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Indiana waiting on draft decisions #iubase

Chris Lemonis entered the week knowing that he had at least a handful of guys likely to be selected in this year’s MLB Amateur Draft.

What he couldn’t be sure of, after two decades as a college baseball coach, is where they all would go.

“I thought some of our guys would go a little bit higher, but you can never figure out the draft,” the first-year Indiana coach said Friday. “That’s the one thing I’ve learned over the years. It shouldn’t surprise you if it doesn’t go the way you want. It can go in a lot of directions every year.”

By the end of Wednesday’s final day, Lemonis watched six of his players, not including two incoming junior college transfers, get picked between round Nos. 14-35. Heading into the weekend, he and the five players who have the ability to return to school next year are left to play a waiting game as contract negotiations begin and options are weighed.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Jake Kelzer (14th round, Chicago Cubs), junior pitcher Scott Effross (15th round, Chicago Cubs), junior pitcher Christian Morris (33rd round, New York Yankees), along with Wabash Valley College pitcher Travis Herrin (18th round, Los Angeles Angels) and Iowa Western outfielder Alex Krupa (35th round, Cincinnati Reds) are all eligible to play at Indiana next season should they decline to sign with their respective clubs.

Seniors Ryan Halstead (21st round, San Francisco Giants), Brad Hartong (29th round, Minnesota Twins) and Luke Harrison (35th round, St. Louis Cardinals) have not yet signed, but are expected to do so. The deadline for teams to sign draft picks is July 17, but Lemonis expects his program to have some sort clarity by the end of next week.

“We’re talking to them and trying to see where they’re at,” Lemonis said. “A lot of it depends on the organizations. So, for the most part, we’re at a standstill. We called and congratulated them and checked up on them a little bit, but for the most part, everything depends on what the organizations want to do.” (more…)

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New strength coach Anderson knows where he wants IU to go #iubb

There were always NFL dreams, visions of sticking around and making a mark on the league. Lyonel Anderson was good enough to reach football’s highest level as an undrafted free agent, bouncing from one temporary situation to another.

But even the best football careers are fleeting.

The former Kansas tight end floated from NFL practice squads to the arena league and, eventually, to an ongoing search for purpose. He found it back at Kansas nearly a decade ago, when he pursued his degree while sleeping on a former teammate’s couch, laying between a fortress of chairs erected to keep a pesky dog from licking his face at night.

He’d wake each day at 4 a.m., slide over to the campus gym an hour later and stay for 12 hours before completing his classwork late into the night. The football staff rewarded him with a position in their graduate assistant program and set Anderson on a path toward today.

It’s a journey that brought him to Bloomington as IU basketball’s newest strength and conditioning coach, to a corner office inside the team’s weight room in Cook Hall where Anderson can already visualize the Hoosiers’ future.

One week into his job, not long after leaving the University of Houston’s football staff to run his own strength program, Anderson knows where he wants this Indiana team to go.

“My vision is to be hard as nails, to win a bunch of games and to go back to Houston,” he said, referring to the site of this year’s Final Four. “I’m not talking about working with the Cougars. Hoosier Nation needs that, they want that and I understand that.” (more…)

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6 Hoosiers selected on final day of MLB Amateur Draft #iubase

Indiana waited two days for the first Hoosier to come off the board in this week’s MLB Amateur Draft. By the end of the third and final day, this year’s draft turned out to be one of the most fruitful in IU program history.

Six Indiana players, along with two junior college signees, saw their names called during the final rounds Wednesday. That includes right-handed pitchers Jake Kelzer and Scott Effross, who were taken in the 14th and 15th rounds by the Chicago Cubs. Closer Ryan Halstead went to the San Francisco Giants in the 21st round, catcher Brad Hartong went to the Minnesota Twins in the 29th round, right-hander Christian Morris was selected by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round and right-handed reliever Luke Harrison was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round.

The six Hoosiers taken marked the most IU players drafted in a single year since 2009, when a school-record seven players were selected. Indiana also saw six players drafted in 1996.

