While the Orioles and their fans wait for Pat Connaughton to give up his NBA career and rescue the reeling Birds with his right arm, the former Notre Dame star is preparing to start for the Portland Trail Blazers in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Chosen in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB draft, Connaughton showed enough in his one season with the IronBirds for the Orioles to allow him to live out his NBA dream and keep his signing bonus. He sat on the bench for most of two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, but is playing for them this week in Las Vegas.
The 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher/shooting guard hasn't given up on baseball, but he hasn't given up on basketball, either.
"You've got to look at it both ways. I've always had a drive to be successful. I've always wanted and always dreamed of having an impact in the NBA," Connaughton told oregonlive.com before the start of the summer league. "Everyone always assumed that, for me, baseball was going to be the route that I went and I was going to be very successful in it. And to be quite honest, I think maybe someday that will be the case.
"But I'm to the point in my life now where I want to give this a real, real shot before I sit down and look at my options and take anything else into consideration."
In the oregonlive.com story, the 24-year-old says that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has been keeping in touch with text messages.
Duquette said in late May that Connaughton shouldn’t take much time in the minors to reach the majors.
"He's a terrific athlete, has a world of talent. A good competitor," Duquette said after Connaughton made an appearance on MLB Network Radio to talk about his future. "So whenever he wants to apply his skills full-time, I think he can come quick -- to the major leagues -- because he's such a gifted athlete."
Taken in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft, Connaughton has played in 73 games over two seasons with the Trail Blazers, averaging less than two points a game. Portland has at least four guards ahead of him on its roster. He signed a three-year deal upon entering the NBA, but just the first two years were guaranteed. The third year won’t become guaranteed until July 25.
It seems like the clock is ticking on at least one of his professional careers.