Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Football Verbal: Evan Foster follows brother's footsteps to the Doyt

BG now has its 13th commitment for the Class of 16.  This young man is very familiar with the Doyt, since he is the brother of Aaron Foster, a BG CB/S who had an INT in the championship game over NIU.   He started all 14 games in his senior season and had an NFL tryout with the Cowboys.

Evan is 6'1" and 190 pounds and projects (I would imagine) at S, based on the write up above.  His only offer at this point was from EMU.

Welcome to the Falcons, Evan.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two new football verbals

BG continues to be active on the recruiting trail with early commits, lining up two more that I picked up over the weekend.

The higher-ranked of the 2 is TE AJ Garson of Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach.  Oxbridge Academy is college prep academy (but not a post-graduate one).  The Academy appears to be a pretty high end operation.  AJ played TE and LB, but this article from a local paper (where much of the remainder of the information was also gathered) says BG plans to play him at TE.

Why.  Well, he's 6'6" and 230 pounds and runs a 4.7 40.  If that's something you might be interested in.

Thought so.

He is a 2-star recruit on Rivals with offers from Cincinnati, Colgate, Oregon State and Idaho.

The other is Cameron Jefferies, a slot WR and CB from Riverside HS, which is in Painesville, OH.  He is not ranked on Rivals, which projects him at DB, which would also be my guess.  Based on the article, he wasn't getting any feelers until he had a couple good camps and then BG and UT both offered him in short succession and he decided to commit to BG.

He's only 5'9" which he feels limited his recruiting, but he has still reached his goal of playing D1 football.  His profile on 24/7 sports reports that he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash.

AJ, Cameron.  Welcome to the Falcons.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Holmes goes #37--Falcon Pride

Can't express how proud I was a minute ago to see Richaun Holmes picked #37 (early second round) by the Philadelphia 76ers, and they show highlights of him playing in the Stroh.  Richaun has truly earned his way here, and it was privilege to have him at Bowling Green.  Thanks to him.  And I think we have created a few 76er fans in Northwest Ohio.  Richaun, you are forever in our hearts.

Ramifications from May 29 continue

So courtesy of the Sentinel, the ramifications of the May 29 night at Liquid continue to land on the BGSU football program.  DB Will Watson has been charged with a misdemeanor assault and has been suspended indefinitely.

Bryan Thomas was charged with felonious assault and was suspended indefinitely as well.  WR Robbie Rhodes was charged as well, though I have not heard anything from the team on his status.  Maybe I missed it.

Anyway, I'm not going to belabor the point.  These all stem from one incident, and I made my point here about this type of thing.

Falcon Football Verbal: Odell Spencer, Part 2

Odell Spencer looks to be back in the fold as a Falcon.  (H/t to Hustle Belt.)

He is from Shaker Heights and played WR and DB, but apparently projects to WR at BG.  He actually committed last year, then de-committed.

He then signed to play at the University of Cincinnati.  Apparently, that didn't happen and he is taking classes at Lakeland CC to shore up his academics.  This report from a UC blog says he did not qualify academically.

His plan is to enroll in BG in January 2016 and be ready to roll for spring ball.

We were pretty excited to have him coming to BG when he committed last year....here is what I wrote back then:

The Falcons landed a verbal yesterday and according to Rivals, he is a 3-star player.  His name is Odell Spencer and he plays for Shaker Heights over in the Cleveland area.

According to rivals, he is our 2nd 3-star player---the other is Chance Weitz.

Spencer was listed at 5'10", 165, in the article cleveland.com did on the last signing day about players to watch for the next signing day.  In the article, they said he had "terrific speed off the line and [is] very athletic."

According to Rivals, he had offers from Old Dominion, Akron and Buffalo.

During his junior season, he had 33 receptions for 461 yards...a 14.6 yard average.  He scored 4 TDs, and 2 of them came in their final game of the season.  His best game was against Parma where he caught 9 passes for 82 yards and a TD.

He played on a good team--they went 8-2 last season.

Welcome to the Falcons, Odell!

This is a guy who clearly can contribute on either side of the ball.

So....Welcome to the Falcons, Odell!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Richaun Holmes: NBA Draft Preview

Some summer excitement for Falcon fans will come tomorrow during the NBA draft.  Why, you might add, when the last Falcon picked in the NBA draft was in 1998 and the last MAC player drafted was Chris Kamen in 2003.

