Kevin Huerter

Why Huerter chose basketball, NBA over baseball career

NBC Universal, Inc.

As a two-sport star growing up in Clifton Park, N.Y., Kevin Huerter had a tough decision to make about his future, ultimately choosing basketball over baseball.

Speaking to Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on the “Point Forward” podcast, Huerter described his background playing both sports as a youth.

“I played baseball growing up and it was honestly one of those things through my youth years I played them [baseball and basketball] pretty equally,” Huerter said. “And compared to my basketball teams, my baseball teams were always better.”

The 25-year-old then went on to describe how his youth baseball team would spend their summers traveling around to the best national tournaments.

“We traveled to these tournaments, even at a young age, these national tournaments and almost win them, out team was really good, we used to play late into the summers," Huerter explained. "And so, as I got older and individually basketball started to separate itself from baseball, I still wanted to play just because my age group had always been really good.

“And then kind of the culmination of all that, my senior year which was all the guys I had grown up playing with, we won a state championship my senior year with that group."

Iguodala and Turner then asked Huerter what the deciding factor in choosing to focus on basketball was, with the guard explaining that the amount of time he dedicated to both had changed, making it harder and harder to continue with baseball given the time commitment needed to develop a swing.

“It was honestly a time thing, like I was definitely really good at baseball growing up, I think as I started to get to high school my basketball for sure started to separate and then…baseball’s tough you got to keep up with hitting in a cage, like I actually had a little batting cage in my back yard growing up, so I used to practice it a lot more when I was younger and I think as I got older I just practiced basketball a lot more.

“All of a sudden when I was in high school, I couldn’t hit worth s—t, our senior year I think I batted eighth with one of my best friends, I played center field every game like I was a great defender but by the time I was a senior I couldn’t hit s—t , once guys started throwing curveballs I was done,” Huerter said.

“So, it was very easy to make that decision, I’m better at basketball, I might have more fun playing baseball -- our team is cool -- but I’m better at basketball so I’ll stick with this.”

Huerter made the right decision, as his choice to focus on basketball led him to a stellar career at the University of Maryland and then to the NBA, where he was drafted No. 19 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Eventually, he was traded to the Kings, where he has become an integral piece of the team’s resurgence as a competitive force in the league.

During his prep years, Huerter was teammates with pitchers Ian and Ben Anderson, who began their MLB careers by being drafted by the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays respectively.

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