Sports Today: NFL draft day thoughts on the Bengals, Browns and Buckeyes 

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 9:55 AM

090316 Atlanta: North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws as Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Davin Bellamy leaps over a defender during the second half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome Saturday September 3, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
Brant Sanderlin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Welcome to NFL draft day! 

The league’s nefarious plot to make us care about football year round continues to be a success, and no, I’m not complaining. 

The first draft item to run across my feed this morning was about the Cleveland Browns considering taking second-round talent Mitch Trubisky with the No. 1 overall pick. 

Will Less-Experienced Andy Dalton pan out for the Orange and Brown or be the newest mistake by the lake? Only time will tell! 

As we discussed on our Facebook Live last night, I think Trubisky would be a reach at 12 (where the Browns are currently scheduled to pick again), but if they snag the consensus top player in the draft (Myles Garrett) to open things up, the rest of the first round they are more or less playing with house money... 

And what about the Cincinnati Bengals? 

They are sitting pretty at No. 9 with at least a half-dozen prospects they could really use there. 

I am warming to the idea of O.J. Howard even though I will be saying the defense needs a talent upgrade until I see an improvement on the field. 

Questions about Tyler Eifert’s durability are definitely legitimate, and having two tight ends too good to keep off the field is a nice problem to have. 

RELATED: Where the Bengals should be looking if they draft offense

It’s probably not worth much, but I have seen recent projections with Malik Hooker sliding past them. I would take him before anyone who could realistically be available except for Jonathan Allen (who may not realistically be available). 

Given his adventurous path to the draft, the most likely pick might be Rueben Foster, though. 

Here are Jay Morrison’s five players the Bengals are most likely to draft in the first round… 

What of the Ohio State Buckeyes? 

Everyone agrees Hooker and Marshon Lattimore will be gone early tonight, but Gareon Conley continues to twist in the wind. 

Conley released a statement yesterday insisting he is innocent and noting charges have not been filed against him at this point. 

TMZ then released a video showing Conley and his accuser interacting at a bar before the alleged incident. 

Why is that significant? 

The video is critical because it appears to contradict what the accuser told police -- that she first met Conley in an elevator at the Westin hotel around 2:45 AM. 

The accuser’s lawyer responded by telling TMZ an “incomplete” police report was released to the public. 

The biggest development from the NBA playoffs last night was the Boston Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls to take a three games to two lead in their series. 

Boston, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, has won three in a row after looking fairly lost in the first two games. 

The Bulls have badly missed former Celtic Rajon Rondo, who is out with a hand injury. 

The other game last night saw the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks to take a 3-2 series lead as well… 

The Reds lost to the Brewers again. 

They got a terrible start from a young pitcher, but Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler hit home runs. 

In other words, it was basically the same game they have already played about a dozen times this year. 

If anything changes (other than Devin Mesoraco coming back Friday), we’ll let you know… 

In keeping our streak of covering college basketball in this column alive, Ohio State lost a verbal commitment from Darius Bazley yesterday. 

The Cincinnati Princeton junior shared later in the same day he got an offer from Xavier. 

If that doesn’t tell you a lot about the current states of Thad Matta’s current program and his previous one, I don’t know what does (aside from actually making the NCAA tournament and winning tourney games, of course). 

I saw Bazley play in Kettering in January, and his potential was obvious even though he was rusty from sitting out the first half of the season. 

After the Vikings were run off the floor by a team from Georgia, Bazley said he has hopes of being the next Evan Turner for the Buckeyes — a do-it-all wing. 

Lastly, my column about the decline of ESPN has gotten a lot of attention, including a couple of people pointing out cord-cutting is also a major issue for the network. 

This is true, and falling revenues are no doubt a factor in to their deciding to cut costs by trimming payroll. 

However, my focus was more on what the personnel decisions they made tell us. 

There are many ways they could have reduced expenses, and the one they chose was to remove the salaries of people who gather news while keeping many “opinionists” who I’m sure in some (perhaps many) cases make more money than the people they let go. 

Regional high school track and field meets

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 6:21 PM

Middletown sophomore Shandon Morris was third in the high jump during the D-I district track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 19, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The following are this week’s regional track and field times and sites. The top four in each event advance to next week’s state meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

REGIONAL SOFTBALL: Pairings, results

WEDNESDAY

D-I at Welcome Stadium, Dayton

5 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, discus.

6:30 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Friday’s finals.

REGIONAL BASEBALL: Pairings, results

D-III at Memorial Stadium, Troy

4 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, shot put.

5 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Friday’s finals.

THURSDAY

D-II at Alexander Stadium, Piqua

5 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, shot put.

6:30 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Saturday’s finals.

FRIDAY

D-I at Welcome Stadium, Dayton

5 p.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, shot put.

6 p.m. running finals.

D-III at Memorial Stadium, Troy

5 p.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, discus.

6 p.m. running finals.

