Fight. Scratch. Claw. Hopes for the end of this season.

Was reminded by a huge Buckeye fan just now of what I hope to see from Ohio State’s team in the remaining four regular season games, Big 10 Tournament contests, and wherever the program ends up for the post season.

Starting with the Nebraska game at home early this evening.

  • Intensity on Ohio State player’s faces.
  • Defensive stances. Sounds of the rubber on shoes screeching as feet move on defense. Voices that call out picks.
  • Bodies in flight to get to rebounds. All opportunities exhausted to win the ball.
  • No blood. No foul.
  • Hand slaps. Communication during and between the flow of the game.
  • A rush to pick up fallen teammates.
  • Up and down bench. Hand claps. Cheers. Rowdy support.
  • Great choices made. Strategy employed.
  • Follow through on shots attempted.
  • Runs answered with runs.
  • Attention paid to coaches during timeouts.

Play that honors the privilege of wearing a Scarlet and Gray uniform.

 

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After the Michigan State game…10 things….

1st thing – Hope the Buckeyes get Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament. On a neutral floor the Buckeyes can go 2-1 against that team.

2nd thing – Buckeyes didn’t get it done at the Breslin Center. Too many mistakes.  The 10-0 run by Michigan State stretching from the end of the first half through the beginning of the 2nd half did not help Ohio State’s chances to win.

3rd thing – This is not the type of 2016-2017 season I wanted, as a fan, to be a part of. But it is what it is. I don’t accept it. The Buckeyes don’t seem to be accepting it, either. These guys are trying hard but it’s obvious, as a group, they don’t have that extra gear to drop into.

4th thing – I love Kam Williams. He’s a super representative of Ohio State. Kam has ability. He puts the time in and goes way past that, too. I admire his dedication. His role is to score and, especially, to hit threes to help open up space for front line Buckeye teammates in the lane. I’ve been pleased to see him go to the basket when defenders run him off the line. Got to do that.

Kam’s FG% is .402 this season on 254 shots. Compare that to a .443 FG% last season on 244 shots.

His three point percentage is .381 this season as compared to .443 in ’16-’17. He took 119 threes last season and currently is sitting on 118 shots this time.

(Those season stats are incomplete because the current season is not complete)

Williams, essentially, in 27 games has been given opportunities to score that equal those he had last season in 35 games.

I have a lot of confidence in Kam Williams’ scoring capabilities. Catch fire, Kam, scoring the ball in the remainder of this season. You can do it. I’ll root for you along the way.

5th thing – Marc Loving had 24 points and was 8/14 from the field & 4/8 on threes in Ohio State’s losing effort at Maryland. Loving had 22 points and was 7/13 from the field & 3/7 on threes at Michigan State. The Buckeyes need his production the rest of this season.

6th thing – JaQuan Lyle not being on the floor for injury and family reasons has given CJ Jackson more of a chance to show what he can do. Jackson just needs a few more of his three ball attempts to fall and a few less turnovers per game. I appreciate Jackson’s energy level on the boards and he’s making shots in the lane here and there, too.

7th thing – Speaking of JaQuan Lyle, it was fantastic to see him on the floor last night versus MSU and I was pleased JL had a nice game earning 10 points/7 rebounds/5 assists in 28 minutes. I think we see JaQuan in a Buckeye uniform again next season. I’m all for that, if so. Players progress at different rates. JaQuan Lyle is still progressing forward as a 2nd year Ohio State player. He has a long way to go but that’s the challenge, right?

(Prayers/thoughts still for JaQuan’s sister and Keita Bates-Diop’s brother, Kia)

8th thing – Foul trouble kept Trevor Thompson from adding another double/double to his collection last night against the Spartans. Think about how far Trevor has advanced this season. He averaged 17.9 minutes per game last season. This season Trevor is on court 22.9 mpg. His points per game scoring average has risen from 6.5 to 10.6 while his FG percentage has gone from .522 to .561 and his FT percentage has hovered around .750 while already earning 20 more foul shots. His rebound average has lifted to 9.3 from 5.1 while often grabbing missed shots out of his area. Thompson has already surpassed last season’s blocked shot with 44 compared to 42 all last season.