The answer is that Richaun Holmes is making a run at being drafted...according to this compilation of mock drafts on Hustle Belt, he could go as high as 36.  Whichever, there seems to be a consensus that Holmes has played his way into being drafted following the end of his career at BG.

He has a site on NBA.com.  You really should check it out...in addition to the ability to spin Richaun round and round, you can learn that he is actually 6'10" (BG listed him as 6'8"), has a 7'2" wingspan, 36" vertical jump and 9% body fat.

That's right.  9% body fat.

There's also a scouting report, which includes:

NBA projection: Holmes showed NBA teams what he could do against a higher level of competition when he averaged 14.7 points, 6.3 points, 3.7 blocked shots and 2.0 steals in the Portsmouth Invitational, thus earning him a spot in the Chicago pre-draft combine. He’s got a chance to wind up on an NBA roster because of his defensive ability, but also his improvement as a face-up offensive player.

Also, there's a very compelling story from NBA.com about Holmes' improbable journey to where he is today.  Note credit to Louis Orr for seeing the talent and recruiting them, and then note the credit given to Coach Jans for getting the obviously talented Holmes up to the next level.

A sample:
"It was a huge culture change," Clapacs [former BG DBO] said. "He had never been pushed that hard in his life, or worked that hard in his life. But coach Jans didn't have to ride him. Once Richaun bought in, he was bringing it hard every day. When he broke through those barriers, that's when he took off."

Holmes' senior-year numbers—14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks—weren't drastically different than the season before. But his field-goal percentage jumped from .507 to .563, and his 3-point percentage, a barely acceptable .300 as a junior, soared to .419.
I'm not going to lie.  I would not have expected this to happen when BG's season ended in late March.  I never really thought of Holmes as an NBA player, maybe just because it is so rare in the MAC and he was a good player but never the best player in the conference.  I figured he would have a very productive career in Europe, but would never have guessed he would even be discussed as a draftee.

Which shows what I know, though I would ask you if you thought he would be drafted in March.  I will be watching and pulling hard for him on Thursday.  Drafted or not, he is a Falcon forever and always in our hearts.  Thanks for being a Falcon, Richaun.

Falcon Football Verbal--Drew Beesley

The Falcons have a new verbal, this one is Drew Beesley, a 2-star (Rivals) player from Warren, MI, where he attends De LaSalle Collegiate High School.  All the recruiting sites list him as an "H-TE" which means he's an H-back, which is a means he's a hybrid player who plays in the backfield and catches passes.  However, he was very productive as a DE in HS, and I find it a little hard to believe he won't play that at BG.  Anyway, time will tell.

He's good sized...6'3" and 220.  He had offers from Air Force, UT, WMU, NIU, EMU, and Ball State...so obviously a valued player.  (I saw a CMU offer, too).

Also, and I think this is important, the Air Force offer indicates strong academics.  Drew is at least the 2nd player BG has gotten with service academy offers.  It will be interesting to watch the class develop as it relates to academics and how that might reflect the priorities of the coaching staff.

His HS team was 11-3 and won the State Championship last season.  He was productive on both sides of the ball:

While he put up modest numbers at tight end, eight catches for 120 yards with a touchdown, he shined on the defensive side of the ball with 60 tackles, 19 solo, and 20 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

He finished the season with five sacks, a forced fumble and eight quarterback hurries.

He was a well-honored player, earning all-Catholic, Central Division, honorable mention-All metro, a Macomb County All-Star and honorable mention All-State.

He is the second "ranked" recruit for BG in this class, which now consists of 9 commits.

Welcome to the Falcons, Drew.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Roster Update for Men's Basketball

There's an additional update on the website for the men's basketball program, and that is the fact that Jovan Austin is no longer listed.  He now joins his JUCO teammate Delvin Dickerson as being one of two players not returning after the Jans departure.  I don't know what happened.  There was a lot of turmoil and he basically announced he was leaving and then he was back and now he's gone, so I am going to assume something in there didn't work out right.

