Trotwood’s Mike McCray II reflects on college career, looks to future in NFL and beyond

Published: Sunday, March 04, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

After wrapping up his career at Michigan, Trotwood-Madison grad Mike McCray II laid out his goals for pro football and beyond. Plus an update on his father’s status as an Ohio State fan. The elder McCray was a Buckeye

As far as chapters in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry go, the McCrays have one that figures to stand out for a long time. 

While Mike McCray Sr. was a captain at Ohio State in the late 1980s, his son Mike McCray II earned that designation at Michigan last fall. 

That meant the elder McCray had to trade in his scarlet and gray for maize and blue the past five years, but apparently his hiatus as an Ohio State fan is over. 

“He for sure went back right after the South Carolina game,” McCray said, referring to Michigan’s loss in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. “He was talking trash about us, and we were at dinner and Ohio State was playing in a bowl game [beating USC] and he was like, ‘Yeah, there we go.’ So he’s definitely back to Ohio State, but my mom and my fiancé are with me, so that’s all that matters.” 

“You’ve got to support your son, and he supported me 110 percent, but now like I said he’s going back to those guys over there. I grew up an Ohio State fan of course, but once I got to high school I kind of grew away from it. Michigan was the right choice for me.” 

The younger McCray, who was a standout at Trotwood-Madison before going north for college, made the trip to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine with advice from his father to be himself when he got the opportunity to sit down with various team personnel. 

After starting 26 games at linebacker for Michigan, he said he hopes to use the workouts to answer questions about his speed and lateral movement, but he feels like his college film will show a player who excelled in multiple roles in the Wolverines’ stingy defense. 

“I feel like I’m a very versatile player,” he said. “Whatever a team needs, I’m down to do it. I just want to play the game that I love.” 

As for his high school alma mater, McCray said he was in Canton when the Rams won their second state championship in December. 

“I went because I have four or five cousins on the team, and for them to be able to play for a state championship like I did and be able to win one, I wanted to be a part of that with them,” McCray said. 

The Bengals were one of the teams he met with in Indianapolis. Although he did not grow up rooting for them, he would welcome the chance to play only an hour or so from where he grew up. 

However long his professional football career lasts, McCray already has plans for the rest of his life. 

After earning his degree in general studies last year, he began work on a master’s in social work with a focus on children and youth. 

“After football, I want to be a high school athletic director,” McCray said. “I want to give back to my community and help kids get to where I’m at today and ultimately get to college.” 

Although two of his best games were against Ohio State (totaling 19 tackles, including three for loss and a sack), the younger McCray left Ann Arbor without a win over the Buckeyes — or any regrets. 

“I wouldn’t take anything back,” he said. “I don’t regret going there. I love Michigan and they’re in good hands. They’ll be pretty good next year.” 

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Sports Today: College basketball’s strange new world could benefit Dayton, Ohio State

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:25 AM

Dayton's Anthony Grant honored to join Team USA staff

So much stuff going on for a Tuesday in mid-March I don’t know where to begin… 

Dayton basketball made news yesterday with the entirely unsurprising report Matej Svoboda is leaving the program to return home to the Czech Republic. 

That is nothing against him. He might yet turn out to be a quality basketball player for a long time. 

RELATED: Flyers lose freshman to his home country

However, he was not an Anthony Grant recruit to begin with, he’s older than the average college basketball freshman and various options playing in Europe are probably more appealing to European natives. 

Svoboda’s departure means Dayton has two scholarships open for the 2018-19 season. Xeyrius Williams announced he was transferring earlier this month.

How Grant uses his those (and who knows if he’s done gaining spots) will be interesting to say the least. 

» RELATED: Dayton holiday tournament shaping up to be a tough one

As we saw last year following Archie Miller’s exit and Grant’s hiring, it’s a whole new world for college basketball roster building with the graduate transfer phenomenon only growing and more high school prospects waiting until spring to make their college decision. 

We’ve even got players now “reclassifying” to basically skip their last year of high school (or take an extra year), so the list of things that could happen between now and the end of the summer is endless. 

That’s also good news for Ohio State. 

Chris Holtmann’s first season went better than almost everyone expected, but there are some big questions to answer if Year Two isn’t going to be more of a rebuilding season. 

Keita Bates-Diop said after the Buckeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Gonzaga on Saturday night he hadn’t though about whether or not he will use his last year of eligibility or enter the NBA draft. 

