Ohio State star big man Jared Sullinger, who has been projected as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, has been medically red flagged by NBA doctors, multiple league sources told ESPN.com.Sullinger underwent a series of medical tests at the NBA draft combine a week ago. According to sources, the doctors who looked at Sullinger were concerned with Sullinger’s back.A number of NBA team doctors have reviewed the information from the NBA and have told their front office staff that Sullinger’s back issues could shorten his NBA career and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round.Sullinger’s agent, David Falk, when reached via phone by ESPN.com said that he was not in a position to comment on the story.Sullinger’s father, Satch Sullinger, said he believes the issue isn’t that serious.“He had a bulging area that was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight,” Satch Sullinger told ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz in a phone call Monday afternoon. “It pulled on his hip flexor and he’s been taking care of it to loosen it. You can call it a red flag if you want. But it’s tight hamstring and tight quads. He’s been to doctors, he’s doing yoga and deep tissue massage. The flexibility is helping take the pressure off the area.“We’ve got nothing to hide. At this stage it’s all about what they can’t do. Jared is a skilled player. A two-time All-American. He can play.”Ohio State coach Thad Matta told Katz by text message Monday: “Jared is fine. He’s moving better than I’ve ever seen him move.”ESPN.com currently has Sullinger, who who missed two games for Ohio State in early December with back spasms, slated to go No. 10 in Mock Draft 7.0. However, such news may cause Sullinger to free fall in next week’s draft.In 2009, Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair was also red flagged by the NBA when medical tests at the NBA combine revealed he didn’t have ACL’s in either knee. At the time Blair was projected as a late lottery pick. He slid all the way out of the first round.Sullinger worked out in New Orleans on Monday. He also previously worked out for Golden State and Portland. He’s scheduled to meet with Toronto (Thursday), Cleveland (Friday) and Detroit (June 26).Sullinger has received lukewarm reviews of his pre-draft agility tests.“I’m not a testing type of guy. I’m a basketball player,” Sullinger said Monday in New Orleans. “If I’m so robotic in testing or I couldn’t do the testing because I wasn’t robotic enough, I apologize to everybody that thinks I didn’t do well. That’s just me. I’m a basketball player. I know how to play with a basketball.”
Richard Sherman epitomizes the many facets of the Seattle Seahawks.In advancing to the Super Bowl for the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks have emerged as Black America’s Team.They may not want the label, and many will scoff at the notion. But figuratively speaking, it fits.This unit has a mixture of grace and swagger, intelligence and street grit, brashness and humility, immense talent and forceful will.Juxtaposed opposite the New England Patriots, who are as vanilla and insipid as they come, with the golden boy quarterback and mumble-mouth coach, and the distinctions between the two teams are blatant.It’s a gridiron good vs. evil, with, of course, the Seahawks serving the latter role. They assume this position even as the Patriots are mired in the deflated football scandal that is made more significant because of their rap sheet of alleged cheating.“Will they be punished? Probably not,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said about the controversy. “Not as long as (Pats owner) Robert Kraft and (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes. . . You talk about conflict of interest. As long as that happens, it won’t affect them at all. Nothing will stop them.”Sherman is the most outspoken and most interesting of all the Seahawks because he possesses all the aforementioned characteristics that make Seattle embraceable by Blacks who are not even football fans or who are not ordinarily Seahawks supporters.He talks trash, but intelligently. He wears long locs, but dresses often in suits and ties. He grew up on South Central Los Angeles, but attended Stanford. He boasts, but backs it up.Sherman’s commitment to sharing his thoughts are appreciated, especially since he shares them so pointedly and eloquently, unafraid of the consequences or being punished by “big brother.” He represents his South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods—and many other urban areas across the country—that never has had a voice beyond the community.So when Sherman speaks his truth, much of Black America applauds. On the possibility of the Patriots cheating in the deflated ball scandal, he said: “Their résumé speaks for itself.”Ouch.The Patriots, meanwhile, are sort of a machine with a diminishing image as cheaters. There was the lip-reading drama of years ago. There was “Spygate,” when the Patriots had infiltrators record teams’ practices. Now “DeflateGate.” All this under coach Bill Belichick’s watch, and presumed direction. Golden Boy Tom Brady has been called out as the cheater in the deflated balls saga by Troy Aikman, John Madden and Mark Brunell, among others. In response, Brady, one of the all-time great quarterbacks, denied any involvement and said his “feelings were hurt.”On the other side of the Super Bowl, the Seahawks carry less glamour