Incoming junior college signees Alex Krupa and Travis Herrin were also drafted on Wednesday. Herrin, a right-hander from Wabash Valley College, went to the Los Angeles Angels in the 18th round, and Krupa, an outfielder from Iowa Western, went to the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round. If those two, along with Kelzer, Effross and Morris, do not sign, they can play at IU next season.

The Cubs displayed a particular fondness for Hoosier arms, selecting Kelzer and Effross 30 picks apart early Wednesday afternoon.

Kelzer, a former Bloomington South standout, was selected by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round in 2014 but chose not to sign. Because he turned 21 years old during his draft month a year ago, Kelzer will be eligible for the draft as long as he remains at IU. He was selected with the No. 413 overall pick Wednesday after working to a 3.95 ERA over 17 appearances in 2015, including 11 starts. Over a team-high 73 innings, the 6-foot-8 right-hander allowed 65 hits, struck out 57 and walked 31. He held opposing batters to a .237 average while flashing a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s to complement a tough breaking ball. Kelzer earned his first save in the first game of a doublehealder with Ohio State on May 15, striking out a career-high seven batters in three innings. He was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection last season. (more…)

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Halstead to the Giants in 21st round, Hartong to the Twins in 29th round

The run on Indiana arms during Day 3 of the MLB Amateur Draft continued in the 21st round when the San Francisco Giants selected IU closer Ryan Halstead with the No. 636 overall pick.

This is the third — and final — time the senior right-hander has been drafted. The Houston Astros selected Halstead out of high school in the 36th round of the 2010 draft, and the Minnesota Twins picked him in the 26th round in 2013. Halstead leaves Bloomington as the program’s all-time leader with 33 saves, including 10 in 2015. Halstead became the first IU pitcher to make 100 career appearances when he earned a save while striking out two batters against Long Beach State on May 10. As a junior in 2013, Halstead broke his own Indiana record with 11 saves on the way to IU’s first appearance in the College World Series.

Halstead, who redshirted the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in the Hoosiers’ home opener, made 29 appearances as a senior in 2015. He worked to a 2.59 ERA, scattering 34 hits over 41 2/3 innings. With a fastball that sits in the low 90s, Halstead struck out 55 and walked only six, while holding batters to a .219 average.

Halstead is a native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

UPDATE 3:48 p.m.:
Indiana catcher Brad Hartong became the fourth Hoosier selected Wednesday, going to the Minnesota Twins in the 29th round. A member of the All-Big Ten Tournament Team after leading IU with nine total bases and four runs scored, Hartong was selected to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List as a senior in 2015. He batted .303 with 13 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBIs. After transferring to Indiana from Cypress College prior to the 2014 season, Hartong batted .307 with five home runs and 64 RBIs during his two seasons in Bloomington. Hartong was a First Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2014.

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IU soccer adds Wedderburn, will play at Toyota Park

The Indiana men’s soccer team announced the addition of freshman Rees Wedderburn to the 2015 recruiting class on Wednesday. The attacking midfielder and British national currently plays for the West Bromwich Albion U-21 team, making 20 appearances in 2014-15.

The Hoosiers also will be one of six men’s teams to play Northwestern at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire, this fall due to renovations at the Wildcats’ home field.

Here’s the full release on Wedderburn:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana head men’s soccer coach Todd Yeagley announced today that Rees Wedderburn will continue his soccer career at IU, beginning his freshman season in the fall of 2015.

“We are very excited to add Rees to our soccer program,” Yeagley said. “He most recently competed with the U21 West Brom Academy team. He has been playing at a very high level and will bring a confidence and sophistication that very few incoming freshman possess.”

Wedderburn, a British national, currently plays for the West Bromwich Albion U21s, previously competing for the squad’s U18 side. In 2012-13 he made 27 appearances with the U18s, scoring eight goals. He added six goals in 21 appearances in 2013-14. In 2014-15 he has made 20 appearances with the U21 team.

“Rees is a dynamic attacker who we expect to make an immediate impact within our team next fall,” Yeagley added. “His ability to beat players off the dribble and pass will provide additional firepower to our attack. Rees can also play in a variety of roles within our attacking shape giving us tactical flexibility and increased mobility.”

