Fans and analysts react to DeShone Kizer’s benching

Published: Sunday, October 08, 2017 @ 3:48 PM

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson talks with quarterback DeShone Kizer
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FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson talks with quarterback DeShone Kizer(7)

After an abysmal first half, Browns coach Hue Jackson pulled the plug on rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Kizer was benched in the second half on Sunday’s game against the Jets. Kevin Hogan led the Browns on a touchdown drive following the move, but they trail the Jets 17-7 in the fourth quarter.













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High School Football: These 7 area football stars have made college commitments 

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

Springfield Wildcats standout Moses Douglass explains verbally committing to the Kentucky Wildcats

With the start of summer in sight, at least 20 Cox Media Group Ohio coverage area players in the senior class have Division I football offers or appear in the 247Sports rankings. 

Seven members of the 2019 class have already verbally committed. 

Here’s a look at them: 

Connor Bazelak — Missouri

The Alter quarterback announced June 18 he plans to attend Missouri after considering numerous offers from schools in the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and more.  

He is a three-star prospect and the No. 1-rated quarterback in Ohio. 

 

Hayden Bullock — Air Force

A lineman from Bellbrook, Bullock made his announcement in early April

He was a second-team All-Southwest District pick last season and will not be alone as a Miami Valley native playing for the Falcons. 

The 2017 Air Force football roster had three area players (Ja’Mel Sanders and C.J. Riazzi of Chaminade Julienne and Jarrod Hardrick of Wayne) and three members of the 2018 class plan to play for the Falcons (Jake Spewiak and Sam Vance of Centerville and Tyler Johnson of Miamisburg). 

Moses Douglass — Kentucky

A defensive back from Springfield, Douglass verbally committed at the end of March

He is a three-star prospect, the No. 12 player in the state and ranked third among area prospects behind Steven Faucheux of Lakota West and John Bivens of Alter. 

He had 65 tackles last season and made the All-Southwest district first team. 

READ MORE: Douglass ready to forge his own path at father’s alma mater

Justin Harris — Cincinnati 

Another member of the all-district first team in Division I, Harris had four interceptions last season for at Wayne. 

He verbally committed on June 11

Harris is the No. 28 prospect in Ohio. 

Wayne DB Justin Harris. Trotwood-Madison defeated visiting Wayne 14-7 in a Week 10 GWOC crossover high school football game to complete a 10-0 regular season on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF/MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

Jestin Jacobs — Iowa 

The Northmont linebacker chose the Hawkeyes on May 11. 

He is a three-star prospect and the No. 20-rated player in Ohio. 

Last season, Jacobs recorded 67 tackles, forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass en route to All-Southwest District first-team honors. 

Gabe Newburg — Michigan 

The Northmont defensive end announced he will be a Wolverine on April 2

He is the No. 29 prospect in the state, was third in the GWOC with seven sacks last season and made the all-district first team. 

RELATED: In-state recruiting remains tricky for Urban Meyer, Ohio State

J.J. Ross — Cincinnati 

A defensive back from Lakota West, Ross chose the Bearcats on June 10

He had 25 tackles and a pair of interceptions in nine games last season for the Firebirds. 

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Looking back: Negele Knight last Dayton Flyer to be drafted in 1990

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:48 PM

University of Dayton basketball legend Negele Knight
Contributed Photo
University of Dayton basketball legend Negele Knight(Contributed Photo)

Twenty eight years ago this month, the Phoenix Suns drafted Dayton Flyers guard Negele Knight with the fourth pick in the second round. He was the 31st overall pick.

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Knight was the 47th player in Dayton history be drafted and the 11th to go in the first or second rounds. Although four undrafted Flyers (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) have played in the NBA since Knight’s career ended in 1999, he remains the last Flyer to be drafted.

The drought could end Thursday. Kostas Antetokounmpo, who played one season with Dayton and left the program in March, is projected as a possible second-round pick.

