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Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 7:44 PM
VANDALIA — Graham wrestling coach Jeff Jordan knew that running away with the annual Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament title would be trickier this time.
The Falcons, who have won three straight titles and four of five since returning, find themselves missing five hammers for the two-day event at the SAC at Butler High School.
Defending state champs Rocky Jordan, Jordan Crace and JD Stickley are out nursing nagging injuries as are returning state placer Joey Sanchez and freshman phenom Aleck Martin.
“Sure, I’d like to have my three state champs and Ironman champs in there,” Jordan said. “But, this is a good tournament with the best teams in Dayton and Buford (Georgia) and it is good for those guys.”
Buford advanced eight to the quarters and is first with 83 points. Graham moved seven into the quarters and is three points behind.
Versailles is third overall and second to Graham in the small school division with 75.5 points. Butler is fourth overall – second in the big school race – with 66 points.
»RELATED: GMVWA Holiday tourney shifts to Butler
Jordan is hoping to have all five back in two weeks when the Falcons travel to a dual meet tournament at Detroit Catholic Central where they will dual two other teams ranked in the top 10 nationally before traveling to Lakewood St. Edward for an annual showdown a week later.
“Everyone is getting banged up,” Jordan said. “Sometimes you get burned by the fire until you harden up.”
Graham’s five weren’t the lone big guns missing.
Butler state-placer Ronnie Pietro was a late scratch as was Springfield state-placer Joe Cochran due to nagging health issues.
New attitude: Springfield 170-pounder Jacob Yost admits that placing at the Holiday last year was a bit of a turning point.
The Wildcat senior went from being a grind-it-out wrestler to push-the-limits mode.
Yost out-scored his two opponents Wednesday 22-2 to advance to the quarters.
“I definitely have more confidence,” the third-seeded Yost said. “The experience from last year really helped me in calming everything down.”
Yost, unseeded last season, is getting adjusted to seeing a seed next to his name at tournaments.
“I think it helps,” Yost said. “I just have to go out and wrestle the same way every time.”
Statement upset: Xenia 285 junior Peyton Bartley pulled off the first major upset.
Bartley dominated Georgia state placer Quentin Skinner of Buford, before recording the fall over the second seed at the 3:46 mark.
“I knew if I went at him right out of the gate, it was maybe a match to win,” Bartley said. “Then my conditioning and training just kicked in.
“This is one of the toughest sports in the world and it takes dedication to be a part of the sport. It is the hardest thing we will do in our lives.”
Bartley advanced to the quarters with a 7-1 win over Moore’s Cody Melton.
The key was taking the win over the second seed as just another win.
“I’ve learned that those matches can help you a lot,” Bartley said. “But, they have to be just another match or you celebrate it too much and come out and flat line the next match.”
Seventh seeded Seth Bowman of Eaton awaits Bartley in the quarters.
“I am just going to wrestle the same way I always do,” Bartley said.
Quick stick: Graham’s Mitch Moore wasted no time in his first step toward becoming a four-time Holiday champ.
The Falcon 145 needed just seven seconds to record the fall over Bellefontaine’s Josh Eckhoff.
On deck: Wrestling began at 11 a.m. Thursday with the championship quarters.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:00 AM
The Oregon Ducks made some progress during the 2017 season, going 7-5 during the regular season. However, the season could have been much better had starting quarterback Justin Herbert not broken his collarbone. The Ducks were 6-1 during the regular season with Herbert at the helm and had one of the most potent offenses in college football.
After the season, coach Willie Taggart left Eugene for Florida State and the Ducks promoted offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to head coach. The Ducks have an excellent recruiting class and a highly-regarded coaching staff. The defense made huge strides under defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt in his first season in Eugene. If his history is any indication, the defense will improve even more in Year 2.
The Ducks are projected to be a contender for the Pac-12 North crown if all goes according to plan in Eugene.
Saturday, Sept. 1 — vs. Bowling Green
Saturday, Sept. 8 — vs. Portland State
Saturday, Sept. 15 — vs. San Jose State
Saturday, Sept. 22 — vs. Stanford
Saturday, Sept. 29 — at California
Saturday, Oct. 6 — Bye
Saturday, Oct. 13 — vs. Washington
Saturday, Oct. 20 — at Washington State
Saturday, Oct. 27 — at Arizona
Saturday, Nov. 3 — vs. UCLA
Saturday, Nov. 10 — at Utah
Saturday, Nov. 17 — vs. Arizona State
Friday, Nov. 23 — at Oregon State
Even though Oregon’s offensive line will lose Tyrell Crosby, one of the most decorated offensive lineman in school history, the line is well positioned to dominate in 2018. The rest of the Oregon offensive line will return in 2018 and it appears all will be juniors. The continuity on the line will allow Herbert to be protected and the running game to once again thrive, even without Royce Freeman.
