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Published: Monday, March 06, 2017 @ 11:34 AM
— Welcome back from a weekend jam-packed with sports. Here is what you’ll want to know about a busy weekend of basketball also full of NFL news and, of course, those pesky Cincinnati Reds.
While the NFL Scouting Combine provided all kinds of nuggets, we have to defer to basketball season around here.
It was a great weekend for Dayton, so-so for Wright State and pretty bad for Ohio State.
Archie Miller’s Flyer men lost their regular season finale at George Washington. The game had no impact on UD’s status as Atlantic 10 champs, but it could hurt their seed in the NCAA tournament.
Our David Jablonski rated it the third-worst performance of the season by the Flyers.
Far more consequential: The Dayton women’s basketball team won the Atlantic 10 tournament, removing any doubt they will be part of the field of 64 when it is announced a week from tonight.
Back from a knee injury that sidelined her late in the regular season, point guard Jenna Burdette was named tournament MVP.
As for WSU, the regular season champion Raider women play Detroit (in Detroit) this afternoon in the Horizon League tournament semifinals. They’ll get regular season co-champion Green Bay or Milwaukee in the final if they win.
The men are done after losing to Northern Kentucky yesterday in the quarterfinals. The 82-77 defeat is particularly stinging because the bracket had opened wide with the first five games of the tourney ending in upsets before the Raiders took the floor…
The Ohio State women’s basketball team had a shorter-than-anticipated stay in Indianapolis over the weekend. Kevin McGuff’s top-seeded Buckeyes had a bad shooting afternoon and were knocked out of the Big Ten tournament in the semifinals by Purdue, robbing them of the chance to beat Maryland again and pad their NCAA tournament resume.
It’s easy to forget Ohio State still has a men’s basketball team, too, but they managed to make history while losing their regular season finale to Indiana Saturday. The Hoosiers, who have actually had an even more disappointing season than the Buckeyes, won 96-92, setting a record for points at the poor excuse for a basketball arena the Buckeyes currently call home…
The NFL Scouting Combine continues today in Indianapolis with defensive backs working out.
Malik Hooker isn’t able to work out as he continues his recovery from a postseason surgery, but the All-American safety reportedly impressed teams already during the interview process over the weekend.
Others who have already strutted their stuff include Curtis Samuel, Raekwon McMillan.
Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore are working out today…
As for the Bengals, Yahoo Sports confirmed something they probably expected: Retaining guard Kevin Zeitler won’t be cheap.
Marvin Lewis told reporters Friday the team is optimistic it will be able to re-sign veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, but Zeitler still seems like a crucial piece of the puzzle as well considering the offensive line was already shaky last year.
Lewis also had good news about Gio Bernard’s recovery from a torn ACL while the team’s coordinators talked about adding speed on offense and an impact player somewhere on defense…
While former Buckeyes continue the biggest job interview of their lives, the players still in Columbus are set to get back to work tomorrow.
There will be time to jump deep into that later, but needless to say this should be another interesting spring for the Buckeyes, who haven’t scored a point since November but have a new offensive braintrust and lost their long-time defensive coordinator, too…
Leave it to the Reds to wait until all that stuff was going on to start doing good things this spring, right?
After losing their first six spring training games, the Reds have won four in a row.
Again, wins and losses don’t matter at all at this point, but outscoring opponents 34-16 over four days is nice.
Rotation candidates Robert Stephenson and Tim Adleman both had strong appearances Friday after Amir Garrett tossed three shutout innings Thursday to get the first win of the spring for Cincinnati. Cody Reed gave up two runs on four hits but struck out four in 2 1/3 innings Sunday.
Jumbo Diaz, who has been rocked in all three of his appearances so far this season, is among four Reds playing in the World Baseball Classic, which starts today. He will pitch for the Dominican Republic while RHP Scott Feldman is on Isreal’s team, Shawn Zarraga is catching for Spain and outfielder Sebastian Elizalde is on Team Mexico…
And in case you missed it, Ohio State won the Big Ten wrestling championship over the weekend.