than Brady but more appeal. There is Marshawn Lynch, the running back whose ferocity as a ball carrier paradoxically counters his refusal to discuss himself or the game with reporters. Why Lynch, who went to one of the nation’s top colleges in California-Berkeley, has been so unwilling to answer even the most pedestrian questions about football is hard to understand. But his anti-establishment posture can be looked at as taking a stand on an issue that’s important to him, and that conviction resonates in urban America—even though he’s tossing away money because of the NFL-levied fines.Then there is Russell Wilson, the star quarterback who has been a touchstone of heated discussion because he plays with calm and poise and carries himself with dignity.Percy Harvin, a talented receiver Seattle gave up a lot to acquire (three high draft picks), was traded to the New York Jets because of a brewing divide in the locker room about whether Wilson was “Black enough,” as if a man’s Blackness can be defined in how he speaks or dresses.That was a disturbing part of their season, but the Seahawks regrouped, jettisoning Harvin. Wilson performed as if unfazed, their defense dominated and they were back on course.But Wilson emerged as a point of pride for Black fans—including women—who appreciate the fashion in which the quarterback carries himself, his consistent talk about faith and his tremendous play in times of duress.Up and down the Seattle roster are players with personality and talent. Kam Chanceller, the dynamic safety who hardly receives his due; Michael Bennett, the defensive lineman who turned down more money and the chance to play with his brother Martellus with the Chicago Bears; Earl Thomas and Jermaine Kearse and Bobby Wagner and on and on.The Super Bowl is the biggest sports day of the year, a day when fans whose teams are out of the hunt choose a side.New England has a legion of diehards in that part of the country and many in other areas of the nation, too, as well the Patriots should. But the Seahawks have become Black America’s team, a powerful declaration, whether they want that label or not.
Johnson’s sudden decision ends another chapter in the remarkable life of the star point guard from Lansing, Michigan, who won an NCAA championship at Michigan State before claiming five NBA titles and three league MVP awards during his 12-year playing career as the leader of the Showtime Lakers. “Somebody is going to have to tell my boss, because I know she’s going to be sick,” Johnson said. “But I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face and tell her.” Johnson and Buss had a three-hour meeting Monday about the direction of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers, who haven’t made the postseason since 2013. Magic claimed he didn’t finalize his decision until Tuesday morning. Magic Johnson wipes his eyes as he speaks to reporters prior to an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Johnson, who will turn 60 in August, also has many thriving business interests along with ownership stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles FC. But after James strained his groin at Christmas and subsequently sat out for the longest injury absence of his 16-year NBA career, the Lakers were unable to compile enough midseason wins to stay in playoff contention. The Lakers also slumped before the trade deadline when Johnson aggressively pursued disgruntled New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis in a trade that would have required the Lakers to give up much of their talented young core. Johnson made several personnel moves to clear salary cap space for his ultimate goal, notably trading guard D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn largely to rid the Lakers of Timofey Mozgov’s onerous contract in 2017. “(On Wednesday) I would have to affect somebody’s livelihood and their life,” Johnson said. “And I thought about it and I said, ‘That’s not fun for me. That’s not who I am.’ And then I don’t want to put her in the middle of us, even though she said, ‘Hey, you can do what you want to do.’ I know she has great love for him and great love for me.” The Lakers have missed the postseason in each of their three springs since Johnson and Pelinka took over, and Magic didn’t stick around long enough to see whether his plan would yield another free-agent star this summer — when the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant should be in play — or next, when Davis should be available. Johnson and Pelinka, Kobe Bryant’s former agent, didn’t know each other before they were paired by Buss, but Johnson said he worked well with Pelinka. Johnson also pointedly refused to say whether Pelinka should remain as the Lakers’ general manager, saying the decision rested solely with Buss, whom he repeatedly called “my sister.” Buss didn’t attend the Lakers’ season finale, although Johnson waited by the executive parking area at Staples Center in hopes of seeing her. Buss tweeted her reaction at halftime. And though James was in charge of his decision to join the Lakers last summer, LeBron credited Magic with closing the deal in a meeting before he agreed to a four-year contract. Johnson retired in 1991 after he tested positive for HIV, but later returned briefly to the Lakers as a player and a coach. Johnson says his current health is ideal, and he insists no health concerns were part of his decision to quit the job that seemed to be his ultimate