The defensive line, with rising sophomore Jordan Scott and rising seniors Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins, should be a disruptive force in 2018. The Ducks should be hard to compete with in the trenches on both sides of the ball next season.
For a program that has been known for its wildly productive offense and shifty playmakers, the Oregon wide receiving core is surprisingly light. The Ducks lose their best receiver in Charles Nelson and will have a bunch of unproven players at the position next season. Dillon Mitchell is the team’s leading returning receiver and is primed for a breakout season. Other players who should contribute next season are tight end Jacob Breeland and wide receivers Johnny Johnson III, Brendan Schooler, Alex Ofodile and Jaylon Redd.
Nothing more to say here. Herbert is locked in as the No. 1 guy and if he’s playing up to his potential, Oregon could once again have one of the best QB’s in the nation. There is real hype behind Herbert. He is big (6-foot-6) with a big arm and solid mobility. He could be a first-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft.
As previously mentioned, the Ducks are losing two of their biggest playmakers in RB Royce Freeman, the school’s all-time leading rusher, and WR Charles Nelson. The Ducks have a stable of running backs with Tony Brooks-James and Darrian Felix. Starting spots are certainly up for grabs at the wide receiver position. The offensive scheme and the fact that Herbert is running the offense should open up tons of opportunities for players to step up. But as of this writing no one quite knows who the go-to guys will be in 2018.
With the lack of known playmakers, rising sophomore Jaylon Redd could be one of the players who makes a name for themselves in 2018. Redd, who stands just 5-foot-8, didn’t see much playing time in 2017 but showed that he could be an explosive playmaker in limited touches. Redd scored 2 touchdowns on 18 touches in 2017, while showing he had abilities as a running back and as a wide receiver.
Oregon’s schedule breaks perfectly for them in 2018 as they host Stanford, Washington and UCLA and do not have to play USC. The Ducks have a legitimate shot to win the Pac-12 North in 2018, especially if the defense keeps improving as it did in 2017.
In order for the Ducks to compete for a Pac-12 title next year, Herbert is going to need to be healthy and play like the potential first-round pick that he is. The Ducks also will need to find a running back to replace Royce Freeman’s production and some playmakers on the outside.
If the Ducks can knock off Stanford or Washington in Eugene, Oregon could be looking at a very special season.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:00 AM
Welcome back to The Freshman 15, our look at the top first-year players in college basketball. With one-and-done players dominating the hoops landscape for several years now, we rank the nation’s top freshmen based on performance and value to their respective teams. While not all of these players will ultimately jump to the NBA after this season, it’s best to kick back and enjoy their exploits on the college hardwood now, because they might not be around for very long.
The beginning of conference play has proven a few things: There is such thing as “hitting the freshman wall,” as the majority of our players have seen decreases in their statistics since our rankings last month. It’s also proved that league play is a whole different ballgame, but that for the most elite guys, it doesn’t really matter — they’re going to produce regardless.
Here are our rankings as we lean into the start of the best part of the regular season.
(Statistics through start of play Wednesday)
Kris Wilkes, forward (UCLA); Omari Spellman, forward (Villanova), Eric Williams, guard (Duquesne); Kellan Grady, guard (Davidson)
Dropped out (previous rank):
Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky (15), Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech (13), Trevon Duval, Duke (11), Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State (12), Kevin Knox, Kentucky (6)
Stats: 23.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 6 apg, 38.2 3-point FG pct., 32.8 usage rate
Previous rank: N/A
We typically stick to freshmen on Power 5 teams or those that have an impact on the college basketball world at large in this space. Sitting at 3-17 on the season, Howard is — let’s just say — not a part of that conversation. But it’s tough to deny what RJ Cole is doing in his first season with the Bison. Cole was a 3-star recruit ranked 449th nationally by 247Sports, but is proving that star rankings are just a number. He dropped 42 on UNC Wilmington on Dec. 22 and has scored 27 or more in seven of his last nine games. He also leads the Bison in assists. Here’s to a little MEAC love and a shoutout to the best freshman scorer in the nation not named Trae Young.
