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Graham wrestling lineup takes a Holiday hit

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 7:44 PM


            Springfield’s Jacob Yost works on securing the fall to move into the quarters at 170 at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament at Vandalia’s SAC Wednesday night. JOHN CUMMINGS / CONTRIBUTED
            JOHN CUMMINGS / CONTRIBUTED
Springfield’s Jacob Yost works on securing the fall to move into the quarters at 170 at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament at Vandalia’s SAC Wednesday night. JOHN CUMMINGS / CONTRIBUTED(JOHN CUMMINGS / CONTRIBUTED)

Graham wrestling coach Jeff Jordan knew that running away with the annual Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament title would be trickier this time.

The Falcons, who have won three straight titles and four of five since returning, find themselves missing five hammers for the two-day event at the SAC at Butler High School.

Defending state champs Rocky Jordan, Jordan Crace and JD Stickley are out nursing nagging injuries as are returning state placer Joey Sanchez and freshman phenom Aleck Martin.

“Sure, I’d like to have my three state champs and Ironman champs in there,” Jordan said. “But, this is a good tournament with the best teams in Dayton and Buford (Georgia) and it is good for those guys.”

Buford advanced eight to the quarters and is first with 83 points. Graham moved seven into the quarters and is three points behind.

Versailles is third overall and second to Graham in the small school division with 75.5 points. Butler is fourth overall – second in the big school race – with 66 points.

»RELATED: GMVWA Holiday tourney shifts to Butler

Jordan is hoping to have all five back in two weeks when the Falcons travel to a dual meet tournament at Detroit Catholic Central where they will dual two other teams ranked in the top 10 nationally before traveling to Lakewood St. Edward for an annual showdown a week later.

“Everyone is getting banged up,” Jordan said. “Sometimes you get burned by the fire until you harden up.”

Graham’s five weren’t the lone big guns missing.

Butler state-placer Ronnie Pietro was a late scratch as was Springfield state-placer Joe Cochran due to nagging health issues.

New attitude: Springfield 170-pounder Jacob Yost admits that placing at the Holiday last year was a bit of a turning point.

The Wildcat senior went from being a grind-it-out wrestler to push-the-limits mode.

Yost out-scored his two opponents Wednesday 22-2 to advance to the quarters.

“I definitely have more confidence,” the third-seeded Yost said. “The experience from last year really helped me in calming everything down.”

»RELATED: Teams adjust Friday starts to avoid Cotton Bowl

Yost, unseeded last season, is getting adjusted to seeing a seed next to his name at tournaments.

“I think it helps,” Yost said. “I just have to go out and wrestle the same way every time.”

Statement upset: Xenia 285 junior Peyton Bartley pulled off the first major upset.

Bartley dominated Georgia state placer Quentin Skinner of Buford, before recording the fall over the second seed at the 3:46 mark.

“I knew if I went at him right out of the gate, it was maybe a match to win,” Bartley said. “Then my conditioning and training just kicked in.

“This is one of the toughest sports in the world and it takes dedication to be a part of the sport. It is the hardest thing we will do in our lives.”

Bartley advanced to the quarters with a 7-1 win over Moore’s Cody Melton.

The key was taking the win over the second seed as just another win.

“I’ve learned that those matches can help you a lot,” Bartley said. “But, they have to be just another match or you celebrate it too much and come out and flat line the next match.”

Seventh seeded Seth Bowman of Eaton awaits Bartley in the quarters.

“I am just going to wrestle the same way I always do,” Bartley said.

Quick stick: Graham’s Mitch Moore wasted no time in his first step toward becoming a four-time Holiday champ.

The Falcon 145 needed just seven seconds to record the fall over Bellefontaine’s Josh Eckhoff.

On deck: Wrestling began at 11 a.m. Thursday with the championship quarters.

The first session will run through the wrestling for seventh place before a 45 minute break to allow set up for finals.

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Middletown’s Kayla Harrison on winning MMA debut: ‘What a rush!’

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 1:33 PM

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28: Olympic gold medal Judoka Kayla Harrison is introduced before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28: Olympic gold medal Judoka Kayla Harrison is introduced before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Middletown native Kayla Harrison was understandably exhuberant after winning her professional mixed-martial arts debut Thursday night.

“Yeah, man what a rush, huh? Crazy,” she said in a post-fight press conference.

Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, submitted Brittney Elkin in a Professional Fighters League 155-pound lightweight bout in Chicago.

She got Elkin on the ground early and dominated the fight, finishing it off with an armbar 3 minutes, 18 seconds into round one.

>>MORE: Kayla Harrison shares inspiring message with Middletown crowd | Middletown cheers Harrison to another Olympic gold

“Have you ever stepped in the cage and let them lock the door behind you?” she asked a reporter, who replied he has not.

