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Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 11:23 AM
— Are we too obsessed with the Ohio State passing game?
This is football. That’s how it works.
One of several reasons the game became the preeminent spectator sport in America decades ago was that it provides not only a lot to talk about but a lot of time to do it.
Yeah, it’s a brutal ballet and all, but it’s also weekly like our other favorite TV shows.
Beyond that, building a winning team is complicated.
So is writing a winning game plan.
Even once those things are in place, success requires what many coaches like to call a winning effort.
Execution is essential, too.
Any number of things can cause the whole operation to break down, and that leads to even more questions.
So while I don’t blame J.T. Barrett if he is frustrated about how often he is asked about the status of the deep ball in the Buckeyes offense, I also don’t think this topic is quite played out yet.
The good news for the quarterback and his receivers: They can make all these questions go away with just a couple of big hits down the field.
Seemingly everyone has thoughts on Ohio State's ability to throw deep. J.T. Barrett decided it was time to weigh in. https://t.co/hPjCMu03Nh— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) October 4, 2017
Along those same lines, I got the impression yesterday Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor wasn’t very interested in hearing any more about the struggles of their running game.
Jay Morrison examined the issue in-depth, but at this point it’s not unlike the situation Ohio State faces.
They’ve fallen behind, and now there are only so many opportunities to show off however much improvement they can make.
And in both cases, the defense might not cooperate.
Opponents love to take away the deep ball from Ohio State, preferring to make them march down the field in small bursts. The Buckeyes’ early responses to this — forget the running game and try a precision passing approach — was doubly problematic because it short-circuited the offense as a whole.
Now they’ve come up with other ways to move the ball, but the deep ball still needs to be part of the equation.
Meanwhile, the Browns seemed intent on winning up front last Sunday even if that meant committing people to stopping the run and leaving the secondary out to dry.
Andy Dalton took proper advantage of that, leaving something new for us to focus on as Cincinnati tries to be a well-rounded offense again.
See how this works?
In other news, I am encouraged by some of the early Reds talk generated by Monday's column.
Bringing back Zack Cozart and making sure there is a spot for Scooter Gennett were suggested.
Someone mentioned trading Adam Duvall for an ace pitcher.
Others questioned if one more established pitcher would be enough.
This is good stuff, people. Let’s keep it up!
I don’t think Duvall is going to bring back a true ace, but there is a case to be made for selling him high. Would he bring back a guy as good as Mike Leake, for whom he was acquired in the first place?
Regardless, you have to feel good about the fact they can trade an outfielder without creating a hole. That says something about what better shape they are in this year compared to last even though they had the same record.
Of course the pitching discussion is still tricky because they might be set there with Homer Bailey and a plethora of young arms…. but we know how the best-laid plans of mice and GMs can quickly go awry.
At any rate, I think it’s going to be a fun October for MLB fans and an interesting hot stove season for Reds followers, too…
Also covered Monday but worth repeating because I have been critical of Ohio State and others for not playing more in-state games: Kudos to the OSU and Cincinnati for agreeing to a home-and-home series.
This is a fantastic chance for both teams to get attention during a time when football would otherwise be sucking most of the air out of the room.
The potential downsides are either inflated or nonexistent.
The only issue now is that the season starts too early, but maybe doing a marquee game like this will help alleviate some of the problems that come from that.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:19 AM
— 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.
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).
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.
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.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:00 AM
DAYTON — 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.”
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.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM
DAYTON — 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.
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.
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.”
The #NBADraft is Thursday. Dayton could see a player (Kostas Antetokounmpo) drafted for the first time in 28 years. Here's the @daytondailynews front page on June 28, 1990, when Negele Knight was drafted with the fourth pick of the second round. pic.twitter.com/6Cay5oePXh— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 20, 2018
When Negele Knight was drafted in 1990, it ended a four-year #NBADraft drought for Dayton. Dave Colbert and Damon Goodwin were drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds in 1986. Here's the @daytondailynews story from June 18, 1986. pic.twitter.com/S8kL0zwMkc— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 21, 2018
Here's the @DaytonDailyNews coverage from June 26, 1979, the last time the Dayton Flyers had a first-round pick. The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Alter grad Jim Paxson 12th overall. pic.twitter.com/zwZ3wej7cA— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 21, 2018
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 9:12 AM
NEW YORK — A mysterious man was sitting in the Seattle Mariners’ dugout Thursday night, sporting a bushy mustache and wearing a hoodie.
And shades -- shades reminiscent of Bobby Valentine’s failed disguise in 1999 when he was ejected from a game and tried to sneak back into the dugout.
The mystery man was no stranger to Mariners fans -- Ichiro Suzuki, now an executive in the Seattle front office.
Suzuki sneaked into the Seattle dugout Thursday to watch the first inning of the Mariners’ game at Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees, The New York Post reported.
"He was perfect. I never would have known it was him,'' Valentine texted to the The Associated Press.
Officially, Suzuki, 44, is not allowed to be in the dugout during games, ESPN reported. He was removed from the Mariners’ roster in May and moved into the front office as a special assistant to the team chairman, the AP reported.
AP photographer Bill Kostroun spotted Suzuki hiding in the dugout during the first inning. He had exited the dugout by the second inning as the Mariners lost 4-3 to the Yankees.
Perhaps Suzuki had dropped a hint when he moved into his new position.
"During the game I will be doing the same preparations I've been doing the entire time. Nothing is going to change for me that I did as a player," Suzuki said. "But I can't say for certain that maybe I won't put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout."
Valentine, who was managing the New York Mets in 1999, was ejected from a game in the 12th inning. He later put on a fake mustache and sunglasses and attempted to sit in the dugout.