September 30, 2019

The Gators Bite Back

On Friday, I noted that the Florida Gators had seen a decline in their chances of winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament despite beating Albany in their opening game. What hurt the Gators’ prospects? They defeated No. 16 Albany by an underwhelming 12 points, and they drew a tough Round of 32 matchup against Pittsburgh and a looming regional final matchup against either Kansas or Syracuse.But the Gators had a terrific weekend. They thrashed Pittsburgh by 16 points. And they were helped by upsets in the other half of the South region, with No. 3 Syracuse and No. 2 Kansas both losing to opponents with double-digit seeds.The Gators’ game against UCLA on Thursday is no gimme — they have a 72 percent chance of winning it, according to our model.  But conditional upon winning that game, they have an 83 percent chance of winning the regional final against either No. 10 Stanford or No. 11 Dayton and advancing to the Final Four.All in all, the Gators benefited more than any other team from the opening week of the tournament. Their chances of winning the national title are 18.4 percent, up from 14.5 percent before the tournament began. read more

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September 30, 2019

The Latest Kentucky Riot Is Part Of A Long Destructive Sports Tradition

2002College Park, Md.MarylandWNCAAB17~24 After Wisconsin upset Kentucky in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament Saturday night, there was a riot near Kentucky’s campus in Lexington. People threw bottles and set fires, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The police used pepper spray and arrested 31 people. And this wasn’t the first time people in Lexington reacted violently after a big Wildcats game. Last spring, the police arrested dozens of people after riots when Kentucky lost in the national championship game. And they arrested dozens of people in two separate riots in 2012, after Kentucky’s wins in the national semifinal and final.Those are four of about 50 North American sports riots in the past five decades for which I’ve gathered media-reported data. The database tells a violent history of the aftermath of many sporting events: thousands of people arrested, hundreds injured, more than a dozen killed. The riots occurred in more than a dozen U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, in reaction to sporting events in all four major North American pro sports, plus college football, basketball and hockey. Nearly all the sports riots originated in championship celebrations. Just a handful followed losses for the home team.I put this together after finding no existing, comprehensive database of these events. Our data isn’t comprehensive, either. Among the limitations: Our Nexis and Google searches might not have turned up all media reports. Different jurisdictions and media outlets might use different thresholds in counting, say, injuries and fires. We often found differing counts for the same incident, and some incident reports did not include information on arrests, injuries and deaths (in those cases, we left the fields below blank). The numbers might have changed for some riots after the last media report about them. And some might not have been reported.Please let us know by email or in the comments if we’ve missed any. 2004BostonRed SoxWMLB>141 2014Storrs, Conn.UConnWNCAAB>30 1991ChicagoBullsWNBA>1002 1996ChicagoBullsWNBA650 1984Manhattan, Kan.Kansas St.WNCAAF24>24 1984DetroitTigersWMLB40801 2003OaklandRaidersLNFL>84 1990San Francisco49ersWNFL14 1989San Francisco49ersWNFL~90 2002Columbus, OhioOhio StateWNCAAF>50 1990DetroitPistonsWNBA141hundreds7 2010MontrealCanadiensWNHL252 1998DenverBroncosWNFL2260 1992ChicagoBullsWNBA>1000~190 1985San Francisco49ersWNFL>183 2015Lexington, Ky.KentuckyLNCAAB313 2014Storrs, Conn.UConnWNCAAB26 1995San Francisco49ersWNFL~1803 2001State College, Pa.Penn StateLNCAAB203 1993MontrealCanadiensWNHL115168 2008MontrealCanadiensWNHL160 1997ChicagoBullsWNBA 2012Lexington, Ky.KentuckyWNCAABdozens~20 to hospital 2008State College, Pa.Penn StateWNCAAF00 2002College Park, Md.MarylandWNCAAB2 2001College Park, Md.MarylandLNCAAB1 2014Lexington, Ky.KentuckyLNCAAB3123 2014San FranciscoGiantsWMLB403 1986MontrealCanadiensWNHL28 YEARCITYTEAMW/LLEAGUEARRESTSINJUREDKILLED 2015Columbus, OhioOhio StateWNCAAF<10 1971PittsburghPiratesWMLB100 2002Bloomington, Ind.IndianaLNCAAB4340 2012Lexington, Ky.KentuckyWNCAAB27 1993DallasCowboysWNFL2618 1968DetroitTigersWMLB200 1993ChicagoBullsWNBA6833 2012San FranciscoGiantsWMLB35 1999East Lansing, Mich.Michigan St.LNCAAB132 2010San FranciscoGiantsWMLB>4 2011VancouverCanucksLNHL~100 2000Los AngelesLakersWNBA>11 2006EdmontonOilersWNHL<400 1986Manhattan, Kan.Kansas St.WNCAAF<211 2004BostonPatriotsWNFL2911 1 2002Saint Paul, Minn.MinnesotaWNCAAH20 1996DenverAvalancheWNHL153 1994VancouverCanucksLNHLdozens>200 1982San Francisco49ersWNFL80125 read more

