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Cincinnati Bengals: 5 undrafted free agents with best chance to make roster

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:14 PM

Bengals rookie switching positions

The Cincinnati Bengals have a knack for attracting quality undrafted college free agents because they have a history of giving those players a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster.

Last year there were two rookie UFAs who made the initial 53-man roster in tight end Cethan Carter and linebacker Hardy Nickerson. Additionally, there were four other players who entered the league as UFAs on the 53 in offensive linemen Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond, wide receiver Alex Erickson and linebacker Vincent Rey. And that list doesn’t include linebacker Vontaze Burfict, a 2013 UFA who was suspended for the start of the 2017 season, and will be again for the first four games in 2018.

That’s seven of the top 54 players (13 percent of the roster) who went undrafted as rookies.

The current roster construction heading into Phase III of OTAs next week features 13 undrafted rookies.

Here’s a look at the five with best chance to survive the final cuts to make the 53-man roster:

Quinton Flowers, RB, South Florida

Plenty was written during last weekend’s rookie camp about Flowers switching from quarterback to running back, but his value goes well beyond that. He took turns fielding punts and serving as the personal protector on special teams as well as taking snaps and both running and passing out of the wildcat formation.

›› RELATED: Injured first-round pick says it was great to be on field for rookie camp

Chris Worley, LB, Ohio State

There is no other position where the Bengals have as much success mining undrafted talent than linebacker, and with Burfict suspended the first four games there is an opening for Worley to become the latest longshot to be on the field opening weekend, especially after drawing the praise of position coach Jim Haslett after his performance at rookie camp.

›› Ohio State trio ready to make marks in Cincinnati

Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, DE, Arkansas State

A team can never have enough edge rushers, and Rolland-Jones is an intriguing prospect. The 2016 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year logged 26.5 sacks in his final two seasons and the conference’s career leader with 43.5. At 6-foot-2 and 253 pounds he’s undersized as an edge rusher, but if he can use his quickness and continue to get into the backfield against NFL linemen, he could add value to the Bengals defense.

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Ka’Raun White, WR, West Virginia

Wide receiver probably will be the hardest position group for a UFA to crack, but White has genetics on his side with two older brothers in the NFL in Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White and San Diego Chargers safety Kyzir White.

›› Bengals defensive rookies eager to learn from veterans

Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii

It probably would take an injury to one of the other safeties for Henderson to be one of the four the team is expected to keep, but it’s a position the coaches have talked most about upgrading this offseason and Henderson was projected to be a fifth- or sixth-round pick by many analysts.

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Sinclair baseball team advances to national junior college World Series

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

            Sinclair first baseman Eddie Pursinger is headed to the University of Dayton next season. Tom Archdeacon/STAFF
Sinclair first baseman Eddie Pursinger is headed to the University of Dayton next season. Tom Archdeacon/STAFF

The Sinclair College baseball team saved the best for last in its regional baseball tournament in Sandusky on Saturday.

The Tartan Pride rode a late rally to an 11-7 win over Kellogg Community College in the championship game, sending Sinclair to the National Junior College Division II World Series.

ARCHDEACON: A spring tradition — Sinclair baseball one of nation’s best

Sinclair had been on a dominating run through much of its season. In fact, hadn’t lost a game since late March. That 31-game streak was snapped in the first game of the double-elimination tournament Saturday morning as Kellogg scored nine runs in the first two innings and went on to a 10-4 win.

Just like the first game, Steve Dintaman’s team got off to a slow start in Game 2 when the Bruins scored four times in the top of the second inning.

Down 5-1 in the fourth inning, the Tartan Pride got back in it with a solo home run from Eddie Pursinger to lead off the inning. Then Dylan Carpenter nailed a two run shot, and the deficit was down to one run at 5-4.

Kellogg held a 7-4 advantage in the eighth inning when Sinclair sent 11 batters to the plate. Carpenter started the scoring with an RBI single. Tyler Zaluski followed that with a two-run double, and Sami Mehmed drove in two more runs with a single to left field.

Justin Clarke capped the inning with a two-run single to right field. The Tartan Pride scored seven runs on seven hits in the inning.

Chaney Morgan got the win out of the bullpen, but he needed help in the ninth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Jake Webb came in to get a ground ball for the final out.

Sinclair now heads back to Enid, Okla., to another National Junior College World Series next week. The Tartan Pride finished third in the World Series in 2016.

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Six-run third leads Kenton Ridge past Ben Logan in sectional baseball final

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 7:21 PM

Kenton Ridge beats Benjamin Logan in baseball sectional final

Calvin Dibert didn't have to think long when he was asked if this was the most important start of his Kenton Ridge baseball career. Of course, it was. He's only a sophomore. This was a sectional final.

"It was a little nerve-wracking," Dibert said, "but once I got through the first inning, I was fine after that."

» PHOTOS: Kenton Ridge vs. Ben Logan

Dibert gave up a run in the first inning and one in the seventh inning. In between, the top-seeded Cougars scored three runs in the second inning and then nine in the third to beat No. 2 seed Benjamin Logan 9-2, advancing to a Division II district championship.

Dibert struck out eight batters. He improved to 8-0, and the Cougars improved to 19-5. The key to his performance, Dibert said, "was just letting my defense work. Just throwing strikes the whole game."

» SOFTBALL: Cougars beat Northwestern in sectional final

Kenton Ridge coach Aaron Shaffer praised Dibert's maturity.

