Itís hard to connect with the quiet kid you see. Granted, there is no mold for someone who has 4.4 speed and a 40-inch vertical leap and who also can bench 300-plus pounds and throw a football 50 yards from his knees. On paper Pryor is a giant, but one who is so well-proportioned and fluid his size doesnít register. So when he offers me a doughnut, what looked like a doughnut hole between his massive thumb and index finger becomes a large vanilla frosted in my hand. "How long have you been palming a basketball?"
"Been a while," he says.
"When did you first dunk it?"
"Wonít it hurt to give basketball up?"
His brow furrows. "Maybe Iíll walk on my junior year at Ohio State. No way now. Iím watching game film Coach Tress [OSUís Tressel] sent me all day, studying diagrams, plays, coverages. So much to learn."
There are real questions as to whether Pryor can handle the transitionnot to the NCAAís Division I but to the second string. Ohio State already has Todd Boeckman, a sixth-year-senior quarterback who led the team to the brink of a national championship this past season, and Pryor has shown next to no tolerance for playing second fiddle: After a freshman year spent at wide receiver (Jeannette had a star senior quarterback), Pryor had his bags packed for Floridaís Arlington Country Day School (one of several elite prep schools offering a basketball scholarship) until Hall and Jayhawk head coach Ray Reitz convinced him late that summer that he could star in both basketball and football in Jeannette.
"Terrelle, youíve been the man your whole life," I say. "How are you going to handle the bench?"
"The bench?" Pryorís expression changes: First thereís the stunned deer, then the hunter ready to gun Bambi downthe kid has given up one of his two loves so he could shine in the other. "I canít believe I wonít be playing basketball next year," he says, biting hard on his pinky naila strange, LeBron-like habit he displays in pressure situations. "I was watching the NCAA tourney last month. Guys I used to own in AAU were getting 20, 25 points a game." He grabs the doughnut bag, swivels his chair, and shoots the bag into a garbage can, quoting the latest LeBron James TV ad: "I wonít be on the bench."
After four years of Friday-night miracles, games in which Pryor went literally untouched, in which the Jeannette Jayhawks would score at will from anywhere on the field (on 7 of the first 10 plays in one contest), in which the Mercy Ruleno clock stoppage once a 35-point lead is hitkicked in (14 of 16 his senior year) and Pryor pulled himself out, usually in the third quarter, there is no doubt in Pennsylvania that he will soon be starting every Saturday at OSU. The only debates here are about when heíll be playing football on Sundays, in the NFL. Some insist he wonít spend a senior year in Columbus, others that heíll stay to collect a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy (or two) on his way to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.