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Making the Cut – Rob Brant
It is incredibly difficult to move from high school to collegiate athletics. In high school baseball, only 7% of players proceed to play at any level of college, (and for Division 1, it’s 2%.) Today we speak to Rob Brant, a 2004 graduate of Mansfield High School who went on to pitch for the University of Pittsburgh on this edition of Making the Cut.
Brant described his transition as “interesting,” stating, “I had thought I was going to go to a different college first (Virginia Tech). I went to a baseball camp in Pitt and West Virginia within two weekends and both offered me scholarships, so I actually had to choose between those two. And I ended up going with Pitt and I’m glad I did!”
When asked to recall his favorite memory, it came as a bit of a surprise. “Probably when we lost the Big East championship to Notre Dame my freshman year…I’ll probably remember that the most,” He commented.
The on-field transition was tough for Rob Brant, especially as pitcher. “The biggest thing was: around (the NTL) I would face maybe one or two good hitters per team, but at [college] level it was probably six or seven good hitters on each team. So that was a little bit more challenging.”
He also remarked that the off the field transition was as much of a struggle.
“It wasn’t too hard actually. They made it pretty easy for us – we had to go to mandatory study hall six hours a week to start out, and had free tutors for us there. We also had an academic advisor that is assigned to the baseball team. So it made it pretty easy.”
In recent years, younger and younger pitchers want to throw a unique style of pitching. As a result, pitchers can injure their arms in the process. When asked what advice Brant would have for those younger pitchers, he stated, “It’s different nowadays because they play in the fall and winter they play around. So I think that has a lot of stress on their arm. But my advice would be: don’t throw a curveball until you’re 14 or 15 years old (as a pitcher). You really don’t need to until you’re older.”
Brant continued to offer advice for prospective students looking to play at the next level. “If they want to go ahead and they want to go to college and play, I would say to go out there and have people notice. Go to camps, go to showcases and get your name out there instead of waiting for someone to come look at you.”