destiny. “There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson,” it said. “We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise as a player, an ambassador and an executive. … He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family. As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.” Johnson’s desire for his old life wasn’t the only reason for his departure. He also said he is tired of being investigated or fined by the NBA for tampering when he comments on basketball on Twitter or even speaks to another organization’s player. Immediately after taking the job, Johnson stated his plan to land at least two free-agent superstars to return the Lakers to immediate title contention. That plan rankled feelings around the league and got him in trouble when he publicly acknowledged the Lakers’ interest in George, which led to an investigation that eventually stuck the Lakers with a $500,000 fine for Pelinka making improper contact with George’s agent. “I thought about Dwyane Wade retiring (Wednesday), and I can’t even tweet that out or be there,” Johnson said. “Serena Williams called me a week ago and said, ‘Will you mentor me and be on my advisory board?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do that.’ So when Ben Simmons called and we went through the proper channels and they made me look like the bad guy out of that situation, but I didn’t do anything wrong … I was thinking about all those times, all those guys who want me to mentor them or be a part of their lives, and I can’t even do that. I had more fun on the other side.” Clearly blindsided by Johnson’s announcement, the Lakers also issued a team statement at halftime. Johnson also criticized Russell for his maturity and playing style on the way out the door, but Russell has blossomed into an All-Star leader for the playoff-bound Nets. Some of Johnson’s other moves have worked out much better, including the Lakers’ drafting of Lonzo Ball, the acquisition of Kyle Kuzma and the bargain signing of center JaVale McGee. Magic Johnson speaks to reporters prior to an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Johnson didn’t tell owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka about his shocking decision before he announced it in front of reporters about 90 minutes before the final game of the Lakers’ sixth consecutive losing season. “I want to go back to having fun,” Johnson said, fighting off tears. “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. We’re halfway there with LeBron coming (last summer). I think this summer, with that other star coming in, whoever is going to bring him in, I think this team is really going to be in position to contend for a championship with the growth of the young players.” James was shut down for the season late last month, and he watched the Lakers’ season finale in street clothes on the bench. He wasn’t available to reporters after the game. Johnson, a longtime broadcaster and respected basketball figure before moving into the front office, has been investigated four times for tampering after everything from a joking comment about Paul George on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show to his response to an email sent to him by Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. Johnson was hired along with Pelinka when Buss dismissed her brother, Jim, and GM Mitch Kupchak just 26 months ago. The Buss children’s father, Jerry, had long envisioned Johnson in a powerful role in the Lakers’ front office, and Jeanie put Magic in charge of shaking up her storied franchise in decline. Los Angeles, which is missing the NBA playoffs yet again despite the offseason addition of LeBron James, played well after Johnson’s announcement, but still lost 104-101 to Portland. Walton, who is 98-148 in three seasons, refused to say much about Johnson’s announcement after the loss to Portland: “I found out when you guys did. It was 80 minutes before the game … and I haven’t had any time to really process it.” “Earvin, I loved working side by side with you,” Buss wrote. “You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.” “She doesn’t know I’m standing here,” Johnson said. “Because I knew I would be crying like a baby in front of her.” The Lakers compiled their best record in six years this season, but were eliminated from playoff contention by Russell’s Nets back on March 22. Los Angeles had never missed the playoffs in more than two consecutive seasons before this six-year drought. Johnson remained publicly supportive of Walton, but Magic also was widely known to agree with Walton’s detractors who aren’t impressed by his offensive game planning and rotations. Johnson’s decision to step down likely means the Lakers won’t make a decision on Walton’s future until a new front office is in place. Johnson didn’t directly tie his decision to the future of Luke Walton, but the third-year coach was widely expected to be fired by Johnson. Without using names, Johnson repeatedly mentioned Buss’ affinity for Walton, who was in place before Johnson got his job in February 2017, and Johnson’s desire not to cause upheaval between the owner and her chosen coach. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Magic Johnson abruptly quit as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing his desire to return to the simpler life he enjoyed as a wealthy businessman and beloved former player before taking charge of this tempestuous franchise just over two years ago.
