Baseball and basketball.
Basketball and football.
The combinations through which Kaneland senior Ty Carlson could continue his athletic career in college were dizzying, but Carlson ended up going with door No. 2 – baseball and basketball – at Aurora University, where he committed Sunday.
Carlson entered his senior year thinking he’d likely go the college baseball route exclusively, but a dynamite senior basketball season for the Knights – including a 38-point outburst in a sectional semifinal loss to Rockford Lutheran – warmed Carlson to the notion of becoming a two-sport athlete in college.
“Especially the Rockford Lutheran game, which was pretty crazy,” Carlson said. “It was an awesome experience. I didn’t really want to quit playing [basketball]. At Aurora I got the opportunity to play the sports I love for four more years, so I was really excited for the opportunity.”
Carlson said he wasn’t satisfied with his junior season in basketball, and he put in extra work over the summer to regain his footing.
“I just really thought I could play better than I did my junior year, and I proved to myself I could play at a high level on varsity,” said Carlson, a third baseman/outfielder in baseball.
At Aurora, Carlson intends to room with his best friend and Kaneland classmate Tom Van Bogaert.
Van Bogaert won’t compete athletically at Aurora, but Carlson expects to join forces with fellow Kaneland products Chaon Denlinger (basketball) and Corey Landers (baseball), both of whom will be seniors for the Division-III Spartans next year.
Carlson said Central College in Pella, Iowa, was interested in him for football and basketball. That was especially intriguing because Center’s football team was scoping out Carlson as a quarterback, a position he rarely played at Kaneland because he was behind talented classmate Drew David. Carlson primarily contributed as a linebacker for the Knights’ football team.
Carlson said he gave the football/basketball combo a lot of thought, but “I just went with my heart, and my heart was with baseball and basketball.”
The Elburn resident also viewed Aurora’s proximity as an enticing factor.
“Me and my siblings are very close,” Carlson said. “Same with my parents, and my grandparents actually come to a lot of my games, too. They live in Batavia and Geneva. So that’ll be a plus, too.”
• Jay Schwab is a sports editor for Shaw Media. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.