Hermosillo plays waiting game
Michael Hermosillo will have one eye on the Major League Baseball draft tonight.
The other on Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat fan and Class of 2013 Illinois football signee will remember this week.
For some time.
Not just because he thinks LeBron James will bring home a second NBA title.
In seven games, no less, according to Hermosillo’s prediction.
“I remember the last time LeBron played the Spurs, and it wasn’t that great of an expreience,” the Ottawa (Ill.) native said with a laugh in reference to the 2007 finals where the Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I think it’ll be a good series. I want to say Heat in seven because of the home court advantage. I think they’re two really evenly-matched teams and the home court will be the deciding factor.”
The deciding factor for how Hermosillo will spend the rest of his summer isn’t yet known.
Not even in his own head.
The talented baseball player isn’t tipping his hand about what direction he could go if his name gets called in this week’s MLB Draft, which runs today through Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to this week and the end of the week and seeing if I do get drafted,” Hermosillo said. “It’s definitely something I’ve been told by teams that it’s a really good possibility that could happen, but you can’t really make a decision on the draft before it happens. It’s so unpredictable.”
Hermosillo, a speedy outfielder, hit .485 this past spring for the Pirates to go along with four home runs, 30 RBI and 36 runs scored.
On the football field last fall for Ottawa, which advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Crete-Monee, Hermosillo rushed for a school-record 1,990 yards on an 11-1 team.
Hermosillo said from the 10-15 MLB teams he has talked to, he has heard he could go anywhere from the third round to the 10th round.
Of course, he’s indicated the possibility of not getting drafted, but it’s hard to envision at least one team won’t take a bite on him.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, his focus was centered on Illinois.
“My plan is to just be preparing for the U of I,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s set in stone.”
The MLB Draft consists of rounds 3-10 on Friday, with rounds 11-40 on Saturday.
“The later the round, the less chance I think I have to get drafted because I’m sure teams might be scared that I might not sign,” Hermosillo said. “I’m telling them I’m going to make my decision after I get drafted.”
Hermosillo said he has stayed in touch with Illinois football coach Tim Beckman, Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh and other members of his staff throughout the spring.
Support is one word that comes up often when he mentions them.
“They really have been great,” Hermosillo said. “I really can’t emphasize that enough. That reassured me why I picked them in the first place. They always knew that it was a possibility that I would get drafted. On top of that, Coach Golesh kind of caught wind that I had been getting a lot of interest from MLB teams. At first, I was nervous to talk to him. I didn’t want him to be mad. He was great. He was just telling me you’ve got to do the best for me.”
Hermosillo started his week in Los Angeles. He flew there Sunday, watched the Angels lose 5-4 to the Houston Astros in Anaheim and then worked out at Angel Stadium.
They had him hit and go through drills in the outfield along with ones at shortstop and second base, a somehwat uncertain scenario since Hermosillo hadn’t played in the infield since his freshman year of high school.
“That was a little suspect,” he said, “but I felt like I hit really well.”
Hermosillo said he doesn’t have a set dollar amount in place for what it will take him to sign with an MLB team in order for him to forego Illinois.
“To me, in my head, it’s got to be something that is too much to pass up,” he said, “and worth way more than a football scholarship.”
If he does wind up at Illinois, Hermosillo said the plan is to go through one football season all the way through the end of spring football practices and then join the Illinois baseball team.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Big ones, no less.
It’s all that Hermosillo is seemingly faced with this week.
He doesn’t mind.
And it beats the alternative of not playing Division I football or not possibly getting drafted.
“It’s definitely hard to believe and crazy to think about that I have capability of playing football at a Big Ten school, but I can also be an 18-year-old drafted to play baseball out of high school,” Hermosillo said. “It’s definitely crazy and something that you can only dream of. Either way, it’s going to be emotional.”