Wolfpack pitcher a draft hopeful

Published 2:17 am Friday, May 18, 2007

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH — Andrew Brackman walked into North Carolina State’s practice gym and saw two ex-teammates shooting hoops. For a moment, he missed being a basketball player.
He knows he could’ve given new coach Sidney Lowe’s team a presence in the low post and taken part in huge upsets of rivals North Carolina and Duke. Instead, the 6-foot-10 junior walked away from the hardwood to pursue a baseball career, and is wrapping up his first full season on the N.C. State diamond with an eye on next month’s draft.
Despite a statistically sub-par year — he’s 6-4 in 13 starts with a 3.81 ERA — Brackman insists he has no regrets about spurning hoops for hardball.
It could soon pay off for Brackman, considered one of the top prospects in the draft pool. He’s raw, but with a 99-mph fastball and the imposing frame of a power forward, he has the potential to blossom into an imposing right-handed power pitcher.
Focusing on baseball forced Brackman to change the way he trains. No more late-night powerlifting sessions — those made him too bulky, costing him flexibility in his arm and zip from his fastball. Instead, his workouts focus on his lower body, so he can generate a stronger leg push when he winds, kicks and delivers.
At times during his first two seasons in Raleigh, Brackman made switching sports look easy. He rushed to join the baseball team in 2005 and ’06 shortly after Herb Sendek’s basketball team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.
He was 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA as a freshman, and the next year a stress fracture in his left hip he got playing basketball cut short his season in late April after going 1-3 in seven starts with a 6.35 ERA. Brackman healed and returned to form in the Cape Cod League that summer, winning his only decision with the Orleans Cardinals before joining Team USA in August.