Here’s a nice All-Star vote for Votto

Published: Friday, June 30, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

Joey Votto rips yet another hit  for the Reds in a recent game at Great American Ball Park.
Getty Images
Joey Votto rips yet another hit for the Reds in a recent game at Great American Ball Park.(Getty Images)

Here’s as fine an idea about Joey Votto as perhaps there has ever been: have him serve as the National League’s designated hitter in next month’s All-Star Game.

That was the suggestion made by ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield after the Reds’ first baseman went yard twice in Thursday night’s loss to the Brewers. With 23 home runs, Votto has more before the All-Star game than he’s ever hit.

 Keep in mind that Votto typically hits better after the All-Star break than before it, and then consider his current numbers:

He’s already is tied for 11th in the National League with a .308 batting average, second in home runs (to Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, who has 24), tied for seventh with 57 RBI, second in on-base percentage (.424), third in slugging percentage (.616), and fourth in runs scored (57). Oh, and he leads the NL in OPS (1.040).

It’d be a crime if the guy doesn’t make it to the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami’s Marlins Park, but he’s going to have to be selected by manager Joe Maddon of the Cubs. Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman had a huge lead in fan voting at first base in the last reveal before voting closed Thursday night.

WATCH: West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate puts epic block on Texas dunk attempt

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:45 AM

West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate came to defend the Mountaineers’ home court on Saturday.

The sophomore from Bamako, Mali put an epic two-handed block on a dunk attempt from Texas junior guard Kerwin Roach II during the second half at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

Konate, at 6-foot-8, is averaging 7.9 rebounds per game this season.

West Virginia carried a 45-35 lead over the Longhorns near the mid-way point of the second half. No matter the final outcome, however, Mountaineers fans won’t be forgetting this extraordinary display of athleticism anytime soon.

Centerville dials long distance in rout of Lebanon

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 3:43 PM

            Lebanon’s Harrison Hoofkin tries to get something going offensively as Centerville sophomore Mo Njie (right) applies the pressure during Centerville’s 51-29 win at home Friday night. NICK DUDUKOVICH / CONTRIBUTED
Lebanon’s Harrison Hoofkin tries to get something going offensively as Centerville sophomore Mo Njie (right) applies the pressure during Centerville’s 51-29 win at home Friday night. NICK DUDUKOVICH / CONTRIBUTED

Centerville guard Donnie Shelton acknowledged he hasn’t always had the strongest outside shot.

So, for four years, the senior has been a card-carrying member of the Elks’ “Breakfast Club,” a program designed to let Centerville hoopsters hit the hardwood every day at 6 a.m.

Centerville coach Brook Cupps said fans may not have noticed immediate results from the morning hours his players invested, but over time, a difference may be seen.

Shelton gave credence to his coach’s words, cashing in two 3-pointers while leading Centerville (9-5, 4-2) with 11 points during the Elks’ 51-29 rout of Lebanon (10-4, 3-4) at home in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover matchup Friday night.

The first possessions of the contest set the tone when Lebanon failed to convert right around the rim and Centerville responded by knocking down a 3-pointer in transition.

The shot would be the first of seven 3-pointers the Elks would make. Junior Ryan Marchal made three shots from beyond the arc while Shelton and junior Matt Pearce had two each.

Lebanon’s first point didn’t come until Zach Huffman hit a free throw with 16.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Centerville ended the opening stanza with a 14-1 lead. The Warriors’ first field goal wouldn’t come until 37 seconds ticked off the clock in the second period.

Lebanon coach Kevin Higgins believes his team missed shots that typically fall, but he also knew Centerville’s defense was on point.

“We didn’t finish shots around the rim we probably should have, but they played really good defense,” he said. “They were just a more physical, competitive team. That’s as simple as it gets.”

Centerville set up its perimeter game by way of hulking post players Jevon Henderson and Sam Vance. Both are listed at 225 pounds, while Henderson is 6-foot-3, and Vance is 6-4.

