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Old 05-06-2010, 11:03 PM  
Thig Lyfe Thig Lyfe is offline
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Bubba Starling

Pleeeeeeease come to KU.

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/03...ing-stars.html

Gardner Edgerton’s Starling stars in more than one sport
By RYAN YOUNG
The Kansas City Star

He quarterbacked his team to the state championship game for the first time in school history. Helped lift his basketball team to the state semis. And, equipped with a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, he’s into his third act now.

Gardner Edgerton junior Bubba Starling has scholarship offers to play college football at some of the premier programs in the country. Programs that want him enough they’ll let him play college baseball, too. That is, if he doesn’t turn pro after the Major League Baseball draft next year.

“It’s easy to brag about Bubba,” Gardner Edgerton football coach Marvin Diener says.

So Diener doesn’t hesitate to do a bit of that. Diener, who’s won six state titles as a coach, says he’s not sure he’ll ever have another player like Starling. Heck, he takes it a step further.

“I don’t know if Kansas will ever see a three-sport athlete like him,” Diener says.

Starling will have a big decision to make sometime in the near future. But not on this day in April. He started the morning with a 10-hour drive back from South Bend, Ind., where he had been on a recruiting trip to Notre Dame — just one of the college heavyweights eying his services.

But he has other things to worry about. He’s on the mound for Gardner Edgerton, and the Trailblazers infield has just committed back-to-back errors with two outs in the top of the fifth. Starling doesn’t show his frustration. He just reaches back for more.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets up to 95-96,” Trailblazers play-by-play announcer Ryan Ragland says as the count reaches 1-1 on the next Ottawa batter.

Starling, glove in front of his chin, turns and raises his knee slowly as his windup begins … then he unleashes one — 94 mph past a swinging bat. Strike two.

“I’m predicting we’ll see 96-97 pretty soon,” Ragland says.

The next one sails high and hard over the catcher’s head, but it’s played off the backstop and thrown to Starling, who applies the tag at home for the final out.

He cruises through the sixth more conventionally with his ninth strikeout and an inning-ending double play. And his night is done as he turns a 4-1 lead over to the bullpen.

Another start, another gem for one of the area’s top high school pitching prospects.

“I’ve never seen the impact that one player can have on a team as much as (with) him,” Gardner Edgerton baseball coach Jerald VanRheen says after the April 20 game.

•••

Despite his sturdy 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame, Starling never envisioned himself as a college quarterback. Not until after his junior season last fall, when he led Gardner Edgerton to the Kansas 5A state championship game and the best finish in program history.

Then the big-time college football offers started coming in — 11 so far, he says.

He remembers standing in his driveway as he followed up on a request to call Notre Dame assistant coach Ed Warinner, formerly of KU. After a series of questions, Warinner said they had evaluated Starling’s film and wanted to offer him a scholarship.

“I was like ‘Notre Dame!’ I couldn’t talk,” Starling says.

It was the same way with Alabama, which also wants Starling, a dual-threat quarterback who passed for 1,433 yards and 18 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,381 yards on 11.1 per carry and 19 touchdowns in the fall.

“It’s just crazy. I never thought this would happen,” Starling says after a baseball practice last week, sitting inside the dugout shaking his head with a grin.

The programs at the top of his list — Notre Dame, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska — are all prepared to let him play baseball as well, he says.

Of course, that all depends on what he decides to do after the Major League Baseball draft next year.

“Baseball America a couple of weeks ago had … the top 50 (prospects) in the 2011 class, and he was 47th,” VanRheen says. “A scout (from the San Diego Padres) told me based upon what he’s seen, if Starling was a middle-of-the-second-round draft pick, he said it is scary to know how good those kids are that are one through 46.”

And in between capturing the attention of college football heavyweights and building his stock as a pro baseball prospect, all Starling managed to do on the basketball court this winter was lead the Trailblazers to the 5A state semifinals and gain second-team All-Metro honors.

“He’ll set most of the all-time marks in basketball next season for us,” Gardner Edgerton coach Jeff Langrehr says. “He’s going to leave quite a legacy here, and the funny thing about that is most people perceive that as his third sport.”

If not for football and baseball, Langrehr is certain Starling could be a Division I basketball player if he so desired.

•••

OK, so about the name …

“I was a 10-pound baby,” Starling says. “As a little guy, a couple of months old, I was big. I had Fred Flintstone legs, and my Aunt ‘Sis’ was like, ‘You look like a Bubba.’ I’ve just kind of been called that ever since.

“I’ll get called Derek (his given name) every once in a while when I’m in trouble, but that’s not too much.”

