Baylor’s Rico Gathers has made his preference known. The Big 12 rebounding force will pursue a career in the NFL and not the NBA.
Gathers, a 6-foot-8, 275-pound forward, tracks as a tight end and the path from burly basketball player to physical football force isn’t rare. Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham were college hoopsters. So was current Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and signed a three-year extension in January.
But it was a former Chief that had an influence on Gathers.
“Man, I never forget, I used to play with Tony Gonzalez and the Chiefs all the time on Madden 2005,” Gathers said.
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Gathers likens his football prospects to Graham, the Seattle Seahawks tight end wo played basketball for four years at Miami, Fla., and joined the Hurricanes football team as a senior.
Gathers, a senior who takes averages of 11.3 points and 9.1 rebounds into Thursday’s Big 12 Tournament game against Texas, said it’s unlikely he’ll play for Baylor’s football team.
“As of now, no,” Gather said. “I talked to my family about it and we kind of go back and forth. In my mind, I’m really focused on trying to make that transition to the NFL. For me to do that, I think it will be best to move on and jump straight into it.”
So, why not a college football career? Graham hasn’t played football since middle school.
“My choice not to play football in high school or college was because I was good enough to be a basketball player and also it was to avoid the wear and tear of most of the people who played high school and college football,” Gathers said. “Me stepping into the NFL … I would probably be the most durable player in the draft.”