CEDAR FALLS - Northern Iowa basketball standout Lucas O'Rear, a former right-handed hurler for his school's now-defunct baseball program, was drafted this afternoon in the 13th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
O'Rear, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior, was expected to be drafted late in the Major League Baseball draft -- perhaps as late as the 50th round. Thus, Tuesday's selection came as a pleasant surprise.
"I don't think it's really hit me yet," O'Rear said Tuesday, after a UNI basketball workout. "I was pretty surprised, and I'm happy."
O'Rear worked out with the Reds in Cincinnati on June 2.
In basketball, the Illinois native has won back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Sixth Man of the Year awards. He said Tuesday there is still a high likelihood he'll return to Cedar Falls next season and play his senior year of basketball with the Panthers. But O'Rear will consult with his father and UNI head coach Ben Jacobson before making a final decision.
O'Rear's father, Michael, briefly played in the St. Louis Cardinals orginazation years ago.
Being selected by the Reds will almost certainly affect O'Rear's offseason basketball training, possibly playing in the Prime Time League. That league starts next week in North Liberty.
"I don't think I'll be playing in that league," O'Rear said.
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