Graham High School’s Bo Jordan was among four Buckeyes to win an individual title.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:54 AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Basketball superstar LeBron James has made a habit of buying his teammates gifts during the NBA playoffs.
Previous gifts have included Beats by Dre headphones, Apple watches, Samsung Edge phones and even personalized shields. This year, James wanted his teammates to look sharp when they arrived for Game 3 of the Cavaliers’ first-round series, which shifted to Indianapolis on Friday. So, he bought matching suits for all 15 players, ESPN reported.
The Cavaliers arrived at Bankers Life Fieldhouse wearing gray suits, a white oxford shirt, a gray tie and a gray cashmere cardigan sweater, ESPN reported. Players also received black leather boots, overcoats and bags.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
— Mickey Mantle baseball cards are coveted by collectors, and the 1952 Topps card of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame outfielder remains the gold standard for post-World War II collectibles.
The bar was raised even higher Thursday night, as a ’52 Mantle in mint condition -- graded PSA 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator -- sold for $2,880,000 in an online event hosted by Heritage Auctions. That price, which includes the buyer’s premium, is the most ever paid for a post-World War II trading card and the second-highest for any trading card, Sports Collectors Daily reported.
“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card,” PSA President Joe Orlando said in a news release. “It is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself.”
There were 21 bids cast for the Mantle card, which was part of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction. The previous record for a 1952 Mantle graded PSA 9 was set in 2006, when Memory Lane Auction sold one for $282,588, PSA said in its release. The previous record for a Mantle card, regardless of grade, was a PSA 8.5 that sold in 2016 for $1.13 million.
The card that was sold Thursday night was owned by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who played for six teams during his professional career. Wednesday night, Mathis spoke with with ESPN’s Bob Ley about the card and his love for collecting. Mathis said he sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, Sports Collectors Daily reported.
Mantle’s 1952 card is not the slugger’s true rookie card, but it is the first card that Topps issued. The 1951 Bowman card of the Mick is considered his rookie card, and one graded PSA 9 sold during this week’s Heritage Auctions sale for $750,000.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 12:49 PM
DAYTON — Erin Whalen, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Charlotte, N.C., is transferring from Vanderbilt to the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball program.
Whalen said she told Dayton coach Shauna Green of her decision on Thursday. Dayton has not officially announced the news.
“I am super excited about the opportunity,” Whalen told the Dayton Daily News on Friday.
» RELATED: Green excited about Dayton’s future
Whalen will have to sit out the 2018-19 season. She has two seasons of eligibility remaining. She averaged 7.4 points and 1.8 rebounds last season at Vanderbilt. As a freshman, she averaged 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and made the All-SEC freshman team.
With another award, and this time it's for Most Improved, Erin Whalen! pic.twitter.com/aNcWCYWB0C— Vanderbilt WBB (@VandyWBB) April 19, 2017
Whalen started 10 games as a freshman and two as a sophomore. Vanderbilt finished 7-24 last season and 14-16 in Whalen’s freshman season.
» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Marquette in NCAA tournament
Whalen was a five-star recruit in 2016, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings. She ranked 46th overall in the class. She was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at the Providence Day School.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:09 AM
— For the second day in a row, we had some breaking news first thing in the morning. Here is my tribute to Earle Bruce, who passed away this morning after 87 years of filling the world with passion and energy for football and Ohio State.
Here’s what else is going on…
Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams said pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear in regards to the firing of Bryan Price.
“We’re very focused on creating a sense of urgency for these guys to perform now,” Williams said yesterday. “We talk about rebuilding, and there’s things going on away from the field and in the farm system and investments in the franchise that are part of that rebuilding process, but when guys show up to work every day, they need to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They need to take care of the details on the field. They need to play hard. They need to play smart. They need to play it right. That we can control, and we need to get this team playing that way because we know they have the ability to do it. That is the short-team immediate focus.”
Beyond that, I have seen the argument made that firing Price was pointless because the team wasn’t really good enough to win.
