Chase Rader played first base, hit lead-off and stole 42 bases for Coffeyville Community College last season.
That unusual combination of speed and position makes Rader (6-foot, 205 pounds) an unusual player and an important one for Wichita State’s baseball program. Rader, a sophomore, gave WSU an oral commitment last week.
“Last year, I’m sure it surprised a lot of people, being a leadoff hitter with my size,” Rader said. “I think this year it will be more of a challenge. They know my speed. They know my tendencies.”
Rader, who was thrown out three times, wants to push his school record out a little more.
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“I want to get 43 this year,” he said. “I’m going to go after it.”
Rader plans to sign with WSU in November. He hit .310 with five home runs and 11 doubles as a freshman. WSU coaches expect to lose first baseman Casey Gillaspie to the professional draft. There is also a chance junior third baseman Chase Simpson will be a draft casualty. That gives Rader a spot to step in as a big part of the offense in 2015. He will play third base for Coffeyville this spring.
Rader credits part of his baseball success to his soccer career, which he said was his best sport as a youngster. He went with baseball in high school.
“I got kicked off the soccer team because I never went to practice because of baseball,” he said. “That narrowed it down.”
Rader, who played at Shawnee Mission Northwest, said he ran a 6.66-second in the 60-yard dash.
“All the coaches will tell you that soccer is a good background for footwork for infielders,” he said. “It helped make me fast, especially that first step.”
Rader committed to WSU over Arkansas in large part because of his trust in coach Todd Butler. In June, he will likely have another decision to make if he is drafted by a professional team. Rader said his parents are pushing him toward college.
“Right now, I’m set on going to school,” he said. “It would have to be something really, really special.”
Brewster (N.H.) Academy point guard Devonte Graham is attracting recruiting interest from several schools, including Wichita State, according to ESPN.com and Adam Zagoria’s blog.
None of those schools, however, are allowed to talk to Graham. Appalachian State’s refusal to release Graham from his letter of intent has turned into a minor uproar in the recruiting world. Graham, from Raleigh, N.C., signed with Appalachian State in 2012. He later decided he did not want to play there and went to Brewster for a post-graduate year.
Appalachian State won’t release him, which means college coaches are not allowed to contact him. If he is not released, it could cost him a season of eligibility. Appalachian State released a statement that lists tampering by another school as one of its reasons:
“As our coaching staff fully expected, Devonte had a terrific senior season last winter and, accordingly, drew the interest of programs from what are widely recognized as “power conferences.” However, due to his binding agreement with Appalachian State, other programs were not permitted by NCAA rules to contact him, be it directly or through people claiming to represent his interests. Due to our concerns that these rules were not followed and the fact that we had turned away all other potential student-athletes that could have capably filled his spot on the roster, we denied his request for a release from his binding Letter of Intent. We also made the NCAA aware of our concerns.”
THIS WEEK IN SHOCKER HISTORY
Oct. 4, 1986
Wichita State’s football team rallied from a 10-point deficit to defeat Tulane and coach Mack Brown 21-20 at the Superdome. Tulane led 10-0 at halftime before the Shockers drove for 63 and 89 yards to take a 14-10 lead. Another 89-yard drive, all on running plays, gave WSU a 21-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. With eight minutes to play, Tulane went for it on fourth down at the WSU 25. The Shockers held to preserve their one-point lead. ‘’They thought our defense couldn’t do it,” WSU tackle Mitchell Morris said. “They showed some disrespect. We had to shove the ball down their…and that’s what we did.” David Smith ran for 166 yards on 32 carries and WSU snapped a seven-game road losing streak.