Here at the dawn of the NBA’s era of big brains and fancy thinking, basketball statistics are more complicated than ever. The best ones, though, still answer dead-simple questions: Which players are good? Which players are not? And of course: Which players are rarely passed the basketball? I stumbled into the answer to that last one back in 2013, and it’s about time for a 2016 update, because the NBA landscape is still dotted with players who do not know where to stand.The formulation is pretty simple: The NBA’s player-tracking SportVU technology now provides the number of passes each player has received, which I divided by the player’s minutes and then normalized to passes per 36 minutes. Only players who averaged 15 minutes per game and made it into 20 games were included, to weed out those who were not a significant part of their team’s rotation for at least a quarter of the season.1The average number of game-minutes that pass between received passes is in the table for context, too, though in the true context of a game, a minute or two of action can take several minutes to play out.2If you’re wondering, the leaderboard for the most passes received per 36 isn’t very interesting. Ish Smith is No. 1; TJ McConnell is No. 2. Luc Mbah a MouteLAC7317.18.718.32.0 Kosta KoufosSAC7618.811.421.81.6 Alonzo GeeNO7322.411.518.51.9 Clint CapelaHOU7619.111.922.41.6 Andre DrummondDET8032.919.621.41.7 Omer AsikNO6717.111.824.81.4 Hassan WhitesideMIA7129.116.520.41.8 Dante CunninghamNO7924.514.321.01.7 Willie Cauley-SteinSAC6421.310.417.62.0 Tristan ThompsonCLE8128.015.920.41.8 Andre RobersonOKC6922.110.817.62.0 PASSES RECEIVED PLAYERTEAMGAMES PLAYEDMINUTES PER GAMEPER GAMEPER 36 MINUTESAVG. MIN. BETWEEN PASSES Tayshaun PrinceMIN7719.011.722.21.6 Bismack BiyomboTOR79126.96.36.199.8 The NBA players who are not passed the basketball For players who have played at least 20 games with at least 15 minutes of playing time per gameSource: nba.com Cody ZellerCHA7224.516.624.41.5 DeAndre JordanLAC7633.822.323.81.5 Anthony BrownLAL2920.6188.8.131.52 Axel ToupaneDEN2015.08.821.11.7 Timofey MozgovCLE7517.212.025.11.4 Ed DavisPOR8020.714.024.31.5 Aron BaynesDET7915.110.424.81.5 What the chart can’t tell you is just how wide open he is on those shots from the corners. According to SportVU data, Roberson underperforms relative to how open his shots are — often wide-open looks from Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. This is enough of a trend on the Thunder that the team is tied for last in the league in 3-point percentage when left wide open (34.1 percent).Roberson’s effect on the Thunder is a good illustration of how damaging carrying a wing with no range can be, even if it doesn’t show up in his personal numbers. Roberson is shooting 62.6 percent near the basket, his overall field goal percentage is 49.4, and his true shooting percentage is 56.5 — all respectable numbers. But put him on the floor, and the OKC offense falls to a shambles. His offensive Real Plus-Minus is -1.79, more than enough to offset his +1.11 defensive RPM. Roberson plays a lot of minutes with the starters, so his raw effect on points per possession are hard to pick up, but when he’s on the court, the Thunder shoot 32.3 percent from three; when he’s on the bench, they shoot 36.5 percent. (Anthony Morrow and Dion Waiters both shoot worse from the floor than Roberson but are considerably better 3-point shooters while being just-as-considerably worse at defense.)Roberson is only 24, and plenty of guys older than he is have come up with a serviceable jumper. And the Thunder have kept on feeding him when he’s open, at least from time to time. But as the rotation tightens up heading into the playoffs, he really needs to make a few, or else we’re going to have a whole heap of Dion Waiters perpetrated upon us.Bismack Biyombo, Toronto RaptorsHere is a great American success story of sorts. Two years ago, poor Biz was so far ahead of his peers in the category of not being passed the basketball that the gulf between him and the next-closest player on the list was larger than the one between second place and eighth. Bismack did not get the basketball, and for good reason. He could not catch or dribble or shoot or pass or even really just stand in one place on the court without flummoxing a teammate, or sometimes bowling him clean over.But by last season, although his role and minutes had diminished, Biyombo was a full-fledged defensive anchor, combining exceptional rim protection with the lateral quicks to switch onto guards and help from the weak side.This season, Biyombo is averaging eight rebounds per game in just 22 minutes off the bench, and opponents are shooting 45.1 percent at the rim when Biyombo is in the vicinity, which is right in range of Rudy Gobert, Serge Ibaka and the best shot-blockers and shot-alterers in the league. In March, he set a Raptors single-game record with 25 rebounds and scored a career-high 16 points. Biyombo has been a revelation. He has not, however, frequently been passed the basketball, and for good reason.Here is a selection of plays from the month of April: Oh, dear.Cauley-Stein doesn’t just lack touch and feel in the post; there are times it seems he doesn’t know where the rim is. (And for a seven-footer, he is on the wrong end of a concerning number of soul-snatching blocks.) Going by Synergy’s play charting, Cauley-Stein went a full three months without making a field goal off of a post-up — from Nov. 19 against Miami to Feb. 19 against Denver. He missed some time in there, but that’s still a span of 26 games in which he played. For the season, those 24 post-ups have produced just 13 points.While post-ups make up just a small percentage of Cauley-Stein’s possessions, they’re the only plays where he’s asked to do much. Clearly, he has not done much with them, and the results certainly haven’t inspired much confidence in him.Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City ThunderRoberson is a 3-and-D wing who shoots 30.7 percent from three. In his defense, that’s up from his 27.1 percent lifetime number. (In his actual defense, he’s a good defender and has shot 41.7 percent on 24 threes from the right corner, which is something.5Another Thunder player, Kyle Singler, would appear on the list but fell just short of the minutes cutoff (14.5). Coincidentally, Singler is having just the worst year but has shot 35.5 percent from the left corner on 31 shots, despite shooting 30.2 overall on threes.) When he’s on the floor, he’s used almost exclusively as a spot-up shooter; 33.6 percent of his possessions come there, according to Synergy — the rest come in transition or stray cuts to the basket. Here’s his shot chart from this year, from StatMuse: There’s a certain kind of player who ends up on this list — defensive big men and wings who can’t create their own offense and only see the ball when they’re wide open under the rim or wide open from three. The bigs tend to have better efficiency rates3We’re largely going by Synergy Sports Technology’s points per possession numbers for our efficiency numbers but note when we use other metrics, like true shooting percentage. than the wings — some are even exceptional in the role — because wide-open dunks are easier shots than wide-open threes, and if the wings taking those threes could shoot, they’d see enough of the ball to avoid this list. But broadly defined efficiency can mislead: In the NBA, a player can have excellent efficiency numbers without a handle on certain crucial skills, like catching the ball or knowing where to stand.Some of those on the list are terrific players in other respects. Hassan Whiteside, Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan stand out here as the three who have played the most minutes and as the three names that very obviously are not like the others.Jordan is the league’s most fearsome shot blocker, leads the league in dunks for the third straight year — in large part because he’s become one of the best roll-men in the league — and every now and then, he shoots 20 or 30 free throws in a game because the NBA is absurd. Still, DJ is an example of limited touches in a limited role maximizing a player’s effectiveness.Whiteside is a lot like Jordan, although he is a better free-throw shooter and is playing for less than $1 million this season — the DeAndre Jordan hostage crisis ended last summer with Jordan signing a four-year $87.6 million contract.Drummond is a special case. He is demonstrably one of the most gifted players in the league. This season, he’s had 20 or more rebounds nine times — one less than the number of times he’s had fewer than 10. He’s bursting with potential, only 22 years old … and still not very good at offense. But according to data from SportVU, Drummond’s post-ups are Detroit’s second-most-common play type, after Reggie Jackson screen-and-rolls. This is insane. Despite his size, Drummond is in the bottom third in the league in post-up scoring efficiency, according to data from Synergy Sports Technology, yet takes 27 percent of his shots from the post. The Pistons seem set on letting Drummond learn on the job, however, because defenses have begun dropping on pick-and-rolls. Drummond is excellent on the pick-and-roll, but he and Jackson aren’t yet on the Paul-to-Jordan level of conjuring it out of thin air.The others on the list are not as easily absolved, but here’s an explanation for a few notables just the same.Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento KingsCauley-Stein is in a tough spot. He landed on the most dysfunctional team in the league with a coach (George Karl) who has been trying to get himself fired since the offseason; a point guard (Rajon Rondo) who has managed to turn the assist — a fundamentally unselfish statistic — into an act of stat-hoarding; and chuckers and ball-hogs (DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli, Omri Casspi, Ben McLemore) who are liable to make passionate love to the basketball right there on the Sleep Train Arena hardwood. Not many rookies will fare well in that situation.But while Cauley-Stein has looked raw for much of the season, particularly on defense, his overall offensive numbers have been impressive. According to data from Synergy, he finds most of his shots cutting to the rim, on put-backs, in transition and as the roll man in pick-and-roll.4Twenty-nine percent of Cauley-Stein’s plays are on cuts; 19 percent are put-backs; 18 percent are in transition; 15 percent are as the roll man. While he’s below average on both cuts and put-backs, those are inherently efficient play-types to begin with; just hustling into position to try a put-back or filling the lane in transition is valuable. Overall, he’s near the top of the league in raw points per possession when he actually gets to touch the ball.So why do Cauley-Stein’s teammates fail to pass him the ball, beyond the self-evident answers about being the Kings? Let’s go to the tape. Here is a selection of the 24 post-up possessions Cauley-Stein has used this season, according to Synergy. There’s a lot to absorb in this unfairly edited highlight reel of airballs, bobbled passes and more than a few indescribable sequences, but the bewilderment in the announcers’ voices at the 48-second, 1:10 and 1:40 marks says more or less what needs to be said. (A full accounting of Bismack’s plays from this month can be found here. It is not much different.)Bismack has his uses on offense. He sets wide, sturdy (often moving) screens and has finally figured out how to roll to space from time to time. But he still frequently looks lost on offense, and he still can’t really catch a basketball. When he does, he tends to keep the ball low, where it can easily be stolen — this is why the ball always seems to fly five rows into the stands after it finds its way into Biyombo’s hands.And yet Biyombo is an undeniably important member of the Raptors, who are locked into the No. 2-seed in the East and look liable to put up a fight against the Cavaliers in the playoffs. If it comes to that, interior defense will be crucial to Toronto’s success, since LeBron James teams attack the rim in the playoffs. A lot of the hard work will fall to Biyombo, who is very good at what he does but still will not be passed the ball.