A left-footed attacking midfielder, Wedderburn has spent his youth career with West Bromwich Albion since the age of 12. His youth tournament experience includes making the final of the Aspire on Qatar, falling 2-1 to Benfica. He also finished third in a Premier League tournament with West Brom.

Wedderburn is a graduate of Deansfield Community School in Wolverhampton.

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Chicago Cubs draft Jake Kelzer, Scott Effross early on Day 3 #iubase

On the final day of the MLB Amateur Draft, the Chicago Cubs displayed a fondness for Hoosier arms.

The Cubs selected former Bloomington South standout Jake Kelzer in the 14th round before swinging back and taking Scott Effross in the 15th round. Both Kelzer and Effross can return to IU next season if they do not sign with Chicago.

Kelzer, who was selected by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round in 2014, worked to a 3.95 ERA over 17 appearances in 2015, including 11 starts. Over a team-high 73 innings, the 6-foot-8 right-hander allowed 65 hits, struck out 57 and walked 31. He held opposing batters to a .237 average while flashing a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and a tough breaking ball. Kelzer earned his first save in the first game of a doublehealder with Ohio State on May 15, striking out a career-high seven batters in three innings.He was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection last season. Kelzer will be eligible for the draft as long as he remains at Indiana because he turned 21 years old during his draft month in 2014.

Effross could have been a candidate to be selected during the latter rounds on Day 2. The right-hander has pitched in every role during his three seasons at Indiana, working as a starter and middle-, late-inning reliever in 2015. Effross appeared in 21 games, starting seven, while posting a 2.35 ERA. He scattered 50 hits over 61 1/3 innings, while striking out 51 and walking only nine. Opposing batters hit only .217 against the Ohio native. Effross also has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, along with a changeup and a slider. Effross was outstanding down the stretch. Out of the bullpen in IU’s NCAA Tournament loss to No.1 Vanderbilt, Effross retired 10 of his first 12 batters and 16 of 20 for the game.

The draft runs through the 40th round on Wednesday evening. The Hoosiers have a handful of players who could possibly be taken, though right-hander Ryan Halstead and left-hander Kyle Hart remain the most likely to hear their names called on Wednesday. Iowa Western outfield transfer Alex Krupa, along with incoming freshman outfielder Luke Miller, could also be selected in the latter rounds.

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Lyonel Anderson hired as IU basketball strength coach #iubb

Indiana announced Wednesday that Lyonel Anderson will oversee the strength and conditioning program for the basketball program. (Courtesy)

Indiana announced Wednesday that Lyonel Anderson will oversee the strength and conditioning program for the basketball program. (Courtesy)

Indiana coach Tom Crean took the next step toward filling his coaching staff on Wednesday, officially announcing the hiring of Lyonel Anderson as head strength and conditioning coach.

Anderson, who replaces Je’Ney Jackson and interim coach Chris Virtue, returns to IU after working with the Hoosiers’ football program as an assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2012-13. Anderson most recently worked with the University of Houston football program.

“I’m extremely excited to work for a great coach like Tom Crean,” Anderson said in a statement. “This is like my Super Bowl. Every day I will have the opportunity to work with elite level athletes and elite level young men. I can not thank Coach enough for allowing me to be a part of this program.”

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Anderson played tight end at Alfred State College before transfering to Kansas after his sophomore year. With the Jayhawks, he caught 43 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns in 21 career games from 2003-04. He later signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals and was a member of the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad. Anderson also played for the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush.

He began his career in strength and conditioning as a graduate assistant at Kansas in 2008, when he also served as a season intern with the Denver Broncos. Anderson was also an assistant strength coach at Youngstown State and Rice prior to joining the IU football program.

“Lyonel has coached and played at a high level and with great success,” Crean said in a statement. “Those who have worked with him and know him have nothing but the highest praise for him personally and professionally. He is well respected and developed a great rapport with everyone during his visit here.” (more…)

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