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September 30, 2019

The Warriors Have A 93 Percent Chance Of Hitting 73 Wins

With one game to go, the Golden State Warriors are 72-9, and having given San Antonio its first home loss of the season on Sunday night, they now have a 93 percent chance to overtake Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls for the best regular-season record in NBA history.Ahead of Sunday’s game, our CARM-Elo ratings gave Golden State a 31 percent chance to beat San Antonio. And through one quarter, the Warriors had just 14 points. But Stephen Curry, instead of his usual barrage from deep, took the ball inside and scored 37 points on 22 shots, including a number of ridiculous floaters, pull-ups and finger-rolls. (Curry also hit a 60-odd-footer at the end of the third quarter that was waved off.) The game remained close for most of the night, but Golden State pulled away about midway through the fourth quarter, when the Spurs scored just 4 points in a crucial three-and-a-half-minute run.The Warriors’ Saturday game against the Memphis Grizzlies was a little more dramatic, requiring a late tip-in from Draymond Green and two even later misses from Lance Stephenson, one of which was close enough to a foul that the league office was compelled to adjudicate the decision the following day. (The call was good.)As for the matchup between San Antonio and Golden State, it’s hard to say exactly what was going on. In four games against the Warriors this season, the Spurs have been awful around the rim (50.0 percent within 10 feet; 58.7 percent for the season) and forced deep into the shot clock far more often than usual (10.5 shots per game with four seconds or less on the shot clock; 6.8 regularly), which is always a bad sign. Worse yet, the number of “wide-open” looks from three with the nearest defender six or more feet away dropped from 8.3 shots per game to 5.5.San Antonio also shot just 36 percent on shots taken off of one or two dribbles — generally step-ins and quick drives from the perimeter or moves to the basket from the free-throw line or the high post — against 43.8 percent overall. The team is taking about four more of those one- and two-dribble shots per game, which usually isn’t a great sign, since they’re often counter-moves when the first look isn’t clean.Then again, it’s only been four games. For San Antonio, the hope will be that Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw, neither of whom played Sunday, will make up some of the difference. The Spurs are +5.6 points per 100 possessions with Diaw on the floor against the Warriors this season and -19.3 per 100 without him.Wednesday’s game against Memphis will be in Oakland and will come on two days’ rest for the Warriors, while the Grizzlies will be on the back-end of a back-to-back. We’ve seen these Warriors blow games with similar advantages in the past few weeks — they were 96 percent favorites to beat the Timberwolves, remember — but we’re likely to see the best the Warriors have, with one game to play to take sole ownership of one of the NBA’s most iconic records.Jay Boice contributed research.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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September 30, 2019