I can’t help it. I’m looking to next season at this point. Add five more minutes per game to Thompson’s account and I am firm in my belief his numbers will transform positively again.

Add in the ability Kaleb Wesson has. Calculate his overall effect on the Ohio State team. Ohio State’s offense at the rim will carry a great level of quality with it all 2017-2018 season. That alone will take pressure off the perimeter players and open up lanes to the basket.

Remember, when Thad Matta teams have had a thumper in the pivot position, they have been at their best. The tag team of Thompson & Wesson would represent a strong duo.

9th thing – How will you think of this season in the years to come?

There’s no way to see this season as anything other than disappointing.

A miracle championship run in the Big 10 tournament to reach the NCAA Big Dance would still leave a regular season, up to this point, where there are more questions to be asked than there have been answers provided.

The main question I have is how much of a positive difference, in terms of wins, would the healthy presence of Keita Bates-Diop have provided?

The second question I found myself continually asking is how strong of a leadership core does this team have? Past that, what level of leadership will the Buckeyes have next season?

10th thing – Ohio State hosts three out the next four games to end it’s regular season conference schedule. They are 3-3 at home and 2-6 on away games. They can still reach .500 in conference which would require going 4-0 hosting Nebraska, Wisconsin and Indiana and traveling to Penn State. It’s a tall order seeing Ohio State has lost four of it’s last six games.

***I guarantee a win at home versus the Hoosiers as I will be attending that contest. : )

Go Buckeyes!

“I’d like to be remembered just for being a team player.”

“When I look at my career at Ohio State, I asked myself, ‘Do I feel I did the best I could do, did I accomplish many of the things I wanted to do?’ The answer was quite simple. Yes, I did.”

Ohio State’s Jim Jackson, announcing on May 6th, 1992, he was foregoing his senior year at Ohio State in order to turn professional.

2017 season in perspective through a different window/Prayers for the Lyle, Diop & Tokes families

I’ve been wanting to write and comment on Ohio State’s season.

The last time I published something was after Northwestern had won (74-72) it’s 1st game in Columbus since 1977.

Since then:

  1. Ohio State picked off Minnesota at home, 78-72.
  2. Was dealt a disappointing loss, 85-72, at Iowa.
  3. Lost a close one at home, 77-71, to Maryland.
  4. Won at Michigan, 70-66.
  5. Defeated Rutgers at home, 70-64.

For Ohio State to win the game at Maryland tomorrow would give the Buckeyes a shot of adrenaline. I’ll watch that game but I will now see it’s outcome through a different window.

That window came into perspective today.

After becoming aware of the news from the Ohio State family that both JaQuan Lyle’s sister and Keita Bates Diop’s brother are experiencing serious health issues, I’m reminded the game of basketball holds little importance in comparison to the gift of life.

Each of our lives is a miracle of timing and subject to a myriad of interconnected circumstances.

The probability of you existing at all comes out to 1 in 102,685,000 — yes, that’s a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes!

http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-the-odds-of-being-alive-2012-6

Human beings are fragile. Somehow we have life today but any day past this one is not guaranteed. Each time we breathe, each time our heart beats is yet another miracle to be thankful for.

Life is to be cherished.

In this immediate time I’ll be thinking of and praying for both the Lyle and Diop families and for anyone associated with the Ohio State men’s basketball program.

I would love for Ohio State to walk onto the floor at Maryland tomorrow afternoon and win a game for their two teammates and the uncertainty in crisis both of their families are going through.

But in truth, I don’t have a care in the world if Ohio State wins that game or not. There’s something much larger involved.

My thoughts will be with JaQuan Lyle and his sister (I don’t know her name), and JaQuan’s entire family.

My thoughts will be with Keita Bates-Diop, his brother, Kia, and Keita’s entire family.

Both of those young men are today experiencing a difficult part of what life consists of.

Not a single one of us escapes these events. My best goes out to all involved in their passage through.

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While I’m at it I’m going to go ahead and mention the need for prayers, too, for the family of deceased Ohio State student, Reagan Tokes. I don’t know a whole lot about the situation but I do know her death is a tragedy. Cares, concerns and mercy to the Tokes family.