For high school athletes, to get a Division I offer from an SEC school is great, but getting two from the same school is even better.
Such is the case for Parklane Academy’s Jacob Gazzo, who recently wrangled in both basketball and baseball offers from Ole Miss. But arguably the most interesting aspect about this is his age. Gazzo isn’t even yet a sophomore year.
“It was so crazy, it blew my mind and it is everything that I worked for,” he said. “All of the hard work, it came true and it was just a great opportunity.”
The first offer came from Rebels’ head basketball coach Kermit Davis, who stgarted his coaching career started at Southwest Mississippi Community College. Gazzo attended a camp at Ole Miss put on by Davis, who noticed Gazzo’s potential.
“He saw my talent and he wanted me to come to a camp with all of the top talent in the state and he really liked me and it just went on from there,” he said.
Gazzo said the offer caught him caught off guard.
“I was at a pitching lesson and I was in a parking lot and I called Coach Kermit Davis and they offered me a scholarship,” he said.
Two weeks after getting the basketball offer, Gazzo was delivered the news that the Rebel baseball team also wanted him to join.
“I was at a baseball tournament in Atlanta and we had just gotten done with the game and then right when we left the field, (Assistant) Coach (Carl) Lafferty called me and we talked for a while and he said that we are offering you a scholarship to Ole Miss,” he said. “It was just crazy and I was so excited about it.”
Gazzo said he also has received a baseball offer from Georgia State and has recently gained interest in baseball from other schools such as Auburn and Texas A&M.
As far as making it work with a student athlete playing two different sports that may overlap each other, it is something that the coaches are willing to work with. Gazzo said Lafferty knew of the basketball offer and the baseball offer came after communication between the two coaching staffs.
“He was in contact with the basketball offices and they are both on the same page and fine with me doing both,” he said.
Getting both offers gave Gazzo mixed feelings of relief and pressure.
“It’s really both because it is everything that you worked for and you still work for the offer and it is great that you have it and it is in your hands but it is also added pressure because you have to live up to the scholarship offer that you got,” he said.
For the past few seasons, Gazzo has shined both on the diamond and the court for the Pioneers. He is looked upon as one of the leaders on the basketball team, where he plays the post positions, and on the baseball field, where he pitches and plays first base.
Gazzo is thankful for the Parklane coaching staffs and his teammates helping him succeed.
“My coaches and my teammates, they are the ones that got me to this point,” he said. “I’d like to thank God and everybody for helping me. Parklane, it is so great playing there, and I have enjoyed my time, this whole time and it has been a great experience there.”
Parklane basketball coach Josh Bass is proud of Gazzo getting the offers, especially at such a young age.
“I told Jacob that it was just a matter of time before the colleges started calling and knocking on his door and making offers,” he said. “We’ve known since he was a seventh-grader that it was coming. He shows the potential to be a Division I-caliber athlete in every sport and has been since the seventh grade. It didn’t surprise me but I was excited to hear the news.”
Pioneer baseball coach Robert Young said it’s a tremendous honor for him.
“I think that it is big for him and big for our school. I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Young said. “It is a huge offer and he is a special young man. He comes to practice and works for everything he has gotten. I just think it goes back and shows his work ethic. And God has blessed him with some tremendous ability.”
Trying to balance playing both basketball and baseball is nothing new for Gazzo. When he is not suiting up for the Pioneers he also plays travel ball in both sports.
“I play for the SBG Sox out of Jackson and we travel around to play in tournaments so we can get exposure to college coaches,” he said. “At the Miami showcase, I went on my own to that one. It was great and they had MLB scouts at that one.”