Zion, Zion, Zion. During the NBA draft on Thursday night, you’ll be hearing a lot about Zion Williamson, the phenom from Duke. But there are other players! FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO player projection system has a few surprises as to who we think is overrated and underrated in this draft class. In the video above, we break down our Top 5 prospects. (Spoiler alert: Zion is No. 1.)Read more: The Top 50 NBA Draft Prospects, According To Our CARMELO Projections
Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (for April 14, 2015), we discuss Jordan Spieth’s dominant performance at the Masters and what “dominant” even means in golf, as well as who has the statistical edge for NBA MVP. We also air a conversation between FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver and baseball writer Steve Kettmann about the use of stats in baseball journalism. And our significant digit is two — two early declarers for the WNBA draft. Embed Code Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Links to what we discuss in this week’s show:Jordan Spieth’s performance, in context.What Russell Westbrook’s recent tear is doing to the NBA MVP race.A historical look at how MVP voters have tended to decide.FiveThirtyEight’s response (“Don’t Let Op-Eds Ruin Baseball”) to Steve Kettmann’s op-ed (“Don’t Let Statistics Ruin Baseball”).Significant Digit: Two women’s college basketball players have declared early entry into the WNBA draft. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
NBA7205 LEAGUECEO/ PRESIDENTVICE PRESIDENTMAJORITY OWNERS WNBA202333 Jen Welter has been hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern and may be the first female coach of any kind in the NFL. But her presence alone is enough to put the NFL near the top of the list among major men’s sports in terms of coaching gender balance. The share of female NBA assistant coaches is 0.5 percent, and it’s even lower in the NFL, but both are ahead of MLB and MLS’s zero percent.The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, known by the acronym of Tides, publishes an annual report card on race and gender, which notes that last year, the San Antonio Spurs hired the NBA’s first female assistant coach, Becky Hammon. The NBA also has two women working as referees, and earlier this year, the NFL hired its first female full-time official. Among the professional sports Tides tracks, women’s basketball is the only one to have any women serving as head coaches or general managers.1Tides has compiled reports on the NFL, the NBA, MLB and MLS but not the NHL. The data in this article is drawn from the most recent report available for each sport: 2015 for the NBA and MLB and 2014 for the WNBA, NFL and MLS.(Welter may or may not be the first female assistant coach in the NFL. The most recent Tides report on the NFL logged two female assistant coaches but did not identify them or their team. At the time of this writing, report author and Tides Director Richard Lapchick was out of the country and could not be reached to identify the two women who may have preceded Welter. If these women have passed unnoticed, it may be because the total count of female coaches in sports tends to look like a rounding error.)(Update, 10:30 a.m., July 30: A Tides editor said the other two women in their report had job titles that led them to be coded as assistant coaches, but appear not to have worked in that capacity. That appears to confirm that Welter is the first female assistant coach in the NFL.)Women are more likely to hold leadership roles away from the sidelines. Twenty-three percent of the WNBA’s vice presidents are women, and men’s sports aren’t far behind. MLB01716 MLS0140 NFL015— Tides lists nine women who were either principal owners or held significant ownership stakes in NFL franchises in 2014, but it does not provide data on the overall share of owners who are female.It’s hard to tell whether the larger number of women at the VP level means that women are in the hiring pipeline and could help promote others to serve as presidents and CEOs. The NFL and MLS have both nearly doubled their share of female VPs over the past 10 years, but for the other men’s sports, the proportion of female VPs has remained close to constant.Welter’s new position is great news for her and for the Arizona Cardinals, but female staff are still rare enough in men’s sports so as to be the stuff of anecdotes, not statistics.
