Landers: ‘Surreal feeling’ finally getting to play with Antetokounmpo

Published: Saturday, November 04, 2017 @ 11:24 PM

Dayton's Trey Landers reacts to exhibition win

Fans of the Dayton Flyers waited a long time to see Kostas Antetokounmpo on the court. The wait was just as long for him. It finally ended Saturday in an exhibition game against Ohio Dominican at UD Arena.

RELATED: Photos from Dayton’s win

The 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman, the brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, had six points, four rebounds and a block in 16 minutes in Dayton’s 79-61 victory. Foul trouble limited his impact. He picked up two in five minutes in the first half.

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Antetokounmpo provided two of the game’s biggest highlights with rim-rocking dunks, the second off an alley-oop pass from the other member of Dayton’s 2016 recruiting class, Trey Landers.

GRANT’S REACTION: Coach pleased with team’s effort

“That’s all we talk about, me and Kostas,” Landers said. “It’s beautiful. He pointed up and I said OK. I knew he was going to get it. I just threw it up there. It had the crowd going crazy. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s like my best friend. For him and me to be in the game at the same time, it was a surreal feeling.”

Antetokounmpo sat out last season as a NCAA partial qualifier. He suffered a knee injury in the summer and wasn’t cleared for full-contact practices until a couple weeks before the exhibition game.

WATCH: Dayton’s new pregame introductions

“It meant a lot to him for him to show the people what he can do,” Landers said. “He’s been off for about a year and a half or two years, battling some injuries and things like that. He had a good showing tonight.”

The Wayne grad Landers scored six points on 3-of-5 shooting in 15 minutes. He had three rebounds and an assist.

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Xenia’s Samari Curtis, a one-time Xavier recruit, wants to be more than a scorer

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

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 /

Samari Curtis sounds more interested in improving his game this summer than figuring out where he will take it in 2019. 

The Xenia basketball standout committed to Xavier in February but reopened his recruitment in May

In an interview Monday, he said the Musketeers have remained in touch while Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, Missouri and Indiana are also recruiting him. 

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That’s not a top six, though. 

Curtis says he doesn’t have one of those. 

He’s not in a rush to commit again, but he didn’t rule out making a decision soon, either.

“I’m gonna make the decision when I feel the time is right for me,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. If I find the perfect program tomorrow or two months from now, that’s when I’m going to commit.” 

Curtis and several other Dayton-area standouts are playing together for C2K Elite on the AAU circuit this spring and summer, and he said he’s enjoying the experience. 

“Everything’s going good this summer. I’ve just been working a lot and my coach is pushing me a lot, so that’s all I can ask for,” he said. 

After leading the GWOC in scoring the past two seasons, there are few questions about Curtis’ ability to put the ball in the basket. 

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

The 6-foot-4 four-star prospect said he is trying to develop every part of his game this summer with an eye on a different role in college. 

“My best role to me is point guard,” Curtis said. “Most of the colleges want me to play point guard. My size makes me look like I play off the ball, but I’m more of a point guard than anything.” 

 

He may have some work to do to make that a reality. 

Brian Snow, a recruiting analyst for 247Sports, said he still sees Curtis as a pure shooting guard. 

“I saw Samari this past week in Atlanta and he played well,” Snow said Tuesday. “In the two games I saw, he especially shot the ball well, and he shows significant potential as a defender as well as with his ability to get to the rim. 

“Right now his game is much more suited to being a secondary ball-handler who is a scorer first and makes plays from the wing as a scoring guard as opposed to a floor general who dominates the ball and is asked to run a team.” 

While Curtis is unquestionably The Man when he dons the Blue and White at Xenia, he is surrounded by talented players who can score on his AAU team (including Trotwood-Madison’s Amari Davis, Springfield’s RaHeim Moss and former Sidney standout Andre Gordon). 

>>RELATED: Area’s best basketball players teaming up this summer in AAU

C2K Elite coach Quincey Simpson can also offer some personal expertise when it comes to becoming a college point guard. His son, Zavier, is the starter at that position at Michigan (though Curtis and the younger Simpson have different types of games). 

“He’s always getting on me. I like it,” Curtis said of the elder Simpson. “He’s just always getting on me about little stuff a point guard has to do to be good at the Division I level, so I’m just taking it all in and using it every game.”

There are two more events left for C2K Elite this summer — one in Grand Rapids this weekend and the UAA Finals in Las Vegas the weekend after that — then Curtis can begin to look ahead to his senior season at Xenia. 

The Buccaneers went 11-12 last season against a brutal schedule, and Curtis is sure to be the focal point again this fall for his last go ‘round in X-town. 

“We were doing good and then I got a concussion so that kind of ruined our momentum,” Curtis said of last season, when he averaged 30.4 points, 5.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. 

“I feel like this year I won’t have to worry about injuries so we should have a good year. I just know we’re gonna shock a lot of people.” 
  

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Scoochie Smith weighing his options after strong performance in NBA Summer League

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 5:08 PM

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15:  Scoochie Smith #12 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives between Giddy Potts #20 and Rawle Alkins #1 of the Toronto Raptors during a quarterfinal game of the 2018 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 82-68. 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 Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15: Scoochie Smith #12 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives between Giddy Potts #20 and Rawle Alkins #1 of the Toronto Raptors during a quarterfinal game of the 2018 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 82-68. 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 Ethan Miller/Getty Images)(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith always felt he could play in the NBA. He showed he deserves a chance with his performance in the NBA Summer League.

Smith spoke to the Dayton Daily News on the phone from Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday as he prepared to leave town after playing seven games in 11 days with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While Smith had confidence about his ability to play at the next level, he said, “Sometimes you’ve got to reassure the people. That’s what happened.”

