6/28 Like father, like son? Not quite

Shawon Dunston Jr., selected by the Cubs in the 11th round of the First-Year Player Draft, is still trying to decide whether to take advantage of a scholarship at Vanderbilt or play baseball. Shawon Jr.’s dad, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 1982, said his son has the potential to be a good ballplayer.

“He’s good,” Dunston said of his son. “He has all the skills, but he just needs to play.”

The decision now is school vs. baseball.

“He’s inbetween now,” Dunston said. “It’s 50-50.”

The family will sit down to talk about Shawon Jr.’s future but dad said he wants this to be his son’s decision.

“I’m leaving it up to him,” Dunston said. “He knows education is important, and he knows to be a Major League Baseball player he has to go through the Minor Leagues. We’re going to leave it up to him.”

Shawon Dunston was in town with the Giants. He works now as a coach. Son Shawon Jr. played center field, not shortstop like his dad, at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif. He’s the third of four children in the Dunston family. Older sister Whitney is at Howard University and Jasmine is at Tennessee State. The youngest, Ashley, is in high school.

Shawon Sr. played for Chicago from 1985-95, and returned in ’97. In 18 seasons in the big leagues, he batted .269 with 15 homers, 292 doubles and 62 triples. Anyone who watched Dunston remembers his strong throwing arm and acrobatic leaps at second. And his son?

“He throws pretty good,” Dunston said. “He’s a little more patient than me.”

Does his son have his dad’s arm?

“Not like mine — not yet,” Dunston said, laughing. “He’s good. He has the tools. He has to play.”

— Carrie Muskat


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