Johnson Trying To Adjust To Life – And Madden

The wads of money, the fame and the high-profile life that comes with being a celebrity professional athlete?No, what Chad Johnson has missed most since his recent arrest and subsequent release from the Miami Dolphins has more to do with a popular video game.No longer in football, the former six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was hoping to get his football fix through Madden ‘13, only to find his own avatar no longer available.It was an epiphany of sorts for the enigmatic 12-year veteran.Tweeted Johnson: “That awkward moment when you realize you’re not on Madden13 and you have to create yourself.”Johnson tweeted that message Wednesday to his 3,733,709 followers. Since he’s no longer on a roster, his avatar was moved to the game’s free agent pool.That realization apparently led to some introspection. Through Twitter, Johnson then lamented his actions that led to his Aug. 11 arrest.Police in Davie, Florida booked Johnson that night on charges of domestic battery for allegedly head-butting his wife following an argument. The two had been married barely a month before the altercation.Johnson was released the following afternoon on a $2,500 bond, but the incident assured the end of his tenure with the Dolphins.His wife formally divorced him just days later, prompting Johnson to seek a clean start in all facets.Always an avid user of social media, he responded via Twitter to a fan who asked “why did you delete your bio?” by saying, “I got to start life over and create a new one.”Johnson then politely rebuffed a fan who was trying to offer him sympathy for his current plight, saying none was necessary.“I made the bed,” he tweeted, “now I gotta lay n it.”Johnson’s downward spiral from his heady days as one of the league’s premiere receivers has been a steady one. He managed just 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown while playing for New England last year. read more

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September 30, 2019

San Francisco Giants Complete Sweep Win World Series Over

On a cool, damp night in Detroit, the San Francisco Giants — who came back from seemingly insurmountable deficits in their two playoff series — completed a sweep of the Tigers in 10 innings to capture the World Series for the second time in three years.Their 4-3 Game 4 win capped a dramatic post-season for San Francisco, which trailed the Cincinnati Reds 0-2 in the divisional series and the St. Louis Cardinals 1-3 in the NLCS.Marco Scutaro, who has been outstanding, delivered one more key hit this October, a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning that proved to be the winning run.“Detroit probably didn’t know what it was in for,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “Our guys had a date with destiny.”The Giants combined the most important elements of championship baseball. After three straight wins that looked relatively easy, they sealed this victory when Sergio Romo got Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to look at strike three for the final out.A wild on-field celebration ensued, and was carried into the clubhouse.“Tonight was a battle,” Giants star Buster Posey said. “And I think tonight was a fitting way for us to end it because those guys played hard. They didn’t stop, and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”Posey, the only player who was in the starting lineup when San Francisco beat Texas in the 2010 clincher, and the underdog Giants celebrated in the center of the diamond at Comerica Park.They built toward this party all month, winning six elimination games this postseason. In the clubhouse, they hoisted the trophy, passed it around and shouted the name of each player who held it.Benched during the 2010 Series, Pablo Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, went 8 for 16, including a three-homer performance in Game 1.“You learn,” Sandoval said. “You learn from everything that happened in your career. . . We’re working hard to enjoy this moment right now.”Cabrera delivered the first big hit for Detroit, interrupting San Francisco’s run of dominant pitching with a two-run homer that blew over the right-field wall in the third.Posey put the Giants ahead 3-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth and Delmon Young hit a tying home run in the bottom half.It then became a matchup of bullpens, and the Giants prevailed.Ryan Theriot led off the 10th with a single against Phil Coke, moved up on Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice and scored on a shallow single by Scutaro, the MVP of the NL championship series. Center fielder Austin Jackson  made a throw home, to no avail.“That’s what it makes so much special, the way we did it,” Scutaro said. “We’re always against the wall and my team, it just came through first series, second series and now we sweep the Tigers.” read more