Robert Griffin III headed to Redskins’ bench.Black quarterbacks do not survive in Chocolate City.One by one, they fade away, like mist, and always under circumstances that make you go, “Hmmm.”Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to the 1988 Super Bowl championship, the first Black quarterback to achieve the milestone. He also won the MVP, throwing four touchdown passes in the blow out over Denver.He was a hero, a champion and history-maker. And guess what: four games into the next season, he was benched in favor of Mark Rypien and never played in D.C. again.This is worth noting today because of the news that Robert Griffin III has been sidelined by Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who has yet to impress in any way.Williams works in the Redskins’ front office and would not touch the Griffin situation. But he did tell Atlanta Black Star that playing quarterback in the NFL in general and Washington, D.C. in particular is a far more daunting proposition than most can fathom.“Yeah, it’s tough to play quarterback here,” Williams told ABS. “The fans are demanding. Expectations are high. But quarterbacks are under great scrutiny everywhere you go. It’s the key position.“But people have no idea how difficult it is to play quarterback in the NFL. And it’s more difficult to play today. There are more specialized players. The athletes are better than when I played it. The schemes have changed dramatically.”And RGIII?“Sitting in my position, within the organization, it’s not my place to talk about Robert. I just can’t.”So, I will. Griffin has been far from the QB that showed remarkable poise and accuracy in his rookie year. He also was devastating running the ball. But injuries broke him down and a ridiculously sorry offensive line has doomed him.It has been too easy for critics to point to Griffin’s ills while ignoring that he man seldom has time to read coverages and check off to another option. And coaches seldom move to the pocket to give him run options, stem the rush and create passing lanes.Still, he is a flawed quarterback who needs to improve his footwork and other aspects, with immense talent. Should he be benched? Not for Colt McCoy, who was a first-round draft pick that no one realized was still in the league until Kirk Cousins—the other quarterback who was supposed to be better than Griffin—stunk up the joint a few weeks ago while Griffin recovered from an ankle injury.And herein lies the curiosity about Black quarterbacks’ lack of staying power in Washington.When Williams was benched, all of Black D.C. was incense and confused. Several months earlier he was on a float in a parade celebrating Super Bowl XXII’s title. And then he was unceremoniously gone. Poof. No loyalty to the QB that led the team to the summit.Years later, along came Jason Campbell in 2005. The Redskins selected him in the first round out of Auburn, the 25th pick. He was 6-foot-5 with all the tools that would make him a star.He had the longest stay with the Redskins. Campbell did not play as a rookie, but he started from 2006-2009.He was saddled with Jim Zorn as coach. Zorn went in to interview for the offensive coordinator position and came out as head coach. Seriously. He was miserable at the job. Despite Zorn, Campbell threw for 6,863 yards with 33 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his final two seasons—and then he was gone.Enter Donovan McNabb, the veteran who led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl and multiple NFC Championship games. Black fans, overall, were disappointed to see Campbell go, but it was cushioned by the arrival of McNabb in 2010.McNabb was ordinary in his one year in D.C., but he was insulted in a way few quarterbacks have been: He was benched at the end of a tight game in favor of Rex Grossman. Coach Mike Shanahan made it worse by offering that McNabb was not “in shape” to run the two-minute drill. It was pure baloney and everyone knew it.As fate would have it, Grossman was sacked and fumbled on his first play, and the Redskins lost. McNabb lasted one season.The one common in all this: owner Dan Snyder. He is a paradox. Snyder has been willing to acquire Black quarterbacks, but they do not get extended opportunities to flourish.Is that Snyder’s fault? Probably not. But for certain if he wanted Griffin to start this Sunday against Indianapolis Colts, if he wanted McNabb to stay for another season, if he wanted Campbell to fulfill his potential with the Redskins. . . it would have happened.Instead, the best quarterback on the team’s roster gets to hold a clipboard this weekend and watch an inferior player man his position. It will kill him inside.Chocolate City. . . the place where Black quarterbacks go to die.
