He made the layup, but Connor Ratcliff will likely miss the rest of his senior basketball season.
An awkward landing and a broken foot might also impact the multi-sport athlete’s football future.
Ratcliff avoided a block attempt from UCLA-bound Lonzo Ball with a runner that kissed the glass and fell through the net. Ratcliff took a pair of painful steps and managed his way back on defense. One minute and four seconds later, Ratcliff’s high school basketball career came to an early end.
“Apparently I came down on the layup and I guess I just landed it wrong,” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff scored 18 points and Parkview never led in what ended as a 61-45 loss to Chino Hills, California in the consolation semifinals of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. The Vikings weren’t supposed to win against a talent-laden team from suburban Los Angeles, but Ratcliff played one of the best games of his life.
“It’s exciting, honestly. I’m kind of sad that it’s going to be my last game, but at least the last game I played I played really well and showed people that I can actually play basketball,” Ratcliff said.
His basketball pride aside, Ratcliff’s future in sports lies in football. That future in somewhat uncertain with the star receiver dealing with an injured foot. Ratcliff is scheduled to visit a surgeon Tuesday.
“They are going to tell me what I’m going to have to do, if I need surgery or if I have to have a cast,” Ratcliff said.
The Saturday prior to the Tournament of Champions, Ratcliff was in the end zone at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 23-yard reception in the second quarter of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa, Florida.
College coaches from SBU and Lincoln University offered Ratcliff football scholarships, but his academic talents may land him elsewhere. Ratcliff’s wish list includes Ivy League schools.
His invitation to represent the southern team in the Blue-Grey game came from a stellar high school football career. Parkview’s prolific wide receiver made 166 receptions for 2,511 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns.
As a senior, Ratcliff had 55 receptions for 779 yards and five receiving touchdowns. At the request of coach Anthony Hays, he also saw time as a running back, and rushed for 974 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns on 139 carries.
Ratcliff’s basketball season with the Vikings included a short break for him to make the whirlwind football trip to Florida so that he could play in the all-star game and showcase his football talent to scouts.
“We showed up at like 2 p.m. on a Thursday and we had one practice on Thursday, and then we had a practice the next day, and then it was game time. So we only had two practices for about two hours apiece to know everybody,” Ratcliff said.
On top of practice, Blue-Grey players attend multiple meetings per day to go over game plans and to learn about life in college football. Seven of the coaches on the Grey team had some NFL experience, and many of the players had already made college commitments.
“We got to play with some really good guys. We got a lot of coaching and I got a good look at what college is going to be like,” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff says he could declare his college football commitment as early as next week, but declined to offer any hints on where he may go.