Lions’ Minnis picks Wichita State

Albert Minnis, a Lawrence High senior-to-be and a member of the 2008 state championship LHS baseball team, has committed to play baseball for Wichita State University.

“I called Wichita State this morning at 8,” Minnis said Thursday. “I talked to the Coach (head coach Gene Stephenson), and I told him I wanted to be a Shocker.”

His decision comes after a day spent taking in the town of Wichita on Wednesday.

“I met with the coach,” Minnis said. “And we just kind of drove around and got a sense of the town. I talked with some of the players. And I really just fell in love with it.”

A major contributor in last year’s 21-4 championship season, Minnis went 7-0 in 11 appearances, led the Lions in strikeouts (73), and had the best earned-run average (0.59). He was also tied for the team lead in complete games and innings pitched. Minnis was deciding between Wichita State and Kansas University.

He called to deliver his decision to KU assistant coach Ryan Graves on Thursday morning.

Minnis said he picked Wichita State — which went 48-17 overall and 19-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference last year, earning Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals — because it was one of the best baseball schools in the country.

But his choice was also based on location.

“It’s only two hours away,” Minnis said. “It’s not too close, not too far. It’s a great place to start my college career.”

Minnis, who transferred to Lawrence High from Park Hill High in January of last year, said it would be hard to leave Lawrence behind, particularly after a state tournament run that saw Minnis pick up a win, a save and 11 strikeouts.

“Winning the state championship was amazing,” he said. “And the city of Lawrence treated me amazingly. I have one more year left, and I’m looking to make the best of it. But if anything, winning the state title and living in Lawrence made my decision harder. I really fell in love with town. It really made it a lot harder.”