OSU redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Calhoun (4) turns the corner to drive to the hoop during a scrimmage against Ashland on Nov. 6 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 88-78. Credit: Zach Konno | For The LanternWhenever a team replaces a large chunk of its roster, there is some level of uncertainty. This was the case for the Ohio State women’s basketball team as they were set to debut six new players in the 2016-17 season.Five have seen the court so far, and it’s safe to say that some of the uncertainty can be put to rest. Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga (transfer from North Carolina) and redshirt sophomore Sierra Calhoun (transfer from Duke) have carved out spots in OSU’s starting lineup. Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper (transfer from Kentucky) is sitting out this semester due to NCAA transfer rules.True freshmen guards Kiara Lewis and Jensen Caretti, and forward Tori McCoy have helped the Buckeyes off the bench.“I really like our young players,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “You can see the talent that they have, they just need a lot more experience.”Mavunga has led the team in rebounding in each of its first three regular season games. She’s averaged 12.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, and is shooting 60.9 percent from the field. The Brownsburg, Indiana, native can be seen wearing a large brace around her right knee and working with trainers during games, but when McGuff was asked about her health, he took a playful jab at the forward.“She’s getting old I guess,” McGuff said with a laugh. “She looks like me out there trying to play.” Despite shooting just 28.6 percent from the field, Calhoun has contributed 11.3 points per game. She’s shooting a team-high 88.9 percent from the free-throw line.OSU’s trio of freshmen have impressed as well. Leading the way is 5-foot-8 guard Kiara Lewis, who has averaged 6.7 points and four rebounds in 16.3 minutes. She’s shown a good amount of athletic ability and a knack for weaving her way through the opposition and getting the ball to the basket.“Kiki’s got a chance to be a great player here; I think you can see her talent,” McGuff said. “Probably as much as anything, she came from a high school program where they have high expectations … so she really showed up ready and you can see that with how she plays.”Playing significant minutes with a top-ten team as a true freshman may be too tough a task for some, but Lewis hasn’t looked the least bit fazed on the court.“I feel real comfortable,” Lewis said. “I think the leadership on the team is a big key to me feeling comfortable.”McCoy has backed up Mavunga and put up six points and 3.7 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game. She struggled a bit in her first two games, but the forward put up 12 points and grabbed six boards in the Buckeyes’ most recent win against Cleveland State.Caretti has played in two games and tallied a total of 24 minutes. She’s just 1-for-4 from the field with three points thus far, but her athletic abilities are evident. She sees the floor well and is solid as a distributor.Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell has played a large role in welcoming the newcomers. She stepped into more of a leadership role this offseason and is currently enrolled in a leadership course at OSU. Part of her new responsibilities include taking the new Buckeyes under her wing.“It starts with off the court, making sure they feel welcomed and making sure they feel loved,” Mitchell said. “I know for myself, it’s not so much what I do on the court for those guys … It’s just as small as giving them a ride or taking them to get something to eat. You’ve got to make them feel like they’re a part of something. I try to do a good job of that, especially with the freshman, making them feel like we’re sisters.”
The title of “champion” often instills a sense of excitement, passion and determination in athletic teams competing in major tournaments.With the new final four tournament approved by the Eastern College Athletic Conference Lacrosse League for 2011, the winner will not only earn the title of league champion, but also an automatic bid to the Division I NCAA Tournament.ECAC Commissioner Rudy Keeling announced that after a majority league vote at the ECAC convention meeting from last summer, the inaugural championship tournament will run May 6 through 8, 2011.This year, Ohio State joined the league along with Denver, Air Force, Quinnipiac and Bellarmine universities. Hobart College and Loyola University in Maryland joined in 2005 and Fairfield University in 2006.Initially undecided between 2011 or 2012, league representatives and ECAC committee members dubbed ‘11 as the more opportune time to start the tournament, Keeling said.“We were [originally] waiting for ESPN to see what kind of package they could get,” Keeling said about the decision. “Because it was the middle of football season, we didn’t get the response we wanted from them.”The motivation for the tournament stems from a desire to promote teams within the league and qualify more teams for the NCAA Tournament each year.“We feel… that we have a strong league. We want to enhance our teams’ chances of getting more than our automatic qualifying team into the NCAA tournament,” Keeling said. “And to do that we thought if we played a league tournament we had a better chance of improving our power rating and also coming up with a second team that might make it to the NCAA Tournament.”Keeling said “it’s an opportune time” to brand the league and get together the best teams for public exposure. Having scores and games broadcast, along with the pull of a tournament crowd, would help make the league “more nationally known,” he said.For a school like OSU, exposure of its men’s program will help generate a larger national reputation and solidify its rank among the elite.U.S. Lacrosse President and CEO Steve Stenersen said the benefit of the tournament will provide dual incentives for U.S. Lacrosse and OSU.“I think Ohio State just in being Ohio State… being a good lacrosse program, will enhance our league,” Stenersen said. “And our league is one of the better leagues in the country, so we will enhance the Ohio State lacrosse brand. I think both entities bring something to the table.”Stenersen said since the NCAA went to automatic qualifiers, league play has meant a lot to teams across the country.Although initially an unpopular decision, it was a “visionary and strategic step” that enabled an opportunity for schools that otherwise would not have made it to the tournament as quickly or at all, Stenersen said.Qualifiers “will allow schools that were not part of the rich… to shoot for something. They’ll really have something to play for,” Stenersen said about teams that are not big-name lacrosse schools like Syracuse or Johns Hopkins.Denver University coach Bill Tierney said with a limit of about 17 contests, from scrimmages to fall ball to season games, the tournament will also help with strength of schedule and power-ranking levels.