Mar 25, 2020
Lucas O’Rear grew up in a baseball family and had to make a choice after high school. Should he play baseball, following in his dad, brother, and mom’s footsteps or does he play basketball? The deciding factor ended up being the opportunity to get a full-ride to play basketball and being given the chance to also play baseball for UNI. However, UNI dropped the baseball program after the 2009 season. Instead of transferring, O’Rear focused on basketball and made the most out of his opportunities, winning 6th Man of the Year in both 2009 and 2010. The most memorable part of that run was the win against Kansas and Ali’s shot. O’Rear had 3 points, 5 rebounds, and one air-balled free throw in 17 minutes.
As a two-sport college athlete, O’Rear had to make some major adjustments. Between college courses, D-I basketball, and committing to playing for Rick Heller, there were some major changes from high school in Nashville, IL. O’Rear had to find ways to throw a few times a week during basketball season and then use the first part of the season to get into baseball shape. In his one season of baseball at UNI, O’Rear was one of the standout players on the baseball team. When the Panther program was cut, transferring to Kansas and focusing just on baseball was an option. After sitting down with Coach Jacobson and his dad, O’Rear decided to stick to his commitment and play basketball at UNI.
O’Rear knew his future in sports was more likely on the diamond than the hardwood, and after his junior basketball season, he was asked to work out for scouts… with an 8th grade as his catcher. That led to opportunities to play with Perfect Game and other opportunities to be scouted. This led to a 13th round draft pick by the Reds and signing to play Rookie League before his senior basketball season. After graduating from UNI, O’Rear went on to play Rookie and A ball from 2010-2012.