Schwarber earns Futures Game MVP in happy homecoming

CINCINNATI — He knows the park well from a childhood spent 40 miles away. As a kid, Kyle Schwarber came to Cincinnati Reds games and sat in the stands of Great American Ballpark, marveling at the size of the field, the height of the upper deck and the stage of big league baseball that enchanted the boy from Middletown.

This is home, and it certainly felt that way on Sunday.

It’s where more than 100 friends and family members gathered for the 2015 MLB Futures Game to watch Schwarber, the former Indiana All-American, swing his bat like a cudgel and add yet another personal milestone to a growing list of achievements in the last year. Schwarber slugged a two-run triple, he threw out a runner trying to steal second base and he earned the Larry Doby MVP Award after helping Team USA to a 10-1 win over the World Futures before an announced sellout crowd of 43,661.

The Chicago Cubs prospect received the loudest cheers of the day, boosted by a large personal fan club and a fan base that recognized the special occasion for what it was: a celebration of a local star and civic pride.

“It was cool to be able to have friends and family out there to experience it with me,” Schwarber said. “It was a lot different (being on the field). I was like, ‘Hmmm, this place looks a lot smaller when I’m on it.’ To be honest, I like being on the field a lot better than being in the stands. Hopefully I’ll get to play here a little bit more down the road.” (more…)


Report: IU to host Austin Peay in Maui Invitational opening round

Add another non-conference game to Indiana’s upcoming basketball schedule.

According to a pair of reports out of Tennessee (here and here), IU will host Austin Peay in the opening round of the Maui Invitational on Monday, Nov. 16 at Assembly Hall. Austin Peay is one of four opening round teams — joining Cal Poly, UMBC and Northern Colorado — invited to compete in campus-site games prior to the championship round bracket commencing in Maui on Nov. 23. IU, Kansas, St. John’s, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest will each host games against one of the four opening round teams before leaving for the championship round, hosted by Chaminade.

Austin Peay (8-22, 3-13) finished last season ranked No. 318 in the rankings, closing with losses in nine of its final 10 games. The Governors expect to return three starters, including 6-foot-8 center Chris Horton, who led the Ohio Valley Conference with 11.1 rebounds per game and posted a team-best 13.1 points per contest.

Indiana’s non-conference schedule, meanwhile, is beginning to fill up. IU has signed game contracts with McNeese State and Kennesaw State to go with three other in-season events. The Hoosiers will host Creighton on Thursday, Nov. 19 in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games and will travel to Duke for an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 2. IU will also face Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

According to an open records request filed by the Indiana Daily Student last month, Morehead State has also agreed to a game at Assembly Hall on Dec. 5.

Indiana also knows its conference matchups for next season, though dates and times have not been announced. IU will have home-and-home matchups with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Hoosiers will host home-only games against Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue, and travel for road-only matchups with Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Rutgers.

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Keep an eye on Kyle Schwarber this weekend

Kyle Schwarber will once again represent the Chicago Cubs in a big league ballpark this weekend, and USA Today’s For The Win says the former Indiana star is the No. 1 player to watch when the MLB Futures Game begins Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.

Schwarber continues to live up to the hype that has followed since the Cubs drafted him No. 4 overall in the 2014 Amateur Draft. In 75 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Schwarber is batting .323 with 16 home runs, 35 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and an outstanding 1.022 OPS this season. The Cubs gave him a cup of coffee with the parent club last month and Schwarber didn’t disappoint.

He supplied six RBIs in six games for Chicago, which brought him up to serve as a designated hitter during an interleague run through Cleveland and Minnesota. Schwarber collected eight hits in 22 at-bats (.364), including a 4-for-5 effort in his first major league start on June 17 against the Indians.

The Cubs sent him to Iowa at the end of that week so that he could continue to work on his skills behind the plate. His bat is clearly big-league ready, which prompted For The Win to single out the former All-American atop its list of seven players to watch at Sunday’s Futures Game:

As a lefty-hitting catcher with power, Schwarber could provide the Cubs a ton of value in the near future. He’s not known for his defense behind the plate and he saw time in the outfield in the minors last season, but the idea of adding his bat to an offense that already includes Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant should frighten NL Central pitchers.