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September 28, 2019

Can Derek Carr And The Raiders Make The Most Of Antonio Brown

After reports late last week that Antonio Brown was heading to the Buffalo Bills, the Pittsburgh Steelers will instead reportedly trade their star receiver to the Oakland Raiders for a third- and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft. When the deal is finalized on Wednesday, Brown will have a restructured contract from the Raiders — adding $30 million in guaranteed money — which will make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. In a trade largely about money, the Raiders get perhaps the best receiver in the NFL for a pair of low-value draft picks, and the Steelers get to move on from a relationship that had become toxic and untenable for all involved.Brown will land atop an Oakland receiving corps that is sorely lacking in playmakers, and he’ll surely become the focal point of the passing attack. But how exactly will the Raiders deploy their new weapon? Under head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders used West Coast passing concepts extensively in 2018. Quarterback Derek Carr’s average depth of target fell from 8.2 yards in 2017 to 6.9 in 2018 as Gruden reshaped the offense into one built on shorter curl, flat and slant routes that did not try to stretch the field. Under Gruden’s system, Carr’s completion percentage rose to a career high of 68.9 percent, padded in part by the bevy of high-percentage passes he was tasked with throwing. But when we adjust for the shorter, easier passes, Carr still recorded a completion percentage 3 percentage points higher than what we would expect, the first time in Carr’s career that he ascended into positive territory in completion percentage over expected (CPOE).1CPOE adjusts for depth of target by comparing a player’s completion percentage at each depth with league average. The short game under Gruden seems to be under control; instead, where Oakland can use help in the passing game is deep, with patterns like the go route that attack the defense vertically downfield.According to Sports Info Solutions, Antonio Brown was exceptional on go routes last season, catching four touchdowns and accumulating 216 receiving yards on 15 targets on the route. Meanwhile, the Raiders were atrocious targeting go routes over the same period, with Carr throwing two interceptions on just nine attempts. While Carr lacked receiving weapons after the trade of Amari Cooper to Dallas last season, it’s not clear that — even with good receivers — he has the ability to throw a reliable deep ball. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, Carr ranked 26th in Raw QBR on passes thrown 15 yards deep or greater in 2018. On go routes in particular, just four of Carr’s nine pass attempts were deemed catchable. Brown is likely to command more than nine targets on his own next season based on his past production, but Carr will need to do his part delivering the ball to him.There is some hope for Carr deep. He was excellent when targeting seam routes, a type of deep route that is run vertically up the hashes near the middle of the field. According to charting by Sports Info Solutions, 13 of Carr’s 17 pass attempts on seam routes were graded as catchable, and three of those throws went for touchdowns. Carr also threw zero interceptions when targeting players deep up the hashes. However, it’s hard to measure how much Brown offers in Carr’s go-to route: He was targeted on only one seam last season — though he caught it for a 17-yard touchdown.If we look at routes that the Raiders employed frequently and Brown did run more often in Pittsburgh, the new Oakland receiver doesn’t compare that favorably to the production offered by Oakland’s 2018 receiving corps. On slant routes — short patterns run across the middle of the field at an angle — his expected points added (EPA) per play relative to the Raiders’ receivers was pedestrian. Oakland was collectively more than half an expected point better per play on slants than Brown was in Pittsburgh — with Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Seth Roberts all more productive on the route. Cook may end up leaving in free agency and could free up some of those targets, but Brown may not be able to make much of an impact in the short-area portion of the Raiders passing game. route nameRaiders receiversAntonio BrownEPA Diff. Seam+0.94+1.80+0.86 Antonio Brown can help the Raiders most on deeper routesExpected points added in the 2018 season by route type for wide receivers on the Oakland Raiders and for Antonio Brown Positive EPA difference reflects routes where Antonio Brown was more productive than the Raiders receivers collectively.Source: Sports Info solutions Dig+0.29-0.20-0.49 Slant+0.61+0.05-0.56 Go-0.11+0.85+0.96 Post+0.27-1.03-1.30 Comeback-0.52+1.27+1.79 Fade-0.17-0.31-0.14 There are also other concerns. Brown was ineffective in the middle of the field in general in 2018, posting negative EPA on digs and posts — two other in-breaking routes. He increasingly ceded targets over the middle to Juju Smith-Schuster, who is bigger, younger and perhaps more eager to put his body on the line for a reception. With no guaranteed money in Brown’s contract, self-preservation could have been a contributing factor to his seeming unwillingness to catch balls over the middle last season. At least that’s what the Raiders are hoping is the case: The alternative — that Brown is declining and no longer able to produce over the middle — is slightly terrifying for a team that just made Brown the highest-paid receiver in the league.Ultimately, how Oakland chooses to optimize around its new weapon will define its 2019 season. The Raiders are a team between homes and lacking a coherent identity. It’s unclear if they are in the midst of a long-term rebuild or if they believe they can field a team that will contend with Kansas City for a division title. Brown is still in his prime, but entering his age-31 season, he’s a player with more productive years behind than in front of him. His final years are probably not best spent with Carr throwing to him. Instead, Gruden and rookie GM Mike Mayock could use their fourth overall pick in the draft on a QB like Kyler Murray — a player who actually can throw deep with accuracy. Such a move would make sense for a franchise looking to build and would leverage Brown’s talents with an eye toward the future. After all, there are few things better for a young QB’s development than the luxury of throwing to a player who is a likely future Hall of Famer and who remains one of the league’s greatest receivers. Flat+0.08+0.40+0.32 Curl+0.20+0.40+0.20 EPA per target Out+0.20+0.52+0.32 From ABC News: read more

