals as a big, tough receiver.

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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