The Futures Game will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday and you can watch the broadcast on MLB Network. We’ll also be on site at Great American Ballpark to bring home the latest on Schwarber straight from the man himself.


Feeney named to Outland Trophy watch list

Another preseason honor has rolled Dan Feeney’s way, the latest arriving as a spot on the Outland Trophy watch list.

The Football Writers Association of America released the watch list Friday morning for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the top offensive or defensive interior lineman in the country. Earlier this summer, Feeney was named a first team All-Big Ten selection and fourth team All-American on Phil Steele’s 2015 preseason team.

In 24 career starts at right guard — a span of 1,736 snaps — Feeney has allowed only one sack.

The Orland Park, Ill., native started all 12 games in 2014 and led the offensive line with 80 knockdowns. With running back Tevin Coleman storming out of the backfield, Indiana set a program single-season record with 3,163 rushing yards last season.

The watch list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 19. Three finalists will be named five days later. The winner will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 10.

Feeney is one of 11 Big Ten players named to the Outland watch list. You can view the full list after the jump. (more…)


IU reveals traveling party for Big Ten Media Days

The unofficial kickoff to college football season arrives next week with the madness and the beautiful brand of crazy that is SEC Media Days.

The Big Ten, whose event is considerably more understated, will follow later this month.

In preparation for the annual preseason shindig, the conference announced Thursday a list of athletes scheduled to attend the two-day event, which will be staged July 30 and 31 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. Quaterback Nate Sudfeld, left tackle Jason Spriggs and defensive lineman Adarius Rayner will represent Indiana.

Earlier this spring, the Big Ten announced plans to modify the structure of the event in order to facilitate more media coverage. Instead of cramming all 14 teams into one day of Q&A’s and podium time, the league is splitting the event into two days. Indiana is one of seven schools that will be featured on Thursday, followed by the other seven schools on Friday. Sudfeld and Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry will speak on behalf of the players during Friday’s annual Kickoff Luncheon.

IU, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin will be featured on Thursday morning, while Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Rutgers will wait until Friday.

A full list of player representatives scheduled to attend can be found after the jump. (more…)


A summer in the sand with IU basketball

Construction on a 30-by-40 foot sand pit placed neatly between Assembly Hall and Gladstein Fieldhouse began shortly after Lyonel Anderson was hired as Indiana’s new strength and conditioning coach in June.

A month later, the site has become one of the central areas of IU’s summer workouts.

That was Anderson’s plan when he pitched the idea to Indiana coach Tom Crean during his interview process. Anderson said he used to train in the sand while he was an NFL tight end bouncing between NFL practice squads and the arena league. Prior to taking the IU job, while he was working as the associate director of football sports performance at the University of Houston, Anderson led athletes to Eleanor Tinsley Park in the heart of Houston to guide them through the same brand of sand workouts that he admired as a player.

And, early in his Indiana tenure, Anderson’s sand workouts are beginning to take shape on 17th street.

“It’s a great biometric workout, core and mind, and I’m in it, too,” Anderson told reporters last month. “Every day, we’re going to use the sand as much as possible, you know, get the guys off the concrete, get them off the court, get them off just the regular things they’ve been doing and put them on that new stuff.”

A look into Anderson’s sand workouts appeared on Indiana’s men’s basketball Youtube account on Wednesday evening, giving us all a look at a barefoot basketball team on yet another overcast summer day in Bloomington.


D.J. White on Cavs summer league roster

Former Hoosier D.J. White was among those listed on the summer league roster for the Cleveland Cavaliers when the team announced the lineup on Tuesday.

White and the Cavs will participate in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts Friday and runs through July 20.

The 6-foot-9 forward, who was drafted No. 29 overall in the first round of the 2009 2008 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and immediately traded to the former Seattle SuperSonics as they moved to Oklahoma City, last played in the NBA in 2014 for the Charlotte Bobcats. In addition to the Thunder and Bobcats, White also spent time with the Boston Celtics.

White spent one month last season with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria in Spain, then spent the rest of the season with the Fujian Sturgeons in China, where he averaged 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in 27 games.


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