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September 28, 2019

Ohio State field hockey takes tough loss to No 16 Northwestern

OSU sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey (23) runs with the ball during a game against St. Louis on Aug. 28. OSU won 5-0. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz / Asst. Sports EditorThe Ohio State field hockey team (8-7, 4-3) couldn’t manage to keep pace with a high-powered Northwestern team (11–6, 4-3) during its second-to-last home game of the season on Friday. With an aggressive offensive edge, Northwestern’s Isabel Flens and Pascale Massey each scored once during both periods, respectively, to end the game with a final score of 2-0. Despite the tough loss and being outshot 29-2, the Buckeyes made it a priority to reel in the Wildcats through a strong defensive approach. Sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro tallied 15 total saves, giving her a total of 220 for her career, while sophomore back Caroline Rath added two defensive saves into the mix.The Wildcats’ quick reactions and confidence with ball possession never came to a standstill throughout the entirety of the game. However, the Buckeyes defense made it a priority to halt Northwestern’s movement back upfield with the score staying stagnant at 1-0 going into halftime. OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said that once Northwestern scored nearly 25 minutes in, it was hard to regain momentum.“Northwestern had a great gameplan coming in. They stepped up and played with confidence while we were a step behind,” Wilkinson said. “Once they got into a rhythm, they got us … (going forward) we need to find new ways to attack.”With most of the movement staying on Northwestern’s offensive side for the second half, it was difficult for the Buckeyes to break through for a scoring opportunity. The Buckeyes’ focus on defense wasn’t enough to stop Northwestern from scoring the second and final goal of the game 58 minutes in due to an unassisted shot off rebound from Massey.OSU sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey said the team’s mental motivation had begun to dwindle down as the game neared the end. “We were mentally prepared in the beginning, but once we let them start to play their own game we just sat back and didn’t play ours,” Humphrey said. “I think we lost mentally in the end more than anything.”With the final home game of the season approaching on Sunday, the Buckeyes will need a quick turnaround to evaluate their approach moving forward.Senior co-captain Emma Royce said she thinks creativity could be a catalyst for the quick turnaround.“Credit to Northwestern, I think they scouted us very very well and knew what to expect,” Royce said. “We need to understand (going forward) that the teams are going to know what Ohio State does. We have very specific patents and plays and we need to throw in new creativity and imagination.”Now tied with Northwestern in Big Ten standings for fourth place, OSU has one conference game remaining: No. 11 Michigan on Oct. 31. The Buckeyes are scheduled to host California for the last home game of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Buckeye Varsity Field, with senior honors occurring before the match starts. read more

