The cross pollination between the Ohio State and Dayton basketball programs has been a topic since the NCAA released the brackets on Sunday. It’s now common knowledge that UD coach Archie Miller and assistant Kevin Kuwik were on Thad Matta’s Ohio State staff and that Flyers guard Jordan Sibert started his career at OSU.
But a less familiar fact is that Aaron Craft was recruited by Dayton and apparently was serious about going there.
“I would say I was pretty close,” said Craft, who cited the coach at the time, Brian Gregory, the proximity to his hometown of Findlay and UD Arena among Dayton’s assets. “It was a great place to be for a college kid. I liked being down there.”
There was a rumor, in fact, that Craft had told friends he was going to Dayton.
“I didn’t do that,” he said.
Raekwon McMillan’s name has come up a lot when Urban Meyer discusses possible impact freshmen during Ohio State’s spring practice. But Erick Smith has gotten plenty of mention, as well, and he won’t even take the practice field until August.
McMillan is a highly rated linebacker from Hinesville, Ga., who enrolled early and is expected to add depth at middle linebacker and possibly challenge Curtis Grant for the starting job. Smith, on the other hand, is a safety from Cleveland Glenville who did not enroll for the spring semester.
But his name has popped up as Meyer has lamented that the loss for the spring of safety Vonn Bell, who had arthroscopic knee surgery, is a blow to his renewed call for defensive aggression. Meyer said OSU will rely on Smith to enhance the depth at safety, where only projected starter Tyvis Powell and converted cornerback Cam Burrows are fitting the bill so far.
When the Blue Jackets drafted defenseman Mike Reilly in the fourth round in 2011, he stood 5 feet 11 and weighed 155 pounds. Reilly enrolled at the University of Minnesota and kept growing. The sophomore now stands 6-1 and weighs
185 pounds, size and muscle that have helped make him all-Big Ten and the league’s defensive player of the year.
“It’s a credit to him,” Gophers assistant coach Mike Guentzel told NHL.com. “He gained 15 pounds last summer, and with strength comes a confidence adjustment. He’s better in all situations, he can play in all three zones and he’s still got some room to grow in his game.”
In his 20 years as a Minnesota assistant, Guentzel has seen defensemen Jordan Leopold, Paul Martin, Alex Goligoski and Erik Johnson make it to the NHL. He said Reilly compares well with Martin, a 6-1, 200-pounder who made similar strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
“Similar style, body,” Guentzel said. “Both are really good with their sticks, move well.”
The Crew and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel posted a preview clip of their show The Crew: A New Era to TWCSC’s YouTube channel.
Presumably, no mention is made of how Crew fans who don’t have Time Warner cable won’t be able to watch the team on TV during the “new era.” Fans also can’t express their unhappiness on YouTube because comments have been disabled.
Crew Academy standout Ben Swanson of Grove City trained with the Crew this week, and coach Gregg Berhalter didn’t deny that Swanson might have a role with the team this year.
“If he’s good enough to play, why not?” Berhalter said. “We want guys who can play, and if he’s good enough, no problem.”
Swanson, who turns 17 in July, has represented the United States at the Under-17 and U-18 levels. The midfielder most recently participated in the Copa del Atlantico youth tournament on the Canary Islands.
“We like to keep the connection,” Berhalter said. “Obviously, he’s a youth national-team player and we want to bring him around and expose him to our level of training because we think he has a bright future.”
Big Ten freshman of the year Noah Vonleh of Indiana reportedly is leaning toward entering the NBA draft, according to Yahoo Sports. Sources told the website that the 6-10 forward’s inner circle has spoken with a few prominent NBA agents in recent weeks. NBA executives say he likely would be drafted between Nos. 7-12.
Vonleh, who averaged 11 points and nine rebounds for the Hoosiers, doesn’t turn 19 until August and seems unlikely to be ready for the NBA next season.
One NBA general manager told Yahoo that “he’ll spend a lot of time in the D-League next year. He’s nowhere near ready to play, but there’s no doubt he’s got great potential, along with very good character.”
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.