"Miller hits Central Indiana -- 187 miles due west of Columbus, Ohio -- surrounded by buzz. He's as enticing and enigmatic a physical specimen as any that will be on display at the annual meat market that is the NFL Scouting Combine."
There might not be a player participating at the NFL Scouting Combine that NFL personnel is looking forward to seeing workout more than Ohio State's Braxton Miller. That is a reason why Miller has made Albert Breer's inaugural Spandex All-Star Team. After starting at quarterback for the Buckeyes in his first three years, Miller switched positions following two shoulder surgeries. Miller showed glimpses of his tremendous athleticism while adjusting to his new position during his senior season, but many in the NFL feel his explosiveness could be a game-changer for any team at the next level. Miller has been compared to Randall Cobb and Percy Harvin, and a strong showing at the combine could do wonders for his draft stock.
Miller wasn't the only Buckeye to make Breer's Spandex All-Star Team, as he was joined by three of his teammates. Joey Bosa was mentioned, since both his father and his uncle were first round picks by the Miami Dolphins in the late 1980s. Lately some have questioned whether Bosa should be drafted as high as he has been projected, so a strong combine could help restore his status as a top-five pick. Cardale Jones saw his draft stock slip last year with his performance, but he has the physical tools that teams crave at quarterback. Darron Lee came to Ohio State after playing quarterback in high school, but made a name for himself at linebacker, and he'll be able to show his continued growth in Indianapolis.
"It's just opportunity, man. When you get that opportunity, every guy in this league can really play. It's all about opportunity. Once you get it and take advantage of it, you don't look back. Me starting now, I feel like earlier in the year, I was given that starting sport and I didn't have to work for it. I don't really know about now -- if I worked for it or whatnot -- but I'm not going to try to give him a reason to bench me again."
While most of the attention this year has gone to Kobe Bryant's final season, a subplot of the Los Angeles Lakers season has been about the playing time for rookie D'Angelo Russell. After starting the first 20 games of the season, the second overall pick in June's NBA Draft was moved to the bench by head coach Byron Scott. Not only did the move to the bench hurt Russell's confidence and growth, but also regular criticism didn't help as the rookie has tried to find his legs at the professional level.
Lately there has been an uptick in Russell's production. After reaching double figures in five of his first six games in February, Russell was inserted back into the starting lineup before Sunday's game against Chicago. Last night against Memphis, Russell had one of his best games as a professional, scoring 22 points and recording a career-high eight assists. Even Bryant knows that it's easier for Russell to get into the rhythm of the game when he's starting instead of coming off the bench. Scott said the plan for Russell is to continue to start the rest of the game, and the rookie just wants to prove he belongs in that role.
"We're kind of a shallow bench right now. We've got a lot of interchangeable parts in terms of guys that can do different things. We were a little bit concerned with guys' minutes, but we just felt like Mickey's getting more experience. He's going to continue to grow. The hard part is for him, we've used him a lot of different ways but now he can settle into what we need him to get done."
There is never a good time to lose one of your best players for the rest of the season, but having it happen late in the year with your NCAA Tournament hopes hanging by a thread is about the worst time it can happen. Before Tuesday night's 81-62 loss to Michigan State, sophomore forward Jae'Sean Tate was ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Now not only with the Buckeyes likely have to win the Big Ten Tournament to earn entry into the NCAA Tournament, but they'll have to do so with just nine scholarship players. Tuesday's loss saw Thad Matta used a season-low seven different lineups of scholarship-only players.
Freshman Mickey Mitchell seems to be the player who will take on more playing time in Tate's absence. Mitchell received his first career start on Tuesday night, playing a career-high 21 minutes against the Spartans. Don't expect Mitchell to give Ohio State the same kind of production that Tate did, especially after the freshman missed the first 10 games of the season while waiting to be cleared to play by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Kam Williams should also see more playing time, who combined with Daniel Giddens, Keita Bates-Diop, Marc Loving, and JaQuan Lyle to outscore Michigan State 14-12 in the 6:16 they were together on the floor. Whatever lineups Matta puts together on the floor will certainly be challenged, with a home finale against Iowa on Sunday before closing out the regular season with a rematch against the Spartans in East Lansing next Saturday.
"Over the past year, Chris Hoch has proven himself on and off the field with our world-class marching band. He has shown focus toward putting our students first and as director, will be expected to continue to instill in students the highest standard for their personal conduct, on and off the field."
Ohio State has found a director for their marching and athletic bands, and they didn't have to go far to find him. After serving as the interim director since May of 2015, yesterday Christopher Hoch was named not only director of The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands, but he was also confirmed as assistant professor in the School of Music. Hoch's appointment is effective from June 1, 2016 through May 30, 2020, pending approval by the university Board of Trustees. The appointment comes after Hoch guided the marching and athletic bands to not only another outstanding year of performances, but also saw the band travel to London for their first-ever performance abroad.
Hoch graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and music education in 2000, a master's degree in instrumental conducting and music education in 2002, and a doctorate in music education in 2012. Hoch joined Ohio State in 2012 as assistant and then associate director of marching and athletic bands. During his time as interim director, Hoch was responsible for overseeing all elements of show design, as well as band tryouts, music rehearsals, student staff, and other administrative responsibilities.
STICK TO SPORTS
- It will be easier to see Columbus Crew SC games on TV this year.
- Lyft could be returning to Columbus.
- Every time David Schwimmer has said "Juice" in the first four episodes of 'The People vs. O.J. Simpson'.
- The 2016 Bunbury Music Festival lineup has been announced.
- Feast your eyes upon the everything donut.