“What the tournaments do, they actually give you two extra games. If you win the first one, they give you two extra games against good opponents,” Tierney said. “So even if you lose the second one, it gives you more strength of schedule and rating percentage index points.”For teams that play early in the year and lose, their chance of winning is significantly decreased without a tournament.“[If] you don’t have a chance in winning your league because you don’t have a strong enough schedule, you’re not going to get into the NCAA Tournament,” Tierney said. “It’s almost like by the end of March some teams knew they were done with. So with having a league tournament it gives them a second time to play that team another time.”He said that the ECAC tournament is a second chance to get a shot at that automatic qualifier for some teams who normally would not get the chance.“Bellarmine doesn’t have to beat Virginia or Syracuse or Hopkins, or more historically dominant teams. All they need to do is win it in their league championship,” Stenersen said. “That breathes life into a program.”Stenersen also believes the league and the new tournament help promote the game of lacrosse more effectively.“It creates another great opportunity to showcase a high level of the sport in another zip code in the country,” Stenersen said. “So from a promotional standpoint, it’s terrific.”With non-revenue sports at risk at Division I football colleges due to budget cuts and Title IX requirements, some varsity lacrosse teams across the country have been downgraded to club level or eliminated all together, Stenersen said.“When you’re a big time football school in this day and age, you’re usually not looking for more large men’s team sports opportunities to elevate to varsity,” Stenersen said. “What you’re looking to do is you’re looking for more women’s sports opportunities to bring your ratio of athletic opportunities to where it needs to be.”Stenersen credited OSU’s athletic program for being a leader in managing women’s opportunities and maintaining a multitude of varsity programs.“They weren’t one of the institutions that took the easy way out and axed men’s sports to fund women’s sports,” Stenersen said. “It really is a shot in the arm for D1 men’s lacrosse when athletic budgets continue to be strained and lacrosse programs are demoted.”Keeling said the league is excited to have OSU this year, along with the other four teams, because it helped expand the borders of the league.“The ECAC this year is probably the most geographically diverse [league],” Stenersen said. “It has teams all the way from Connecticut to Colorado.”The school that places first in the 2010 ECAC Lacrosse League will earn the right to host the 2011 inaugural tournament. The site of the 2012 tournament will be determined through a bid process.The NCAA will still invite the top 16 teams from Division I programs to make up the championship tournament each year. The regular season winners who may fare poorly in a conference tournament typically receive one of the 16 NCAA bids.But for the schools outside of traditional lacrosse dynasties, the new league tournament will be an opportunity to compete with the best of the best.
It takes a great athlete to reach his dream of playing in the NFL. It takes a special kind of person to move on after accomplishing that lifelong goal. Described as a “finisher” by his high school football coach, Michael Wiley, a former Ohio State football player and Dallas Cowboy for four years, has moved forward with life toward new goal after living out his dream of playing in the NFL. Whether it is teaching young teenagers about the importance of school or developing business ideas, Wiley’s ambition is allowing him to find his place in a world outside of sports. After cementing himself as the best player Ed Carberry ever coached at Monte Vista High School, Wiley found success on the field at OSU. Wiley did well on and off the field and realized his dream in 2000 when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry, but injuries ended his career. “I still feel like I left with something to prove,” Wiley said. At the age of 25, his dream was over. After football, Wiley went back to school because he promised his mom he would get his degree. But after getting married, having two kids, and opening the After Five Lounge restaurant and bar in 2007, school was not a priority. One evening, his wife of seven years, Quiana Wiley, asked him: “How would the kids look at you without a college degree?” Those words triggered something in Wiley. Nearly a decade after leaving school for the NFL, while working full-time and raising a family, he finished what he had started and graduated in 2008 with a degree in sociology. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Wiley said. “It is definitely my proudest accomplishment.” “I was very proud of Michael for going back,” Quiana Wiley said. Dee Miller, a former college teammate, said Wiley remains the same confident individual he first met. “Wiley came here with a California swag, but it was well deserved,” Miller said laughing. “He was confident but not cocky.” Miller went through the same difficult transition from being an NFL player to living in the “real world.” He said he was happy Wiley went back for his degree. “It’s fulfilling to see him grow as a young man to a mature, older man,” he said. Wiley closed the After Five Lounge in 2009 but is currently brainstorming business ideas for the future. He wants to be seen as “Michael Wiley: the businessman,” not as a former athlete in business, he said. When asked what he still has left to accomplish, he answered: “Everything.” Wiley,32, is currently a store manager at Kroger grocery store. He said he enjoys his job because he gets to help employees and meet fans. He said he never has a dull moment and learns something new every day. Chris Masten, another Kroger employee, said, “They always take the good people. If he gets a store, I told him to call me. I’ll be the first one to work for him.” Wiley promotes the importance of school to his younger workers. He sees it as “coaching younger kids.” Wiley has “lessons of the day” where he asks each of them what they learned in school that day. Wiley knows first-hand that education opens more doors, and he hopes to help his workers realize that. Despite having to leave behind a sport that he dedicated much of his life to, Wiley said he would not have done anything differently except “go to USC and get out of this damn cold,” he said. “The game has been good to me. I appreciate what Ohio State gave to me. I appreciate what Monte Vista gave to me. I appreciate what Dallas gave to me. They showed me something that otherwise I wouldn’t have experienced, and for that I am thankful,” Wiley said. His Facebook “about me” box reads “Lived 1 Dream Now Living Another 1!” He hopes to finish life strong. Wiley would like to be remembered as a “fun guy, honest person. From day one to now, I’ve never changed,” he said. “What you see is what you get.”