Here’s a look back at the Dayton Daily News coverage of Knight on June 28, 1990 (story by Bucky Albers):

SUNS SHINE ON DAYTON'S KNIGHT

It came as a complete surprise to Negele Knight Wednesday night when the Phoenix Suns selected him in the second round of the National Basketball Association player draft.

"I never sat down and talked to them and I never heard from them," said Knight, who led the University of Dayton Flyers to a 22-10 record last season. "It's a surprise to me, but it's a good surprise."

Watching the draft on television in Detroit at the home of his brother, Oscar, Knight had to wait almost three hours until his name was called at 10:25 p.m.

He was the fourth player selected in the second round and the 31st overall.

"I'm doing fine . . . now that I don't have to play against K.J.," Knight said moments after he got the news.

K.J. is Kevin Johnson, the starting point guard for the Suns.

"I played against him in our Christmas tournament my freshman year," said Knight, referring to Johnson's appearance in the Merrill Lynch Classic with the California Golden Bears. "People ask me who was the best guard I've ever played against, and that's him."

Guard Negele Knight of the Phoenix Suns moves the ball during a 1993 game. Layne Murdoch /Allsport (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

The Suns, who selected 6-foot-8 power forward Jason Williams of St. John's with the 21st pick in the first round, took Knight in hopes that his presence will enable Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons to give Johnson more rest than he got during the past season.

"Kevin Johnson needs some rest," Fitzsimmons said. "You can ride a good horse to death if you use him too much."

Last year, Phoenix drafted 5-7 guard Greg Grant, the NCAA Division III scoring leader from Trenton (N.J.) State College, in the second round for the same reason, but he didn't get the job done.

The Suns had to press 6-4 shooting guard Jeff Hornacek into duty as a point guard.

Fitzsimmons thinks Knight could be the answer. He was particularly impressed with the numbers the 6-1 senior posted late in the season.

During the last five weeks of the season, Knight sparked UD to an 11-game winning string with a phenomenal scoring spree. He averaged 29.7 points per game. He shot .615 (72-117) from the field, .703 (19-27) from 3-point range and .820 (50-61) from the free throw line.

"He's quick and he's a tough guy," Fitzsimmons said. "You figure the last few games of the season were the toughest, and that's when he was the toughest."

Phoenix apparently was debating between choosing Knight and Brian Oliver of Georgia Tech. The Suns decided that Knight had better all-around playmaking skills.

Knight was the fifth true point guard selected. Chosen ahead of him were Gary Payton of Oregon State (2nd by Seattle), Rumeal Robinson of Michigan (10th by Atlanta), Dee Brown of Jacksonville (19th by Boston) and Lance Blanks of Texas (26th by Detroit).

Four other MCC players were selected in the draft. They are: Tyrone Hill of Xavier (11th by Golden State), Anthony Bonner of St. Louis (23rd by Sacramento), Derek Strong of Xavier (47th by Philadelphia) and Tony Smith of Marquette (51st by the Los Angeles Lakers).

Knight, who flew to Portland at the Trail Blazers' request two weeks ago, thought he might be selected by Portland late in the first round, but they picked 6-10 Alaa Abdelnaby of Duke.

Sacramento, which had four first round choices, also had an interest but backed off after landing shooting guard Travis Mays of Texas with the 14th pick.

Knight was mildly disappointed that he wasn't picked in the first round, but no Flyer has been drafted in the first round since 1979 when Jim Paxson was selected by Portland.

"It's Phoenix, they need a point guard and I'm ready," Knight said. "It's a good situation, and it will take some pressure off me. Now I have some kind of focus."

The Suns called Knight's agent, Fred Slaughter, in Los Angeles to inform him of their pick.

"Fred just called me," Knight said, indicating that he got no information about the dates of rookie camp or any other details. "All that will be discussed tomorrow. I'll talk with him again tomorrow night."