OSU junior defensive end Joey Bosa walks off the field after being ejected in the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. OSU won, 44-28. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorGLENDALE, Ariz. – Wearing a scarlet T-shirt, gray sweatpants and a backward hat emblazoned with the words “Fiesta Bowl Champions,” Joey Bosa walked off the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium to raucous chants of his name from the Ohio State fans lining the tunnel.Bosa had just finished celebrating with his teammates after their 44-28 victory over Notre Dame in Friday’s Fiesta Bowl as he marched into the tunnel before disappearing in its darkness.It was the second time Bosa had made that journey today. About three-and-a-half hours earlier, he made that same walk. Except then, his face was stoic, painted with regret. That time, he was wearing his white jersey and gray pants. In his right hand he carried his helmet, exposing his long hair, which was pulled back by a black headband. The game wasn’t over at that point, nor was it close. In fact, it had, essentially, just begun. Bosa’s Buckeyes were leading Notre Dame 14-0 with roughly five minutes to go in the first quarter when he made his somber voyage into the tunnel. The cause for the trek was not because of a bathroom break, or even to get an injury attended to. Bosa was making the walk because he was just ejected from the Fiesta Bowl for a hit he put on Notre Dame redshirt freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer.“It didn’t really feel real for, at least, 30 minutes after it happened,” Bosa said. Kizer was rolling to his right, outside of the pocket, when he geared up to throw. He planted on his right foot and slung the ball downfield toward a receiver. Nearly immediately after releasing the ball, Kizer was crushed by a charging Bosa right in the midsection. It was a punishing hit and initially, to make matters worse for the Fighting Irish, Kizer’s pass never got near his intended received. Instead, redshirt junior safety Tyvis Powell intercepted it and returned it 15 yards. OSU was already trouncing Notre Dame, and it looked like the Buckeyes were in business to tack on another touchdown after Powell’s interception. But not so fast. A flag was thrown on the play near the collision between Bosa and Kizer. It was, as the referee announced, for targeting by Bosa, a penalty which carries the punishment of an ejection, if upheld after review. Upon replay review, the penalty was confirmed, meaning not only was the interception retracted, but Bosa was now ejected from the game, just under 10 minutes after it started. “Oh, my goodness,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game, “that was a kidney shot.”Bosa then began his procession toward the locker room, as thunderous boos from OSU fans flooded the stadium, his playing career as a Buckeye concluding with a shocking denouement. Usually when targeting is called, it is because of helmet-to-helmet contact. In this case, there was no contact between Kizer and Bosa’s helmets, which is why the displeasure existed. However, Bosa was not innocent. The rule states that leading with the crown of the helmet is what constitutes targeting. That is exactly how Bosa delivered the hit, with the crown of his helmet leading, looking like he was spearing a wrestler in the ring of a WWE match. “I was reading (the rule) and I thought it was contact to their head,” Bosa said after the game, sitting in a chair outside his already-empty locker. “I thought it had nothing to do with my head, at all, but whatever.” With Bosa’s ejection, OSU was now down three starters alongside its defensive line, and a big turnover was just wiped out. Momentum’s pendulum quickly began swinging in Notre Dame’s direction, and coach Brian Kelly said he felt that. But it wasn’t necessarily because of Bosa’s exit.“Certainly you recognize when one of the top players is out of the game,” he said, noting, however, that his game plan didn’t change because of it. It mostly came, Kelly said, because of the 15 penalty yards. The Fighting Irish scored on their next possession, making it a 14-7 deficit. But the Scarlet and Gray responded, not letting the loss of, arguably, their best player knock them down. Despite a few late attempts by the Fighting Irish to climb back into it, OSU came out victorious. Bosa saw it all unfold on a television in the locker room away from his teammates, rather than on the sideline or field. “I’ve really never had a feeling like it before,” he said. It wasn’t the first time Bosa had to watch an OSU game on TV. He was suspended for the season opener against Virginia Tech. Even so, the feeling he felt Friday didn’t compare, he said. “Just me making a bad mistake out there after a whole month of preparation,” Bosa said as for why it felt worse. “Started off good and just to take myself out of the game like that and let my teammates down — it was rough.” A rough ending it was for one