Michael Rucker pitches for the Iowa Cubs during the 2021 season. (Iowa Cubs)

Cougars in the pros: BYU pitcher makes Major League debut for Chicago Cubs

Former BYU pitcher Michael Rucker made his Major League Baseball debut on July 30 for the Chicago Cubs and BYU men’s basketball star Yoeli Childs will be playing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Summer League Aug. 8-17.

Baseball

Michael Rucker, a right-handed pitcher for BYU from 2013-2016, made his MLB debut on July 30 against the Washington Nationals, recording a strikeout and giving up two hits in two innings for the Chicago Cubs.

Rucker was drafted by the Cubs in 2016 and spent five years in the minor leagues before making his major league debut. He was assigned to five different minor league teams over those five years, most recently the Iowa Cubs. He was invited to spring training with the Chicago Cubs in 2020 and 2021 before officially getting his first call up to the majors on July 30.

Basketball

BYU star forward Yoeli Childs will get another shot at his NBA dream with one of the league’s most famous clubs: the Los Angeles Lakers. Childs was named to the Lakers’ Summer League roster on Monday and will join the squad in Las Vegas from Aug. 8-17. Also included on the roster are Gonzaga alumnus Joel Ayayi and Texas Tech star Mac McClung.

Childs graduated from BYU in 2020 and went undrafted out of college. He had a brief stint with the Washington Wizards during training camp before the 2020-2021 season and then played for the NBA G-League’s Erie BayHawks in February.

Men’s volleyball

BYU men’s volleyball middle blocker Miki Jauhiainen signed his first pro contract with Savo Volley in his native country of Finland on July 22. Jauhiainen was an integral part of the nationally-ranked BYU squad for four seasons, most recently helping the Cougars to the national championship match against Hawaii in May.

Football

Training camp is underway in the NFL, and several former Cougars are primed for big seasons on the gridiron. Recently released ratings for the Madden 22 video game peg BYU alumnus Fred Warner as the top linebacker in the NFL, with a 94 overall rating. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has an overall rating of 75, but is sixth in the league for throwing power with a 94 rating in that skill area.

The NFL preseason officially kicks off this Thursday, but Cougar fans can get their first look at former BYU players on Thursday, Aug. 12, when Dax Milne and the Washington Football Team take on Kyle Van Noy and the New England Patriots. Taysom Hill, Wilson and Warner are all in action on Saturday, Aug. 14 in preseason games. The regular season begins on Thursday, Sept. 9.

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