That’s a pretty dumb way to look at it.
For one thing, it ignores just how terrible the Reds have been since the start of the season.
It’s not as if we’re talking about a squad that is a few games under .500.
They have not been below average.
They have been dreadful — historically bad.
Cincinnati’s record is 3-15, and there’s no reason to think the Reds should have many, if any, more wins the way they have played… except if like me you think Price botched a handful of chances to win games with head-scratching late-game decisions.
I’ve also seen it suggested the whole organization is rotten and they need to start over.
This isn’t completely out of the question, but it’s a pretty big overreaction at this point.
Yes multiple people — players, managers, management, ownership, etc — had to make mistakes for the team to be in this predicament, but many of them are already gone.
Walt Jocketty blew the end of the last era of good times with help from Dusty Baker, his scouting department and at least some on the development side.
Several years of terrible drafts and an inability to find cheap options to fill out the bench and the bullpen at the major-league level were major issues, and Baker’s attempts to maximize a flawed roster were generally inept.
RELATED: Barry Larkin on deck?
Jocketty badly misplayed the start of the rebuild, perhaps because ownership wouldn’t let hims start it as soon as he needed to.
Whatever the reason, the Reds waited too long to start the rebuild at the major-league level.
That prevented them from maximizing the return on players like Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce and exacerbated the effect of those bad drafts.
(They were able to sell high on Todd Frazier and got surprisingly good returns on some other players who weren’t as high-profile, like Mike Leake, Alfredo Simon and Dan Straily.)
More recently, they seem to have figured out a few things in the draft. The past two efforts have been rated very highly.
Help is on the way, and there are good pieces in place already.
Health remains an issue, of course. Figuring out if anything can be done about that is not easy.
Williams has only been in the big chair for about a year and a half, and I’m willing to see how his early moves play out.
Waiting on young pitchers to develop can be maddening, but it is also pretty clearly their best option given their market and the ballpark.
They talked about accountability when Baker was fired.
Price never answered that bell.
As he was shown the door, a need to create a winning culture was identified.
Will anything change?
It couldn’t have gotten much worse…
Meanwhile, the firing of Price yesterday morning obscured a few other noteworthy items.
Chief among them was Hunter Greene’s second start.
Watching this talented young guy develop is already fascinating.
The South Bend Cubs were clearly sitting on his fastball, and they hit it hard a few times.
He didn’t hesitate to go to his secondary pitches, working curves and changes to varying degrees of success.
Having to pitch through a pretty hard rain for 10 minutes or so seemed to frustrate him, but that’s understandable.
He still hung in there and showed his competitiveness.
It was less than three innings, but it was encouraging to see his mental makeup and tools despite his inexperience…
Ohio State held spring exit interviews with its assistant coaches Wednesday, and the most noteworthy local development regarded Josh Myers.
Coach Greg Studrawa revealed the Miamisburg product overcame some struggles early in the spring to turn in a strong final two weeks as he learns to play center.
He might have to settle for the backup job to fifth-year senior Brady Taylor, but that’s not a bad place to be for an offensive lineman still only a year out of high school.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson also had great things to say about Wayne grad Robert Landers, a tackle who has shown a lot of growth as a leader...
This slate looks tougher to me than the NFL’s calculation of last year’s winning percentages indicates it should be.
Maybe that’s just a function of being unsure of how good the Bengals will actually be.
#Bengals sked— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) April 20, 2018
Wk1: @ Indy
Wk2: BALT (Thurs)
Wk3: @ Car
Wk4 @ Atl
Wk7: @ KC
Wk11; @ Balt
Wk14: at Chargers
Wk16: @ Cle
Wk17: @ Pitt
The Browns and Colts are rebuilding, but those AFC West teams and the Dolphins all have the potential to be playoff contenders with the right moves so there is a high potential for variance.
Of course, last season I was incorrectly optimistic about the Bengals based in large part because I thought their schedule was pretty easy.
That’s not exactly how it worked out.Follow @marcushartman