“I highly suggest it,” she said with a huge smile and a laugh.

Although she made fairly quick work of the more experienced Elkin (3-5), Harrison said she was far from being in a comfort zone in her first competition since she won her second Olympic gold medal almost two years ago.

“Obviously my judo and my instincts from years of doing the same thing over and over again took over, but I don’t want to just be a judo player who gets in the cage,” she said. “I want to be the best MMA fighter in the world. I have a lot to work on. I already told my boxing coach, ‘We’re working every day. That’s it.’ I don’t care if he’s got plans. Forget about ‘em!

“It was a lot of fun. I”m just grateful to my team and everyone who has supported me along the way.”

She was also happy to have supporters in the Windy City from Middletown.

“I grew up in Ohio, so there were a lot of people here from my hometown,” Harrison said. “They like rented a bus or something from Middletown and drove over so this is awesome to fight here.”

As for when she might fight again, she replied, “The sooner the better.”

The Professional Fighters League is a new MMA promotion that held its first event earlier this month.

While a full season of competition is scheduled for men in the PFL, the promotion is still accumulating female fighters and Harrison is their marquee name.

“I think it’s in my contract to fight every four months so maybe October?” she said. “I’m ready. I don’t have time to mess around. I think the more I fight, the more experience I get the more comfortable I’m going to get inside that cage.”

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NBA Draft: Where 3 locals landed and what’s next for them

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:19 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

Following the NBA draft live doesn’t appeal to me much because so much changes from moment to moment. 

Of course there’s a great drama factor involved, but these days i don’t have much trouble finding that anywhere so I spent more time watching the Reds beat the Cubs and Kayla Harrison win her first MMA fight

Even if you watched the NBA draft for a while last night, there’s a decent chance some things changed after you went to bed. 

Here’s a look at what went down for Kostas Antetokounmpo (University of Dayton), Vincent Edwards (Middletown High School) and Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), all of whom were taken in the second round. 

Kostas Antetokounmpo, forward, Dayton 

The former Flyers reserve was the last pick in the draft, taken 60th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, who traded his rights to the Dallas Mavericks. 

Dallas has fallen on hard times in the Late Nowitzkian Period, missing the playoffs the last two seasons and failing to win a playoff series since upsetting LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the 2011 Finals. 

The Mavs got their point guard of the future last year in Dennis Smith Jr., acquired European star wing Luka Doncic on Thursday night (and picked another heady lead guard in Villanova’s Jalen Brunson) so athletic big guys like Antetokounmpo would seem to be a need. 

Conclusion: Anyone who watch UD last season knows Antetokounmpo has potential but is far from being ready to contribute to an NBA team. 

However, this is probably as good a situation as he could have landed in because the Mavs are considered an up-and-coming team with a winning coach (Rick Carlisle). 

Keita Bates-Diop, guard/forward, Ohio State 

The Big Ten Player of the Year was taken 48th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

After years of struggling following the Kevin Garnett era, the T-Wolves made the playoffs last season with a roster built around young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and stalwart Jimmy Butler. 

NBA.com noted before the draft Minnesota badly needed to upgrade its bench, even suggesting Bates-Diop could be a good fit. 

He can back up both Butler and Wiggins as a “3 and D” wing now coveted throughout the league. 

Conclusion: This looks like a very good situation for KDB, who has an NBA-ready game and joins a good team in need of what he can do. He should not have too much put on his plate too soon, but there figure to be plenty of opportunities for him to do his thing. 

Vincent Edwards, forward, Purdue (Middletown High School) 

The second-team All-Big Ten pick was taken by the Utah Jazz with the No. 52 pick but traded to the Houston Rockets. 

Houston had the best record in the league last season and had the Warriors on the ropes in the Western Conference finals but couldn’t finish the job. With All-Star Chris Paul sidelined by injury, the Rockets saw Golden State rally to win the series before taking down Cleveland in the finals. 

They play a unique style that relies heavily on putting James Harden and Paul in pick-and-rolls that let them drive the basket, find a big guy for a lob or dish it out for 3-pointers. 

Conclusion: Edwards has a good face-up game and was a 39.2-percent 3-point shooter in college. If he can continue to stroke it from behind the pro line, he could be a valuable bench player right away for Houston, which needs depth to maintain a high pace of play. 

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Kostas Antetokounmpo: Five things to know about Mavericks draft pick

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

Kostas Antetokounmpo has heard the word potential attached to his name for years. That comes with the territory when your brother is one of the best players in the world and you have similar height and wingspan.

“A lot of people tell me I have potential,” Antetokounmpo said last November after the second game of his short Dayton Flyers career, “but I have to keep working.”

