Former Dunbar basketball teammates going in different directions

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 4:51 PM
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 5:32 PM

Spire Academy seniors Caleb McConnell (left) and Devon Baker, both transfers from Dunbar, address an 80-70 defeat of host Fairmont in the 16th Annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena in Kettering on Fri., Jan. 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Former Dunbar High School basketball standouts Caleb McConnell and DeVon Baker are moving in the opposite directions.

On Sunday, McConnell announced via Twitter he has verbally committed to Rutgers University. On Monday, Baker also went to Twitter to announce he was opening his recruitment after previously committing to Siena (N.Y.).

»RELATED: Sidney’s Gordon will transfer to Huntington Prep (W.Va.)

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Both transferred last summer from Dunbar to a relatively new branch of Spire Institute at Geneva, Ohio, for their senior seasons.

Caleb McConnell of Spire Academy fires over Fairmont defenders. Fairmont played Spire in the Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“I love the tradition of the school, the academics and the direction Coach (Steve) Pikiell has the program going in,” McConnell said to The Knight Report. “I want to become an impact player at Rutgers. I want to be someone who makes a difference right away.”

»RELATED: Dunbar standouts transferring to Spire

Baker listed Siena among the schools he would still consider. That would likely depend on who succeeds Jimmy Patsos as coach. He resigned last Friday following an 8-24 season and school investigation into “abusive conduct to financial improprieties within the program” according to the Associated Press.

“Due to the circumstances at Siena, I have decided to open up my recruitment and see what other schools might be food fits for me and my family,” he tweeted. “All options, including Siena, are on the table.”

This news outlet has reached out to both for comment.

»RELATED: All-Area boys basketball

Both McConnell and Baker were the leading returning scorers for Dunbar following their junior seasons in 2016-17. A 6-foot-5 guard, McConnell averaged 13.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the Wolverines that season. Baker, a 6-2 guard, 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Dunbar’s Devon Baker. Dunbar defeated Cin. Wyoming 66-56 in a boys high school basketball D-II district final at UD Arena on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dunbar was 24-4 that season, losing to Trotwood-Madison in a Division II regional final. However, that would be the last game then-coach Pete Pullen would be in place at Dunbar, although he wasn’t officially not renewed until that fall.

Both McConnell and Baker averaged double digits in scoring at Spire (22-6). They returned to Kettering with Spire for the Good Samaritan Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop in January, posting an 80-70 defeat of host Fairmont in the Flyin’ opener. Baker led Spire with 22 points and McConnell tallied 19.

»RELATED: All-Area girls basketball

McConnell was ranked a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com and chose Rutgers over West Virginia, Wichita State, UMass, St. Bonaventure, Akron and Ohio among other offers. The Scarlet Knights were 15-19 overall and 3-15 in the Big Ten this past season.

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

Joining McConnell as a Rutgers recruit is 6-6 wing Ron Harper Jr. of Don Bosco (N.J.) Prep. He’s the son of Ron Harper, who excelled at Kiser High School, Miami University and won five championships in a 16-season NBA career from 1986-2001. Harper Jr. signed last November.

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Scoochie Smith helps lead Cavaliers to Summer League quarterfinals

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2018 @ 8:12 PM

WATCH: Plays from the senior season of Dayton guard Scoochie Smith

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith turned in his best performance so far Saturday in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev.

Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. His tie-breaking 3-pointer with 4:21 to play gave the Cavs the lead for good.

» RELATED: Mavs sign AntetokounmpoArchdeacon on new Dayton assistant coach

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Smith made 6 of 12 field goals, 3 of 5 3-pointers and 2 of 2 free throws. He added three assists and a rebound in 18 minutes.

Cleveland is 4-1 in the Summer League. It will play Toronto or Charlotte in the semifinals on Sunday at at time to be announced. The championship game is Tuesday.

Smith had several highlight-reel plays featured by the Cavs on Twitter.

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Scoochie Smith helps Cavaliers advance to semifinals of NBA Summer League tournament

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 9:48 PM

WATCH: Video of Scoochie Smith's clutch shots in overtime at Davidson.

Scoochie Smith’s run with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Summer League will continue for at least one more game.

Smith, the former Dayton Flyers point guard, had 10 points, two assists and four rebounds in 26 minutes Sunday as the Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors 82-68 in the quarterfinals of the Summer League tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.

» DAYTON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey Landers

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The Cavaliers will play the Los Angeles Lakers in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.

On Saturday in the quarterfinals, Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.

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Reds prospects show their talents in Futures Game

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 7:04 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team pitches in the fourth inning World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team pitches in the fourth inning World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Dayton Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene topped 100 miles per hour on his first seven pitches in the Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

However, another Cincinnati Reds prospect, Taylor Trammell, overshadowed Greene by winning the Larry Doby Award, which goes to the game’s MVP. He’s the first Reds prospect to win the honor.

» REPORT: Reds interested in long-term deal for Gennett

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Greene and Trammell played for the United States team, which beat the World team 10-6.

Greene pitched 1 1/3 innings for the United States team, allowing one run on two hits with one walk and a strikeout. His fastest pitch reached 103.1 miles per hour.

White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe, the first batter Greene faced, hit a home run.

» RELATED: Cardinals fire manager after loss to Reds

Greene is 3-7 with a 4.69 ERA in 16 starts for Dayton. He has 80 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings.

Trammell, of the Single-A Daytona Tortugas, hit a home run in the sixth inning to give the USA a 6-5 led. He tripled and scored in the eighth inning.

Trammell is hitting .295 with six home runs and 29 RBIs for Daytona.

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Report: Reds have expressed interest in long-term deal for Scooter Gennett 

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 4:26 PM

What to know about Scooter Gennett

Will Scooter Gennett still be a Cincinnati Red at the end of the month? 

That is a question that has been asked for much of the season, and it might have a new answer — one a lot of fans will probably like

"Just from the talks that I've had with the guys in control of all those things, I feel like they want me here. I feel like, just from what I've been told, they want me here for the long term," Gennett told MLB.com on Friday. "What I'm getting is [CEO Bob Castellini] wants me here for a while. When it comes to all of the trade stuff, it would be going against what I've been hearing.” 

Gennett, a Lebanon native, is having his second straight great season with the Reds

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This one earned him a trip to the All-Star Game

He has become both a fan favorite and a potentially valuable trade chip along the way, and Reds general manager Nick Krall was noncommittal in the same story from MLB.com

"If there is something out there that makes your club better going into the future and long haul, you have to explore every possibility. With that said, he's been one of the most productive players in the National League over the last year-and-a-half. We'd like him as part of this club. We think he's a valuable part of this club.”

On Sunday, national baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal reported the Reds have had “minimal talks” about a contract extension.

As a native of Southwest Ohio, he has called getting to wear a Reds uniform a dream come true and said he would like to be in Cincinnati for a long time

However, the general assumption has been he (and others) would likely be traded as the team continues to add assets to build for the future. 

RELATED: Gennett’s homecoming a bright spot for Reds

The team also will need to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel at some point, though not until next spring because he is out for the rest of the season after tearing a finger ligament. 

Senzel can play multiple positions, and the possibility of moving Gennett to the outfield was floated earlier this season. 

Making a long-term commitment to Gennett would certainly be a signal to fans the Reds believe they are done rebuilding after languishing in last place for most of the last four years. 

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