Henderson added eight points and seven rebounds for the Elks.

“Jevon passes the ball so well in the post. He’s a really tough matchup because he’s so physical when you’re hitting him and there’s contact,” Cupps said.

Centerville could be even tougher around the basket with the emergence of 6-foot-8 sophomore Mo Njie, who tied his season high with seven points against the Warriors.

“I was really pleased with our bigs,” Cupps said. “In and out, our bigs are aggressive at catching and scoring and creating shots for other guys.”

Lebanon, which still holds a half-game lead over Miamisburg in the National West, shot 31 percent from field, with Brendan Lamb leading the way with 11 points. The Warriors’ top scorer on the season, Harrison Hookfin, who averages 14.3 points, scored three.

The defeat marks the second time in 10 days Lebanon failed to score at least 30 points in a game (Lebanon lost to Fairmont 44-29 Jan. 9). The Warriors scored 33 points during a loss at Springfield earlier this month.

“We’ve got to figure out how to play against, maybe the more elite teams in Dayton. We’ve got to be more efficient but we’ve got to finish the plays, too,” Higgins said.

The Elks may compete in the toughest division in the state as the GWOC National East currently houses No. 1 Wayne and No. 10 Springfield. The Elks lost to both squads already this season, falling most recently to Wayne by four points Dec. 22.

However, state rankings are the last thing Cupps wants to think about, because the Elks have a road date with Northmont Jan. 26.

“At the end of the year, if we’re good enough to compete with them, then we’ll compete with them,” Cupps said. “If not, we just want to be the best version we can be of us.”

Iowa basketball releases Chris Street celebration video

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

Iowa celebrated the life of Chris Street during a halftime ceremony at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday. Street, one of the most-beloved players in Iowa history, was killed in a car accident during his junior year in 1993.

Iowa fans did not have much to cheer for on the court Saturday as the Hawkeyes were blown out by Purdue, but they’re going to want to see the celebration video the program played for Street at halftime. Iowa released the video on its Twitter account Saturday afternoon.

Iowa celebrates Hawkeyes legend Chris Street in video

Prior to Saturday’s ceremony, Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman reached out to past winners of Iowa’s Chris Street Award to learn what the honor means to them. Here are some of the responses:

Matt Gatens, 2012 winner: “To me the Chris Street Award stands for being a great teammate as well as a great person. Exemplifying the spirit of Chris is to show great courage, respect and humility to all on and off the court. It reflects someone who plays the game with great joy and intensity with his teammates and coaches respect.”

Aaron White, 2015 winner: “I think the Chris Street Award stands for embodying what it means to be a Hawkeye. Somebody that plays with passion and showcases the university, himself and the program in the best light possible.”

The full list of answers can be found here.

Alabama AD Greg Byrne declares Nick Saban as the best coach in the country, regardless of sport

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

It’s widely regarded as fact that Nick Saban is clearly the best college football coach in the country. But coach overall? Saban’s boss says he is that too.

Speaking at Alabama’s parade honoring the 2017 national championship team, Byrne declared that Saban that Alabama didn’t just have the best college coach in the country, but the best coach. Period.

There is some room for debates for who the best coach in America is. For one, you could go with Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. He is trying to win his sixth championship this year and it is much more difficult to win the salary cap league that is the NFL, where there is a much more even playing field.

There’s also San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was won 5 titles in a small market. And on the college level, there’s also UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who has won eight championships in his time at UConn.

Still, it’s remarkable what Saban has done, especially in such a short time at Alabama. Half of his 10 seasons in Tuscaloosa have ended with championships. He’s also led Alabama to the College Football Playoff in each of the four seasons the Playoff has existed.

Alabama went 13-1 this past season, with the lone loss coming on the road against Auburn. The Crimson Tide knocked off Georgia in the national title game, rallying back from a 13-0 halftime deficit. To watch the Alabama parade, you can click here.