Amir Garrett was expected to have to choose between playing professional baseball or college basketball. It turns out the senior from Findlay Prep will likely do both.
Garrett was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round (No. 685 overall) of the baseball draft Tuesday, a result that should allow Garrett to play professional baseball during the summer and still honor his letter of intent to St. John's for basketball.
Had an organization invested a pick on the 6-foot-6-inch left-handed pitcher in the first 10 rounds of the draft, it probably would have expected Garrett to focus exclusively on baseball.
"If he went high, it would have been one or the other," said Garrett's father, Darrow. "We love (St. John's basketball coach) Steve Lavin, and I told everyone it would have taken a lot to just walk away from him. This way he can still play basketball at St. John's and do the things he wants to be able to do."
Garrett was a starting forward for the Pilots' nationally ranked basketball team as a senior and is widely regarded as one of the top players in the country. Garrett is ranked No. 68 by Rivals.com in the class of 2011, and MaxPreps.com has him at No. 89.
Garrett was a standout youth baseball player in Las Vegas before focusing his attention on basketball in high school. Garrett also played baseball at Leuzinger (Lawndale, Calif.) as a junior and worked with College of Southern Nevada pitching coach Nick Aiello this spring after he finished the basketball season at Findlay Prep.
"(Baseball is) my first love," Amir Garrett said. "I put it on hold for a little bit, but I always had it in me."
Findlay Prep does not have a baseball team, but Garrett worked out for scouts at CSN in early May and was throwing 90 to 94 mph consistently while topping out at 96 mph. He also impressed at a workout in Seattle before the draft.
"I expected to go in the top 10 rounds, but overall I'm very excited a team picked me up," Amir Garrett said. "I'm blessed to be in a situation to be able to get drafted."
Darrow Garrett said his son is expected to sign with the Reds before the Aug. 15 deadline for teams to sign 2011 draft selections who have remaining college eligibility.
"As a father, I would have liked to see him get drafted higher," Darrow Garrett said. "But we're in the right position we need to be in."