It’s that time of the year when the wild anticipation of the MLB season meets the thrilling conclusion of the college basketball campaign.  March means hoops.  March means Spring Training.  But what happens when a baseball team pretends it’s a basketball team?

Members of the Cincinnati Reds baseball club are entertaining the idea that they’d make a run at the Final Four if they traded in their spikes for high-tops and became the Cincinnati Reds basketball club.

Players in the Reds clubhouse here in Goodyear recently had a good time putting together the team’s hypothetical basketball roster.  Many weighed in, including Brandon Phillips, Jason Marquis, Billy Hamilton, Doug Flynn, Burke Badenhop, Todd Frazier and “head coach” Delino DeShields.

Here’s how the Reds “basketball team” shakes out…

Brandon Phillips
PHILLIPS NOTES: “Dat Dude BP” played high school basketball at Redan High in Georgia. He was scouted and recruited by Georgia’s Tubby Smith before Smith became Kentucky’s head coach.

*Brandon thinks Kentucky is the team to beat in the NCAA tournament, “It’d be nice to see a team from the tri-state area win it all.”

What Delino DeShields says about Phillips: “Dat Dude BP, I think his fingers might be a little too sticky to play point guard for me. He might have to come off the bench.
What Doug Flynn says about Phillips: “You gotta have Brandon for his outside shooting.”
What Brandon Phillips says about Phillips: “Who else is going to handle the rock? I’m handling the rock, I’m passing that pill around. I got the skills.”

Billy Hamilton
HAMILTON NOTES: Played high school basketball and once scored 55 points in a game. Billy averaged 27 points and 5 assists as a prep. “I’m a Russell Westbrook type of guy.” – Hamilton.

*Billy likes Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

What Todd Frazier says about Hamilton: “I think Billy would be the quickest guy at the point.”
What Doug Flynn says about Hamilton: “His ball-handling, his leadership, his speed makes him the ideal ‘1’ guard.”
What Delino DeShields says about Hamilton: “I think our best option at the point right now would have to be Billy Hamilton. Point guards facilitate, they don’t take all the shots. That’s why ‘sticky fingers’ Dat Dude BP is not the point guard.”

Burke Badenhop
BADENHOP NOTES: Played high school basketball at Perrysburg High in Ohio. Badenhop was a second-team all-district during his senior year. On “senior night,” he threw down a dunk at the buzzer to win the game. Burke’s father played collegiately at Bowling Green where he led the Freshman team with an 18 point per game average.

*Burke is also a Duke fan but isn’t confident that the Blue Devils have what it takes to win the NCAA Tournament.

What Badenhop says about Badenhop: “I’d like to play ‘2’ or ‘3’ guard. I don’t really roll down low. I kind of want to be that mismatch guy; give me that 6-1 guy against my 6-5.”

Jason Marquis
MARQUIS NOTES: Played high school basketball at Tottenville High in New York. “I like to handle the rock, I definitely do. I enjoy getting the whole team involved in the game – putting the ball in the hoop when I need to.”

*Marquis is another Red who roots for Duke but he’s more optimistic about the Blue Devils than Badenhop, saying “I’m a big Duke fan. I really do believe they have a chance (to win the NCAA Tournament) .”

What Burke Badenhop says about Marquis: “I like Jason Marquis. He’s a guy, when the whistle blows, he’s gonna give you a jab and get you fired up and maybe get a technical from the other guy. He’s crafty smart like that.”

Amir Garrett
GARRETT NOTES:  Easily the most decorated basketball player on the Reds 40-man roster.  Garrett played  collegiately at St. John’s, where as a sophomore helped lead the Red Storm to the second round of the NIT. He transferred to Cal-State Northridge in 2013 to play for coach Reggie Theus.

What Jason Marquis says about Garrett: “You’ve gotta throw Amir Garrett into the mix, obviously with his background.”
What Todd Frazier says about Garrett: “He went to St. John’s but don’t get it twisted, just because he went to a division one school doesn’t mean I can’t take him.”
What Brandon Phillips says about Garrett: “He could just dunk on someone to make a statement.”
What Billy Hamilton says about Garrett: “Amir can jump. I’d throw him a couple of alley-oops.”

Todd Frazier
FRAZIER NOTES: A 4-year starter on the Toms River South HS basketball team, Frazier set a school record with 27 rebounds in a game.

*Frazier has Arizona and Kentucky as the teams to beat in the NCAA Tournament

What Jason Marquis says about Frazier: “Fraz talks a big game, so I’d definitely like to see him play some hoops.”
What Brandon Phillips says about Frazier: “Frazier could be the white Dennis Rodman.”
What Burke Badenhop says about Frazier: “Under-sized guy that can create space. He has that rebounding mentality; just knows where the ball is going to go. He’ll give you a forearm shiver.”
What Billy Hamilton says about Frazier: “He’ll give us a bunch of rebounds and kick it out to me and Brandon.”
What Frazier says about Frazier: “People think just because I’m from Jersey that I’m a ball-hog. No; they used to call me the ’round mound of rebound.’ I’d be down low in the trenches.”

Head Coach – Delino DeShields
DESHIELDS NOTES: Played high school basketball and turned down a basketball scholarship at Villanova to play baseball.  His daughter, Diamond plays hoops at the University of Tennessee.

*Delino picks Maryland as an NCAA Tourney sleeper.

DeShields on defensive strategy: “I’m a man-to-man guy. I like to trap a little bit, too.  Man-to-man defense is what I prefer but that’s according to the personnel. If we don’t have the right people, we might have to fall back into zone.”
DeShields on guys shooting too much: “Not only would I bench them, I might even release the guy.”

Other Notable Quotes:

“I think we’d be a solid ‘5’ seed (in the NCAA Tournament). Now you’re susceptible to the 5-12 upset but we’re not going to fall for that. We’re gonna grind it out through the middle of the bracket and we’ll be in the Final Four.” – Badenhop

“Marlon Byrd could be like the late great Anthony Mason, he could go to the hole and knock people down.” – Phillips

“Joey Votto looks like he could do some finger rolls. He ain’t got no hops, so he could do a finger roll once in a while.” – Phillips

“Juan Duran could be like our Shawn Bradley” – Phillips

“Kevin Gregg is pretty big. He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve ever seen. We could put him at center just to muscle people up.” – Hamilton

“I’ll throw Donald Lutz down there for five fouls.” – Badenhop

“Chris Dominguez. I like his size. I like his strength.” – Flynn

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