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September 28, 2019

OSU soccer falls to Virginia Tech in double overtime

Ohio State then-sophomore Marcus McCrary (19) dribbles the ball through a group of Michigan players during a soccer game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Nov. 4, 2015. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State men’s soccer team lost 1-0 in double overtime to Virginia Tech in their first game of the 2016 season. Hokies forward Marcelo Acuna scored the game winner in the 106th minute on a header from eight yards out on a far cross from forward Alessandro Mion.  Prior to the start of the game, the Buckeyes held a moment of silence in remembrance of teammate Fikayo Idowu, who tragically passed away this June. The team will wear patches that read “FI14” to honor him.Defense reigned supreme in the match, as neither team was able to find the back of the net through two regulation periods and the first overtime period.“I was pleased with us defensively,” coach John Bluem said. “They came at us with a lot of different things and we fought it off. There were definitely some positives defensively.”Both teams looked sluggish out of the gate, only managing a combined five shots in the first period.The first shot of the game for either team came in the 13th minute after Ohio State sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed created space up the middle with a few dribble moves. He then passed it to senior forward Christian Soldat, who fired a shot at net that went right to Hokie goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard. It was the only shot on goal of the half for either team.The Hokies came out firing in the second period, outshooting Ohio State 5-0 early on.Virginia Tech had a good scoring opportunity to start out the period but failed to score on an open net as the shot from forward Som Essome in the 49th minute went wide left.After a yellow card by Hokie midfielder James Kasak in the 83rd minute, Ohio State was given a free kick that senior defender Austin Bergstrom shot high over the net.  Both teams had more opportunities in the two overtime periods, but it was Virginia Tech that came out on top.“We get the feeling of playing and understand that this is what a loss feels like,” Bergstrom said. “All the guys have this taste in their mouth and they are never going to want it again.”Ohio State looks to regroup against UC Santa Barbara this Sunday Aug. 28 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.“It’s a little bit bitter to lose late like that but the only thing we can do is talk to the guys and get ready for Sunday,” Bluem said. “There is no reason to panic. It was a tough game. Breaks did not go our way and they got one and we didn’t.” read more

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September 28, 2019

Mens basketball Andre Wessons role expanding in Big Ten play without Keita

Ohio State freshman forward Andre Wesson attempts a 3-pointer against Northwestern on Jan. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorAfter the injury to junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, freshman forward Andre Wesson has been receiving some valuable minutes off the bench for Ohio State in his first year at the college level.Wesson was a starter throughout his career at Westerville South High School. He averaged 17 points, six rebounds and three assists as the senior leader on route to a 2016 Ohio Division I state title. Now at OSU, he has been asked to be a role player in his first season, but is showing his coaches and teammates alike what his abilities are on the basketball court.After the injury to Bates-Diop, OSU coach Thad Matta has relied on Wesson, not to mimic the highly touted forward, but to play his own style of basketball when his number is called.“I love the way Andre (Wesson) is playing right now,” Matta said. “Kind of coming into his own, and he’s different than Keita (Bates-Diop) but can do some of the same things.”In limited minutes off the bench in Big Ten play, Wesson has averaged 2.6 points per game, with only three rebounds and one assist. However, averaging only 9.7 minutes of playing time, the freshman is third on the team with five steals and has two blocks in conference play.In the Buckeyes’ last game against Minnesota on Wednesday, Wesson played a career-high 19 minutes and was a factor in the 78-72 victory. He connected on 6-of-7 foul shots and nailed a 3 in the second half to extend the lead to eight with 10 minutes remaining.Wesson’s minutes and production has spiked as he becomes more acquainted with the college game.“Just being more comfortable, getting used to the speed of the game,” Wesson said. “That’s probably the thing that has helped. Also, just changing gears a bit more and not playing at one speed. Just slowing down and letting the game slow down.”From what Wesson has done in practice, junior forward Jae’Sean Tate thinks that his production in the actual games will come with time.“He just has to keep getting more comfortable in the game because in practice, I mean when we go scarlet and gray, he dominates. I don’t think he ever misses two shots in a row,” Tate said. “He’s been playing good minutes and has been a big part of our offense and defense when he checks in. We are going to need him to do that and continue to get better.”Going forward, Wesson has some areas of the game where he knows he can improve. When it is all said and done, though, the team comes first.“Probably just being more assertive, being more aggressive on the offensive end,” Wesson said. “Just continuing to just do my job, whatever the team needs me to do to win.” read more