SATURDAY

D-II at Alexander Stadium, Piqua

11 a.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, discus.

12:30 p.m. running finals.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

Football recruiting: Xenia wide receiver Meechi Harris narrows his list to 9 schools

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 10:24 AM

Meechi Harris (1 in blue) of Xenia scores a touchdown against Beavercreek.

Xenia receiver Meechi Harris has narrowed his list of potential college football destinations.

The three-star prospect is down to nine as summer camp season approaches: West Virginia, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Kentucky, Minnesota and Toledo.

Harris was fifth in the GWOC in receiving yards with 663 last season.

Recruiting Roundup: Ohio State makes a move, Mason prospects add offers and Duke comes calling

He scored 10 touchdowns on offense and added four more on special teams, including a pair of punt return TDs against Sidney.

He also returned a kickoff for a score against Beavercreek and Fairborn.

RELATED: What’s next for Wayne’s Blue Smith?

Harris scored 8.2 points and grabbed 6.1 rebounds per game for the Buccaneers basketball team last winter.

Sports Today: All you need to know about the Reds, Marvin Lewis down on NFL celebrations, Cavs up 3-1

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

Reds starter Amir Garrett pitches against Indians on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff

If you haven’t been watching the Cincinnati Reds much this season, they crammed pretty much everything about who they are into the last two days against the Cleveland Indians. 

The home team went 1-1 while putting 12 runs on the board. 

This team can hit, but the pitching staff has some glaring limitations. 

RELATED: Wild pitch costs Reds in 8-7 loss to Indians

Last night, talented rookie starter Amir Garrett pitched five innings but only had problems in one. That was enough. He lost Francisco Lindor to a one-out walk after being ahead 0-2 in the count, gave up a double to Michael Brantley then couldn’t put away Carlos Santana, whose single scored Brantley with the tying run and proceeded a mammoth two-run homer by former Red Edwin Encarnacion. 

The Reds came back to tie it only to see fourth or fifth-best reliever, free-agent acquisition Drew Storen, give up the go-ahead run in the eighth. 

Contrast that to a night before when they actually got a great start from a veteran Scott Feldman, who saw the team’s three best receivers shut the door after he left. (Two of them were presumably not available last night.) 

Such is life on the rebuild. 

On the bright side, manager Bryan Price sees Robert Stephenson on the upswing lately… 

Scott Schebler’s three-game home run streak was snapped last night, but the slugging right fielder got on base via a walk before being lifted as part of a double switch. 

Like most great people from the Midwest, the Iowa native says he once thought football would be his thing past high school

“I didn’t get any looks out of high school for baseball,” Schebler said. “I thought it was going to go football. I was a little bit of an underdog my whole career. It puts a little chip on your shoulder. You always want to prove people wrong. It can be a good thing or a bad thing because last year I had a chip on my shoulder and I was trying to prove everything to everybody, thinking ‘I’ve got to show them why they traded for me.’ You saw it in a bad way. I pressed. You’ve go to find ways to use it to benefit you.” 

He entered last night on pace for 47 home runs. 

He probably won’t hit that many, but he’s got to be giving the Reds something to think about as the trade deadline gets closer and they will have to start figuring out how to juggle their young hitters. 

READ MORE: Schebler exceeding expectations after slow start 

LeBron James scored 34 points last night while Kyrie Irving added 42, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals last night. 

Although we’ve been writing Boston obituaries for about week already, there is still at least one more game to be played in this series, believe it or not. 

Then it’s off to the Finals, where the Golden State Warriors may score 140 a night…

 

Football is back in earnest down by the Ohio River, and there’s good news and bad. 

William Thompson III and Brandon Thompson are back, but Dre Kirkpatrick is out

Meanwhile, the NFL is changing the rules about celebration, and Marvin Lewis is against it

Why? 

He’s worried about the example it sets for the kids. 

“We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way. And that’s not a very good example for young people.”

This is a reasonable take, but the flip side is that a celebration that doesn’t shame the opponent also is likely to fire up youngsters looking for some entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. 

I suppose it might be interesting to see if there is a difference between Sports Media Twitter and the average fan, though. 

WATCH: Kyle Schwarber blasts career-long home run out of Wrigley Field

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber hits a home run off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago Clubs slugger and Middletown native Kyle Schwarber has hit some memorable home runs in his brief Major League Baseball career.

»RELATED: Schwarber thanks high school football coach

He added another one Tuesday night in the first inning of a 4-1 win over the Giants.

Schwarber obliterated a pitch from former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto that traveled 470 feet — the longest HR of Schwarber’s three-year MLB career — onto Sheffield Avenue behind the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was the longest HR by Cubs player this season.

»RELATED: Doubtful the Cubs win the World Series without Schwarber

It’s been a tough start to the 2017 season for the former Middletown High School standout. Schwarber is batting .186 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in 41 games.