Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Springfield is Two-Sport Star at Conant

The multi-sport athlete might be a dying breed, but there are still some of them out there. There are even some athletes who are getting recruited to play in college at two different sports. That is the case for Conant High senior Devin Springfield, who is one of New Hampshire's top players in both basketball and baseball.

Many athletes today choose to specialize on just one sport, especially at a school like Conant where basketball is such a big deal.

"When it's basketball season, I love basketball and when it's baseball, I love baseball" Springfield told the NH Notebook. "Because I enjoy and do well at both sports, I never wanted to give up one while at Conant."

Springfield is entering his third year as a starter for the Conant boys basketball team. He is closing in on 1,000 career points and is just as dangerous slashing to the rim as he is shooting it from the perimeter.

In baseball he is a dominant left-handed pitcher and also a very capable hitter at the plate. Last year as a junior he was a Division III first team all-state selection in both sports - that's a very impressive accomplishment.

Springfield has been seeing a similar amount of recruiting interest for both basketball and baseball.

"Wheaton and Keene State have been showing the most interest for baseball" explained the 6-foot-3 Springfield. "For basketball, Eastern Connecticut, Keene State and other D-III schools have contacted me. I feel that I have been overlooked in terms of my basketball recruitment because I play in Division III, have focused the last three summers on baseball and have not played the AAU basketball circuit."

As many local athletes are doing nowadays, Springfield is also considering prep school as an option in order to gain more exposure.

"Right now I am seriously considering doing a post-grad year as I will turn 18 at the very end of my senior year" said Springfield. "I am looking at Bridgton Academy, New Hampton School and Cushing Academy. "I would like to try and play both sports if I do a PG year."

Being a basketball and baseball kid, that means the summer and fall months are his 'open seasons'. And judging by the way Springfield has spent those months it is even more clear that it is a 50/50 split as far as which sport he has been focusing on.

"In the summer I play Legion baseball and in the fall I prepare for the upcoming basketball season by lifting weights and playing basketball at Conant and Franklin Pierce" Springfield said.

During these months it is also crucial to attend different camps and showcases to try and get noticed by college coaches.

"This summer I participated in baseball showcases at Franklin Pierce, University of Hartford, BC and the NH Jr. Baseball Showcase at St. Anselm" said Springfield. "For basketball I did a couple of Hoop Mountain showcases."

But sooner or later, he will have to go from playing two sports to just one.

"I will need to pick one sport to play in college" said Springfield. "All of the schools that are recruiting me have said that it would be very difficult to excel in both sports but it wouldn't be impossible to try and play them both. I have worked equally hard in both sports. I am hoping during my senior year or a year of prep school will help make my decision easier."

Not only is Conant a basketball school with a rich tradition of winning games and championships on the hardwood, but the other factor in play that one would think would push Springfield towards hoops is his family. Devin's father David (who is the Conant JV basketball coach) played college basketball at Franklin Pierce and his older sister Brooke is a sophomore for the SNHU women's basketball team. Both David and Brooke scored 1,000 points and won state titles while playing for Conant.

Devin however says that he doesn't play baseball to simply 'break the mold' and that his family hasn't tried to steer him towards basketball.

"I play baseball because I love the game and have since my Cal Ripken days" Springfield reflected. "And my family would be equally happy with either sport that I choose to play in college."

The Springfields are definitely a close-knit family. Having that kind of support is vital when making important decisions like where to go to college, which sport to play and whether to do a PG year first.

This should be a big senior year for Devin. He could possibly win D-III Player of the Year in both basketball and baseball. Not only that, but the Orioles have a shot to win state titles in both sports - if that happens, his recruitment will be flying sky high (pun intended).

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