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

McGeever believes marked change in defender physicality

first_imgClonmel Commercials boss Charlie McGeever believes those charged with keeping the opposing forwards at bay are smaller than they used to be.The Donegal native thinks the altered nature of Gaelic football in recent year has led to ‘mobility’ being the most desired quality for players that line up in the full and half-back lines.He says there was cast-iron proof of the trend at last year’s premier awards ceremony.last_img

Messi would struggle in current Man Utd team, says Scholes

first_imgThey had to watch Manchester City win last season’s title in record-breaking fashion and Pep Guardiola’s men are flying high at the top once more, alongside Liverpool and manager Jose Mourinho’s former club Chelsea.“That shouldn’t make any difference but it does,” Scholes told ESPN. “United now feels like Liverpool from years ago, like we’re making all the same mistakes as they did.“We were watching Liverpool and City from afar and smirking as they changed managers and players every year, never getting anything right. It feels like we have turned into a Liverpool or a Man City.“I feel like people at Liverpool and Man City are looking at us and laughing like we did at them many years ago.”Mourinho has spent more than £350 million ($460 million) on players since arriving at Old Trafford in 2016.Despite that, he has clashed with the club’s hierarchy over recruitment while costly signings including Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba have failed to flourish under his management.“I don’t think there’s a lack of quality there,” said Scholes. “I do think they miss a couple of real class players that other top teams seem to have — a link player between the midfield and the forwards and also a controlling midfield player.“It feels like every player who comes into the team struggles. I feel like we could sign Lionel Messi at the moment and he’d struggle in this team.“I think (Mourinho) still is (a great manager), but you wonder why his side keep getting outplayed.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has been outspoken in his criticism of manager Jose Mourinho © AFP/File / ANDREW YATESLONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 17 – Paul Scholes says even Lionel Messi would struggle to shine in the current Manchester United team and that the struggling club are being laughed at by their rivals.The former United and England midfielder has been a frequent and vocal critic of his old club, who are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League — five points adrift of any other member of the “Big Six”.last_img read more