Megatron May Retire But He Isnt Washed Up

Based on data from Pro-football-reference.com 2Antonio Brown27PIT6,016 6Demaryius Thomas28DEN4,330 5Calvin Johnson30DET4,355 8Eric Decker28NYJ4,142 4A.J. Green27CIN4,816 Projected future yards, active wide receivers age 25+ And though 2015 certainly wasn’t the best year of Johnson’s career, he hasn’t shown any unusual swings in his production — even the “cliff” after his record-setting 1,964 yards in 2012 is consistent with regression to the mean (not to mention he missed several games yet scored far more touchdowns) — and is still well above average.Retirements by receivers still producing at a level as high as Johnson are almost nonexistent. The closest example is probably Packers receiver Sterling Sharpe, who had to retire after a severe neck injury at age 29. Sharpe finished his career with 8,134 receiving yards and 65 receiving touchdowns, while Johnson has 11,619 receiving yards and 83 receiving touchdowns. Johnson’s total is actually the second-most yards by a receiver by age 30 since the merger, and most of the other top receivers on that list still had thousands of yards ahead of them: (Note that combining Johnson’s current receiving yards with his projections would put him ahead of Terrell Owens for second on the all-time yards list behind Rice, though Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall both project even higher totals than Johnson.)If Johnson ultimately decides to leave, good for him. If he ultimately decides to stay, good for football. 10Larry Fitzgerald32ARI3,957 Of course, both of these curves are skewed by Jerry Rice. Moreover, Johnson has had to shoulder a heavy burden in his career. So, I experimented with a number of variables to predict production among NFL players in their late 20s and beyond (call it back-of-the-envelope modeling). I found that — in addition to age — the most recent season is the most significant predictor, but that both past performance and burden are statistically meaningful as well.2I wanted to account for all of present season performance, past performance, how explosive the player has been, and how much of a load they’ve had to carry — all while remaining predictive and statistically sound — in a short period of time. Ultimately, the model that paid some tribute to all of those factors and performed best among those I tested was a linear model using age, yards and TDs gained in the present year, total TDs prior to the current year, and total receptions prior to and including the current year: lm(aftYds ~ Age + Yds + TD + cumTDs + thruRec, data=wrseas[Year<=2011 & Age>=25]. There is likely much room to improve on this, but it works as a first pass.With all of this taken into account, the balance of Johnson’s career projects to be the fifth-most productive among those of active NFL receivers age 25 and older: 3Brandon Marshall31NYJ5,050 1Julio Jones26ATL6,213 Further, Johnson’s 1,214 yards this season are the 14th-most for a 30-year-old since the merger. Production as a 30-year-old is a pretty good predictor of future career success for receivers, and it also suggests that Johnson might have 4,000-plus yards left in him: 7Doug Baldwin27SEA4,293 This rumor has been around for a while, but ESPN reported more details Sunday about the Calvin Johnson retirement saga, citing sources who suggest Johnson is “content” with his decision to call it quits. Johnson may have his reasons — health-related or otherwise — to retire, and he can do what he pleases. (I, for one, enjoy seeing players come and go for the sheer information value of it all.) But whatever is going on, it should be clear this isn’t a matter of Megatron’s career having run its natural course.Johnson, who won’t turn 31 until September, would be one of the most shocking retirements since fellow Detroit legend Barry Sanders bowed out of the league after the 1998 season. But Sanders – also 30 at the time and considered by some to be in his prime – had just matched the lowest yards per attempt of his career for a 5-11 team. And more importantly, he was a running back. Running backs don’t age nearly as well as receivers.Since the 1970 merger, there have been 294 seasons of 1,200-plus rushing yards and just 24 of them came from running backs aged 30 or older. Meanwhile, there have been 258 seasons of 1,200-plus receiving yards, with 56 by players aged 30 or older. While most starting receivers are usually in their mid-to-late 20s, we do start seeing significant attrition around the 30-year mark. It isn’t surprising that non-productive older receivers are quickly replaced by younger, cheaper alternatives. But for those with the skill and good fortune to stick around, there isn’t any drop-off in average performance.Here’s how Johnson compares to the gaggle of receivers who started the majority of a season since 19701I know there are more advanced wide receiver statistics than “yards,” but I’m not certain any are significantly more predictive of future career prospects.: 9Jeremy Maclin27KAN4,069 RANKPLAYERAGETEAMYARDS read more