Stats: 15.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 5.3 apg, 45.4 FG pct., 25.4 usage rate
Previous rank: Honorable mention
You’ll forgive us if we’ve been largely ignoring Colorado basketball this season, but it’s time to give McKinley Wright IV his due. Before Jan 10, the Buffs’ leading scorer had double figures in every game this season, and was instrumental in their recent upsets of Arizona and Arizona State, the league’s only two ranked teams. Wright had 19 points in the overtime win against the Sun Devils and followed that up with 16 points and 10 assists vs. Arizona, earning him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. The Buffs have a lot of work to do to try and nab an NCAA Tournament berth, but Wright’s steady play as the lead guard and top scoring option can’t continue to go unnoticed. The Minnesota freshman has been a pleasant surprise.
Stats: 12.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 64.5 FG pct., 22 usage rate
Previous rank: 7
Romello White continues to be a steady force down low for the Sun Devils, as his hard-nosed play and constant energy equates to offensive rebounds and easy buckets. Arizona State will continue to be led by its senior guard tandem of Tra Holder and Shannon Evans, but White makes for a great third wheel. And while slowing the pace seems counterintuitive to what the team wants to do on offense, it might make sense to start getting White more touches on the offensive end. He’s a gifted combo forward.
Stats: 14.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 33.6 FG pct., 23.1 usage rate
Previous rank: N/A
The 6-foot-8 Canadian has been a revelation for the Orange as a valued third scorer after the stellar backcourt of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard. He’s averaged almost 17 points a game over his last 10 and his athleticism and quickness allow him to get to the free-throw line in bunches, as evidenced by his 16-for-16 effort vs. Buffalo and 9-for-10 performance vs. Virginia Tech. Now granted, the shooting percentage leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s shown that he’s not afraid to be aggressive going to the basket and he even has the ability to knock down the occasional long ball. Brissett will continue to be one of the focal points for Syracuse all season as it stays in contention for a tournament berth in Jim Boeheim’s final season.
Stats: 12 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 45 3-point FG pct., 20.4 usage rate
Previous rank: N/A
There were an astonishing six Kentucky Wildcat freshmen ranked higher than Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 31) according to 247Sports player rankings of the 2017 class. But in the last three weeks, the 6-6 combo guard from Tennessee has undoubtedly been Big Blue’s best player. As the team’s leader in assists and steals, Gilgeous-Alexander has taken the reins of John Calipari’s offense and run with it. He dropped 24 in a blowout of rival Louisville and followed that up by stuffing the stat sheet against Georgia (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 3 steals), LSU (18 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 2 steals) and Vanderbilt (22 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists). And he’s by far the team’s best perimeter defender to boot, failing to record a steal just twice this season. Knox and Diallo get most of the publicity, but Gilgeous-Alexander is the engine that makes the ‘Cats go.
Stats: 16.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 48.9 FG pct., 26.1 usage rate
Previous rank: 10
Jaylen Nowell has proven to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 class. Ranked as the No. 66 prospect by 247Sports, Nowell is being outscored by only seven other freshmen in the country, and he leads the Huskies — who surprisingly sit tied for second in the loss column in the Pac-12 at this point. He’s a threat for 20-plus almost every night and it’s not coming on a lot of shots either, as he averages less than 13 attempts per game. His efficient, fearless shot making could keep the Huskies in the Pac-12 title hunt all season.
Stats: 11.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.3 bpg, 49.6 FG pct., 22.8 usage rate
Previous rank: Honorable mention
Jaren Jackson’s numbers don’t jump off of the page like some of the other acclaimed frosh big men in the country, but his value to the Spartans goes well beyond the box score. He’s the defensive anchor for Michigan State, blocking more than 3 shots per game. His presence in the paint allows the other defenders to play up on their men, making offensive movement more difficult. It equates to Michigan State giving up only 64 points per game, good for 20th best in the country. Offensively, Jackson’s numbers would be even better if not for foul trouble limiting him to only 23 minutes per game for the loaded Spartans. Still, he’s one of Michigan State’s most important players and has excelled in a limited role this season.
Stats: 16.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6 apg, 2.2 spg, 40.3 3-point FG pct., 25.0 usage rate
Previous rank: 9
An already solid freshman season reached new heights Jan. 6 when Tremont Waters’ leaning 30-footer gave LSU an upset win at Texas A&M. He’s the Tigers’ go-to scorer and contributes across the board as a steady force for Will Wade’s club. At 11-6, the Tigers need to make a little bit of a run in the ultra-tough SEC to be a tournament team, but rest assured, Waters’ bucket-getting ability will help them stay competitive all season. LSU can’t ask for more from the Connecticut native.
