One of the top prep football players in Alabama eyeing Kansas for basketball, too
photo by: Journal-World Illustration
Conner Teahan tried it, Mario Kinsey did it before that, Clint Normore won a national championship by doing it back in 1988, and James Sosinski is the most recent name you might recognize who pulled off the feat.
Today, there’s an interesting prospect who appears to be eyeing the idea of playing both basketball and football at the University of Kansas.
Ga’Quincy McKinstry, a Rivals.com 4-star football athlete in the class of 2021, reported Wednesday night on Twitter that he had received a scholarship offer from the Kansas men’s basketball program.
In the tweet, McKinstry hit the caps lock button before typing, “I WILL HAVE THE CHANCE TO PLAY BOTH SPORTS #RockChalk” into the message.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound McKinstry does not show up on the Rivals150 list for basketball players in the class of 2021, but he is the No. 1 ranked football player in Alabama per Rivals and also comes in at No. 30 overall in Rivals’ national rankings.
So how — or perhaps why is the better question — would KU hoops coach Bill Self consider using one of his oh-so-valuable scholarships on a player who isn’t ranked in the Top 150 and is probably a better football player than he is a basketball player?
The answer is simple – he might not necessarily have to. According to NCAA Division I rules, a player may enter into a financial aid agreement with only one athletic program at a given university.
So if McKinstry were to join Les Miles’ football program first and both practice and play in games with the Jayhawks on the gridiron, his scholarship, the way I understand it, would technically count as one of the 25 per class available on the football side of things, essentially making him a walk-on on the basketball program.
That’s how it worked a couple of seasons ago, when KU coach Bill Self brought Kansas football tight end James Sosinski onto the roster when the basketball team needed an extra body in its front court.
Sosinski came to KU as a scholarship football player and therefore did not count against the men’s basketball program’s scholarship numbers.
Sosinski played just nine minutes in seven games with the Jayhawks that season, but did get a Final Four ring out of the deal and even scored in KU’s Final Four loss to Villanova.
A similar path was followed by Kinsey in the early 2000s. After coming to KU to play quarterback, Kinsey spent part of one season on the men’s basketball team — then coached by Roy Williams — and was a contributor in both sports before leaving KU for disciplinary reasons.
In his one season at QB for the Jayhawks, the ultra-athletic Kinsey threw for 1,215 yards, 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
During his lone season with the men’s basketball team (2000-01), Kinsey played in 16 of the 23 games for which he suited up and averaged 1.9 points and 0.6 rebounds in just under 9 minutes per game before being dismissed from the team in February 2001.
With McKinstry just now entering his junior season of high school, and with him also boasting football offers from powerhouse programs Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame and more, there remains a long way to go before the idea of him even coming to Kansas, let alone playing both sports at KU, becomes a reality.
But at least as of today, the Pinson Valley High prospect from Pinson, Ala., who is best known as one of the top defensive backs in his state, appears to be excited about the opportunity KU is providing him.
Don’t be surprised if the rest follow suit to make sure that they don’t let a Top 30 football talent like McKinstry get away.
McKinstry, who goes by the nickname “Kool-Aid,” already is an accomplished athlete in both sports, having helped Pinson Valley win football and basketball state titles early on in his prep career. He averaged double-digits for his high school team en route to the state title last season and dropped 36 points in an AAU game with the Alabama Celtics earlier this summer.
His first Div. I basketball offer came back in March from Jacksonville State. More followed, including a basketball offer from Auburn in late July.
• Jayhawks offer 4-star PG
Earlier this week, KU offered a scholarship to class of 2020 point guard Andre Curbelo, according to JayhawkSlant.com.
Curbelo, a 4-star prospect per Rivals.com, hails from Long Island Lutheran in New York and is ranked No. 57 overall — No. 11 among point guards — in the 2020 class.
In-state program St. John’s appears to be one of KU’s biggest competitors for Curbelo’s services, and the 6-foot, 170-pound prospect also has offers from several other East Coast programs.
• KU makes cut for KK Robinson
KK Robinson, another 4-star point guard in the class of 2020, recently trimmed his list of finalists to a Top 7 and left the Jayhawks in the mix.
Kansas is joined by Illinois, Iowa State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, TCU and Texas A&M in the point guard’s final seven.
Robinson, who hails from Little Rock, Ark., is a 6-foot, 170-pound guard who is ranked No. 78 overall by Rivals.com in the class of 2020.