The No. 10-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team split its too matches in the Ken and Dave Dunlap Invitational this weekend, defeating No. 12-ranked Pacific in four sets before falling to No. 4-ranked Stanford in five sets. Penn State and Stanford kicked off the series with a rematch of the 2010 NCAA National Championship. Stanford swept PSU in the title game, but victory belonged to the Nittany Lions Friday night. As the Buckeyes prepared to take the court with Pacific, a moment of silence was held in honor of D.C. Koehl, the OSU volleyball sports information director, who died Thursday. The same was done before Saturday’s match. The Tigers came out strong Friday and were able to take the first set, 25-19, by taking an early four-point lead that OSU was unable to overcome. The Buckeyes, led by senior opposite Shawn Sangrey with a match-high 26 kills, claimed the next three sets and the match. “We took a nice step this weekend, and that’s what I told the kids,” said coach Pete Hanson. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this, play like this, three weeks ago. Our team was just so discombobulated.” After Pacific fell to PSU, the only team to leave the invitational with two wins, OSU faced Stanford. Stanford had the early advantage after defeating the Buckeyes in a shaky first set, 22-25. “We’ve gone down one (set) before and I don’t think it’s anything to be scared of,” Sangrey said. “But it does hurt a little bit.” OSU came back in the second set and went on a three-point run to force a timeout at 13-9. The Buckeyes kept a steady lead, but almost let it slip away as they approached set point. Stanford’s own three-point run put them within one point of OSU before senior outside hitter Mik Berzins sealed the set with a kill, 25-23. A special guest was introduced during the intermission between the second and third sets to the almost 960 people that attended Saturday’s match. President E. Gordon Gee, dressed in a gray vest with his signature bow tie, stepped onto the court to lead several fans in a game of “Gee says,” a variation on the game “Simon says,” with a $25 gas gift card from Speedway for the winner. As Gee attempted to stump the fans, he narrowed it down to five very attentive contestants. Gee gave the oldest remaining contestant the gift card and promised to give $25 to the other four. The teams retook the court, and the third set was a close one, with 16 tied scores. At 20-17, Stanford’s senior setter Evan Berry went up for an attack and came down hard on the court, injuring his left knee. Berry was able to return to the sidelines during the fifth set but never re-entered the match. Back-to-back Sangrey kills ended the set, 26-23. Stanford maintained a small lead through the fourth set, though the score would tie 13 times during the set. At 20-20, the Cardinal offense began to pull ahead and would force a deciding fifth set. Sangrey said he is motivated to continue to compete at a high level in long matches by his teammates. “We’re playing for each other,” he said. “We’re motivated to make each other better.” The Buckeyes were ahead by three when the teams swapped sides of the court. At 9-7, Stanford went on a three-point drive to take the lead and force an OSU timeout. A missed block by Sangrey ended the set, 12-15, and the match. “The thing that hurt us coming down the stretch was our serving. We made some really critical service errors,” Hanson said. “And that’s just staying confident, staying aggressive, and when you can do that you’re going to get that serve in.” Sangrey recorded a match-high 30 kills which tied his career best record. Redshirt freshman setter Peter Heinen delivered 49 assists, another match-high. Junior libero Derek Kues led the team in digs with eight. The Buckeyes are 1-10 against Stanford. Their only win was in 1981, the first time the two teams met. They are 10-1 against Pacific. OSU will travel to University Park, Pa., to take on the Cal-Baptist Lancers on Friday and the Mount Olive Trojans on Saturday as part of the Penn State Tournament. Both games start at 5 p.m.