of the most dominant defensive players in OSU history. Bosa said he was “happy we won because that’s the point” of playing the game, but still, he was visibly down while talking to reporters after the game. The two-time All-American is heading to the NFL now, leaving Columbus with 26 sacks — the third most in program history. Bosa said he will take a few weeks off before beginning to train in about two weeks for the NFL combine. He’ll do so, he said, twice a day back in his home state of Florida. Widely regarded as top-10 pick, Bosa said he’s looking forward to playing at the next level, but he will never forget his three years in Ohio’s capital city. “It’s really sad that it’s over,” he said. “You can’t even expect what it feels like until it actually happens.” For Bosa, now it has happened. Three dominant seasons officially over. The last one, though, cut 50 minutes short. His presence will still be felt around the program, in large part because his brother, Nick, will be a freshman on the team next season. “It’s pretty sad that it’s over,” Bosa said. “I’m really gonna miss everyone so much.” Shortly after, Bosa stood up from his black, padded folding chair, leaving the locker room to do one more interview with a local news station. He again spoke about the hit, watching the game by himself in the locker room and his memories with teammates. Bosa, upon being prompted by the reporter, did one more of his famous shrugs for the camera before moving on.He stopped, grabbing one of the snacks provided for the players before walking through the stadium’s dimly lit hallway. Bosa acknowledged the OSU fans lining it, stopping for two pictures and a few polite nods. He kept walking, turned the corner, and eventually left the building, walking into the Arizona sunlight where the team was congregating to leave. Then, for the last time as a Buckeye, Joey Bosa got on the bus.
It’s hard to miss the chip on the shoulder of the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team. When the Buckeyes began the season unranked, they knew they had a point to prove. So, when No. 21 Johns Hopkins came to Columbus on Saturday for the final regular-season game, the Buckeyes let their sticks do the talking. “We came in on a mission ready to win,” senior goalie Annie Carruthers said. “We’ve come up short the last couple of games, and I think we were ready to prove we cannot only win, but win well.” If ‘winning well’ means drubbing a top-25-ranked opponent, 19-12, the Buckeyes accomplished their mission. Johns Hopkins was able to fire off 29 shots, only four fewer than the Buckeyes, but Carruthers and the defense stonewalled the attempts at a rally. The Buckeyes, who began 2011 under the radar, have scratched and clawed their way to a 9-6 record and a No. 16 ranking. From the first draw to the final whistle, the Buckeyes have played with unmatched intensity. “I think we were out to prove ourselves to the rest of the country,” Carruthers said. “We weren’t ranked preseason top-20 like we had been past years. We all know how good we are, and I think we wanted to show everyone exactly that.” Junior midfielder Kirsten Donahue shared her teammate’s sentiments. “I know we were supposed to be picked last in our conference, so to come out strong and just prove that we can get ranked and compete with the rest of the teams in the conference was a big goal for us,” she said. After a rough start to the season, with two losses, the Buckeyes fought through the thick of their season, often pummeling lesser opponents. Five of the Buckeyes’ six losses came against opponents who were ranked higher. “Some of the other games, we’ve been up early in the first half and we let people come back,” Donahue said. “We were aggressive, we played body D and we finished our shots.” Donahue led the Buckeyes scoring, netting five goals out of just seven shots. “I’ve had a couple rough games the last couple games,” Donahue said. “I wasn’t able to finish my shots. … I’m glad that I could finish them for my team.” Coach Alexis Venechanos was happy with how Donahue led the Buckeye attack. “She’s definitely a spark plug for us within the transition,” Venechanos said. “She’s been working on her shot after practice. … All the teammates trust her when the ball’s in her stick.” Venechanos expects the same type of performance when the Buckeyes head to Nashville, Tenn., for the American Lacrosse Conference tournament on May 5. “Every game we’ve been getting stronger,” she said. “We’re expecting the same thing in the ALC tournament. … We’re excited to be in and excited to play a strong Vanderbilt team.” The Buckeyes squeaked out a 17-16 win against No. 14 Vanderbilt in the teams’ last meeting April 10. If the Buckeyes play with a stiff defense and a pressuring offense, they could again find themselves on the winning end. “We’re playing with confidence,” Venechanos said. “We do play with passion. We play with energy. When we have those things, it’s a great formula for us.”
