American Eagles lose top player to MLB

June, 10, 2011
6/10/11
1:42
PM ET
Junior forward Stephen Lumpkins, the projected top returning scorer and rebounder for American, will forgo his senior season and sign a contract with the Kansas City Royals after being selected in the 13th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft this week, the school announced.

American won 22 games behind star senior Vlad Moldoveanu this season, and big things were expected of Lumpkins after averaging 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds and compiling the best field goal percentage in the Patriot League.

But as a 6-foot-8 left-handed pitcher, Lumpkins might have found his calling after being drafted for a second straight year despite American not fielding a varsity team. Lumpkins still went in the 42nd round to the Pittsburgh Pirates last year and then pitched in a college summer league to keep working at his craft.

According to the Washington Post, Lumpkins impressed at a pre-draft workout and decided to make the jump after the Royals agreed to pay for his final year of college. He will report to the Royals' rookie-league team next week.

"It was definitely a tough decision," Lumpkins told the paper. "But the opportunity to play professional baseball was something I've always wanted to do and I couldn’t pass it up."

"We thank him for the three years of hard work he gave our program," coach Jeff Jones said in a statement. "We wish him well."

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