The other point is that Ismail Ali...the JUCO PG from earlier this week, is now the backup PG to Pep Joseph.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Trouble for Falcon Football

The ramifications continue to spread from the May 29 fight that has already resulted in criminal charges and the suspension of Bryan Thomas, a Falcon defensive end.  Today we learned that charges were filed against WR Robbie Rhodes from the same night in what authorities believe are related incidents.  This is a little convoluted and I don't want to confuse the issue, so I recommend you read the account from the Sentinel directly.

Robbie Rhodes transferred here from Baylor after he was dismissed from the team for "multiple drug related incidents", per ESPN.

His transfer made me a little uncomfortable, as I wrote at the time.  I'm all for someone turning their life around and doing it at BG, but, as I said at the time:

I expect our program to win and to represent the University in a good light--not a perfect light, but a good light.
And as I said with the Bryan Thomas post, no one should be satisfied with the string of incidents related to our football program.

There is no word on how the charges will impact Rhodes on the football field.

Two New Football Verbals

As trumpeted on social media, BG landed two more football verbals yesterday, bringing the total up to 8 players so far.

The first is Andrew Armstrong of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney.  I know I have written often about how glad am I when we get guys from Pittsburgh, but let me say the same rule applies to Youngstown.  My guess is those guys are going to be harder to get with Pelini in town, but these guys are raised on a culture of football.

Also, for all the talk about the State of Bowling Green under Clawson, Babers is getting more results in Ohio than Clawson ever did.

Armstrong played TE and S at Cardinal Mooney.  However, a tweet from a BG assistant referred yesterday (without names) to getting 2 LBs, so I am going to guess that is where they are projecting Armstrong.  Hustle Belt tells us that he is 6'2" and 215 lbs, and had offers from Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross and Robert Morris.

Young man is a ball hawk.  He had 5 interceptions and two of them were pick-sixes.  He was one of only 4 underclassmen on the Divison IV all-district defensive team.  He was also special mention all-state.  He also played baseball and basketball...my bias for multi-sport athletes is also clear.

The other young man is Jerry Judd of Streetsboro, which is north of Kent and east of Hudson.  According to Hustle Belt, Judd is 6'1" and 190 pounds and played QB and LB for Streetsboro.  I am guessing he projects to a LB at BG.  He was very productive at QB,  He was the team's leading rusher with over 11 yards per carry and 1,500 yards and a ridiculous 25 touchdowns.  He also threw for 1,200 yards and 10 TDs as well.    He also had 40 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs and 1 pick six.

He was first team Division IV all-district and special mention all-state.  (He received similar honors in basketball).

Again from Hustle Belt...he had no specific offers but strong interest from Toledo, Ohio, Navy, Air Force, Youngstown State, and James Madison.

One last thing...when you look at the other offers, you can see that there are very likely no academic issues with these two.

Welcome to the Falcons, Andrew and Jerry.

Monday, June 15, 2015

BG Men's Basketball Verbal

BG has filled its last open men's basketball scholarship with a PG from California.  His name is Ismail Ali and he played for Antelope Valley CC in the California Community College Athletic Association.  As you can see, he's 6'1" tall.  As a sophomore he started 25 of their 29 games and had 6.3 assists per game over 2.4 turnovers.  Also, he was playing on a team that scored 83 per game, so that has to be taken into account.  He scored about 9 points per game, shooting 44% and 42% on 3FG, although they were rare.

In HS, he scored 10 PPG and had 4 assists in his senior season.  You can see here what some scouts said about him as a HS player...article also says that he had mid-major interest while in HS.

One other interesting tidbit above.  Ali will be the fifth straight PG from Antelope to play D-1 ball.  BG has two PGs back next year, but both are seniors, but Ali can help provide some transition into the next year.  Also, Joseph and Austin have both played 2-guard from time to time.

Welcome to the Falcons, Ismail.

Update:  It appears that Ismail will be the backup PG, as explained in this subsequent post.

DJ Lynch Signs with New England

Good news on the football front for a former Falcon.  DJ Lynch was a mini-camp invitee for the Patriots.  Being a camp invitee is really tough.  You don't have a contract and you are already behind the actual UDFAs.  Normally, nothing is heard again after they go to camp.

