Star husky tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins recently announced that he would not return to the basketball this year after playing both sports last year, and I firmly believe that it was the most logical decision for the sophomore for three primary reasons.
First, ASJ is not that good at basketball. Did he play very well in high school? Of course, but if he played basketball primarily and didn’t pursue football, I believe he probably wouldn’t even be on the basketball roster in the first place. Even if he was, it would be as a fringe walk on. It doesn’t make much sense for him to pursue basketball at all with all the various complications involved with football when he isn’t a game-changing talent anyway. He can really just rebound and foul and he’ll never be able to dedicate to year-round basketball training, so he will not improve much. Plus, minutes to ASJ means fewer minutes to guys like Jernard Jarreau and Shawn Kemp that need to develop as power forwards for the team’s future.
Second, the team is that good at basketball, at least by the standard set by past Romar teams. They don’t look like they’ll be competing for the Pac-12 title, and an at-large NCAA bid looks unlikely as well. Why would ASJ bother to play, mostly staying on the bench, when his presence will not make any noticeable difference in the competitiveness of the team.
Third, and finally, ASJ is far too talented as a tight end to risk serious injury playing even a non-full contact sport like basketball. This is a guy that will be drafted in the 1st or 2nd round when he declares for the draft either after his junior or senior year. If he tore his ACL on the court and it hurt his ability to sign that kind of rookie contract, we would be talking about millions of dollars.
When you consider that he doesn’t really add that much to the team, and that the team really doesn’t have a bright future either way, that slight injury risk seems even more pointless. It was a cool experiment, but this was the mature and responsible choice for everyone involved.