He might not be a lottery pick, but KDB looks like the prototypical shooting wing in today’s NBA: Not only does he have the obligatory outside shot, he can score anywhere on the floor and has the long arms and discipline to be a good defender. 

The James Posey clone also already has an economics degree in hand, which would seem to be one more reason to make the leap now so he can get started on his 15-year career with the Spurs. 

The Buckeyes also lose Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams and Andrew Dakich, but Versailles wing Justin Ahrens is part of a recruiting class that currently consists of three players. 

Could it grow? 

Ahrens said in January that Holtmann told the newcomers to be ready to come in and let it fly next season.  

Speaking of Buckeyes basketball, I was in the gym last night for the last game of one of the best Buckeyes ever. 

Kelsey Mitchell’s last shot in an Ohio State uniform was one she made a couple hundred times before: A pull-up jumper from a few feet behind the 3-point line that hit nothing but net. 

Unfortunately, that came well after the outcome had been decided in a second-round NCAA tournament game dominated by upstart Central Michigan. 

Except for a few minutes early, the 11th-seeded Chippewas looked like the favorite most of the night, running and gunning and throwing in 3s from all over the floor. 

The Ohio State women’s basketball team might have even more questions than the men’s squad heading into next season. 

Along with Mitchell, All-Big Ten center Stephanie Mavunga, forward Alexa Hart and guards Asia Doss and Linnae Harper are out of eligibility. 

On the bright side, Fairmont grad Makayla Waterman and fellow fourth-year junior Sierra Calhoun both told The Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper) they will be back next year

We’ll take a closer look at the Buckeyes later today… 

The Cincinnati Bengals backfield should be less crowded next year with Russell Bodine’s exit official

If your response to that is, “I think you meant Jeremy Hill,” I will have to conclude you don’t watch many Bengals games closely. 

One of the constants of the last four years was seeing their center, Bodine, being pushed back into Andy Dalton’s face or the running lane most of the time. 

The fourth-round pick out of North Carolina started every game in his four years in Cincinnati, and that is basically the only positive thing that can be said about his time with the Bengals. 

They apparently thought about re-signing him, but he became next-to-impossible to afford when they acquired left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Buffalo Bills. So chalk that up to another positive of being proactive in making the move to shore up left tackle before the draft. 

The Bengals should have a chance to take a potential upgrade at center with prospects such as James Daniels of Iowa and Billy Price available in the NFL draft… 

Ohio State center Billy Price explains what happened during the bench press Thursday and his prognosis for next season.

Speaking of Hill — The Patriots signed him for one year on the cheap a couple of days after the Browns signed his superior draft classmate Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal worth at least $5 million… 

Lastly: The Cincinnati Reds pulled off an impressive news dump early last night when they announced top prospect Nick Senzel has been sent to the minors

That did not come as a surprise, but it was still probably something that could cause some ripples in the fanbase given the excitement for his eventual debut with the big club. 

Also of note: He told reporters he will move to second base when he joins the Louisville Bats in Triple-A

That comes after he spent his first two years in the minors playing third and worked at shortstop this spring. 

The Reds locked up third baseman Eugenio Suarez with a long-term contract last week, and they are apparently pretty happy with what they have seen from Jose Peraza at shortstop this spring if that’s the move with Senzel at this point. 

Perhaps it also means Scooter Gennett will be the odd man out when they are ready to call up Senzel? 

Stay tuned… 

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Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell era ends with blowout loss to Central Michigan

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:58 PM

Kelsey Mitchell and Kevin McGuff react to Ohio State’s loss to Central Michigan and the end of her great career.

Central Michigan looked far from an 11 seed Monday night. 

The Chippewas crushed third-seeded Ohio State 95-78 at St. John Arena to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. 

That brought an end to the brilliant career of Ohio State point guard Kelsey Mitchell. 

She scored 28 points to finish with 3,402 for her career. 

That is No. 1 at Ohio State and in Big Ten annals while trailing only Washington’s Kelsey Plum on the NCAA’s all-time list (3,527). Mitchell passed Jackie Stiles of Missouri State to move into second place with a breakaway layup in the fourth quarter. 

The three-time Big Ten Player of the Year also holds the NCAA record for 3-pointers with 497. 

Sports Today: So much for Ohio’s high NCAA tournament hopes

Ohio State led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, but the Chippewas scored the last four points of the stanza to close within 15-9. 

CMU hung around despite missing 13 of 16 shots in the first quarter.  

Ohio State was 6 for 16 but committed four turnovers, but that was spectacular compared to a disastrous second quarter for the Buckeyes. 