How the NFLs Top Receivers Stats Would Change If They Played With

The New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham lost an arbitration hearing Wednesday in which he sought classification as a wide receiver rather than a tight end. Graham’s desire to be a wideout might seem counterintuitive to fantasy football players used to a game where being a tight end makes Graham even more valuable. But in the NFL, Graham will lose money as a result of the decision. He’s been designated with the Saints’ franchise player tag, which means that his compensation is determined by the top salaries in the NFL at his position. The five highest-paid NFL wide receivers make an average of about $12 million per season — more than the $7 million the top tight ends do.The arbitrator’s decision might seem unfair to Graham. Over the past three NFL seasons, Graham ranks eighth in the NFL in receiving yards, fourth in receptions and first in receiving touchdowns. He’s put up stats comparable to the best wide receivers — but he won’t be paid like one.But there’s a catch, and it has nothing to do with Graham’s position. Instead it involves his quarterback. Over the past three NFL seasons, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has ranked first in the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions. Graham has been a big part of that. But even if we subtracted Graham’s receiving statistics from Brees’s totals, Brees would rank seventh, third and sixth in those categories.So we can say Brees’s numbers would still be very strong with an average tight end (or even with no tight end at all). But what would Graham’s numbers look like with an average QB?We can come to some reasonable estimates by using ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating. Unlike most other quarterback statistics, Total QBR seeks to isolate the contribution of the quarterback as opposed to his receivers and his offensive line. It does so by using play-by-play tracking to account for things such as misthrown balls, yards after the catch and defensive pressure.Unfortunately, there’s not yet any analog to QBR for wide receivers and tight ends. But we can use QBR to estimate the effect a quarterback has on his receivers’ statistics. The next couple of paragraphs, which detail the method, are going to be a little dry; scroll down if you want to see just the results.To come up with these estimates, I used a subcomponent of QBR called Pass EPA, which focuses on a quarterback’s passing performance (as opposed to Total QBR, which also accounts for his rushing statistics and his propensity to avoid sacks and draw penalties). I ran a series of regressions on team totals from the 2011-13 NFL regular seasons, which estimated a team’s receiving yards, receptions and receiving touchdowns as a function of its Pass EPA. In essence, this reflects what a team’s passing statistics would look like given average receivers and pass protection but its actual quarterbacks. For example, a team with the quarterbacking of the 2013 Dallas Cowboys (mostly Tony Romo) would project to about 360 receptions, 4000 passing yards and 29 touchdowns given average receivers and offensive linemen.We can then divide a team’s projected statistics by league-average figures to estimate what effect its quarterbacks had on its receivers. For example, the average team since 2011 has had 24 passing touchdowns. Since the 2013 Cowboys projected to 29 touchdowns instead based on their QBR — about 20 percent higher than average — this implies that Romo boosted his receivers’ touchdown totals by 20 percent. Thus, we can reduce the touchdown totals for Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and other Cowboys receivers by 20 percent to estimate how they would have done with league-average quarterbacking.Let’s return to Graham. His quarterback isn’t the good-but-not-consistently-great Romo; it’s the spectacular Brees. Here’s what I estimate Graham’s numbers would have looked like with an average quarterback instead of Brees:In the table above, REC, YDS and TD represent a receiver’s unadjusted receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.Graham has been averaging about 90 receptions and 1,200 yards per year under Brees. I estimate that his totals would be more like 75 receptions and 900 yards with an average QB. And he’d go from having about 12 touchdowns per season to seven or eight instead. (Quarterbacks have an especially large impact on their receivers’ touchdown totals, in part because it requires consistent quarterbacking to get a team into the red zone.)These revised totals would still qualify Graham as an exceptional tight end — but they’d only be very good by the standard of a wide receiver. In the next chart, I’ve listed the actual and QB-adjusted receiving statistics for the top 50 players in the NFL as ranked based on a fantasy football scoring system of one point per reception, one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown. (Fantasy football scoring systems place too much emphasis on touchdowns rather than yardage, but I’ll leave that argument for another day.)Based on his average fantasy points (FP) per season since 2011, Graham ranks third among all receivers and tight ends. But his FPs decline by almost 25 percent using his QB-adjusted statistics, so he falls to 14th place instead.Graham has benefited as much from his quarterbacks as any player in the NFL. Other pass-catchers for the Saints have been helped almost as much. So has Wes Welker, who left the New England Patriots and joined the Broncos just as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady began to show some signs of age. In Denver, Peyton Manning, apparently ageless, had perhaps the best QB season of all-time.The biggest gainer is the Browns’ Josh Gordon, who has posted excellent statistics despite a horrible quarterbacking situation in Cleveland. If Johnny Manziel lives up to the hype, Gordon could be a fantasy football monster next season (if he plays; Gordon failed a drug test and will be suspended for a yet to be determined number of games).For most other players, the effects are not so dramatic. Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall rate as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers according to both raw and QB-adjusted statistics.But the league’s best tight ends tend to fall with the adjustment for quarterback quality. Rob Gronkowski drops from No. 20 to No. 39, for instance. Witten falls from No. 21 to No. 31 and Antonio Gates from No. 42 to No. 48.This could be a fluke — it’s a small sample of players. But it could also mean that tight ends are especially dependent on having good QBs. Along with slot receivers like Welker (it might be best to think of tight ends like Graham as being analogous to slot receivers), they tend to rely on routes based on precision and timing rather than beating their man downfield. Running those routes — and catching passes in traffic — requires a lot of skill. But the quarterback’s impact may be proportionately higher. That may be part of why NFL teams do not pay the best tight ends as well as the best wideouts. read more

201516 NBA Preview The Suns Have Talent But Lack Shooting

Last year’s Phoenix Suns won 39 games, and despite their dramatic offseason — which included being spurned by primary target LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as a ton of player turnover — we don’t see them doing much better or worse. They settled for 33-year-old true center Tyson Chandler, who is probably more of a sure thing (in the short run) anyway. The Suns traded 26-year-old power forward M. Morris (Marcus) to Detroit, but kept 26-year-old power forward M. Morris (Markieff). Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas are also gone, leaving the Suns with only two point guards on the roster instead of four. While our projections aren’t high on No. 13 draft pick Devin Booker, don’t be surprised if the rookie gets a good amount of playing time as a shooting guard taller than 6-foot-3.FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projects Phoenix to go 40-42:1In the following chart, we assume that in addition to the listed players, some portion of Phoenix’s minutes will be filled by generic players of “replacement level” quality — that is, the type of players who would be freely available off the waiver wire during the season. The big question everyone has about Markieff Morris seems to be how he will respond to the Suns’ decision to get rid of his twin brother, Marcus, and how he will respond to the fact that his team unsuccessfully tried to upgrade him to LaMarcus Aldridge. Note: CARMELO does NOT account for offseason drama (maybe in version 2.0). Brandon Knight is a longtime point guard who has been (and will likely continue to be) pushed into a shooting guard role. Last year, in a limited number of games with the Suns, this didn’t go very well. His .472 true shooting percentage in his 11 games with Phoenix is by far the lowest he has posted for a team in his career. With experience at shooting guard under his belt and the Suns’ dearth of options at that spot, P.J. Tucker may be due for another role shift. Since arriving in Phoenix, he has actually seen his shooting guard minutes decline — from 78 percent to 41 percent to 21 percent over the past three years. He’s also one of the team’s more efficient shooters (Tucker’s TS% of 54.1 percent was second only to Bledsoe) and is the best 3-point shooter among players with substantial minutes remaining on the team. Though that’s less because his .345 3-point rate is great than because the Suns dumped all four players ahead of him (Thomas, Morris, Dragic and Gerald Green). Eric Bledsoe is the Suns’ most prolific offensive (read: “star”) player and will continue to be their playmaker. It’s less clear who will be consummating those plays, as four of the Suns’ top scorers from last year have departed. And in worse news, Bledsoe is a small, offense-oriented point guard with a questionable 3-point shot (.326 from downtown last year and .325 for his career). That particular species of player is not known to flourish in the modern NBA. According to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, Tyson Chandler arrives in Phoenix as already their best player. The 7-1 defender/rebounder had the fifth-highest defensive plus-minus (DRPM) among centers, and despite not being a top scorer he posted the eighth-highest offensive plus-minus (ORPM). The main issue with Chandler is that, at age 33, CARMELO expects him to decline fairly rapidly, projecting him as providing 5.9 wins above replacement this year — down from 8.1 last year – and then to 4.3 next year. Read more:All our NBA player projectionsAll our 2015-16 NBA Previews We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. Finally, we must mention Devin Booker, not so much because he’s projected to do much, but because circumstances might press him into action. The main accomplishment for Booker — one of approximately 475 players drafted out of Kentucky last year — probably was getting more than 20 minutes a game on that squad. The good news is that he took about half his shots from 3-point range and hit a respectable 41.1 percent (note that college 3-pointers are easier). Sadly for Suns fans, he had only 17 steals in 38 games, so he’s obviously doomed. Last year, the Suns were about league average on both offense and defense. This year, CARMELO expects them to have an improved defense (thanks to Chandler) and a worse offense. With so few offensive options, it seems that something has to give (like, will Chandler be given more offensive responsibility than he’s used to?). We’ll see.Here’s what CARMELO has to say about the Suns’ key squad members: read more

Ohio State womens volleyball sees 20 lead evaporate in loss to No

Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-0. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern PhotographerAfter taking the first two sets from fourth-ranked Minnesota on Wednesday night, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team had the Big Ten leaders on the ropes.But the No. 16 Buckeyes (22-9, 11-8) couldn’t deliver the knockout blow, dropping three consecutive sets to fall to Minnesota (25-4, 17-2) for the second times in as many matches this season (27-25, 31-29, 17-25, 15-25, 9-15).The loss marked OSU’s second straight and its seventh over its last 11 matches.Meanwhile, the win for the Golden Gophers guaranteed them at least a share of the Big Ten title.Minnesota junior middle blocker Hannah Tapp put forth a dominant performance with 20 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and added seven blocks to lead all players with 24 points.Also breaking the 20-point mark were junior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite (20 kills, three blocks, two aces) and senior outside hitter Daly Santana (17 kills, three aces, three blocks).With hard-fought, extra-point wins in the first two sets, OSU looked poised to pull off the upset in Minneapolis, but unforced errors proved to be the difference down the stretch as it blew the two-game advantage.The Buckeyes committed only one hitting error and attacked .348 in the first frame, though it took all they had to fight off the Golden Gophers. Faced with set point on three different occasions, OSU was able to force extra points and flipped a 25-24 deficit into a 27-25 win.The Scarlet and Gray didn’t find as much success on offense in the second set, but held Minnesota in check (.068 attack percentage) behind five blocks. The teams battled even further into extra points than they did in the first set, but the OSU was again able to find its way to a win.An upset looked even more certain for the Buckeyes when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but things unraveled from there as they would lead only once more — for a brief time in the fifth set — in the remainder of the match.OSU was significantly out-hit, .375-.140, over the final three frames as it committed 19 attack errors (versus only six for Minnesota) and had nine shots blocked.Three Buckeyes notched double-doubles in the loss: senior outside hitters Elizabeth Campbell (18 kills, 15 digs) and Katie Mitchell (11 kills, career-high 14 digs), along with freshman setter Taylor Hughes (career-high 54 assists, 15 digs).Reigning Big Ten freshman of the week and outside hitter Audra Appold led OSU with 19 points by way of 18 kills and one solo block.As it tries to get some degree of momentum heading into the NCAA tournament, OSU is scheduled to wrap up the regular season on Saturday in St. John Arena on senior night against Rutgers. In the teams’ previous matchup in Piscataway, New Jersey, the Buckeyes handled the Scarlet Knights rather easily in three sets. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. read more

Clippers catcher Santana named league player of the week

Catcher Carlos Santana earned the International League Player of the Week award in his first week with the Columbus Clippers.  Santana came to the Clippers from Class AA Akron to start the year and is considered a top prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system.  In four games for the Columbus Clippers last week, Santana compiled a batting average of .438, a league-leading four home runs and eight RBIs.  “Santana is our guy. He had a great year last year with me in Akron,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “He’s a real exciting player, a switch-hitter who is really good from both sides of the plate. He has a great arm and is outstanding defensively behind the plate.” The awards keep rolling in for Santana, who was named Most Valuable Player of the Class A California League in 2008 and Most Valuable Player in Class AA Eastern League in 2009. read more

Opinion Columbus Blue Jackets shouldnt give in to Ryan Johansens agent

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) carries the puck up ice in front of the Florida Panthers’ Drew Shore (15) during a game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on March 1, 2014. Columbus won, 6-3.Credit: Courtesy of MCTThe Columbus Blue Jackets would be smart to move on from Ryan Johansen. Not because they don’t need him, but because he needs them. And he’ll realize that soon enough.Following a breakout season where he posted a team-leading 63 points, Johansen has yet to sign a new deal with Columbus. He’s sitting on his restricted free agent status while his teammates have begun preseason play. All signs point to Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt as the reason for the contract impasse. In a recent press conference, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said Overhardt wanted to double a contract offer worth $6 million over two years. On Monday, a CBS Sports report said Overhardt had lowered that asking price to $2.6 million per season.The Blue Jackets have already offered $32 million over six years and $46 million over eight years, Davidson said. Overhardt rejected each offer.While team executives don’t normally publicize contract negotiations, Davidson and Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen had apparently grown tired of Overhardt’s antics.Consequently, in the midst of training camp, Columbus is no longer shaping its lines around the 22-year-old who led the team with 33 goals last season.The Blue Jackets are pushing forward and it’s a smart move from a side that holds leverage.Johansen’s numbers were abysmal through his first couple seasons. He recorded 33 points through 107 games before last year, and was a left out of the 2013 American Hockey League playoffs despite being healthy.Regardless of what happened last season, the Blue Jackets would be irresponsible to offer Johansen a hefty contract based on such a small sample size. What happens if their star center licks the envelope and mails it in next season?It seems the only agreement between Columbus and Overhardt has been on the length of the contract. Both sides are working toward a two-year deal, according to The Columbus Dispatch.Davidson said Overhardt wants his client to be paid more per year than Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn, who signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract in 2013 and had 64 more points than Johansen through his first three years in the league.While the term of Benn’s deal is longer, Davidson’s comparison between Overhardt’s wishes and Benn’s contract is enough to justify Columbus’ frustration.Johansen is foolish not to sign the Blue Jackets’ two-year, $6 million offer. The deal could position him for a huge payday if he continues his production through the 2015-16 season.Speculation suggests Overhardt is lobbying for a contract similar to Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene’s. After registering 150 points through his first three seasons, Duchene signed for $7 million over two years in June 2012.Unfortunately for Johansen, a two-year, $7 million deal is normally reserved for players who produce more than 14 goals through their first two seasons.The Blue Jackets tabling $6 million over two years is a gift to Johansen. He’s getting $3 million per year to prove he’s worth a long-term, big-money deal.But the longer Johansen waits, the more he might cut into his production for this upcoming season.He’s already missing the preseason, and while training camp isn’t the fitness wake up call it used to be, Johansen is still missing the benefit of playing alongside new linemates before the games start to mean anything.It’s time for Johansen to realize his position and sign a new deal.Columbus is ready. read more

Penalty kicks spark doom Ohio State mens soccer

Senior defender Kyle Culbertson (3) attempts a penalty kick during a game against Indiana on Oct. 12 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 2-1, as Culbertson made one penalty kick, but missed another in the game’s closing minutes.Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternFacing a top-10 opponent, the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s goalscoring on Sunday afternoon lived by a penalty kick — and ultimately died with a penalty kick.The Buckeyes (4-5-3, 2-2-0) played a tight game throughout the 90 minutes against the No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers (8-1-3, 2-1-1), but were ultimately unable to match the play of their opponent, falling at home, 2-1.A penalty kick by junior defender Kyle Culbertson — his second try of the day following a successful one — was knocked away with just over a minute remaining to seal the Indiana victory.“I’m heartbroken for the guys right now, because although there were stretches of the game where we made some bad mistakes and hurt ourselves, we played well enough to win the game and I think deserved to win the game,” OSU coach John Bluem said.The Hoosiers broke a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute with a goal by freshman forward/midfielder Jay McIntosh. Heavy pressure in front of the net allowed McIntosh to take a pass and knock it into the far-right post, where it ricocheted into the net.McIntosh’s goal — the first of his collegiate career — came less than 50 seconds after the Buckeyes had tied the game.An Indiana defender attempted to clear out the ball in front of his goalkeeper, but did so with his hand, granting the Buckeyes a penalty kick. The kick was taken by Culbertson, who rolled a shot to the left side of the net while Indiana sophomore goalkeeper Colin Webb dove to the right.The goal was Culbertson’s second of the season, and seemed to turn around the momentum of the game until McIntosh’s strike seconds later.“Their quality combined with the amount of effort we put in during the first 25 or 30 minutes, maybe we got a little bit tired,” junior midfielder Zach Mason said. “But I think it’s just something where we had moments, and they had moments, and unfortunately they took better advantage of their moments.”With just more than a minute remaining, it was déjà vu for the Buckeyes and Hoosiers, as another handball gave the Buckeyes another penalty kick — which was again taken by Culbertson.However, there was no such luck on Culbertson’s second try, as Webb again dove right, only this time directly to where Culbertson shot the ball. The sophomore knocked it away, sealing the win for the Hoosiers.“That’s very hard to make two penalty kicks in one game,” Bluem said. “But we felt confident that he could do it, so we went with him, and I wouldn’t change the decision. I felt it was the right decision then and unfortunately their goalkeeper came up with a big play.”Indiana opened the scoring early in the second half, when heavy traffic in front of the net allowed the ball to bounce out to junior forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who deposited the shot into the empty net.“We defended poorly, on both goals against us today,” Bluem said. “That’s all I’ll say about that, we just defended poorly.”The Buckeyes controlled the ball throughout the majority of the first half. However, their aggressiveness did not lead to any scoring, as three goal-scoring opportunities — two shots by sophomore forward Danny Jensen wide of the net and a rocket off the foot of senior midfielder Max Moller knocked away by a diving Webb — all went for naught.“I think that we had the opportunity to score, myself included, and we didn’t put them away” Jensen said. “At the end of the day, you have to put those chances away to win the game against a top-10 team in the nation.”OSU is set to have five days off before traveling to Madison, Wisc., to take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. That match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. read more

Ohio States Kelsey Mitchell named 1st team USBWA AllAmerican 2nd team AP

OSU freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) dribbles past James Madison junior guard Angela Mickens (32) during a NCAA Tournament first-round game on March 21 in Chapel Hill, N.C.. OSU won, 90-80.Credit: Courtesy of OSU athleticsOhio State women’s basketball guard Kelsey Mitchell become just the fourth freshman to be named a first team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers of America on Tuesday after leading the nation with 24.9 points per game.Mitchell, the Big Ten co-Player of the Year, was also named an Associated Press second team All-American.Her 873 total points this season set a new program and conference record, helping her become one of just five Buckeyes to make the AP first or second team. Mitchell’s debut collegiate campaign also saw her set an NCAA record with 127 3-pointers.The Cincinnati native led OSU in both points and assists this season.According to an OSU release, the USBWA All-American team consists of 10 players regardless of position. Being named among those 10 players makes you a finalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, given by the USBWA to the nation’s best player. That award is set to be handed out on Sunday.Mitchell led the Buckeyes to a 24-11 record and a 13-5 mark in conference play. OSU won its first two Big Ten Tournament games before earning a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament.The Buckeyes knocked James Madison out of the tournament in the first round with a 90-80 victory before losing to North Carolina on a last-second shot on March 23. Mitchell scored 25 points in the season-ending loss and tied the game at the free throw line with five seconds to play, completing a 21-point OSU comeback. The Tar Heels went on to score with less than a second on the clock to win the game.Along with leading the team in points and helpers, Mitchell averaged 4.2 rebounds per game and shot 83.5 percent from the free throw line.Mitchell’s honor comes a day after Ohio State men’s basketball freshman guard D’Angelo Russell was named a first team AP All-American after leading the Buckeyes in scoring in his first collegiate season as well. read more