Which makes the case of DJ Lynch notable.  Lynch has been signed by the Patriots as a UDFA, which is excellent.  Thought the same thing when Chris Jones went there...when the Patriots are interested in you, that's a good sign.  Still a tough job to make the roster as a UDFA, but its an accomplishment even to get onto the field.  Go get'em DJ.  You are always a Falcon and forever a champion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Men's Basketball Check in...

So.  When last we spoke....well, things were not so good.  There was a lot of turmoil around the Jans departure, which was a traumatic event.  A website called verbalcommits.com listed, as various times, that 7 of BG's players were leaving the program.

The roster has been updated now on the website, and it indicates that BG has lost one player...Delvin Dickerson.  Jovan Austin had his release, seemed to be leaving...then we heard he wasn't and he is still on the roster.

The others reported to be leaving?  Denny,  Gomez, Tisdale, Parker. Still on the roster.

I never really wrote very much on the "departures" because I don't like to talk about our players--who are people--unless it is something I observed or is from a 3rd party post.  Even when verbalcommits has a commit, I look for something that confirms it...usually the player's own twitter feed.  (Once, even this got me off the right path, but enough about that).

I have no idea...for all I know those guys did intend to leave at some time.  Until they have a release, they aren't going.

Anyway, BG did lose two of the three signees.  Jalone Friday went to Abilene Christian--and Jamir Andrews is going to Albany. Malik Hluchoweckyj stayed with BG...and then Demajeo Wiggins and Wesley Alcegaire signed are on the roster and Antwon Lillard is committed but is not on the roster yet.

This is how BG stacks up:

G:  Hluchoweckyj, Denny, Joseph, Austin, Tisdale, Alcegaire, Fox, Busutilli.  (Also Lillard)
F:  Wiggins, Parker, Worrell and Mayleben.
C:  Gomez

Obviously, you have a big hole down low, which is something we knew was going to happen but got worse with Dickerson leaving.  Some of the guards--Tisdale, Lillard, Denny--have the ability to play 3... but not 4.

Two early keys.  I thought Josh Gomez improved late in the year.  If Huger can give the the old Big Apple to Big Apple coach-up, that would be huge.  And we have not seen a lot out of Rasheed Worrell so we don't know what to expect, but any contribution from him would be big.

The team will still have 4 seniors and 4 juniors, so not too young.  Anyway, lots more to come on that in the future, but for now that's the state of play as I know it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

New NCAA Men's Basketball Rules--a few thoughts

The NCAA has adopted new NCAA rules for men's basketball.  I think there are some interesting things and, if implemented, will help to make the game more enjoyable and have less downtime.

The change that is getting the most play is the move to the 30-second shot clock.  BG played in the CIT last year, which used that kind of clock.  I didn't think that it made that much of a difference...and in fact I don't even think it caused more potential.  For too many teams, offense is pound the ball for 30 seconds and then run a 5-second play, so we get 5 seconds removed from that.  Maybe some of the other rules changes will help improve that, too.

The change that is getting the least amount of attention is that coaches will no longer be able to call time out during live play.  For those of us who are old this falls under the category of "this is how it used to be" but it will make a big difference.  The best example will be coaches calling timeout like crazy during a scramble for the ball on the floor and getting the TO when their team gets possession for an infinitesimal period of time.  Also, on inbounds plays it will make a big difference.  Essentially, someone on the floor will have to be aware enough to call timeout or get instruction from the bench to call time out.  I'm 100% for this change.  Teams that play good defense should not have to deal with offenses bailing themselves out.

Speaking of timeouts, another long overdue change has to do with timeouts.  The number of timeouts in the 2nd half of a game are ridiculous and unnecessary.  What is going to happen is that teams will only be able to carry over 3 timeouts to the 2nd half...and this is an improvement.  The other improvement is that when a timeout is called within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout (or after), than this is counted as the media timeout.  This is also long overdue.  You used to have situations where a team called a timeout, you sat through the timeout and then at the next whistle there was another timeout.

The most wide-ranging decisions are listed as areas of focus, as below.  \

• Perimeter defense, particularly on the dribbler and strictly enforcing directives established before the 2013-14 season.
• Physicality in post play.
• Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring the screener to be stationary.
• Block/charge plays.
• Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.