He doesn’t leave much time for trouble.

“I had several (baseball) scouts say, maybe give up football because (you’d be) less likely to get hurt,” Starling says. “I just talked it over with my family, and that’s not what I want. I want to play all three sports. … Whatever season it is, that’s what I love.”

Except, soon Starling will have a decision to make.

After returning home from the Notre Dame visit, he says he is really high on the Fighting Irish. He had a great talk with new head football coach Brian Kelly.

“We want to open up the run game here at Notre Dame, and you could be the person,” Starling recalls Kelly telling him.

But a week later Starling says his decision is still very open.

It’s a lot to process for a 17-year-old. The recruiting pitches. The campus visits. Representatives from major-college programs coming to watch him work out after school, like a handful of assistant coaches from big-name football programs did last week.

Not to mention being the main attraction every time he takes the baseball field.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” his father, Jim Starling says. “He’s taking it really well. For a kid that’s 17 years old, he takes it in stride pretty well.”

Starling acknowledges the whole process has been stressful at times, but he has his own ways of dealing with that.

A few times a week, when he gets home from practice, he will head down to the pond behind the family’s home to go fishing. Sometimes it’s just him and the family’s two black Labradors. It’s his escape.

“I’m just out there, and my mind’s off everything,” he says. “I’m not thinking about college and all that stuff.”

Those decisions can wait.

•••

Last Tuesday afternoon. Spring Hill at Gardner Edgerton. Starling pops the catcher’s mitt with the first pitch of the game.

Long before he caught the eye of the college football powers, Starling was the 5-year-old bat boy for VanRheen’s Gardner Edgerton baseball team. They’d let him take a few swings after practice.

“He was just getting so (mad) because he couldn’t hit them in the outfield,” VanRheen says. “And now he’s hitting them over the road.”

Starling is batting .558 with five home runs in 43 at-bats this season — in addition to a 2.13 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 23 innings on the mound.

After allowing a leadoff infield single and a walk to Spring Hill, Starling strikes out the next three batters in the top of the first inning.

He strikes out three more in the second. Two in the third. Three more in the fourth. And a pair in the fifth.

He’s working consistently in the low 90s with his fastball to go along with devastating breaking balls that have the Spring Hill hitters off-balance.

Starling finishes with a varsity career-high 18 strikeouts in a shutout.

“I haven’t seen anybody throw like that for a long time,” Spring Hill coach David Londene will say afterward. “Every now and then, you just tip your hat to the other guy, and today was one of those days. …

“He’s just the complete package. He’s one that doesn’t come along very often.”

Another game, another gem. Another chapter in the growing legacy of Bubba Starling.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:08 PM   #2
Chiefs Rool Chiefs Rool is offline
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like he's gonna pick kansas over elite teams
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #3
ChiefMojo ChiefMojo is offline
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Don't be surprised if he does pick Kansas if he goes to college. His best friends are all KU fans and he attends KU games regularly. One school every DOES know he won't be attending is Mizzou.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:57 AM   #4
AustinChief AustinChief is offline
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I would love to see him at U-M... BUT Texas is probably his best bet... top tier in basketball, football and baseball... hard to think of a program that is doing as well in all three right now... but honestly, I'm not sure he is good enough at any ONE sport to break any starting line up here.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:48 AM   #5
eazyb81 eazyb81 is offline
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He's going to Alabama, and would be insane to pick ku over any of the other schools in his list.

But what do you guys care, you have Kale Pick.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:50 AM   #6
ChiTown ChiTown is offline
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I'll bet he skips College and goes to MLB.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:50 AM   #7
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:58 AM   #8
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I'll bet he skips College and goes to MLB.
Most likely.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:02 AM   #9
duncan_idaho duncan_idaho is offline
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Starling is ku's version of Blaine Gabbert. Can ku land him?

Not sure he can pass up the baseball money. Or the chance to play at Bama.

Oh well. Ku has Pick - and Webb! Who needs him?
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:29 AM   #10
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He's got the kind of problems few kids ever hope to have. I hope he succeeds whatever he chooses to do.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:44 AM   #12
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:47 AM   #13
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Don't be surprised if he does pick Kansas if he goes to college. His best friends are all KU fans and he attends KU games regularly. One school every DOES know he won't be attending is Mizzou.
Because we don't need him, we have PLENTY of depth at QB. We are set at the position for quite some time.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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I don't know much about Bubba ... but, his sister Clarice is a badass. Don't let her size fool ya', she's clever crafty.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:36 AM   #15
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Will he take the pledge for coach "Pray 'em Up"?
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