Millions of people flocked to movie theaters about 10 years ago to see Marlin the clown fish embark on a journey to find his son in Disney-Pixar’s newest animated release, “Finding Nemo.” Around the same time, the Ohio State men’s tennis team had just come off a 5-2 home loss to then-top ranked Illinois. Both situations called for a similar mentality: just keep swimming. The Buckeyes secured a decade-long home win streak on Friday – the longest active win streak in all of NCAA sports – to the tune of a 7-0 victory against Wisconsin. The 164-match win streak began the day after the April 5, 2003, Illinois loss in Columbus. Later in the weekend, the Buckeyes continued their dominance in the Big Ten as they cruised to another 7-0 victory against Minnesota (9-9, 5-2) in Columbus, as well as a 4-0 win against Wright State (12-8, 3-0). The pair of wins further extended the home win streak to 166 consecutive matches. OSU was able to play the Minnesota match on their outdoor courts, marking the first time in the 2013 season the Buckeyes have played outside at home, something some of the players were happy about. “Me being from Florida, it was a tough winter, so I liked getting outside … I like playing in the wind … so it was nice, and a beautiful day,” said senior Connor Smith. Just as Disney-Pixar recently announced a “Finding Nemo” sequel slated for 2015, there is still more adventure ahead for this OSU squad. “We have other goals that we would say are more important (than the win streak) – winning the Big Ten and maybe making a run in the NCAA (tournament),” Kobelt said. Leading up to the Wisconsin match, OSU coach Ty Tucker said, “It’s a mark you want to achieve, and being one match away from it, it’ll be nice if we can get the win … it’ll be nice to be done with it.” The No. 5 Buckeyes (23-2, 7-0) left no doubt that they wanted the win against the Badgers (10-9, 1-6) on Friday, who never even amassed a point against the record-breaking Buckeyes. OSU athletic director Gene Smith was at the match, and heaped praise upon Tucker, who has coached the team since 1999. “Ty (Tucker) is an outstanding recruiter, he’s a good teacher, he recruits great kids,” Smith said. “One day he’ll win a national championship – I believe that. It’s just a matter of the bounce of the ball here and there … to say that in Ohio, you could possibly win the national championship in tennis is significant.” Smith went on to say how proud he was of this year’s squad pulling together to accomplish the historic win streak. “It’s special. I love these kids, they’re great kids, and Ty is one of our best coaches. Having the opportunity to come and support him in this moment … it’s a special thing, it really is,” Smith said. The Scarlet and Gray dominated in the doubles game against Wisconsin, sealing victories on all three courts. The OSU tandems of junior Blaz Rola and redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka, redshirt senior Devin McCarthy and junior Ille Van Engelen, and redshirt junior Peter Kobelt and Smith defeated their Wisconsin opponents, 8-3, 8-1 and 8-6, respectively. It was the 24th time during the 2013 campaign that OSU had won the doubles point. In the singles game, the Buckeyes continued to sweep the Badgers. The three singles wins needed to clinch the team victory came from freshman Constantin Christ (6-1, 6-0), Rola (6-2, 6-3), and redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan (6-4, 6-2). Callahan’s win was the third time he has clinched a victory for OSU this season. The remaining three singles matches also ended in similar fashion for OSU, with Kobelt winning, 6-3, 6-4, Van Engelen winning, 6-4, 6-2, and McCarthy winning, 6-3, 6-4. Following the flurry of matches over the weekend, several upperclassmen players reflected on contributing to such a historic program milestone. “Ten years is a great accomplishment. As players, I feel like we can all take a deep breath of relief and continue on with the rest of our season. It was one of our goals to get to this streak,” Kobelt said. Some players said how grateful they were to continue the legacy that many famous OSU tennis players have left behind. “I’m probably just a little, little part of this elite group. … It’s just really a