Football Ryan Day talks depth and recruiting on National Signing Day

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day stepped up to the podium on National Signing Day without much doubt as to what his class would look like. He began the day with 15 players who had signed their letters of intent in the 2019 class, including five-star defensive end Zach Harrison, five-star center Harry Miller and five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, bringing the roster total to 83. He added two more linemen:  four-star offensive guard Enokk Vimahi and three-star offensive guard Dawand Jones, making the roster at a full 85 players. After the Vimahi signing, Ohio State was ranked as having the No. 13 class in the country and the No. 3 class in the Big Ten. But to Day, after taking over the head coaching job from Urban Meyer, establishing relationships with the current recruiting class and planning ahead for the future, this 2019 class represented much more than that ranking entailed. “When you look at what we’ve done as a culture since August, with the coaching change, we’ve only had two guys leave the program,” Day said. “When you keep the retention like, it shows about the culture in the coaching change, but also it isn’t about signing 27 guys because you’re retaining guys. Guys want to stay in the program. That’s the strength of our team right now.” Even with the retention, Ohio State did lose depth at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Tate Martell transferred to the University of Miami, and is attempting to gain eligibility with the Hurricanes for the 2019 season.Day said he was disappointed to see Martell leave and wishes him nothing but the best moving forward.“First off, it’s hard to recruit a highly recruited guy, then recruit guys behind them,” Day said. “If they leave, after their third year in the program, it gets really hard. That’s the constant struggle of right now with college football and the quarterback situation. It’s very sensitive.” With former Georgia freshman Justin Fields coming in to replace Martell, it leaves Ohio State with only three scholarship quarterbacks: Fields, freshman Matthew Baldwin and junior Chris Chugunov. Day said he still wants a room with four quarterbacks, the roster would is full. “You have to adjust with what you have,” Day said. “You take it year by year, do the best you can to put the best product on the field, go from there.” Regarding Fields’ eligibility, Day said he is hoping to hear a ruling in the next few weeks, but is “holding his breath” and is unsure at what the ruling would be. According to the head coach, the ruling would determine how many reps Baldwin would get at quarterback in the spring. No matter if it’s Fields or Baldwin behind center at the start of the 2019 season, Day said the youth at quarterback is “a big challenge.”The head coach said he is approaching the 2019 season similarly to what he believes Clemson did last season when it started Trevor Lawrence, a true freshman at quarterback. This is something recruits want: to play immediately when they start college. However, it is not something that usually happens at Ohio State, something that Day is aware of and does not hide from recruits. “Guys want to play right now,” Day said. “The best way to combat that is to be honest in the recruiting process. To tell someone they’re going to come in and play right away is not right. I think you have to be honest with them, tell them it’s a competition. There’s no expectation problems when they get here.” But with one signing day under his belt, his first as the head coach, the future is here for Ryan Day, shown through the recruiting class he has helped shape in his first month on the job.Story updated at 6:43 p.m. after Dawand Jones commits to Ohio State. read more

Mens Volleyball Ohio State ends nonconference schedule against Penn State

Redshirt sophomore Jake Hanes (16) prepares to hit the ball over the net at the game against George Mason on Jan. 18 at St. John Arena in Columbus. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Senior Reporter.The Ohio State men’s volleyball team will follow up its straight-set victory against Lees-McRae with a trip to State College, Pennsylvania, Tuesday to take on its final nonconference foe this season at Penn State. The Nittany Lions (8-12, 5-2 EIVA) enter the matchup with the Buckeyes (7-14, 2-6 MIVA), having lost four straight matches to top-15 teams, all of which have previously defeated Ohio State. In matches against then-No. 11 USC, then-No. 5 UCLA, No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne and No. 15 Ball State, Penn State managed to win four out of 16 sets. In matches against those same teams, Ohio State won three out of 15 sets. While the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions haven’t fared well against common opponents, both teams have experience against each other.In a Jan. 5 match at St. John Arena, a healthy Ohio State team defeated Penn State in four sets. Senior setter Sanil Thomas guided the Buckeyes to a .360 hitting percentage and added 46 assists while sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes hit at a .413 clip, tallying 24 kills. On Tuesday, Thomas will likely return for his first start since injuring his right hand in late January, and Hanes, his most frequent collaborator, will be on the court once again after resting against Lees-McRae.Hanes’ 202 kills and 21 aces lead the team, while Thomas will try to add to his team-leading 284 assists, 25 of which he added in two sets off the bench against Lees-McRae. For the Nittany Lions, redshirt junior outside hitter Henrik Falck Lauten paces Penn State with 181 kills, adding 13 aces, 41 total blocks and 86 digs. Defensively, redshirt freshman libero Will Bantle and redshirt junior middle blocker Jason Donorovich lead the way, accruing 130 digs and 63 total blocks on the season, respectively. Along with his defense, Donorovich ranks No. 1 in the conference and No. 11 in the country with his .387 hitting percentage. The Buckeyes hope to thwart Donorovich and the Penn State offense with a defense that has totaled 125 blocks and 623 digs this season. Redshirt senior middle blocker Blake Leeson and redshirt senior libero Aaron Samarin have played a big part in the defensive success for Ohio State this season, accounting for 63 total blocks and 117 digs, respectively. Leeson and Samarin are the only two Buckeyes who have started every match this season, and Ohio State will need to lean on its defense to complete a season sweep of Penn State Tuesday. Ohio State takes on Penn State at 7 p.m. Tuesday in State College, Pennsylvania. read more