Knight, 23, averaged 22.8 points for the Flyers, who won the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament championship and played two games in the NCAA tournament.

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What to know about the Dayton area’s best basketball prospects

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:18 PM

Xenia junior Samari Curtis talks about how it felt to score 50 points for the Buccaneers in a loss at Tippecanoe on Jan. 5.

To find out what most of the area’s best basketball players are up to this spring and summer, one needn’t make many phone calls. 

Quincy Simpson has the scoop. 

Fans in northwest Ohio know Simpson as the head coach at Lima Senior, but he’s pulling double duty as the director of the C2K Elite AAU program. 

That roster happens to include a handful of the top senior-to-be prospects from schools in the Cox Media Group Ohio coverage area, so we gave Simpson a call to get an update on their progress. 

Here’s what he had to say: 

Samari Curtis, Xenia guard 

“Samari is kind of like a bully, but in a good way,” Simpson said of the GWOC’s two-time leading scorer. “He’s a guy you need on a team that is going to challenge the other team’s best player. He’s gonna challenge anybody on the team verbally He’s gonna do all those things.” 

Curtis is a four-star prospect and the top-rated player in the area per the 247Sports Composite rankings.  

"Samari can score at all three levels — he can get right to the basket, he’s got a nice mid-range and he can shoot the 3-ball. There’s a lot to his game,” Simpson said. 

RELATED: High-scoring Curtis wants to be program-changer for Xenia

Curtis committed to Xavier during his junior season but re-opened his recruitment in May

“He’s gonna have a lot of interest coming in July,” Simpson said. 

Simpson identified Dayton, Ohio State, Florida and Virginia Tech as schools who have shown interest recently. 

“I’ve taken a lot of calls on him,” Simpson said. “Those teams haven’t watch him a lot because he was already committed, so now they’re looking forward to seeing him in July. I think if he plays well, which I believe he will, he’s gonna have something very special for himself.” 

Before committing, Curtis had offers from Akron, Toledo, Kent State and Cincinnati along with XU. 

Xenia jr. Samari Curtis addresses a 67-60 defeat of Olentangy Liberty in the 16th Annual Premier Health Flyin to the Hoop at Trent Arena in Kettering on Sat., Jan. 13, 2018. MARC PENDLETON /

Amari Davis, Trotwood-Madison guard 

“He is a left-handed kid that can finish really, really well in transition,” Simpson said. 

“I like coaching all the guys, but he’s very coachable. Extremely coachable. That’s just kind of what he brings to the table for our group. Left-handed, transition guy, can finish well around guys bigger than him.” 

Davis has already displayed a strong midrange game, but he is working on adding the 3-pointer to his arsenal before his senior season for the Rams. 

In May, Davis told CMGO he had offers from Miami University, Cleveland State, Akron, Toledo and IUPUI while receiving interest from Ohio State, Cincinnati and Xavier

Trotwood junior Amari Davis addresses a 60-51 loss to Akron SVSM in a boys high school basketball D-II state final at OSU’s Schottenstein Center on Sat., March 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Andre Gordon, Sidney guard (transferring to Huntington Prep) 

“He constantly amazes people with what he can do at his size,” Simpson said of the 6-foot-2 combo guard. “He can shoot the ball, he’s tough, he’s athletic and he can score at all three levels.” 

Simpson also praised Gordon’s ability to handle the ball, his shooting and his competitiveness and coach-ability. 

Next season Gordon will suit up for Huntington Prep, a school in West Virginia that attracts some of the country’s best players and faces squads made up of the same. 

RELATED: Flyers offer Sidney standout

“Huntington Prep will do wonders for him just from a competition standpoint,” Simpson said. “That school is going to have some of the best players there, so you’re playing against those guys every day. That means you have no choice but to get better. 

“Not taking anything away from Sidney, but he needed to go where he could improve as fast as he can.” 

