Ohio State v Michigan State

Lenzelle Smith: ‘As a team, we don’t care enough. It’s embarrassing.’


No. 23 Ohio State has lost five of their last six games, and Wednesday night’s may have been the toughest to swallow.

The Buckeyes lost to Penn State. At home. After blowing a seven-point lead in the final three minutes, giving up a game-tying three on a defensive breakdown and blowing a three-point lead with a minute left in overtime. The game-winning basket? It came when D.J. Newbill broke Aaron Craft’s ankles, something that may not have happened before and may never happen again.

On paper it looks bad.

And based on the way that Lenzelle Smith was talking about the loss after the game, it looks like it may have been worse in the locker room.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

“This hurts the most out of every game since I’ve been at Ohio State,” Smith said after Penn State ended an 18-game losing streak to the Buckeyes by winning 71-70 in overtime at Value City Arena. “We’ve got to get back to being a team and wanting to win.”

He was just warming up.

“As a team, we don’t care enough. It’s embarrassing. Every other team in the conference is laughing at us. They’re on top of the world.”

What exactly, Lenzelle, are the Buckeyes lacking?

“Toughness. Character. Camaraderie. Leadership,” Smith said, making sure to stress that as a senior he takes responsibility for those team deficiencies, which have played a role in the recent downturn.

Rob Oller, who wrote the column that is linked above, said that Craft and Smith were both on the verge of tears after the game.

For a team that has had so much success over the years, the inability to find any kind of consistency has to be frustrating.

But it’s not exactly surprising. Ohio State doesn’t have enough consistent offensive firepower. They don’t have enough size in the paint. They lack a true creator offensively. Craft is one of the best point guards in the country, but he’s the kind of player that needs talent around him. He’s not going to win games by himself.

Ohio State is in a bad way right now.

As good as Thad Matta is, I’m not sure if this team has the horses to turn this thing around.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.

VIDEO: Arizona State’s Torian Graham dunks over teammate

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Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.

Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.

A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.