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Record holder Kinnaird bolts for Oklahoma State

Some time between a Big Ten Indoor Track and Field championship and last week, Tre’tez Kinnaird lost his confidence.

Now he’s leaving Bloomington to find it.

The Indiana runner announced last week that he will transfer to Oklahoma State, leaving a program where he set three school records and also became a conference champion in the 800 meters. Kinnaird insists it was not a hasty decision, rather it was the build up from several months of displeasure and unhappiness at Indiana.

“I just felt that I really wasn’t happy here,” Kinnaird told The Herald-Times. “That’s honestly, overall, the main factor. I don’t want to talk negative about the program, because that’s the last thing I’m trying to do. I appreciated everything the program has done for me to get to where I am today, but I felt like, on both sides, there’s a lot of miscommunication. I felt like it was time for me to make a change.”

Kinnaird said there were a few incidents that soured his Indiana experience but declined to provide specifics. Through an IU spokesman, track and field coach Ron Helmer declined to comment.

“Indiana University will not comment on kids that aren’t on teams anymore,” assistant director for media relations Jeremy Rosenthal said. “We wish Tre’tez the best.”

Kinnaird was one of the few apparent bright spots in a program that appears on an uneven course. Following an eighth-place finish by the men and a ninth-place finish from the women at the 2014 Big Ten outdoor championships, Helmer removed associate head coach Jeff Huntoon and throws coach Jermaine Jones, who had each been part of his staff since he took control of Indiana’s program in 2007. (more…)

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Former Hoosiers advance in Tournament

CHICAGO — Former Indiana University men’s basketball standouts Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford paced Armored Athlete into the Super 17 of The Basketball Tournament with a 91-73 win over Reach1Teach1 Sunday in the Midwest Regional at DePaul University’s McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The event, which offers a $1 million prize to the winner, concludes with the semifinals and finals in New York City on Aug. 1-2.

Armored Athlete is just two more wins away from reaching that point after Sunday’s victory, its second of the weekend. The first game saw AA win 98-86 over Chicago Elite on Saturday night with Hulls contributing 23 points and six assists, while Watford had 18 points and seven rebounds.

On Sunday, Hulls had 16 points and nine assists, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, and Watford added 18 points and nine rebounds. They are expected to be joined by former Hoosier teammate Will Sheehey next weekend. Sheehey was unavailable this weekend while playing in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Armored Athlete’s regional semifinal foe will be the Illinois Hoopville Warriors, who topped the One Chicago squad that featured former Hoosiers Deandre Thomas and Jamarcus Ellis.

The Ants Alumni team is one of Armored Athlete’s potential opponents should both reach the regional final next week and includes former Hoosier Rod Wilmont on its roster. Wilmont averaged 19.5 points during two wins in Chicago.

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Sudfeld staying busy in the spotlight #iufb

There are roughly 30 ideas that Nate Sudfeld wants to fit into a five-minute speech.

That, he realizes, won’t be possible. So to craft the perfect words ahead of his address at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon on July 31, Sudfeld is trying to whittle down his topics of choice to only a few bullet points. He wants to touch on his humanitarian trips to Uganda and the value of perspective. He also wants to make known his affection for the Big Ten.

There are a lot of things Sudfeld has to say. There’s also, he’ll tell you, a lot he has to be thankful for ahead of his senior season as Indiana’s quarterback.

“I’m very humbled and honored to get that opportunity,” Sudfeld said at Sunday’s Change The Play camp, which was hosted at Mellencamp Pavilion by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. “As I’m writing the speech it’s kind of difficult to make it all concise within a 5ish-minute speech. I’m excited about it and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s such an honor to represent not only IU, but the Big Ten Conference, which I think is the best conference in America.”

The Big Ten spotlight is beginning to shift in Sudfeld’s direction as he prepares to reclaim the starting quarterback role after missing the final six games of last season with a separated shoulder. Sudfeld enters the year on preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, which recognizes the nation’s top player, and the Wuerffel Trophy for community service. His reach is also extending outside the college game.

Sudfeld seemed to make a positive impression at last weekend’s Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., where he had the opportunity to speak and work with Peyton and Eli Manning, along with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. (more…)

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Holt learning the benefits of summer workouts

A year ago, Emmitt Holt didn’t have the benefit of time.

It was a rush to get him enrolled, on campus and acclimated to the world of Indiana basketball after he gave coach Tom Crean his commitment a week before the fall semester began. He moved from upstate New York to Bloomington, jumped into a new locker room and pushed to keep pace with a team that was already beginning to gel after a five-game trip to Montreal.

Now, with offseason workouts beginning to yield results, Holt recognizes what he missed last summer.

“I feel like it would have helped a lot, to be honest,” Holt said Thursday. “… but we had to work with what we had.”

