Lucas O'Rear, Northern Iowa Forward, Selected in MLB Draft
The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Northern Iowa forward, who helped the Panthers upset tournament favorite Kansas on the way to a Cinderella Sweet 16 run, was selected as a pitcher in the 13th round of the Major League draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
O'Rear, whose physique and sideburns could both be described as massive, and became something of a March Madness icon, might have seemed like an unlikely choice as the Panthers no longer have a baseball program.
However, O'Rear, who pitched for the Panthers as a sophomore, was a talented enough pitcher that he was invited to Perfect Game USA's 2010 Pre-Draft Showcase. According to the game's scouting report, O'Rear throws in the low 90s, however, reports after the game indicated O'Rear's velocity was down due to a lack of preparation, after the basketball season ran unexpectedly long for the Panthers.
O'Rear, a junior, told the GazetteOnline.com he likely planned to pursue his senior year in basketball and follow his baseball career afterward.
As a sophomore, O'Rear made 10 appearances for the Panthers and struck out 15 batters in 17 1/3 innings, with a 4.67 ERA.