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

Tipperary’s Gardiner in Olympic qualifying action

first_imgTipperary’s Dean Gardiner is in action today at the European Olympic qualifiers in Baku. The Clonmel man will take on a Ukrainian opponent in the Super Heavyweight division quarter final this afternoon….Also fighting today is Michael O’Neill who faces a Mongolian opponent in the last 16 of the Middleweight divisionlast_img

Balk scores deciding run as Diamondbacks rally past Dodgers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season PreviousPHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Archie Bradley #25 and Alex Avila #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate a 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Dodgers in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsDodgers shortstop Corey Seager fields a grounder hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Adam Jones before throwing to first base for the out during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Arizona Diamondbacks dives safely back to first base as Matt Beaty #45 of the Los Angeles Dodgers waits for a throw from Tony Gonsolin #46 during the first inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jarrod Dyson takes off for second base for a stolen base against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager (5) is congratulated after scoring against the Arizona Diamondbacks, by. among others, manager Dave Roberts (30), Justin Turner, second from right, and bench coach Bob Geren, right, during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin is congratulated by first base coach George Lombard, right, after hitting an RBI single during the second inning of Friday’s game in Phoenix. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker fields a grounder hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Beaty, before running to first base for the out during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger follows through on an RBI triple against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Justin Turner (10) is congratulated by Corey Seager after scoring against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger celebrates with third base coach Dino Ebel after hitting an RBI triple during the third inning of Friday’s game in Phoenix. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Dodgers’ Corey Seager loses his grip on the bat during a swing in the third inning of the team’s baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Dodgers second baseman Kike’ Hernandez fields a grounder hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Josh Rojas before throwing to first base for the out during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Eduardo Escobar #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches the ball while running out of the batters box after hitting a two run home run off of Tony Gonsolin #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Eduardo Escobar #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run off of Tony Gonsolin #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Eduardo Escobar #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Josh Rojas #9 after hitting a two run home run off of Tony Gonsolin #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin flips a cup to the ground as he sits in the dugout after being taken out of the baseball game right after giving up a two-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks’ Eduardo Escobar during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Kike’ Hernandez (14) is congratulated by A.J. Pollock, left, after Hernandez scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Josh Rojas #9 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off of Casey Sadler #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Josh Rojas #9 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated at home plate by Jarrod Dyson #1 after hitting a two run home run off of Casey Sadler #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Arizona Diamondbacks beats Casey Sadler #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers to first base after bunting the ball up the first base line during the seventh inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Arizona Diamondbacks’ Tim Locastro runs to first base after a third strike gets past Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Umpire Mark Ripperger calls a balk on Dodgers relief pitcher Yimi Garcia allowing the Arizona Diamondbacks to score a run during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Diamondbacks’ Tim Locastro scores from third base on a balk by Dodgers relief pitcher Yimi Garcia as teammate Alex Avila looks on during the eighth inning of Friday’s game in Phoenix. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Dodgers manager Dave Roberts looks on from the top step of the dugout during the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. The Dodgers lost 5-4 after balking in the go-ahead run in the eighth. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Dodgers relief pitcher Yimi Garcia walks off the field at the end of the eighth inning of a baseball game after giving up a run-scoring balk to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)The Dodgers’ Russell Martin gets hit by a pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Russell Martin Jr #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws the ball back to Archie Bradley #25 of the Arizona Diamondbacks after getting hit by a pitch during the ninth inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. Diamondbacks won 5-4. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stretches off of first base to get a force out on a ground ball hit by Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. Diamondbacks won 5-4. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley celebrates the final out against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 30: Archie Bradley #25 and Alex Avila #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate a 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on August 30, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)NextShow Caption1 of 32Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)ExpandPHOENIX — Much of Arizona sweated under an excessive heat warning Saturday.For the Dodgers, though, there has been very little heat all summer. They have had a double-digit lead over their NL West peers since mid-June and their seventh consecutive division-clinching party will happen, probably soon. The best record in the National League is still solidly in hand.But the results on the field recently do not reflect those credentials. They let a three-run lead disappear for the second consecutive night and lost 5-4 to the Arizona Diamondbacks when Yimi Garcia balked in the winning run in the eighth inning on Friday night.“It was an unconventional way to lose a game but sometimes it goes that way,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Sometimes the losses happen more often than others. This loss was the Dodgers’ third in the first five games of a two-week stretch against NL West opponents and fifth in their past eight games. They have lost two of their past four series and can, at best, split this four-game visit to Arizona. Their magic number has stalled at nine.“Obviously the win-loss isn’t what we’d like,” Roberts said. “The effort is there. There are nights – it’s just inconsistent, whether it be the at-bats or the pitching.“Every day we come in the same way we always have. It’s just one of those things where we’re not finding ways to win baseball games as consistent as we’re capable of.”Roberts wouldn’t blame that on the malaise of a 20-game lead (now 18) and inevitable clinching or game management that takes into account October roster decisions as much as anything.In that area, Friday was actually a pretty good night.center_img Gonsolin made his major-league debut at Chase Field back in June. It did not go well. With his teammates playing sloppy defense behind him, Gonsolin was charged with five runs in his first two big-league innings and wound up taking a loss.He returned to Chase Field on Friday and held the Diamondbacks hitless through three innings, scoreless through five.“I was throwing the ball pretty well, executing pretty well,” Gonsolin said. “There were a few mistakes but overall I thought I threw the ball pretty well.”That has been the case since the nerves of his first start have disappeared. Gonsolin has now made four starts and a relief appearance since that messy debut. He has a 1.88 ERA and 0.88 WHIP while holding batters to a .174 average in those five games.“He continues to impress and continues to get more comfortable,” Roberts said. “I think Honey (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) has done a real nice job of cleaning up his direction and allowing him to repeat pitches more. He’s more consistent. His fastball command is really good. The cutter, the changeup in the line and getting swing and miss with that.“This is one of those things where you throw a guy into the fire and learn on the run. He’s doing a great job of getting better every time out.”Roberts admitted before Thursday’s game that he would do a similar thing with Casey Sadler. On a yo-yo between Triple-A and the majors since he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays, Sadler has pitched well in low-leverage situations.Roberts said he wanted to see how Sadler handled higher-leverage situations. He came in against the Diamondbacks to protect a 4-2 lead in the seventh.Sadler retired the first two batters but couldn’t beat Jarrod Dyson to first base when Dyson bunted for a hit. Then he fell behind 2-and-0 to Josh Rojas and left a fastball over the inner third of the plate. Rojas clubbed it for his first major-league home run, tying the score.“It just comes down to execution,” Sadler said. “I fell behind. If one or both of those (first two) pitches are on the outer half, maybe he doesn’t hit the mistake as well because he can’t be sitting on his pitch.”Sadler reacted almost as soon as the ball left his hand, knowing he had made a mistake.“I guess there’s an intuition you get,” he said. “You can almost feel when it leaves your hand that it’s going to end up in his ‘honey hole’ and you’re not going to get away with it.”Related Articles How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start The score stayed tied into the eighth where Garcia struck out Tim Locastro to start the inning. But the third-strike curveball went through catcher Russell Martin’s legs. Locastro was safe at first, stole second and went to third on a single by Adam Jones.“That runner was my fault. I let that one get by me,” Martin said. “It’s tough to get four outs in an inning, especially when it’s that leadoff runner. So that one’s on me.“It just hit between my glove and the ground, one of those tweeners. I didn’t really think I had to block it and probably should have. I catch that ball nine times out of 10.”With runners on the corners, Garcia lost his composure, stepped off the rubber, feigned a pickoff throw to first base and watched as the go-ahead run trotted home.“I should have thrown the ball,” Garcia said through an interpreter. “I stepped to the side of the rubber instead of back. Maybe if I throw the ball (to first base).”last_img read more