"He had four straight games of at least 20 points as a Lakers rookie, something only Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Magic Johnson did. Not even Kobe did that."
- Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
The start of D'Angelo Russell's NBA career was a rocky one, as he battled with head coach Byron Scott for playing time and got benched for most of the season until recently. When he did play, he showed flashes of why the Lakers drafted him with the second overall pick in the draft last year, but the problem was that he wasn't playing all that much. Instead, Scott seemed intent on sitting Russell, as if to teach him a lesson. Though there have been many questions about the decisions made, it's all been pushed aside with Russell's recent performances. Russell had a four-game stretch in which he scored 20 or more points (as the quote above describes) and after an off game following the stretch, helped lead the Lakers to a win over a Golden State Warriors team that is pushing to break the Chicago Bulls' record of 72-10 in 1995.
Russell had 21 points and 5 assists and was fairly efficient from the floor. If anything, these performances highlight why the former Buckeye could be a genuine superstar in the NBA in a couple of years. Ohio State has had solid players recently in Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger, even top level players in the league such as Mike Conley, but you could argue that the Buckeyes lack a true superstar. And Russell may just be the player to have the best chance to be that star.
"I really appreciate everything he has done for me and the high expectations he has for me. He never lets me slack up on the field, in the classroom or even socially. So him being on me every day and keeping the pressure on me to do right has really helped me become the guy I am today."
- Raekwon McMillan via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan is staying humble, even with his starting spot locked up and as a new captain of the Buckeyes. The defense in 2016 will no doubt have to follow McMillan's lead, and he says he's ready for the moment. The coaching staff, Luke Fickell in particular, have made sure McMillan isn't getting a big head about any of it, even if there wasn't much danger in that happening in the first place. As McMillan explains, behind closed doors, Fickell likes to give his star player a good ribbing now and again just to keep him on his toes and keep him accountable. In front of the cameras is when Fickell dishes out the compliments.
McMillan entered his freshman season at 250 pounds, which was 10 pounds over where he needed to be. The strength and conditioning program soon resolved that and it's been a teasing point with fellow teammates before and with Fickell that McMillan was "chubby." Though it isn't the case now, it does help McMillan to make sure he's always in shape and setting a good example for the younger players around him that will look to him for leadership all season long.
"No. 1: 85 yards through the heart of the South, Jan. 1, 2015"
- Brian Bennett, ESPN
ESPN finished off the last installment of their top 25 most iconic Big Ten plays in the past 10 years. The play topping the list? Ezekiel Elliott's 85-yard sprint in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama that sent Ohio State to the national championship game. That play helped seal a win over the Crimson Tide, a No. 1 seed in the first ever College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes would go on to win the national championship after defeating Oregon to capture their first title since 2002. That wasn't the only play that Ohio State made on the list, either.
Also making the list at ninth was Braxton Miller's Hail Mary to beat Wisconsin (led by Russell Wilson) in 2011. The Badgers had just come off a Hail Mary loss to Michigan State. That play was one of the first of many Miller highlights Ohio State fans would be treated to over the next couple of seasons. In addition, Troy Smith's spectacular touchdown throw against Penn State in 2006 made the list at 11th, while Joey Bosa's game-ending sack on the Nittany Lions' Christian Hackenberg in overtime came in at 12th.
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