No, Franklin Now All-Suburban basketball player Max Alba is not going to make a decision just yet about what is his favorite sport.
Because he's simply having too much fun yet.
The junior Alba, who led the Saber football team to the WIAA state division 1 finals as a Now All-Suburban and all-state level quarterback, said he'll make a decision sometime but not just yet.
Because just as he went from the state football finals on a Friday afternoon and into basketball practice the following Monday, he has dovetailed right into his traveling baseball team, Prospect Training Academy out of Oak Creek, where he is famed for his 90-mph-plus fastball.
That versatility has collegiate coaches from all three sports clamoring after the lean and strong 6-5 Alba for good reason.
No single-minded specialization for Alba just yet.
"Even at a young age, I was always competitive," he said, noting that he competes as much for good grades in the classroom as he does for wins on the field. "What I like about hoops as compared to football, it's so easy to get in there and be part of the action right away. Just get in there and compete."
Which is one of second year Franklin hoops' coach Tyler Podoll's driving mantras, as he continued his resurrection project with the Sabers as they turned in an 18-7 WIAA regional title season.
Alba showed versatility
Alba was Franklin's main scoring machine as he could find his shot at will (53 percent from the field), scoring at an 18.6 points per game clip. He hit 65 percent of his free throws (77-119) and drained 21 3-pointers. He was the team's leading rebounder with 195 (8.1 per game) and had added 24 assists and 27 blocked shots.
Alba was also a first team All-Southeast Conference selection.
"He used his height and athleticism to provide us with great offensive punch," said Podoll, "but the best thing he provided us with was his poise. He never got rattled. His versatility also allowed us to move others into better positions. He's unique. We only see him during the season (November to March), because he gives 100 percent to whatever sport he's in, but he gets to a high level very quickly because of his aptitude, intelligence and ability."
The aptitude and intelligence were on display during the football season, for as he was leading the Sabers with his laser-beam throws to touchdown after touchdown, he would occasionally take just a little time to loosen up the basketball muscles.
"Partway through (the fall) I start dribbling and shooting a little bit," he said. "Just getting myself warmed up a little."
From gridiron to hardwood
As noted, he didn't waste any time getting back into hoops.
"I needed to get back in there immediately," he said. "I decided that if I was going to do this I had to get out there right away."
He said fellow football to basketball players such as receiver Ethan Wittenburg helped make the process work.
But he noted that the prime mover in the Sabers' success this winter was Podoll.
"He just brings a real intensity," said Alba. "It just makes us all play a little harder. ... We were encouraged by what we had back, but we didn't know what to expect, how good we would be. After a certain point we started to write our own rules.
"I met with (Podoll, in the off-season), and you could see his passion. He told me what I could to do help the team fulfill its goals. I worked on a lot of things especially my outside shooting. Last year, I was just known as a guy who could drive to the basket, but after I developed my shot I made myself more of a threat both inside and out."
Alba's hot stretch
The turning point came after a lost weekend with a tight loss to Southeast Conference champ Oak Creek and then a nonconference defeat to Kettle Moraine Lutheran. Franklin would then rip off nine wins in a row, as Alba averaged 17.5 ppg. in that stretch, including games of 21 points against Racine Horlick, 22 against Racine Park and 26 against Racine Case.
"We got two-three games in a row and then we started to think we we could do a little damage in the (WIAA) playoffs," said Alba.
And they did, the tough-minded road win over rival Creek will live with Alba for sometime as will the entire arch of this season, which he found extremely enjoyable.
"It was a blast this year," he said. "When we were rolling it was a lot of fun and we spent a lot of time together as a team. We bonded well and it became easier (to get everything done).
"And to win an exciting, close game like that (against Creek) in the regional made it even better."
But as noted, no decisions are ahead yet for Alba. He's looking forward to baseball and then to football again (where he'll likely have dreams of a state title) and then he'll think about helping Podoll and the hoops program reach even higher next winter.
"That's right," he said. "We want to keep this thing moving forward."