Stats: 13.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 59 pct., 45.5 3-point FG pct., 1.9 bpg, 21.9 usage rate
Previous rank: 8
Consistency and efficiency continue to define Wendell Carter’s freshman season for Duke. With Marvin Bagley and Grayson Allen carrying the heavy load on offense, all that is needed from Carter is to grab rebounds, play solid defense and take advantage when teams decide to double-team his low post running mate. Carter is capable of much more than his 13 points and 9 rebounds per contest but the good news is that’s pretty much his floor, as he’ll rarely do less than that. It’s strange to label someone as talented as him as a “glue guy” but that’s what he is for the Blue Devils. They rarely win in spite of him, but never lose because of him. He was huge in Duke’s comeback road win vs. Miami on Monday (15 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals).
Stats: 11.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.4 bpg, 51.4 FG pct., 20.6 usage rate
Previous rank: 14
Mo Bamba began his college career a little slower than many thought he would as a 5-star prospect, but he has really blossomed in the last month. He’s becoming more aggressive on offense and has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games. But rebounding and defense are really where Bamba makes his biggest impact. He’s averaging 12 rebounds in his five Big 12 contests and has blocked at least 4 shots in all but two games this season. He stands just 0.4 blocks per game off the national lead. His breakout performance came two weeks ago when he put up 22 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks as Texas fell just short of upsetting Kansas. Look for him to continue to dominate defensively in conference play.
Stats: 18.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 61.9 FG pct., 29.1 usage rate
Previous rank: 5
As other more well-known freshman continue to get headlines, Brandon McCoy quietly keeps going about his business and putting up monster numbers for UNLV. With 10 double-doubles on the season, the 7-1 big man from Chicago is putting together a great season already. His numbers would be even greater if he was not so foul-prone. The Rebels sit at 13-4 on the season, but don’t really have any quality wins, which could hurt them come tournament time. That’s a shame, because most of America is missing out on one of the better freshmen in the country.
Stats: 19.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 44.4 FG pct., 32.2 usage rate
Previous rank: 3
Collin Sexton has cooled in recent weeks, as well, but still leads the Crimson Tide in scoring. A dynamic shot maker, Sexton can seemingly score at will and gets to the line a ton, where he shoots 80 percent. He’s averaging 17 points a game in SEC play, and that’s despite having three of his worst shooting games on the season against conference opponents. After losing four of their last six before their Jan. 9 game with South Carolina, the Tide responded by winning their next two. Sexton’s high-scoring exploits should be able to keep Alabama in striking distance of a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Stats: 20.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 63 FG pct., 26.9 usage rate
Previous rank: 4
If not for sharing the court with fellow All-American candidate Allonzo Trier, DeAndre Ayton’s numbers would likely be even better. Despite not being the Wildcats’ first option on offense, Ayton continues to put up monster numbers. His 23-point, 19-rebound effort vs. previously unbeaten Arizona State three weeks ago helped Arizona re-establish itself as the class of the Pac-12. The 7-footer gets hammer dunks in bunches, and there may be no player in the country who is as unguardable as Ayton. He’s scored 23 points or more in four of five conference games, and if not for the exploits of Bagley and Young, he would be the clear-cut choice for the nation’s best freshman.
Stats: 22 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 61.3 FG pct., 27.0 usage rate
Previous rank: 2
Marvin Bagley III has continued his dominance into conference play with a double-double in all five of his ACC games so far this season, including one of the best performances of the year two weeks ago vs. Florida State with 32 points and 21 rebounds in a 7-point win. Bagley takes and makes the easiest buckets in the country, thanks to his elite athleticism, 6-11 frame and giant wingspan. The only knock on his game may be his 60-percent free-throw shooting, but he gets to the line at such a high rate, that his volume alone is typically enough to already put opponents at a disadvantage. The game often looks too easy for him, and Duke will continue to reap the benefits of his greatness.
