Press "Enter" to skip to content

The next step: former ORU stars strive for success in the game of life

Former ORU pitcher Alex Gonzalez became the eighth ORU baseball player to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft on June 6.

Gonzalez, the 2013 Southland Pitcher of the Year, was selected 23rd overall by the Texas Rangers and signed with the team on June 10.

He is the only ORU player to be selected in the first round since Bob Zupcic was drafted by the Red Sox in 1987.

Gonzalez was placed on the Spokane Indians, a Class A farm team for the Texas Rangers. Gonzalez started nine games for the Indians before being moved down to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a Class Advanced A farm team.

ORU baseball coach Ryan Folmar said of Gonzalez, “He has worked so hard for us the past three years and is deserving of this opportunity.”

Gonzalez spent three years as a member of ORU’s pitching squad. He earned 23 wins throughout his ORU career and his 292 strikeouts ranks fourth in ORU history.

In his final year at ORU, he recorded 126 strikeouts with a career low 1.83 ERA.

Former ORU star, Jaci Bigham, will return to the bench for the 2013-14 season. Bigham, who graduated in May, has taken the Director of Player Development position for the ORU Women’s Basketball team. Bigham noted that the role Coach Misti Cussen entrusted to her this past year would make her transition to the staff a smooth one.

“She trusted me and really gave me a lot of freedom to do that,” Bigham said. “It will definitely have its differences, but I’ll be familiar with what it’s like just from the experience she let me have this year.”

Alongside her coaching  responsibilities, Bigham will begin her master’s degree in business management. Bigham averaged 6.7 assists per game during her  senior year, and currently holds ORU’s career assists record with 668 assists.

Former ORU basketball player Damen Bell-Holter signed with Telekom Baskets Bonn, a professional basketball team based out of Bonn, Germany.

The signing was a surprise to the people  who follow the 6-foot-9-inch forward out of Alaska. It was originally thought that Bell-Holter would sign with the Italian team, Libertas Pasero.

However, the new father said this signing was best for his family.

When asked how ORU has affected his life and basketball career, his response was simple.

“ORU helped me prepare for pro-ball,”Bell-Holter said. “My coaches at ORU had a big role in molding me and helping me get to the point I’m at now.”

Last season, Bell-Holter led the Golden Eagles in rebounding and blocks, while he was second on the team in scoring. Those interested in following the former Golden Eagle can follow him on twitter, @dbh32ORU.

Telekom Baskets Bonn opens the season on October 5.

ORU alumnus, Warren Niles, spent time with the Golden State Warriors’ summer league team. The NBA’s Summer League ran from July 12 through July 22 and consisted of 22 teams that represented 21 NBA Franchises and one team that represented players selected from the NBA Developmental League.

The Golden  State Warriors, on which Warren Niles played, won all seven games that they participated in, including the championship game of the Las Vegas Summer League.

Niles had the chance to play with rookie names such as Draymond Green of Michigan State University, Kent Bazemore of Old Dominion University, and James Southerland of Syracuse University.

The Summer League as a whole represented many talents from the past year’s NBA Draft as well as other highlighted players from across the country. Niles ranks fourth in school history in career 3-point field goals made with 292, and was named First Team All-Southland conference his senior season.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply