Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 23, 2015
D?Angelo Russell?s shot failed him at the wrong time in Ohio State?s loss to Arizona in the third-round of the NCAA tourney.
Now, the world watches and wonders: Will the freshman sensation turn pro? Russell?s response: No comment.
Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com says that though Russell won't come out and admit it, it's hard to envision a world where he would not declare for the NBA Draft considering he's widely regarded as a top-five pick. But, maybe Russell will shock everyone and return. Maybe not.
Indiana is out of the NCAA tourney after just one game. No big shock. Now, an intriguing offseason awaits. And, it?s one that?s filled with uncertainty, according to Zach Osterman of IndyStar.com.
Like its in-state brother, Purdue was dumped from the Big Dance after one game. But, unlike Indiana, the Boilermakers don?t face an offseason of as much angst. The big question: Will A.J. Hammons turn pro?
Whether he stays or goes, Purdue looks to be back on track a year after finishing last in the Big Ten. The key to the resurgent season? Defense.
Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal Courier notes Purdue got back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012 by rediscovering its traditional strength: man-to-man half-court defense. It led the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense during conference play (39.3). Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Rapheal Davis will be back for his third season as a captain. Yes, Hammons will be missed if he bolts, but Matt Painter has a nice foundation to build on.
What have we learned so far in Nebraska spring practice? Omaha.com has it here.
Here is a takeaway to consider: Tommy Armstrong still looks like the guy at quarterback. Sam McKewon of Omaha.com says that Armstrong may not have the most enticing skill set - that could belong to redshirt freshman AJ Bush - but he?s looked as good as any quarterback so far this spring, and he?s one of two scholarship quarterbacks - along with Johnny Stanton - facing what amounts to the top defense. Stanton hasn?t looked bad, but his delivery takes longer than Armstrong?s does, and his confidence level just doesn?t seem as high.
Maryland is in the midst of spring drills. And one of the Terrapins objectives is to develop their offensive line. So far, so good, as three redshirt freshman blockers are looking good: Derwin Gray, Brendan Moore and Damian Prince
Ex-Wisconsin LB Chris Borland made big news when he recently announced he was stepping away for football over concerns for his long-term health. He has been an inspiration for Illinois LB Mason Monheim.
And speaking of Borland, he will pay back the 49ers some of the loot they gave him after he shockingly retired.
Borland received a $617,436 signing bonus when he agreed to a four-year deal with the 49ers, who drafted him in the third round. He will return $463,077 of that bonus. This man-bites-dog story just keeps getting more fascinating.
Michigan DB coach Greg Jackson says Jabrill Peppers has an ?it? factor.
"Reminds me of Rodney Harrison when I played," said Jackson, who played with Harrison on the San Diego Chargers from 1997-2000. "He reminds me of Rodney: enthusiastic, intense during practice, full speed to the ball all the time. He's a kid that's hungry, ready to prove himself and a guy like Peppers, you can't teach hustle, he's just got it, just got that knack of being a football player. If we just keep him going in the right direction coaching him, I think he's going to be a really good player."
You recall former Purdue basketball All-American Glenn Robinson, right? His son Gelen, a defensive end for the Boilermakers may be primed to make an impact as a pass rusher. At least that?s the hope.
Purdue needs a pass rusher off the edge, especially with Ryan Russell gone.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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