This time last year, Holt was planning for a year of prep school in Vermont, but a breakout summer on the AAU circuit put him on Indiana’s radar. Needing size and depth, Crean and assistant Chuck Martin wooed him to commit and Holt arrived looking to play a game of catch-up. But by the end of last season, after appearing in 29 games off the bench, averaging 3.6 points and shooting 65 percent from the floor, Holt turned himself into a valuable member of Crean’s thin frontcourt rotation. With a full summer at Cook Hall, Holt sees an opportunity for more production this winter.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore says he’s added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame and is up to 230 pounds. He’s working on diversifying his game, adding a long-range shot and developing ball-handling skills for his left hand so that he can join IU’s flurry of drive-and-kick attacks.

That work, Holt says, is paying off. But he also sees how the urgency to get better has swept across the Indiana locker room.

“The work ethic is definitely there,” Holt said. “The freshmen are still learning, but they’re feeding off the upperclassmen. The upperclassmen are getting in the gym — always in there, Nick (Zeisloft) being one of the main guys that are in there. Rob (Johnson), Yogi (Ferrell), Troy Williams, all of them. They’re just getting in there and getting extra work because they know champions are made in the offseason.”

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Schwarber expected to rejoin Cubs on Friday #iubase

When the Chicago Cubs called up Kyle Schwarber last month to serve as a designated hitter during a run through interleague play, the former Indiana star knew his stay in the big leagues would be short. Once the Cubs’ need for a DH was no longer necessary, Schwarber knew he was headed back to the minors.

But after being optioned to Iowa on June 21, Schwarber found his stay in Triple-A to be nearly as brief.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs will recall Schwarber in time for Friday’s second-half opener at Atlanta. The move comes a week after catcher Miguel Montero injured his thumb prior to the All-Star break, prompting speculation of Schwarber’s possible return. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com says Montero is expected to be sidelined until rosters expand in September, which could allow Schwarber to remain with the Cubs for the remainder of the season.

Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Schwarber is batting a combined .323 with 16 home runs, 49 RBIs and a 1.022 on-base plus slugging percentage. He supplied six RBIs over six games when the Cubs called him up last month, going 4-for-5 in his first major league start on June 17 against the Cleveland Indians. Schwarber was named the MVP of Sunday’s Futures Game in Cincinnati after hitting a two-run triple and throwing out a runner attempting to steal second base.

How much time Schwarber sees at catcher is unclear. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs are expected to continue carrying three catchers, including David Ross and Taylor Teagarden.

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More preseason honors arrive for Howard, Sudfeld

Nate Sudfeld has already received preseason recognition for his impact as Indiana’s quarterback. Now, new running back Jordan Howard is receiving praise, too.

On Thursday, Howard was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top running back. Howard’s nomination comes a year after former IU running back Tevin Coleman was selected as a finalist.

It also comes a day after Sudfeld picked up another preseason nod, joining the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which serves as a community service award for college football. Sudfeld was previously named to the Maxwell Award watch list.

Howard, who missed much of spring practice with a hyperextended elbow, is expected to be the Hoosiers’ starting running back come the fall. The UAB transfer ranks second nationally among active running backs with 451 attempts and 107.3 rushing yards per game since the start of 2013. Howard was a First Team All-Conference USA honoree last season after rushing for a UAB single-season record 1,587 yards on 306 carries with 13 touchdowns. Those numbers were good for seventh nationally with 132.3 rushing yards per contest.

On Nov. 18, 10 semifinalists will be named before a trio of finalists are revealed on Nov. 24.

IU right guard Dan Feeney has also been the recipient of preseason hype, having been named to the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award.

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Kelzer hopes returning to IU keeps his stock on the rise

In one year, Jake Kelzer’s stock jumped 249 slots and eight rounds in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. By the next time an organization comes calling, the Indiana right-hander hopes to go even higher.

After the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 14th round of last month’s draft, Kelzer announced Tuesday that he will not sign a professional contract. Instead, he’ll return to IU for his junior season and aim to build on a resume that continues to trend upward.

In doing so, Kelzer wants to be one of the catalysts in helping the Hoosiers sustain their recent run of success.

“One of the main factors was definitely coming back and being able to prove to myself that I can be a top-10 rounder, and to be able to come back and bring this team back to Omaha,” said Kelzer, a former Bloomington South star who was also selected in the 22nd round by the New York Yankees in 2014. “We’ve proven that we have the skills, we have the people and we definitely have the coaching to get back there and I want to be part of that.”

Kelzer’s return gives Indiana some pitching stability after its staff was hit hard both by the draft and natural attrition. Senior relievers Ryan Halstead (San Francisco Giants) and Luke Harrison (St. Louis Cardinals), along with underclassmen pitchers Scott Effross (Chicago Cubs) and Christian Morris (New York Yankees) are all out of the program.

That will leave Kelzer and redshirt senior Kyle Hart as the go-to arms for IU coach Chris Lemonis in 2016. While his role for next season has yet to be decided, Kelzer has been used in a variety of roles since leaving the swimming pool and joining the baseball team’s active roster two years ago. He was featured both as a weekend starter and reliever last season, when 11 of his 17 appearances came as a stater and he led Indiana with 73 innings and finished with 57 strikeouts. (more…)

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