The Ohio State baseball team didn’t help their chances of making the Big Ten tournament by blowing a seven-run lead and losing their opening game at Indiana, 10-8, Thursday. With the loss, the Buckeyes drop to an 11-11 record against Big Ten opponents. The top-six teams in the Big Ten make the conference tournament. After the loss, OSU is tied for sixth in the conference standings The top-six teams qualify for the tournament. OSU got off to a hot start taking an 8-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Hoosiers responded in the bottom of the seventh inning by scoring six runs and cutting OSU’s lead to 8-7. Indiana then took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning by scoring three more runs and securing the comeback victory. Sophomore outfielder Tim Wetzel, sophomore infielder Brad Hallberg and senior outfielder David Corna each had three hits for the Buckeyes in the losing effort. Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Friday at 3:05 p.m. The Buckeyes are looking to pick up a win to secure their spot in the Big Ten tournament.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) sits on the bench during a game against San Diego State Sept. 7 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAfter defeating Pac-12 foe California 52-34 in its last game, the Ohio State football team returns home this weekend to face the Florida A&M Rattlers of the Football Championship Subdivision.OSU junior quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to play a limited role in the Buckeyes final tune-up before Big Ten play begins, according to coach Urban Meyer.With Miller expected to play in limited fashion, redshirt-senior Kenny Guiton will likely receive the nod as starter for a second straight week. Against California, Guiton led the offense to more than 600 total yards of offense.Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Marcus Hall said his unit is well-prepared regardless who is under center.“Both quarterbacks suit the offensive system, so it’s actually convenient,” Hall said. “We don’t have to switch up the way we play.”Even though the offense is averaging nearly 45 points a game, there are still some concerns over the squad’s defensive prowess after allowing the Golden Bears to score 34 points.Meyer said after practice Wednesday, the unit’s biggest issue is at the linebacker position.“There were some misses in recruiting a linebacker … our linebackers should have more depth and more experience than what we have,” Meyer said. “For whatever reason, injuries and things happen, I understand that, but we should be better at linebacker. That’s the one concerning position right now.”Drawing more attention to the Buckeye backfield this weekend will be the return of senior running back Carlos Hyde, finally back after serving a three-game suspension for an offseason incident at a Columbus bar.Redshirt-senior running back Jordan Hall said Hyde’s return is a plus for the team that will put a strain on opponents’ game plans.“We’re two different types of backs, it’ll be hard to prepare for us, especially with running quarterbacks,” said Jordan Hall.Meyer also said sophomore defensive lineman Adolphus Washington will not play Saturday with a groin injury, but is probable to return for OSU’s showdown against Wisconsin Sept. 28.The Buckeyes and Rattlers (1-2) are set for a noon kickoff this Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Jen Malik, a second-year graduate student in biomedical engineering, pedals during a competition as a member of the Ohio State cycling team.Credit: Courtesy of Jen MalikThe Ohio State cycling team is looking to build upon last year’s success, when it saw two of its riders qualify for and compete in nationals.Riders Frankie Gonzalez and Jen Malik powered the club after reforming following a nonexistent season. Now the team is trying to grow the club and climb to greater heights. Gonzalez said he is hoping the team can accomplish even more than last year.“I was happy to be able to get top five in a few of the races and be able to score enough points, along with Jen, to get the team to qualify,” Gonzalez said. “I’m definitely happy for that to happen, happy to participate in nationals, but I think the club has a lot (of room) to grow. There are a lot of aspects that we could do better as a club.”Gonzalez, a second-year in mechanical engineering, has a strong cycling background in Florida, where he is from. He told The Lantern that he competed in the U.S. Junior National Championships the past four years and was the Florida state champion in the junior ranks in 2014. He said he picked up cycling at the age of 13 with his father as a way to stay in shape.Now he is helping to bring back the OSU cycling club from the dead.Malik, a second-year graduate student in biomedical engineering, is still relatively new to the sport, as she picked up competitive cycling in August 2014. Malik said she hopes the team can continue to add members, while staying competitive.“I really want to grow the cycling community and cycling team at OSU,” Malik said. “We only have three competing members on the team right now. Helping people become more confident in racing and basically giving them the opportunities that I was afforded from people helping me race (are my goals).”Malik said the team has worked hard to get to this point — earning sponsorships to pay for bikes, travel expenses and lodging — and even overcame some tough injuries. During one competition, Malik was tangled up in a crash.“It was probably my worst wreck to date,” Malik said. “We were going downhill, and someone got a little nervous in the group and overlapped wheels and then went down. Five of us ended up going down. I was out for about a month. I hit my head pretty hard and got a pretty severe concussion.”During the time she was injured, she said she was thankful to her professors and to OSU for allowing her to fully recover, as she had to miss a stretch of classes from severe headaches.Now that the team has a full season under its belt, the members are moving toward the next step: finding a coach to help guide them.Both Gonzalez and Malik said not having a coach has an impact on their team cohesion and focus, but it will not stop them from competing next year.