» KOSTAS STORIES: High ceilingTrying to live up to his nameA star in victory over Saint Louis

That was true then and true now. After being selected with the last pick of the 2018 NBA Draft — the Dallas Mavericks chose him with the 60th pick Thursday night — he’ll have to get to work to make it at the pro level.

Here are five things to know about Antetokounmpo as he chases that dream:

1. Special name: The Antetokounmpo family emigrated from Lagos, Nigeria, to Athens, Greece, in 1991. There are five brothers. Each received a Greek name and a Nigerian name from their parents, Veronica and Charles.

“My Nigerian name is Ndubuisi and it has a special meaning, but I can’t remember it right now,” Antetokounmpo said. “It has something to do, I believe, about a gift. Like a gift from God.”

2. Close bond: The five brothers are close and often use the hashtag “Antetokounbros” on social media.

Francis is the oldest and the only one born in Nigeria. Thanasis, 25, was drafted by the New York Knicks and now plays in Europe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, stars for the Milwaukee Bucks. Sports Illustrated ranked him the ninth-best player in the NBA in 2019.

Then there’s Kostas, 20, and Alex, a junior at Dominican High School in Milwaukee who received a scholarship offer from DePaul this spring.

When Kostas first enrolled at Dayton in 2016, it was Giannis who drove him to campus from Milwaukee.

“Giannis is really big on family,” Kostas said. “He takes us everywhere with him. They might say, ‘Oh no. You can’t really have your family here,’ and he says, ‘No, my brothers are coming with me.’ That’s how it was at the All-Star Game last year. He took us to press conferences, workouts, everything. I talk to each of my brothers two or three times a day. I call Thanasis and it might be 4 or 5 a.m. over there, but he never says, ‘Hey, I got to sleep.’ He talks to me about classes, the team, everything. And Giannis calls me all the time. We’re really close.”

3. Highlight machine: Antetokounmpo was inconsistent in his one season on the court in Dayton. His final numbers (5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game), didn’t stand out. Early in the season, he was on pace to challenge the school’s single-season blocks record. He finished with 31, the most on the team but far short of Steve McElvene’s mark of 55.

Even in games in which he made only one field goal — and there were 11 of those — he often made the most memorable play of the night.

In a Dec. 23 game against Wagner, Antetokounmpo grabbed an alley-oop pass from Jalen Crutcher high above the rim and slammed it through the hoop in the first half of a 79-67 victory. ESPN’s SportsCenter ranked it the No. 6 play of the day. It was the only shot taken by Antetokounmpo, who played 11 minutes.

4. Limited minutes: Antetokounmpo had a hard time staying on the court early in the season because of foul trouble. Giannis helped him improve in that area as the season progressed with a little advice.

“He said when I get my first foul I gotta lay low,” Antetokounpo said. “I got to play as hard as I can, but as clean as I can. He said, ‘Don’t get those fouls back to back to back.’”

5. Miller recruit: Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton three days after visiting campus in June of 2016. He was the 89th-ranked recruit in the nation that year and one of the top recruits in Archie Miller’s six seasons at Dayton.

“(Signing him) means a lot,” Miller said at the time. “As we’re recruiting, we’re trying to be as good as we can be. We’re trying to continue to sustain the great success. To do that, you need good players. Adding him gives us more credibility that this is a place where guys can see themselves being successful.”

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Dayton draft drought ends as Antetokounmpo chosen with last pick

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

A 28-year drought ended for the Dayton Flyers on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 forward, with the 30th and last pick of the second round in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the 60th player chosen overall.

» FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo?

Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Dayton player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990. The Phoenix Suns drafted Knight in the second round.

Dayton had 38 players drafted between 1952 and 1990. Twenty Flyers have played in the NBA, including four undrafted players (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) since Knight was drafted.

Antetokounmpo seeks to become the third member of his family to play in the NBA. His brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, was the 15th pick of the first round in 2013 and now is one of the top players in the league. He averaged 26.9 points per game last season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 25, played in two games in 2016 for the New York Knicks. He was a second-round pick in 2014.

» KOSTAS STORIES: High ceilingTrying to live up to his name | A star in victory over Saint Louis

The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton in June 2016 but sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier.

Antetokounmpo debuted in the 2017-18 season and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He appeared in 29 of 32 games and started six games.

» RELATED: Grant talks about Dayton’s offseason | Knight last Dayton player to be drafted

In late March, weeks after the end of a 14-17 season, Antetokounmpo left the program and the university.

“His mindset was he wants to test the waters to see what his prospects are for being in the NBA,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “And he felt it was in his best interest to leave school to do it. I’m not trying to judge his decision in terms of basketball, but the timing of his leaving did surprise me with just six weeks of school left.”

     

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