Stats: 29.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 9.8 apg, 45.3 FG pct., 38.9 usage rate
Previous rank: 1
The most exciting player in America proved that he’s actually human on Tuesday, scoring only 20 points in a 87-69 loss to Kansas State that wasn’t even as close as the lopsided score indicated. His 12 turnovers in that game is more than any other player in a single game this season. Still, it’s getting awfully old trying to come up with superlatives for Trae Young. Quite simply, he’s been the best player in college basketball this season, let alone the best freshman. Having increased his scoring and assist averages since our last ranking, he’s clearly the No. 1 spot. And for those who thought he’d slow down a little once conference play started, Young had 39 points and 14 rebounds in an upset win at then-No. 10 TCU, then turned around and finished 1 rebound shy of a triple-double (27 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds) in his first Bedlam game vs. Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Last Saturday he posted an unreal 43 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in an OT win against the Horned Frogs. What seemed like a “great player on a good team” story about a month ago now has a different narrative. Young’s play has elevated the 14-3 Sooners to a No. 4 ranking in the AP Poll and is proving they’ll be flirting with the Big 12 title and a top seed in March. He’s that good. And as long as he’s healthy, Oklahoma has a chance to beat anyone in the conference, or the country.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:00 AM
Welcome to the Thursday edition of our Oklahoma State DieHards morning roundup, where we take you through the biggest headlines around Oklahoma State athletics.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph will not participate in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 27, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Cowboys gunslinger suffered a left foot sprain that won’t require surgery, but he still plans to attend the festivities in Mobile, Ala., for measurements and interviews.
Rudolph’s absence from the actual game means he won’t have the chance to play with fellow Senior Bowl invitees Marcell Ateman and James Washington one more time. He also won’t have as big of a chance to bolster his stock as one of the top quarterback prospects in a crowded 2018 quarterback class. The game will be televised on the NFL Network at 2:30 p.m. ET at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
In case anyone was wondering, Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith and football coach Mike Gundy do not share farming tips. Smith was asked if he and Gundy discussed farming after the Cowboys wrestling coach told reporters he’s been spending a lot of time lately breaking ice on his property so that his cattle don’t fall through into the water.
When he was asked if he and Gundy shared farming tips, Smith responded by saying, “He don’t have cattle. He’s got all these little puppy stuff, like turtles and stuff.” The comment, which he said with a playful smile, could be the beginning of a friendly feud between Smith and Gundy. Who could forget the time Gundy put on a wrestling singlet, however, when he called out Cowboys fans to attend a wrestling dual last year?
Other headlines from the athletic department:
Oklahoma State men’s basketball
— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) January 17, 2018
Former Oklahoma State cornerback Lenzy Pipkins
— Lenzy Pipkins (@Pippy_LONGsock) January 17, 2018
Oklahoma State women’s golf coach Courtney Jones
— Courtney Jones (@CjonzeyOSU) January 17, 2018
Miss a recent edition of the morning roundup? Check out our previous editions.
The post Mason Rudolph to miss Senior Bowl; Oklahoma State wrestling coach trolls Mike Gundy appeared first on Diehards.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:00 AM
Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every other sport on campus.
Alabama’s offensive coordinator search may have come to a close. Alabama decided to hire one of its own after names such as Hugh Freeze and Jim McElwain came into the mix. The Crimson Tide reportedly will promote co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Locksley.
Locksley has been on coach Nick Saban’s staff for the last two seasons. Previously, he was an offensive coordinator at Illinois and Maryland, and also was the head coach of New Mexico for a period of time.
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In other headlines …
Alabama basketball snapped Auburn’s 14-game winning streak, and earned a much-needed conference win at home without freshman guard Collin Sexton. Auburn came into the game ranked No. 17 in the nation. The Crimson Tide have now beaten two ranked teams in conference play. Freshman guard John Petty scored 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting overall, including 8-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc, in the 76-71 win. Fellow freshman guard Herbert Jones had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
This week, Alabama will hold its fifth national championship parade in nine years. The parade will be on Saturday, Jan. 20. It will start at 2 p.m. CT and will begin at Denny Chimes. It will end at the Walk of Champions in front of the north end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The full details for the celebration can be found here.
Alabama now has to search for a defensive coordinator. The search has been quiet, and many people expect Alabama to follow a similar route as it did with Locksley, and promote from within. Inside linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi is a leading candidate. He could split time with new assistant coach Pete Golding. Alabama does not have to look far to find its next defensive coordinator.
This week, Freeze was spotted at Alabama’s football complex. He reportedly interviewed for the offensive coordinator job. Then, it was reported that he is in search of any position with the Crimson Tide. According to more reports, Saban wants to hire Freeze, but some things stand in the way of it becoming a deal.
Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter right here.
The post Alabama football: Mike Locksley will reportedly be named offensive coordinator appeared first on SEC Country.