How former walk-on Braedon Bayer became Syracuse’s 1st guard off the bench

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In Braedon Bayer’s mind, six weeks of 8 a.m. workouts with former Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon and associate head coach Adrian Autry meant he’d earned a walk-on spot. Or at least the right to ask whether he’d be on the team in the fall. He was, after all, sleeping on Lydon’s South Campus couch for summer 2016.“I didn’t have a place to stay,” Bayer said. “I thought I would be living in my car. That’s how much I was like, ‘Screw it. I want to be on this team.’”Lydon played AAU basketball with Bayer and convinced him to try to make the SU team from a Division III school in Iowa. One day in July 2016, after several weeks of tryout-like workouts, Bayer asked Lydon for a little more help. Bayer was unsure if he was on the team. Lydon walked into the office of then-head coach designate Mike Hopkins to find out.“I don’t know, let’s go ask,” Hopkins said, and they walked nearby to head coach Jim Boeheim’s office. Hopkins asked the same question to Boeheim, who looked up from a USA Today newspaper.“Yeah, he’s on the team,” Boeheim said nonchalantly, then went back to reading.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat’s when Bayer, a 6-foot-4 guard from Lagrangeville, New York, earned a walk-on spot. After redshirting last season, he has progressed all of the way to the brink of the Syracuse rotation, a rarity in Boeheim’s recently thin system. As the Orange (16-8, 5-6 Atlantic Coast) continues to play its pared-down lineup — former graduate transfer Geno Thorpe left the program, freshman guard Howard Washington is out for the year due to injury and freshman Bourama Sidibe battles tendinitis — production off the bench could come from an unlikely source: Bayer. While he has played only four minutes across four games this season, Boeheim has said Bayer will see playing time down the stretch.“Braedon’s pretty good,” Boeheim said last week, about a month after Bayer became a scholarship player.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorTo Lydon, Bayer is more than pretty good. They met as high school sophomores and grew close while playing for the Albany City Rocks, Bayer said. When Bayer told Lydon he was not fully enjoying his time at Grinnell College — “I just couldn’t do the culture out there” — Lydon promised that he’d enjoy Syracuse. Lydon would do his best to help get Bayer a spot on the team, he recalled.During Grinnell’s 2015-16 season, Bayer applied to four schools, three of which had shown interest in him as a high school player: Bucknell, Binghamton and Fordham. He also applied to a longshot: Syracuse. He sent his application to SU in mid-December. He was accepted by New Year’s Day. He quit the Grinnell team and arrived at Syracuse in January 2016. He watched SU’s Final Four run that semester from his bed. Whenever he could, Lydon would invite Bayer for informal workouts, and they’d sometimes grab food together.By May, Lydon told Hopkins that Bayer “wasn’t just going to be a typical walk-on that’s just on the team. He said I could actually help,” Bayer recalled. Hopkins trusted Lydon’s word and didn’t ask Bayer for any film. Bayer impressed enough in summer workouts that he was added to the team.“It was awe-inspiring,” Bayer said of those first few practices. “Scary and nervous, you know? At Grinnell, I could miss and get my own rebound.”Around the Syracuse locker room, players have echoed variations of the same phrase: “Stay ready.” Bayer is caught in the in-between, being told his time could come any moment but rarely seeing it come to fruition. Players first heard “Stay ready” during the double-overtime loss at Florida State, where Bayer played about one minute. Players said it throughout the rest of January as a “running joke,” Bayer said.Boeheim said after the loss at Georgia Tech last week that he should have played Bayer. Bayer heard “stay ready” before the Virginia game, too. He didn’t play, though. He finally got in the game Monday night at Louisville, a crucial road victory, during which Bayer traveled with the ball in the lone minute he played, right before halftime.“Stay ready: That’s been the funny joke until this point,” Bayer said. “I’ve gotten in (at FSU), but I’ve been told ‘Stay ready’ every game since. All of the guys on the team are like, ‘Hey, stay ready. Hey, stay ready.’ I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m ready.’ Always working hard, having a goal.”Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorThat goal was once to play college basketball, almost regardless of level. The Ivy League was Bayer’s dream, but he wanted to attend a school where his parents didn’t have to pay. As a result, he turned himself into a gym rat and drive-first player, said Bayer’s former coach Kenny Dawson, a trainer in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Bill Casson, his head coach at Trinity Pawling (New York) School. Bayer considered the possibility of walking on at Colgate, Bucknell or Marist, but Grinnell’s head coach told him he thought he could break the all-time assists record in his high-octane system. Bayer was persuaded.Bayer’s father, Greg, joined him as an assistant coach at Grinnell. Because he had spent a decade surrounding Bayer’s basketball life, he thought, why not watch his son’s college career? Bayer scored 20 points his first game as a freshman and, after just a year and a half with the program, finished Top 10 in assists, Greg said. But when Lydon said he’d have a chance at a Power 5 school, Bayer couldn’t say no.Bayer is unproven, but he has shown he can match up with his scholarship teammates. He scored 10 points in 38 minutes during the Orange-White scrimmage. Many other walk-ons played fewer than five, he said. Afterward, Boeheim’s wife, Juli, told Bayer’s father, “O-M-G.” She had texted her sons, Cornell freshman Jimmy and SU commit Buddy, saying “how great Braedon is.”For much of this season, Bayer has played the opponent’s best high-post man in SU practices. He mimics what the opposition’s post player may do, giving SU starters an idea of what they might expect in the upcoming game. He said he has become more involved in five-on-five work during practice.His goal was to get into Syracuse, see if he could explore his options for the basketball team. Then his goal was to be a walk-on. Then it was to be a scholarship player. With those behind him, he has renewed his focus. It is to never forget his trek from Division III, and it is to give starting guards Frank Howard and Tyus Battle a reprieve, whenever that may be.“This goal,” Bayer said, “is coming true.” Comments Published on February 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

Both Wellington basketball teams to play Mulvane in sub-state first round in Winfield

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Kansas State High School Activities Association released its sub-state basketball brackets for Class 4A. The Wellington boys and girls basketball teams will be playing in the Winfield sub-state March 5-7, 2015.The brackets are as follows: Boys: Thursday#2 Wellington (10-10) vs. #3 Mulvane (4-16) – 6 p.m.#1 Winfield (13-7) vs. #4 Rose Hill (3-17) -  7:30 p.m.SaturdaySub-state Championship at 7:30 p.m. Winner goes to Class 4A Div. 1 State Tournament in Salina. (Bracket is here). Girls: Friday#1 Wellington (13-7) vs. #4 Mulvane (5-15), 6 p.m.#2 Winfield (11-9) vs. Rose Hill (5-15), 7:30 p.m.SaturdaySub-state Championship at 6 p.m. Winners goes to Class 4A Div. 1 State Tournament in Salina. (Bracket is here). Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Why did Andrew Luck retire? Colts QB’s decision to end NFL career, explained

first_imgAt some point in the middle of August, Andrew Luck decided enough was enough. He was in pain yet again, and this time, the agony was not ceasing. He told Colts owner Jim Irsay and team officials he needed to retire from football in order to live the life he wants to live, a life without this kind of suffering.During the Colts’ Week 3 preseason game against the Bears, ESPN broke news of Luck’s retirement. The announcement came ahead of schedule; Luck had planned to explain his decision to the team after the Chicago game and address media the following day. Everything was accelerated once word of Luck’s retirement spread throughout Lucas Oil Stadium. Luck’s body simply would not allow it. He made roughly $97 million in seven years with the Colts, and the fact that he was scheduled to earn another $24 million over the next two years (plus more in a possible extension) further proves the difficulty of his decision.Below is Luck’s full press conference from late August, when he explained his retirement and fielded questions about the timing. In six seasons with the Colts, Luck compiled 23,671 passing yards, 171 passing touchdowns, 1,590 rushing yards and another 14 scores on the ground. That doesn’t include his numbers in the playoffs, where he led Indianapolis to four wins and, in 2014, a trip to the AFC championship game. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the 2018 NFL comeback player of the year.Luck’s football story, though, can’t be told without the injuries that ultimately led to his retirement in 2019.Physical toll on Andrew Luck through 6 NFL seasons:» Torn cartilage in 2 ribs» partially torn abdomen» a lacerated kidney that left him peeing blood» at least 1 concussion» a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder» and this mysterious calf/ankle issue that led to this— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 25, 2019After Luck’s retirement became public, the level of shock that permeated throughout the NFL was on the level of the shock many felt when the likes of Barry Sanders, Jim Brown and Calvin Johnson retired. He had two years left on the five-year contract he signed in 2016, and there was little reason to believe he wouldn’t play out that deal with Indianapolis while earning himself another extension.MORE: Jim Irsay talks possible Luck returncenter_img MORE: Andrew Luck’s career by the numbersLuck, 29, retired after playing six NFL seasons in seven years. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft missed the entire 2017 season while recovering from a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and he did that after playing the entire 2016 season through pain.As it turns out, that 2016 season planted the seed for Luck’s premature retirement. After that year, Luck told himself he would never put himself in another situation that would jeopardize his long-term health — a situation he found himself managing over the summer.Luck was dealing with a mysterious ankle injury — “a myriad of issues,” as he says — that was not improving. He was stuck in a cycle of injury, pain and rehab, and he figured retirement was the only way out of that cycle.Here is Luck’s full explanation of his retirement:”This is not an easy decision. Honestly it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me.”For the last four years or so I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab; injury, pain, rehab. And it’s been unceasing and unrelenting both in-season and offseason. I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of this game away.  I’ve been stuck in this process.”I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. And after 2016 when I played in pain and was unable to really practice, I made a vow to myself that I would not go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation. The only way forward for me is remove myself from football and this cycle that I’ve been in. I made a vow to myself that if I ever did again, I would choose me in this sense.”It’s very difficult. I love this team. I love my teammates, the folks in our building, the fans, the game of football. And as part of this team, and because of how I feel I know that I am unable to pour my heart and soul into this position. Which would not only sell myself short, but the team in the end, as well.”And its sad. But I also have a lot of clarity in this. It’s been a difficult process.”last_img read more