These are exactly what the game needs.  The NCAA started with them last year, but the games were ridiculously foul-heavy and I sensed that they backed off.  I am totally in favor of all these things.  The game will thrive with more freedom of movement and if there's an adjustment period with fouls, so be it.  Similarly, the setting of screens has gotten incredibly bad and officials seem to call a quota of two moving screens a game just to say they did.  Players are commonly leaning into screens or not set or even moving with the defender, especially when the ballhandler drives around the screen.

The game can be so good and if players are making plays in space with movement and passing it will be much more entertaining.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

CBS Sports Network New TV Partner of MAC

Some exciting news from the MAC as it relates to TV coverage for football and basketball.  This is very exciting news for the MAC as it continues to garner more TV coverage, which coaches swear helps recruiting.  I am not sure what is meant by a "sublicense" but Jeremy Guy of the MAC has tweeted that both ESPN and CBS will broadcast mid-week games.

A couple points.

First, as there are more sports channels, it would stand to reason that they need content and the MAC is right there to provide it.  I'm glad to see the conference stepping up and making sure we are included.

Second, as long as we are suffering (as live fans) through the weekday games, at least this gets more benefit out of it.

Finally, along the lines of the football recruiting benefits of TV, more national basketball telecasts would hopefully do the same.

Nice job, MAC.

Falcon Football Verbal #6: Jerry McBride

Some good news for the Falcon football program, as they received another verbal commitment--this one from ATH/CB Jerry McBride III of Hannibal, MO.  McBride is 6'0" and 194 pounds with a 4.49 40-yard dash.  He is reported to have had offers from Ohio, North Dakota, and Western Illinois.  Notably, BG's new DC came here from WIU, so you wouldn't be surprised if there was a linkage in there somewhere.

Hustle Belt spoke to McBride, and he said BG has told him he will be a Safety when he gets to the Doyt.

He was a very productive player.  In fact, as a junior he was first-team All-Missouri and KQHA's Iowa-Missouri Defensive player of the year.  He is reported to have generated the following numbers.
57 tackles, 8 takeaways, 5 Interceptions, including a pair of pick-six interceptions during his Junior Year.
So, is that something you might be interested in?

Welcome to the Falcons, Jerry.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Also Breaking: Ronnie Moore's Father Killed in Florida

So, on top of the Thomas news, here is a tragedy.  The father of BG WR Ronnie Moore was shot and killed over the weekend in Florida.  You can check out the circumstances and the reaction here, but it is a total nightmare all around.  Condolences to Ronnie, his family and loved ones.

Breaking: Bryan Thomas Indefinitely Suspended

That's an ouch, partly depending on how long the suspension lasts and partly not dependent on that at all.

On the dependent side, Thomas, who was recently awarded a 6th year by the NCAA, was a key returnee on a defense for which that is a scarce resource.  He was the only BG player on any of Phil Steele's top 4 defensive All-MAC pre-season teams and the Falcons were relying on him as one of the few proven players on defense.  If he does not play this year, a tough situation gets tougher.

The non-dependent part is that the Thomas situation is part of what has been a regrettable string of negative stories for the football team.  I'm not going to catalog them because that's been done enough, but suffice it to say that it is too many and it is something no BG fan should be satisfied with.  We expect our program to be successful and be good representatives of our university, and we're not getting that done right now.

More as more is learned.

Monday, June 01, 2015

BG with Men's Basketball '15 Verbal: Antwon Lillard

BG's men's basketball team picked up another commit for the '15 season, helping to rebuild after losing two recruits and Delvin Dickerson from last year's players and commits.  This young man is a wing player who appears to match best as a SG.  He's Antwon Lillard, who is 6'5", 170 lbs and a highly decorated player.  He played at Cleveland Central Catholic, where he was the leading scorer at 18.9 PPG.

He was the Division II District Player of the Year, and first team All-Ohio.  He was also first-team cleveland.com for the area.

If you google Antwon, the thing you will find most of all is that he was the player who was called for hanging on the rim on what appeared to be a game-sealing dunk in the state final, giving Defiance the victory.

First, he took his team to the state final.  Second, that's something that happens but it doesn't negate or frankly even touch what he did as a HS player in Ohio.  Whether he ends up being a great MAC player will be revealed in time, but it doesn't have anything to do with one play in a state title game.

Welcome to the Falcons, Antwon.