“Not having a coach makes it an environment that isn’t very disciplined,” Gonzalez said. “It makes the club feel very casual. I personally have a coach, that’s what keeps me disciplined. If the club does go the route that we’re going down, which is becoming more focused, I think that the club would need a coach.”More riders would be a plus as well, Malik said, as she said that ideally she would like to see OSU bring eight riders to nationals.“I would love to bring a full team to nationals. This year we only had two of us go, but it would be really nice to see four girls and four guys competing at nationals,” Malik said. “Our school is huge — there is no reason that we only have three people showing up. Really, it would be nice if we could just increase our presence.”Malik said anyone who thinks they can help the team compete, or just has an overall interest in competitive cycling, should look into the club.“Although it may seem intimidating, just show up and try it, everyone is really nice,” Malik said. “It’s a great ways to meet new friends.”She said that OSU students who may be interested in joining the club can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the club’s table at the upcoming Student Involvement Fair on August 23.Malik said there are different levels of competition, and new riders are rarely thrown into the fire against experienced riders. However, OSU does compete in the MidWest Collegiate Cycling Conference, which pits OSU against stiff competition on a regular basis.“Our conference is one of the hardest conferences (to compete in),” she said. “Marian (University) is the national champion consistently. It’s actually really nice, because we are exposed to some of the most intense competition.”Malik totaled 310 total points last season in Cyclo-cross for OSU, which was second highest in Women’s A’s, according to statistics on the MWCCC website.She said Cyclo-cross takes place in the fall and is a hybrid between mountain biking and road biking, where riders compete off-terrain for 40 to 60 minutes, completing laps around a 1.5- to two-mile course. She competed in road races, too, last year.Malik has another two or three years of competition left at OSU, during which she hopes to earn a pro contract for Cyclo-cross, which she said could happen soon. For now, however, she is focused on improving race results.“I would really like, within the next year or two, to place in the top five at collegiate nationals for Cyclo-cross, and then have two top 10 finishes at collegiate nationals for road,” Malik said.Gonzalez competes in several cycling events, too, but specializes in road races, which are typically longer, testing a rider’s endurance. He said that he has his sights set on continuing his cycling career as long as possible.“My ultimate goal would be to ride in the European races, possibly the Tour de France, the highest level of the sport, but I know that being a cyclist and being in the world of cycling is definitely a road that is very challenging to go down,” Gonzalez said. “(I’m) going to school and getting a great education and having a good time at Ohio State, but I definitely want to see if I can push as far as I can go in the sport.”Gonzalez has been training and competing over the summer in Florida, as he waits for road season to pick back up in the spring. He said he is hoping to build on last year and is looking to pick up a few wins for OSU.“Personally, I want to qualify for nationals again, possibly win a race or two leading up to nationals and be a little more focused on the bike,” he said. “(I want to) be focused on training and also balance school — just, overall improvement and growing the club, for sure.”
Ohio State’s Joey McKenna wrestles Vince Turk in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (14-1, 8-1 Big Ten) dominated No. 6 North Carolina State (15-2, 5-0 ACC) 29-6 in its last dual meet of the regular season on Sunday. Winning eight out of the 10 bouts, Ohio State took control of the meet early when No. 2 Myles Martin beat No. 3 Pete Redna with an 8-1 decision win at 184 pounds. Martin missed the major decision by just three seconds of riding time. No. 7 Michael Macchiavello of North Carolina State upset No. 1 Kollin Moore at 197 pounds in the second match of the night. Macchiavello scored two late takedowns in the third period to give him the 7-5 decision. Moore has now lost two of his past three matches. No. 7 Joey McKenna upset No. 2 Kevin Jack of the Wolfpack 6-2 in the second upset of the meet. McKenna came out aggressive, scoring two takedowns in the first period. Jack was unable to score any attacks on McKenna, partly due to McKenna’s ability to prevent Jack from escaping. Ohio State’s senior No. 2 Kyle Snyder beat No. 19 Michael Boykin 23-8 via technical fall to give the Buckeyes an 8-3 lead, and they didn’t look back. The Buckeyes won the next four matches until NC State’s No. 3 Hayden Hidlay beat No. 7 Micah Jordan 6-3 at 157 pounds. Hidlay remained undefeated in his freshman season, improving to 19-0.No. 6 Bo Jordan won via pin at 1:37 against North Carolina State’s Daniel Bullard to bring the score to 29-6. Ohio State’s No. 4 Nathan Tomasello beat No. 5 Sean Fausz 12-6 in the second top-five matchup of the meet. Fausz opened the scoring with an early takedown against Tomasello, but Tomasello rebounded quickly, scoring a takedown and two back points to take the 5-3 lead into the second period after Fausz got an escape. Tomasello had three takedowns in the third period to seal the decision victory. At 133 pounds, No. 3 Luke Pletcher of the Buckeyes defeated No. 13 Tariq Wilson 7-3. Ohio State’s No. 6 Ke-Shawn Hayes won against No. 13 Beau Donahue and his teammate, No. 14 Te’Shan Campbell, picked up his first win since Jan. 5.Ohio State’s regular season has concluded, but it will take the mats on March 3 to begin the Big Ten tournament.