"He doesn't show his age up there," Shaffer said. "He looks like a seasoned veteran. He doesn't get rattled in any situation."

Kenton Ridge's Calvin Dibert pitches against Benjamin Logan in a Division II sectional final on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Urbana.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

Kenton Ridge, which won its second sectional title in a row after a five-year drought, will play Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy or Bishop Fenwick in the next round at 11 a.m. Saturday at Miamisburg High School. Those teams play at 5 p.m. Friday in Lebanon after their game was rained out Thursday.

» TRACK: Photos from D-I meet at Wayne

Senior Drew Wichael (3-1, 3.54 ERA) will get the start for Kenton Ridge in the district final. The Cougars seek their first regional semifinal berth since they reached the state semifinals in 2008, Shaffer's first season. They lost in the district final in 2009 (8-2 to Franklin), 2010 (13-4 to Franklin), 2011 (9-4 to Cincinnati McNicholas) and 2017 (10-8 to Waynesville).

"We're due to get over the hump," Shaffer said.

A victory would give Dibert a chance to start an even bigger game next week. He looked ready for the opportunity against Benjamin Logan.

"He was efficient today," Shaffer said. "I think he only pitched to more than four batters one time, and that was in the last inning. It was four or less every inning. He was around the plate. We played good defense. That's what we've done all year. When we've been good, our guys pound the zone, and we play good defense."

Kenton Ridge's offense did its part as well. Jordan Ward, Jaxon Wright and Quinton Roach drove in runs in the second inning.

» FOOTBALL: Area coaches talk about concussions

An inning later, a single by Bailey Armentrout started a six-run rally. A single by Zach Schneider brought in the first run. Matt Tateman walked with the bases loaded to bring in the second run. A single by Ward scored two runs. A single by Roach scored the final two runs.

Kenton Ridge did all that without recording an out.

"That third inning was big," Shaffer said. "We were able to string a few hits together, get their starter out of the game and get into their bullpen. We just had guys with great at-bats. We were putting the ball in play. We put a little pressure on them. Before you know it, you look up, and we've got four, five, six runs. We competed at the plate."

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Giannis Antetokounmpo on his brother: ‘Kostas can be really good’

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17:  Kostas Antetokounmpo speaks with reporters during Day One of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17: Kostas Antetokounmpo speaks with reporters during Day One of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Former Dayton Flyers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, seeking to become the first UD player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990, worked out for NBA scouts Thursday on the first day of the NBA Combine in Chicago.

» RELATED: Antetokounmpo works out for Raptors

Antetokounmpo, one of 69 players invited to the combine and the only one from the Atlantic 10 Conference, measured 6-foot-9 without shoes. He was the fifth-tallest player of the forwards. He was 6-10½ with shoes. His standing reach of 9-2 was the best of the forwards.

The NBA released numerous other data points on each of the players. Antetokounmpo weighed 194.8 points. His wingspan was 7-2¼, which ranked 13th among the 69 players.

Antetokounmpo played 20 minutes in a game with other prospects Thursday. He had two points on 1-of-3 shooting, four rebounds and two blocks.

In an interview posted to, Antetokounmpo said the NBA coaches “showed me film on myself and helped me see my mistakes and stuff I do good on the court.”

Asked what part of his game will translate to the NBA right now, Antetokounmpo said, “I feel my shot-blocking ability and the way I run the floor.”

In an interview on ESPN, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star who’s the older brother of Kostas, said he worked with Kostas in Phoenix this spring. Giannis is also at the combine.

» FORMER FLYERS: Three UD basketball alums teaming up again

One mock draft by ESPN had Kostas being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round with the 56th overall pick.

“He’s just got to work hard every day,” Giannis said. “When I was his age, I paid attention to detail. You can never be satisfied. You always have chapters in your life. This is a big chapter in his life. No matter what happens today, no matter what happens tomorrow or no matter what happens in the draft, he’s got to come out the better player. That’s the most important thing: be a better player every day. Kostas can be really good. He’s got to work on a lot of things. He’s got to work on his game. He can get a lot better. But with the right fit, the right team, he can do great things in the NBA.”

Antetokounmpo spent two years at the University of Dayton. He sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds and blocked 31 shots last season and then left the program and the school in March, telling coach Anthony Grant he wanted to pursue a professional career.

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Sinclair baseball one win away from junior college world series

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 4:12 PM

Sinclair baseball coach Steve Dintaman has his team one win away from the NJCAA Division II World Series. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Sinclair baseball coach Steve Dintaman has his team one win away from the NJCAA Division II World Series. STAFF FILE PHOTO

The Sinclair Community College baseball team is one win away from the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series.

The Tartan Pride (beat Cuyahoga Community College 10-3 on Friday to reach the finals of the Region 12 tournament in Sandusky.

»ARCHDEACON: Sinclair baseball one of nation’s best

Sinclair, which won its 31st straight game, will face the winner of this afternoon’s Cuyahoga-Kellogg winner at 9 a.m. Saturday in the championship game. Kellogg or Cuyahoga would have to beat Sinclair twice in the double-elimination tournament.

On Friday, Colin Shepherd went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and scored two runs to pace Sinclair (43-8). Brandon Henson added a double, triple and three RBIs. Luke Williamson was the winning pitcher.

The NJCAA Division II World Series is May 26 through June 2 in Enid, Okla.

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