Mo'ne becomes national star … so, what's next?

Mo'ne becomes national star … so, what's next?

August 22, 2014, 8:00 am

Mo'ne Davis and Taney became the biggest story in Philadelphia this summer. (AP)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- A week ago, she became the first girl to ever pitch a shutout at the Little League World Series.

Since then, she’s graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, appeared on ESPN multiple times and has fielded tweets and phone calls from everyone from Michelle Obama to Geno Auriemma.

So what’s next for Mo’ne Davis?

“The world’s her oyster, right?” manager Alex Rice said after the loss that eliminated Taney from the tournament. “I don’t know. It’s a good question. Mo’ne will shape her own future, and it’s going to be terrific. She’s going to have a great future. She’s going to dictate exactly what it is.”

If that’s the case, Davis will do her best to eventually get into UConn and play for Auriemma’s storied women’s basketball team. Baseball, as we all know now, is Davis’ second sport. Her first love is basketball, and that’s apparent in the way she speaks about both sports, as well as the way she dresses for both sports. Davis attends baseball practices head to toe in branded basketball gear.

College, though, is still five years away for the 13-year-old Davis. She’s got a lot of life to live before it’s time to fill out applications and scope out prospective basketball programs.

What she won’t be able to do is play in the Little League World Series again; she will have aged out of eligibility. What, then, is left for her to conquer in a sport she considers a runner up?

On Thursday, Ryan Howard praised Davis’ ability to play the game with the best of the kids her age. Governor Tom Corbett, who came to Williamsport to watch her play last week, wondered aloud whether she could one day play professionally. He thinks she could.

He’s not alone, but there’s no guarantee Davis will even continue to play baseball beyond this summer. She’s no longer working toward any kind of goal in the sport.

Her coach, however, believes there’s a good chance the world hasn’t seen the last of the girl with the long braids and deadly accuracy on the mound.

“I think she will,” Rice said. “I think she will before she zeroes in on UConn and her college career at UConn. She’ll keep playing. Not just with my group, but her other rec center team … I haven’t seen them in months, and we miss them terribly.

“I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t want to go back to them and the other kids. I think she’ll still play.”

Whether or not she does, Davis' achievements here won't soon be forgotten. She commanded more attention than any other participant in this week’s tournament, and was the only player with a body guard and a line of autograph seekers at every turn.

There were signs in the crowd every night, even when she wasn't pitching. The crowds cheered louder for her than any other player.

She impressed everyone with her maturity and ability to endure the endless attention and stay composed despite it, helping her team win 4-0 in its first game -- something Rice called his highlight of the entire experience.

“I knew she was terrific beforehand,” Rice said. “And what she just went to just cements what an amazing young lady she is.”

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