The Big Ten champions missed 11 of 13 shots from the field and committed six turnovers against an aggressive CMU defense and while being outscored 25-6. 

“First of all, give Central Michigan credit,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “They played a great game and they deserved to win. They were outstanding today and they’ve got a great basketball team.

“They were well-prepared and their kids really executed at a high level tonight, but I don’t think we handled the adversity of them making shots or them going on a run. We kind of got out of the things that make us a good basketball team. And when that happened, they really made us pay.” 

The Chippewas used a 20-1 run that started late in the first quarter to open up a 25-16. 

Mitchell halted that by rattling home a jumper from the elbow with 3:12 on the clock. 

She had a chance to make it a three-point game with 2:18 left but missed a free throw. 

Then the Buckeyes gave up three consecutive 3-pointers, two wide-open looks for Cassie Breen and one a fadeaway by Presley Hudson off the dribble. 

That plunged the Buckeyes into a 34-21 hole from which they never recovered.

Ohio State shot 27.6 percent in the first half and committed 10 turnovers. 

Central Michigan made 30.6 percent of its shots, had only five turnovers and enjoyed a 28-20 rebounding advantage. 

The Chippewas extended their lead in the third quarter with an out-of-this-world shooting performance. 

They made 11 of 16 field goals, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range to extend their lead to 67-46. 

The Buckeyes found some offense in the third, but not nearly enough. 

Ohio State was still outscored 33-25 in the stanza and never got closer than 13 in the fourth quarter. 

“I guess it just felt like everything was going in,” Hudson said of the second half. “We got a lot of open shots and even if we weren’t open we felt like we could make ‘em.” 

Hudson led Central Michigan with 28 points while Breen had 22. 

Stephanie Mavunga scored 16 points for Ohio State while fellow senior Linnae Harper added 14.

“They did a good job of capitalizing on everything we did wrong,” Mavunga said. “They never let up.” 

The Buckeyes had a seven-game winning streak in NCAA tournament games at St. John Arena snapped. 

Central Michigan ended up making 14 of 27 from 3-point range and won the battle of the boards 46-35. 

Ohio State was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round for the first time since 2015. 

The Buckeyes advanced to the Sweet 16 the past two seasons but haven’t been to the Elite Eight since 1993, when they made their only Final Four and lost in the national championship game to Texas Tech.  

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Bodine leaves Bengals for Bills

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 6:28 PM

            ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Russell Bodine #61 of the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Russell Bodine #61 of the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Russell Bodine will not return to the Cincinnati Bengals after signing with the Buffalo Bills on Monday.

Bodine started all 64 games at center after the Bengals traded up to draft him in the fourth round in 2015. The unrestricted free agent signed a two-year contract with the Bills.

›› Burfict suspended for PED violation

The only center on the Bengals roster is T.J. Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who has appeared in 45 games with five starts, all at guard.

The Bengals could look to add depth at the position by signing one of the veteran free agents available, but the 2018 starter could be a player they select in the 2018 draft next month.

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

The Bengals own the 21st pick after trading back nine spots to obtain tackle Cordy Glenn from Buffalo.

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Dayton has two scholarships open as another player leaves

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 5:18 PM

Dayton’s Matej Svoboda looks to pass against Auburn on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton’s Matej Svoboda looks to pass against Auburn on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Dayton Flyers freshman Matej Svoboda will leave the program after one season to return home to the Czech Republic, according to a source.

Svoboda’s departure means Dayton has two scholarships open for the 2018-19 season. Xeyrius Williams announced he was transferring earlier this month.

» RELATED: Dayton holiday tournament shaping up to be a tough one

Svoboda, a 6-foot-7 forward, will play professional basketball in his home country. He appeared in 28 games this past season for the Flyers, averaging 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. He shot 20 percent from 3-point range (9 of 45).

Svoboda was recruited by Archie Miller’s staff and committed to Dayton in February of 2017. He signed with Dayton in May despite not having met new coach Anthony Grant in person.

» RELATED: Archdeacon on Svoboda

Svoboda was one of five members of the 2017 freshman class and one of six Flyers to make their college debuts last season.

Like many of the Flyers, Svoboda’s minutes dipped and climbed throughout the season, but he found a role as a contributor off the bench late in the season. He never developed into a consistent scoring threat and didn’t score in four of his last five appearances. He missed his last six 3-pointers. He scored his season high of nine points in the fourth game of the season against Akron.

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