Sports Today: College basketball’s strange new world could benefit Dayton, Ohio State


So much stuff going on for a Tuesday in mid-March I don’t know where to begin… 

Dayton basketball made news yesterday with the entirely unsurprising report Matej Svoboda is leaving the program to return home to the Czech Republic. 

That is nothing against him. He might yet turn out to be a quality basketball player for a long time. 

RELATED: Flyers lose freshman to his home country

However, he was not an Anthony Grant recruit to begin with, he’s older than the average college basketball freshman and various options playing in Europe are probably more appealing to European natives. 

Svoboda’s departure means Dayton has two scholarships open for the 2018-19 season. Xeyrius Williams announced he was transferring earlier this month.

How Grant uses his those (and who knows if he’s done gaining spots) will be interesting to say the least. 

» RELATED: Dayton holiday tournament shaping up to be a tough one

As we saw last year following Archie Miller’s exit and Grant’s hiring, it’s a whole new world for college basketball roster building with the graduate transfer phenomenon only growing and more high school prospects waiting until spring to make their college decision. 

We’ve even got players now “reclassifying” to basically skip their last year of high school (or take an extra year), so the list of things that could happen between now and the end of the summer is endless. 

That’s also good news for Ohio State. 

Chris Holtmann’s first season went better than almost everyone expected, but there are some big questions to answer if Year Two isn’t going to be more of a rebuilding season. 

Keita Bates-Diop said after the Buckeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Gonzaga on Saturday night he hadn’t though about whether or not he will use his last year of eligibility or enter the NBA draft. 

He might not be a lottery pick, but KDB looks like the prototypical shooting wing in today’s NBA: Not only does he have the obligatory outside shot, he can score anywhere on the floor and has the long arms and discipline to be a good defender. 

The James Posey clone also already has an economics degree in hand, which would seem to be one more reason to make the leap now so he can get started on his 15-year career with the Spurs. 

The Buckeyes also lose Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams and Andrew Dakich, but Versailles wing Justin Ahrens is part of a recruiting class that currently consists of three players. 

Could it grow? 

Ahrens said in January that Holtmann told the newcomers to be ready to come in and let it fly next season.  

Speaking of Buckeyes basketball, I was in the gym last night for the last game of one of the best Buckeyes ever. 

Kelsey Mitchell’s last shot in an Ohio State uniform was one she made a couple hundred times before: A pull-up jumper from a few feet behind the 3-point line that hit nothing but net. 

Unfortunately, that came well after the outcome had been decided in a second-round NCAA tournament game dominated by upstart Central Michigan. 

Except for a few minutes early, the 11th-seeded Chippewas looked like the favorite most of the night, running and gunning and throwing in 3s from all over the floor. 

The Ohio State women’s basketball team might have even more questions than the men’s squad heading into next season. 

Along with Mitchell, All-Big Ten center Stephanie Mavunga, forward Alexa Hart and guards Asia Doss and Linnae Harper are out of eligibility. 

On the bright side, Fairmont grad Makayla Waterman and fellow fourth-year junior Sierra Calhoun both told The Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper) they will be back next year

We’ll take a closer look at the Buckeyes later today… 

The Cincinnati Bengals backfield should be less crowded next year with Russell Bodine’s exit official

If your response to that is, “I think you meant Jeremy Hill,” I will have to conclude you don’t watch many Bengals games closely. 

One of the constants of the last four years was seeing their center, Bodine, being pushed back into Andy Dalton’s face or the running lane most of the time. 

The fourth-round pick out of North Carolina started every game in his four years in Cincinnati, and that is basically the only positive thing that can be said about his time with the Bengals. 

They apparently thought about re-signing him, but he became next-to-impossible to afford when they acquired left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Buffalo Bills. So chalk that up to another positive of being proactive in making the move to shore up left tackle before the draft. 

The Bengals should have a chance to take a potential upgrade at center with prospects such as James Daniels of Iowa and Billy Price available in the NFL draft… 

Speaking of Hill — The Patriots signed him for one year on the cheap a couple of days after the Browns signed his superior draft classmate Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal worth at least $5 million… 

Lastly: The Cincinnati Reds pulled off an impressive news dump early last night when they announced top prospect Nick Senzel has been sent to the minors

That did not come as a surprise, but it was still probably something that could cause some ripples in the fanbase given the excitement for his eventual debut with the big club. 

Also of note: He told reporters he will move to second base when he joins the Louisville Bats in Triple-A

That comes after he spent his first two years in the minors playing third and worked at shortstop this spring. 

The Reds locked up third baseman Eugenio Suarez with a long-term contract last week, and they are apparently pretty happy with what they have seen from Jose Peraza at shortstop this spring if that’s the move with Senzel at this point. 

Perhaps it also means Scooter Gennett will be the odd man out when they are ready to call up Senzel? 

Stay tuned… 


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