By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
A two-sport athlete is a rare sighting in collegiate sports, one that Arizona has lacked since football/baseball star Tony Bouie. But next season Arizona may have another such athlete if sophomore guard Kelvin Eafon decides to take his talents to the gridiron next fall.
"The football coaches have expressed an interest in me playing at running back," Eafon said. "I can't say right now what my decision will be. That's something I will have to discuss with (football) Coach (Dick) Tomey."
Eafon was highly recruited out of high school for both sports by both Louisiana State and Arizona. But when he signed to play basketball for the Wildcats, NCAA regulations forbade him from playing football, or any other sport, for two years.
But now that the waiting period has been served, the ball is in the hands of the coaching staff.
"The situation is not just a matter of Kelvin coming out for the team," Tomey said. "Since he is a scholarship player for the basketball team, he would also fall into the scholarship category for us Ÿ which is fine if he is a good player and one we can use. So our dilemma is that we have to find out how good he is without actually seeing him play."
At Seagoville (Texas) High School, Eafon was a three-year letterman in football, as well a three-time All-District selection. He was recognized for his efforts in both sports by being named the All-City athlete of the year his senior season.
Eafon saw spot duty on the basketball team last season as a freshman, highlighted by a five-point, four-rebound, three-assist effort against Southern Cal. And while the Arizona basketball coaching staff would be without him for the first half of the season, UA assistant basketball coach Jessie Evans said he sees no conflict in Eafon trying to play both sports.
"As long as he can handle the responsibilities of both sports, I don't really see a problem in him playing football as well as basketball," said Evans, who coaches the perimeter players.
Evans likened Eafon's situation to that of Cal sophomore forward Tony Gonzalez, who also plays tight end for the Bears' football team.
"For instance, if Arizona were to go to the Rose Bowl, then we would start with Kelvin in the second semester," Evans said.
One more thing working for Eafon is Arizona's current status at running back. Tomey has made it clear that there are no set starters at any position, with running back leading the list of question-marked spots. In other words, the coaching staff is looking for someone to step in and that someone could be Eafon.
"The current situation of the team at running back has nothing to to with me," Eafon said. "If I go out and do the job, then I deserve to be out there."
But if Eafon does commit to football, the question is whether he will have to start from ground zero halfway through each basketball season.
"Of course he will, but that's the price of being a great athlete," Evans said.
At this point, however, Eafon has more pressing items than football on his mind, and is not in any hurry to make a decision.
"Right now I am only worried about basketball," Eafon said. "When the time comes to worry about football, I'll think about it."
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