The NFL is in the middle of the most boring time of the offseason. The excitement of the NFL Draft has passed, and now we all anxiously await the start of training camp for all 32 teams. While the NFL is in the dead part of their offseason, another major sport is entering the most entertaining part of their entire year.
The NBA is one of the most entertaining sports, especially in the offseason. As teams compete to build super teams and try to build their perfect starting five, it made me think of one fairly unimportant question surrounding the Colts. Cold the Colts build a basketball team using players on their roster?
The Colts’ 90 man roster is full of athletes, and many of these players played basketball growing up. Which of these players would make the Colts’ starting five though? Here is my pick for the ideal basketball lineup if the Colts were to field an NBA team.
The Starting Five
Point Guard: Khari Willis
Known mostly for his sound play at safety and off the field charitable work, Willis was also quite an athlete throughout his high school and college career. In high school, he was an all state running back before converting to safety at Michigan State. After an impressive career for the Spartans, he was eventually invited to compete in the Senior Bowl as one of the best Senior football players in the country. He was then drafted by the Colts in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Did you know though that Willis was also recruited as a basketball player in high school? While playing football and basketball in high school, Willis received enough interest as a basketball player that he nearly stopped playing football as a Junior. Even though he ultimately decided to stick with football and go to college for it, Michigan State basketball coach Mark Dantonio did say in interviews that he would have fully supported Willis if he wanted to play basketball for Michigan State.
In high school, Willis averaged 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game as a Senior. He would be the perfect point guard for this hypothetical Colts basketball team.
Shooting Guard: Malik Hooker
Hooker was a highly touted athlete as both a football player and a basketball player out of high school. He ultimately chose football, where he went on to be a superstar for the Ohio State Buckeyes and ended up as a first round pick for the Colts in the 2017 NFL Draft. In high school, though, he was good enough to go just about anywhere as a basketball player.
While becoming a two way star for the New Castle football team, Hooker was leading the basketball team to an undefeated season. They won three consecutive WPIAL titles in his time there and put together a perfect 31-0 season his senior year. He ended up averaging 21.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals, and 2 blocks per game in his career. He finished second in school history in total points, as well.
In this hypothetical Colts basketball team, Hooker would not just be any old player. He would be the superstar to build around.
Small Forward: Ross Travis
Unlike the previously mentioned players on this team, Travis didn’t play football in high school. He opted to attend Penn State for basketball before he graduated and signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent. He would obviously be one of the better players on this team with his college basketball background.
In high school, Travis was an outstanding basketball player. He averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game as a senior and led his team to the state championship. That stat line was good enough to land him a spot on the Penn State basketball team. For the Nittany Lions, Travis averaged 8.4 points and 7 rebounds a game in his final season.
Adding an athletic rebounder to this Colts basketball team would be a good addition. Travis’ athleticism and ability on the defensive end would be pivotal to go with the playmaking ability of Malik Hooker.
Power Forward: Quenton Nelson
Nelson is a behemoth of a man who is surprisingly nimble for his size. He was widely considered as one of the best offensive line prospects in NFL history and showed it this past season. After being drafted 6th overall by the Colts in 2018, Nelson went on to make the Pro Bowl and be named a First Team All-Pro as a rookie. Before he was pancaking NFL players, though, he was dominating the hardwood in high school.
Nelson was a star basketball player in high school. He was the leader on a talented Red Bank Catholic basketball team where he averaged 12.9 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He was a stretch forward who could also run the floor with the ball in his hands.
For this Colts basketball team, Nelson would bring the intimidation factor you need in basketball while also providing great athleticism and ball handling for a big man.
Just found this...Quenton Nelson could BALL in High School pic.twitter.com/DPtpsmx6mi— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) February 8, 2019
Center: Mo Alie-Cox
Last but certainly not least, Mo Alie-Cox was an excellent college basketball player before transitioning to the NFL. He attended VCU for four seasons before signing with the Colts as an undrafted free agent. A tenacious fan favorite in college, Cox would be the perfect final touch to this basketball team.
In high school, Cox was a star, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game as a senior. This was good enough to earn him a scholarship to play for Shaka Smart at VCU. He was a fan favorite for the Rams as he was a plug down low, and was known for his physical defense and rim-rattling dunks. He finished his career with 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.
Cox may not be a highly touted scorer but his physical presence and hustling down low would be the perfect addition for this team.
Kenny Moore II
High school basketball player who averaged over 2 steals per game as a senior. His quickness and ability to locate the ball also shows up on the football field.
Before being a quarterback, Brissett was dominating the hardwood. He was a scorer whose go-to move was the guard post-up down low due to his size. He averaged 12.9 points per game in high school.
Another high school basketball player on the Colts. Ebron averaged over 5 points per game while playing sparingly in high school.
I don’t think he has ever played basketball but a 6’8” discus champion who can move like him should at least get a shot at playing center.
Obviously this is just a fun article in the dead of the offseason but it is pretty cool to see the athletic background of some of these players on the Colts. From the top of the roster players (Hooker, Nelson) to the bottom of the roster guys (Travis, Cox), there are some gifted multi sport players on this team. Although it would never happen, I do wonder what this team would look like on the basketball court. It would certainly be fun to watch if they were to ever get on the court together.