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» ALUMNI NEWS: Bonsu finds job in NBA

Smith earned an invitation to training camp with the Cavaliers and said while he would probably accept it, he hasn’t made up his mind yet. He’s keeping his options open in case other teams express interest in him.

Smith averaged 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16.9 minutes per game in Las Vegas. His role grew as the Cavaliers advanced past the preliminary round into the Summer League tournament.

Smith, who finished his Dayton career with 1,289 points in 2017 and ranks 28th in school history, said he learned to be more aggressive and stay in attack mode.

“I think that will help me a lot,” he said.

In a 112-109 double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Monday in the semifinals, Smith had 14 points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists in 27 minutes. He made 4 of 12 shots from the field.

» OFFSEASON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey LandersRyan Mikesell

Smith’s best performance came Saturday in the second round of the tournament. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.

“I was just waiting on my moment,” Smith said. “I was fortunate enough it came during that Houston game, not right at the end of the tournament. I still got to showcase some more.”

Smith said the Cavaliers were happy with his play, and he thought they were maybe a little surprised by how well he performed.

“I think they learned a lot about me,” he said.

» RECRUITING: Dayton among the teams pursuing Xenia senior

This was Smith’s second experience in the Summer League. He played with the Boston Celtics in the Summer League a year ago but saw limited playing time.

“They drafted about four guys, so it was kind of tough for me to find an opportunity,” Smith said. “Staying positive and doing what I did in my first year (in pro basketball) helped me get the opportunity this week.”

Smith started his professional career last year in Australia and played in 27 games for the Cairns Taipans, averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Smith then returned to Ohio to play for the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ affiliate in the NBA G-League. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 52.3 percent from 3-point range. He had his best game — 26 points and 10 assists — in the final game March 23.

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Former Dayton guard Bonsu finds job in NBA

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Dayton’s Joey Gruden and Jeremiah Bonsu leave the court after a victory against Saint Joseph’s College on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton’s Joey Gruden and Jeremiah Bonsu leave the court after a victory against Saint Joseph’s College on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Former Dayton Flyers walk-on guard Jeremiah Bonsu is taking his career to the NBA.

After graduating from the University of Dayton in 2017 and spending a season at Bowling Green as a graduate assistant men’s basketball coach, Bonsu has a new job as a player development intern with the Dallas Mavericks.

» OFFSEASON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey LandersRyan Mikesell

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Bonsu’s former teammate at Dayton, Kostas Antetokounmpo, signed a two-way contract with the Mavericks last week.

Bonsu spent three seasons with the Flyers. He never scored a point and appeared in only two games as a senior, but he became a popular player in part because of his celebrations on the bench.

» RELATED: Bonsu on Senior Night emotions

Bonsu, a graduate of Pickerington North High School, wrote two articles for The Players’ Tribune during his career, one about the death of teammate Steve McElvene and another about his unlikely path to college basketball.

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WATCH: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on legalized gambling and Pete Rose, the shift, the DH, expansion and more 

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:45 PM

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 24: Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose is introduced to the crowd as the 1976 World Series Championship team was honored prior to the start of the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Staff Writer
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 24: Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose is introduced to the crowd as the 1976 World Series Championship team was honored prior to the start of the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)(Staff Writer)

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred shared numerous interesting thoughts during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning. 

You can view the whole interview below, but here are some of the highlights: 

1. The lift of the federal ban on gambling on sports does not impact Pete Rose’s eligibility. 

“No matter what happens with gambling in the United States, there will always be a rule that prohibits on-field personnel, managers, coaches, players, front-office personnel from betting on their sport,” Manfred said. 

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He also issued a non-denial denial when asked if MLB has more evidence Rose bet on baseball as a manager or player than has been released.  

2. The designated hitter is probably not coming to the National League any time soon. 

Patrick has frequently noted he gets the sense the DH will eventually be universal, but Manfred disagreed. 

“I’d leave it alone,” the commissioner said when asked about changing the current setup in which the American League uses a DH but the NL does not. 

“To the extent that we have an issue with offense, if that’s your issue, if you look at the two leagues, I’m not sure the DH is your answer.” 

>>READ MORE: 5 ways to make baseball even better

He expressed concern about bringing about the end of the way baseball was originally played. 

“If (the National League) adopts (the DH), the pure form of baseball that’s played in the National League becomes extinct. I think there would be some reluctance.” 

3. He did not rule out banning the shift. 

“I think it is a broader issue than shifts,” Manfred said, noting the major expansion in use of shifts came about in a short amount of time as an organic reaction to the availability of more statistics. 

He acknowledged a sense owners want to discuss potentially “being more proactive as far as rules changes in response to what is happening organically.”

He also mentioned concerns about the increased use of relief pitchers, but in both cases warned against unintended consequences. 

4. MLB has found getting more kids to play baseball wasn’t as hard as they might have expected. 

Be it through one-day camps, organized leagues or via academies in “underserved areas,” the league has found investing in getting more kids to play baseball has worked. 

“We have a safe game that provides tremendous playing opportunities, that teaches great values, and we’ve had a tremendous amount of success,” he said, noting society as a whole is dealing with declining participation in all youth sports. 

Citing “industry numbers,” Manfred said baseball participation by children under 12 has increased six percent over the last three years while all other sports are down. 

“The trick is being where kids are and being able to put money out there to provide them with opportunities.” 

5. He likes the idea of 32 teams in MLB — eventually. 

That would mean adding two more teams to the league at some point, but the commissioner said it would create more scheduling flexibility and create more options for the playoffs. 

It would also inevitably include some realignment

As far as potential new MLB cities? He mentioned Las Vegas, Portland, Nashville, Charlotte, Montreal (or another Canadian city) and (in the longer team) a city in Mexico. 

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