Thinking It Through

Casey Mulholland went fishing one morning last week and hung out with some friends for a while. Not that unusual for a rising high school senior, but that's about all the time he's had to do any of those type summer activities.

Mulholland, a talented right-handed pitcher and outfielder with a lengthy list of colleges interested in him playing for them after next year, is a busy young man. From baseball tournaments and showcases to trying to figure out which of those colleges he will sign with in November, Mulholland is enjoying the challenges that come with such territory.

"I have four days off," he said last week. "I've been extremely busy and will continue to be. It's the first time I'd been home in two weeks."

And there won't be much more time for being at home in Bradenton, Fla., and hanging out with friends and fishing. At least not this summer.

One thing on Mulholland's list that didn't get done while he was home and by his own self-imposed July 1 deadline was to narrow the list of potential college baseball programs down to five. Ole Miss was on the long list and remains there. Mulholland said the time wasn't right to cut it down to just five.

So he decided to wait a couple more weeks. Maybe three. Just to make sure.

To make sure that a list which includes SEC schools and ACC schools and all the Florida programs is trimmed to just the right five.

It almost sounded like Mulholland may even have a No. 1 choice, at least at this time, maybe that he already knows the five and which one is tops for now. But he's keeping it all close to the vest. Everyone will know in due time.

Mulholland visited Ole Miss for the Georgia baseball series in April. Saw two games, both Rebel wins, and crowds of 9,000 or so each day. He was impressed.

"I'm from Florida, and we love our baseball down here," said the 6-foot-4 Mulholland. "At Ole Miss, everybody talked baseball. The fans were so nice. We sat in the same exact seat for the second game, and all around us they were like ‘Casey, how're you doing?' or 'Casey, how was your day?' Just the fact that they remembered my name was impressive. It was an amazing experience and a great series. It was something else to see. It was the kind of visit you'll always remember. I walked away thinking highly of everything there."

Mulholland said he's had an open mind throughout the process and has enjoyed seeing what each school has to offer.

"The number one thing is to make the right decision for all the right reasons," he said. "I'm basically looking for the best fit and also for my future. There are numerous things I'm considering, like which one fits my personality the best. I know it's a business for the schools, and it's important to me to make a decision so I don't tie anybody up too long."

But for now, he must wait. There is too much on the line.

"I just need some more time to talk things over with my family, work it out in my mind, and talk to some of my coaches," he said. "I'm pretty ready to make a decision (of the final five schools), and I really can't go wrong with any of the ones I believe it will be. But I have to be sure when I make it, because it's about the next four years of my life."

Or at least the next three, after his final year of high school, that is. Mulholland could be a high draft choice in June 2010, and again likely after his third year of college.

He attends Pendleton School, which Ole Miss fans are most recently familiar with because of tennis star Devin Britton. Pendleton is an IMG school where the Bollettieri Tennis Academy is located. Britton attended Bollettieri. Kids don't go to the IMG schools unless sports is considered to be seriously in their future.

And so it is for Mulholland, whose team finished 29-1 last spring and was ranked by at least one poll as the seventh best high school team in the nation. Mulholland was 6-0 with a 2.80 ERA, including 89 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched. He had three saves as well.

"I pitched the maximum number of games my pitching coach would let me," Mulholland said. "He is very protective of me. When I wasn't pitching, I played in the outfield. Some games I came in to close."

He batted .341 with four triples and seven doubles along with 14 RBI as a junior. However his future is pitching, and colleges appear to be recruiting him as such.

He throws a four-seam fastball 89-91 and a two-seam fastball 90-91 "that moves a lot," according to Mulholland. He actually topped out at 94 mph this past season. He has a changeup, a slider, a curve. He's the complete package but knows he wants to continue to improve.

For now Mulholland, playing this summer with the Orlando Scorpions team that includes Ole Miss catcher commitment Will Allen, is making another important life decision on the road to what he hopes is a long career in baseball.

"I just need a little more time to think it all through," he said.

And who knows? Maybe even get a little more fishing in as well.

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