Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 12/18/11

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

You hate to see players get injured, but it’s not the worst thing for this team to have to win games without Sullinger. “Thad Matta’s 200th win at Ohio State was anything but boring as the Buckeyes got a career high 30 points from Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger went for x-rays on his foot before OSU outlasted South Carolina 74-66 this afternoon in Colonial Life Arena.

Sullinger’s injury was the product of an inadvertent kick in the lane and he immediately asked out of the game . He would return shortly thereafter but couldn’t go on, finally leaving the arena for x-rays that came back negative. Matta noted after the game Sully suffered a deep bone bruise in his left foot. There’s no timetable for his return.

On the court, it was the Deshaun Thomas show.

The sophomore shot 13/16 from the floor including 11/11 from inside the arc and scored 20 in the 2nd half. Leading just 43-41 with 13:45 to play, Thomas led a 23-12 charge scoring 11 of the first 12 points before capping the blitz with a dagger from distance giving the Buckeyes a commanding 66-53 lead with 4:46 to play. His ever evolving midrange game was on full display as he hit from the baseline, the wing and in the paint flahsing a feathery touch and controlled aggression in addition to two triples. The kid is developing right before our eyes and with what he’s shown recently, could be emerging as Ohio State’s #2 scoring option ahead of Buford. ” [Chris Lauderback/Eleven Warriors]

Wasn’t easy growing up in the Congo for Christian Eyenga. “”There were a lot of people shot,” Eyenga said. “You just saw people dead in the street. It was crazy. You just wanted to go somewhere safe.

“Back then, you didn’t plan for a future, you lived life in the present. You grow up thinking, ‘In two minutes I could be dead.’”

The Second Congo War (1998-2003), the deadliest conflict since World War II, killed 5.4 million people. More than a decade of tumult has devastated the Central African republic, reducing it to the world’s least developed country, according to the United Nations, despite an abundance of minerals and hydrocarbon deposits.

The 22-year-old Eyenga got out thanks to a nurturing mother, middle-class means and enough raw talent to convince the Cavaliers to select him with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. A season ago, the youngster with the thick French accent and easy smile became just the third person from his country to play in the league.” [Tom Reed/The Plain Dealer]

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It’s going to be interesting to see how Seneca Wallace plays this afternoon. “Wallace spent seven years with Seattle learning the West Coast offense under Mike Holmgren and his knowledge of the offense is one of the values (the value?) he brings as a back-up quarterback.

“I’m anticipating that Seneca’s going to go out and execute efficiently and I think we saw Colt do that at times this year,”Browns coach Pat Shurmur said on Friday. As a quarterback, you’re trying to go out and do everything right all the time. Every once in awhile you’ll make a bad throw or a poor decision and then you get right back on the horse and try to correct it. I would anticipate, based on what I saw in practice, he had a good practice, Seneca will do a good job.”

It would only be one game against a defense in the lower third of the NFL, but if Wallace can move the ball that would provide another valuable piece of the puzzle as the team decides what to do about the quarterback position in the off season.” [Red Right 88]

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I agree with just about all of this. “Sure [Kyrie Irving] turned it over about 5 more times than he should have, but he resembled an actual Point Guard despite those mistakes in the process.  A true NBA PG, with not only the ability to see the floor and create for others, but also that uncoachable burst to explode up the floor and create for himself as well. I was tempering my enthusiasm pregame, and predicted a stat line that read 12 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds in 29 minutes for Kyrie last night.  A stat line Irving almost doubled.

He only shot the ball 28% from the field (4 of 14) but he finished the game’s leading scorer with 21 by connecting on over 84% of his FT’s (11 of 13) – something Mark Price used to do.  He grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists while coming off the bench to spell Ramon Sessions, and I gotta think his days of coming off the bench are numbered.  I think he should start game one for sure on December 26th, but after that I will continue to temper my enthusiasm until Kyrie has the opportunity to string 20 or so more real games together.  If he looks like I think he’ll look after those 20 however, I will have an extremely difficult time tempering my enthusiasm from there.

Other Thoughts from Friday’s Cavs / Pistons Game:

Tristan Thompson is freakishly athletic.  We thought we knew that, but we definitely saw that Friday. He’s raw offensively to be sure, but he can attack the rim and will finish at it over people. I think he might be able to get to 10 points per night simply off rebounds, put-backs, and converting dimes he’s dropped while working on developing an actual post game in the process this season.  Skyenga had a rough night, I’ll be fair and admit that.  It was real rough in fact, and it came just when I was about to jump all over the fact that Alonzo Gee started and make a big deal about how the Sky Man should’ve started in his place.  I’m not going to do that right now though, because despite Gee going 0-7 from the floor, Christian also had a game-high 6 turnovers and that can’t happen either.” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]

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I’m just so glad to have actual basketball back. I don’t know about Chris Paul, but Irving definitely looked like a Real NBA PG. “I’ll start at the top, and that means the best player. Kyrie Irving. There are definitely going to be some growing pains, but Kyrie is without question the 2nd best player on this team behind Anderson Varejao right now. Kyrie’s full array of moves was on display tonight — killer back and forth dribble, impossibly quick stop-on-a-dime lateral quickness, his brilliant long range bomb passes, his lockdown free throw shooting (90% free throw shooter in college, believe it or not), and his ridiculous setup passing through the tiniest of defensive seams. Showed it all off, in various forms. Atop that? Endless, endless hustle. My favorite sequence for Kyrie was one where Samardo missed a point blank layup that was about to go out of bounds, but Kyrie leaped past the stanchion and flung the ball into Eyenga’s hands to save the possession. It was some Manu Ginobili type hustle, and that’s fun to see in a point guard. My best-case-scenario for Kyrie has always been as a talent just under where Chris Paulsettled at during his peak. This game did nothing to dissuade me from that.

Perhaps his best attribute was the way he drew fouls. His shot was absolutely busted tonight (which, by the way, won’t last — he was a knockdown shooter in college at >40% from three, and he took at least two NBA-length threes per game at Duke), but he still found the gaps and seams that players like Chris Paul find when their shots are off. And he used some tricky shot fakes (which the defensively defunct Pistons roster continued to bite on) to leverage a ton of free throws, in the end making up for his iffy shooting night. He wasn’t afraid to body up his man on defense, and while Knight made him look awfully silly once or twice, it wasn’t all bad — he did a good job contesting Knight’s shots and helped force him into a relatively awful shooting night. And his steals were exquisite — I haven’t seen a rookie point guard quite as good at forcing the steal and recovering after missed opportunities as Kyrie was in this game since Paul. That’s not an overstatement. He’s an extreme pest, but he recovered quick enough that he didn’t ever seem to blow his rotation. Overall, very promising.” [Doc Rostov/Fear the Sword]

 

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The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

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Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

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2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

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