Dayton and Wright State are among schools who have offered Gordon

Sidney jr. Andre Gordon addresses a 56-45 defeat of Beavercreek in a boys D-I high school basketball sectional semi on Tue., Feb. 27, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

RaHeim Moss, Springfield guard 

“He’s kind of another Samari when it comes to toughness and an edge,” Simpson said.

He compared Moss to former high school teammate Danny Davis, a four-year starter for the Wildcats who is a receiver at Wisconsin. 

Although Moss led the Wildcats in scoring last season (14.9 points per game), his ceiling is likely higher in football, where Cincinnati, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Bowling Green have already offered

He has dual offers (football and basketball) from Cincinnati. 

“Whatever he chooses, he’s gonna be fine,” Simpson said. 

Springfield jr. Raheim Moss addresses a 77-60 defeat of Springboro in a boys D-I high school basketball sectional semifinal at Centerville on Tue., Feb. 27, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Sam Towns, Springfield forward 

Towns wasn’t a primary option for a loaded Wildcats team last season, but he’s an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-7. 

“He’s very skilled,” Simpson said. "He shoots the ball well. He’s long and agile — wiry.” 

The coach praised him for being willing to attack the glass and noted he will have to play on the perimeter at the next level. 

“Strength is his No. 1 factor,” Simpson said. “If he gets stronger, he’s gonna be a hell of a player at the collegiate level. 

Aside from those five, there’s one more player on Simpson’s roster who might be of some interest to local basketball fans. 

Jeremiah Davenport signed a letter of intent to play at Wright State, but requested and was granted his release after helping lead Cincinnati Moeller to the state championship in March. 

With his stock on the rise, he decided to reclassify as a member of the class of 2019 and spend a year in prep school. 

“He was probably by far the kid that improved the most during the season. He made a big jump and people got an opportunity to see what he could do,” Simpson said. "I think he kind of wanted to play at a higher level. It was nothing at all against Wright State. They’re a tremendous school, but he’s young age-wise, and he felt another year of developing, another year of getting better could only enhance his chances to play at that higher level.” 

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Reds’ Votto does bird a favor with grand slam

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 10:27 AM

The Reds’ Joey Votto hits a grand slam against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
The Reds’ Joey Votto hits a grand slam against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Hours after the bird incident and a 9-5 Cincinnati Reds victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, a reporter asked Joey Votto if he was worried about a Randy Johnson moment.

“Of course,” Votto said. “Haunts you forever.”

Johnson had a hall-of-fame career. He will also be remembered throwing a pitch that blew up a bird, which happened to fly into the path of a pitch.

Votto was determined to avoid the same fate as he hit with the bases loaded in the third inning. He saw a black bird standing in the grass between the pitcher’s mound and home plate at Great American Ball Park. He decided to shoo it away, taking two steps toward the mound to get its attention.

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“A hitter would prefer things to be stable in their line of vision,” Votto said. “I wanted to let it know, ‘Go on. Scoot.’ I was a little concerned about PETA’s reaction, so I figured I’d back off. Then I had to make sure I got the ball in the air, and I had to make sure I didn’t hit the ball in the middle of the field on the ground. I was taking good care of the bird while I was also hitting.”

The bird did flee behind the pitcher’s mound, and two pitches later, Votto hit a grand slam that just cleared the wall in right, giving the Reds a 4-0 lead. He flapped his arms as he crossed home play to honor the bird.

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Votto hadn’t homered since May 13, a stretch of 30 games, though his numbers continue to climb. He’s hitting .302.

“I have felt good throughout,” Votto said. “I think I’ve been swinging well. (The home run) hasn’t shown up.”

Votto’s grand slam overshadowed a second straight dominant performance by Sal Romano. After allowing one run in eight innings in his previous start against the Royals, he threw seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 5.18.

“Two games in a row doesn’t take away what happened for a month straight,” Romano said. “I’ve got to take this as another good one and enjoy today and get back to work tomorrow.”

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