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September 28, 2019

A Jent of Gents Former Buckeye NBA coach joins Ohio States coaching

After securing what Thad Matta called the biggest recruit he’s ever gone after, the Ohio State basketball program introduced former Buckeye player and NBA coach Chris Jent as the latest addition to the OSU’s coaching staff on Wednesday. A native of Sparta, N.J., Jent scored 1,007 career points and was a part of two Big Ten championship teams at OSU from 1988-92. He will fill the opening on Matta’s staff that was created when former assistant coach Brandon Miller resigned two weeks ago to spend more time with his family. Jent said that there were multiple factors he considered before taking the job at OSU. “It was definitely two-headed,” Jent said. “The pull to the university and also to work with coach Matta and his staff allows me to expand my experience in coaching. The fact that it’s my alma mater and a place I have a strong tie to, a strong gut feeling towards, and a great amount of passion to, made it easy.” Jent leaves behind him an assistant coaching and director of player development position with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While in Cleveland, Jent also served as a personal shooting coach to two-time NBA MVP LeBron James. Matta said that he expects Jent’s relationship with the former Cavaliers star to work to his advantage as he will be attempting to recruit players for the first time in his career. “It’s no secret that Chris was one of the best in the NBA at making players better,” Matta said. “I don’t know if I could have got anybody better in the country than what he’s going to bring to the table in that regard.” When Jent’s playing career at OSU ended in 1992, the 6-foot-7 Jent played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association and in Spain before he was signed by the NBA’s Houston Rockets in 1994. Jent won the 1994 NBA title later that season. After playing in a combined 14 regular season and playoff games for the Rockets, Jent returned to the CBA, and also played professionally in Australia and Italy before returning to the NBA when he signed with the New York Knicks in 1997. Jent played in three games for the Knicks and ended his playing career in 2001 after additional stints in Italy, Greece, and the United States Basketball League. Jent signed on to become an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2000–04 NBA season before taking a similar role with Orlando Magic in 2004–05. Jent compiled a 5–13 record as the interim head coach of the Magic after former head coach Johnny Davis was fired. Following his lone season with the Magic, Jent returned to Columbus to complete his degree at OSU. It was there that he first met Matta, and served as an unofficial assistant to the team. Jent said that he walked away from OSU impressed by the culture that Matta had created around the program in just his second year as the Buckeyes’ head coach. “At that time, I saw a group of driven individuals that really cared for one another,” Jent said. “Ten kids were in uniform and none of them missed a practice. They didn’t miss one practice. And that just showed how much they care for another.” Jent said that leaving Cleveland for his alma mater and the two-time defending Big Ten champions was a tough call. “Outside of real life decisions, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Jent said. “Loved every day I went to work (in Cleveland). For me to leave that, it could only have been this type of situation.” Dan Wallenberg, spokesman for OSU athletics, confirmed to The Lantern that Jent’s contract is not complete. The Buckeyes have not released their schedule for the upcoming season. Tyler Robinson contributed to this article. read more

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