team effort through all those (10) years, … everyone who comes (to OSU) should be honored and proud to play here,” Rola said. But perhaps completing a decade of dominance at home meant more to no one than Tucker. “You’ve got great players and a big name behind you in Ohio State. To do something you can hold onto for the rest of my life, … it’s something that might never be broken at Ohio State, a place rich in athletics and tradition,” Tucker said. Reflecting back over the past decade, Tucker credited his players and his being able to attract all types of talent to play at OSU. “To look back on everything – we had a nice mix. We had the best players from Ohio, guys that became All-Americans, guys that overachieved. We splashed some good international talent in with them, and they seemed to like each other and have a good time,” he said. For now, though, Tucker said he’s focusing on the team’s upcoming road tests. “By no means are they giving out rings or trophies yet, so we’ve got a lot of work to do … We’ve got to get ready for a battle in Illinois and Northwestern this weekend – nothing’s easy,” Tucker said. The Buckeyes are scheduled to continue Big Ten play this weekend as they face Illinois on Friday at 4 p.m. in Champaign, Ill., and Northwestern Sunday at 1 p.m. in Evanston, Ill.
For the second time in a month, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick visited the Buckeyes football team.On Thursday, Ohio State held its 86th annual coaching clinic, allowing coaches from all levels to come and listen to other high-profile coaches. The clinics’ headliner was five-time Super Bowl champion Belichick.After being introduced by OSU coach Urban Meyer, Belichick kicked off the event by giving advice on what he does as a head coach to ensure success for his team.“Coordinators are head coaches on their respective side of the ball,” he said. “Position coaches are head coaches of the positions they coach.”The reason these coaches are given independence is due to the strict path and vision Belichick lays out for those that play and coach under him.“You have to make explicit and clear what won’t be compromised,” he said. “Make clear what won’t and will be tolerated. You know when you walk out of that facility you’ve got to be happy with what they’re trying to do for you.”He continued to break down his advice down to those that make up most of the team; the players.“The last two-thirds or three-fourth of your team are role players,” he said. “They are not the top players but are critical to the success of your team. We all want good, great players but in the end there’s a cap on that. It’s the bulk of the rest of the players that decide your scheme and style of play.”The Super Bowl winning coach said that in his system he looks for players that are tough, smart, and dependable.Belichick also touched upon preparation, which is what some consider to be what he is best known for. He looks at every single practice, walkthrough or film sessions as an opportunity to improve. “Performing well under pressure is what it’s all about,” he said. “What we try to do is be more demanding in practice on every level. For example, crowd noise is going to be much harder in practice than would be in a game.”Throughout his speech Belichick was different than what is typically seen during his press conferences. He was opening up about his strategies and elaborated on the claims and statements he would make. He even made a few jokes here and there, getting a group of hundreds to laugh with him.The clinic followed with defense and offensive coaches separating to listen to chalk talk from OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who dissected Xs and Os on their respective side of the ball.During Wilson’s speech, he gave talked about his methodology for creating a fast-paced offense.“Consider calling (offensive scheme) something else if you can go faster with it,” he said. “The more you have to tell and say, the slower you go. The more you have to make your players think, the slower you go.”The coaching clinic will continue on Friday starting at noon. Fridays lineup includes Meyer, OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, OSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz.