Skull Session: Buckeyes Bag Jackrabbits, Kam Williams Hulks Up, and Patience Pays Off for C.J. Jackson

By D.J. Byrnes on March 16, 2018 at 4:59 am
Kam Williams dumps the March 16 2018 Skull Session.
Ohio State Athletics

As a fourth-generation Irish-American, I demand Skyline Chili apologize for this abomination:

Great photo choice by the WCPO social media team. They knew exactly what they were doing in choosing that picture, as well as adding the "#yum" at the end. It'd be a felony in most states. I respect the gall.


Word of the Day: Parasol.

 GET DUMPED THEN, JACKRABBITS. Credit to Mike Daum and South Dakota State. They showed why I respect that university's athletic programs despite an 81-73 loss yesterday.

Shoutout to Daum's mother, who apparently taught him how to flick his wrist while they laid on their backs together in bed. Connections like that are what make sports special, even if Daum did set basketball back two decades with the first genuine use of the "raise the roof" celebration since the days of AOL's internet stranglehold.

The day, however, belonged to two Ohio State guards. Kam Williams, he of the four-point dagger that helped seal the win, headlined the iconic duo.

From James Grega of Eleven Warriors, whom you should follow on Twitter for updates from Boise:

"Coach Holtmann says it all the time and we believe it; it's a players' game, and players win games," Pedon said. "Kam on that particular play made that shot. So give him credit. As coaches, we try to put guys in the best possible positions, but players win games, and Kam helped us do that especially down the stretch."

Williams, who has scored in double digits in each of Ohio State's last four contests, said that he isn't any more confident in his shot now than he normally would be because of the amount of time he spends in the gym.

"Not to sound cocky, but I am in the gym so much that I feel like every shot is going to go in," Williams said. "My confidence doesn't really rise or dip." 

"My confidence doesn't really rise or dip that much," is how I approach blogging. It's instantly on to the next conquest whether the previous result is bad or good upon hitting "publish." Williams has achieved what we in the business refer to as "The Poster's Nirvana."

The Buckeyes will be hard to beat if they continue getting guard play like that. Meanwhile, Chris Holtmann's dunking on the doubters upset some members of the peanut gallery:

In a vacuum, sure, that would come across as smug. But don't forget this was an NIT team at best according to most experts before the season began, and 72%(!) of the betting money fell on South Dakota State (-7.5) yesterday.

I never bet against the Buckeyes and have won more than I've lost. Maybe I should start touting my picks to the marks at the Westgate.

 PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. A rejuvenated Keita Bates-Diop and a Hulk-mode Kam Williams (rightfully) earned headlines. But don't sleep on C.J. Jackson's performance. Jackson scored 11 second-half points to finish with 20 in what may have been his finest performance of the year.

For Jackson, it's been a long time coming. His JUCO coach, Jeremy Shulman of Eastern Florida State, preached patience with Thad Matta when he recruited Jackson. 


“I said (to Division I coaches), if you take him for a year, he’s going to be a complementary piece his sophomore year,” Shulman said. “If you recruit over the top of him, you’re never going to get the best of C.J. It’ll be his junior and senior year that you reap the rewards.”

Growing pains have continued under Holtmann. Jackson lost his starting spot for two games after a few too many turnover-prone outings early in the season. But late in the Northwestern game on Wednesday, it was Jackson whom Holtmann wanted to see get to the free-throw line.

Shulman credited Jackson’s instincts and basketball IQ for his ability to succeed with the Buckeyes.

Jackson playing at that level again could be a wild card against Gonzaga. The Bulldogs drubbed the Buckeyes by 27 points back in late November, so the rematch should offer a case study into how far the team has come in those four months.

 PURDUE PETE, CALL YOUR OFFICE. The underbelly of big-time college sports is a trope almost as old as the racket itself. And while I am admittedly jaded, I never would have expected a tale being spun by former Purdue safety Albert Evans to come out of West Lafayette.

Evans played for one year under Joe Tiller in 2008 and the first three years of the Danny Hope "era." Let's just say I'll never look at these mustachioed men the same again.


Players literally feared the film room after a loss or a play they didn’t do so well on. I’ve seen players transfer and careers go to hell because they couldn’t take the scolding that would follow.

Is that what it means to be an “amateur”?

The pressure of knowing coaches’ jobs were based on your performance was a heavier burden than I wished to carry. At one point, I was brought into a coach’s office and pleaded with to turn the season around because they feared losing their job. By pleading, I mean crying and family pictures being brought out and asking me to do it for their families. I left that office with a burden I have never forgotten. The kicker is, we got to a bowl game and won and some of those coaches still moved on to their next position.

These are the kind of motivational tactics usually reserved for tinpot dictators who feel their grasp on power slipping with every waking second. Hard to believe Purdue never climbed back to the mountaintop after Drew Brees left the roost.

 CAN'T GET THE DROP ON BAKER. One of my favorite things about the NFL Draft is the transfer of massive wealth from the lizard syndicate of NFL ownership to 22-year-olds who may have substance anuse issues.

Owners will apparently have to do better if they want to find out how Baker Mayfield spends his nights in Norman, Oklahoma.


Later on Tuesday, Mayfield received an alert from a trusted source that he had a tail in Norman. A private investigator, he was told, was tracking his movements on behalf of a team. The MMQB was unable to verify the identity of that team, but it should come as no surprise that any NFL franchise considering a (minimum) four-year commitment and tens of millions of dollars to a 22-year-old might like to know how he spends nights near his old stomping grounds.

This has to be the Browns, right? Even with signing El Guapo, I still think they'll draft Saquon Barkley No. 1 and Baker Mayfield at No. 4. Hiring an incompetent private eye that got popped by an amateur quarterback's stool pigeon feels like something off Page 1 of Hue Jackson's playbook.

 THOSE WMDs. Bad reviews don't kill good movies... Astronaut's DNA no longer matches that of his identical twin... Bathhouse theft in Ancient Rome: Victims seek revenge... The Mexican bishop who negotiates with cartels... 25 classic crime books you can read in an afternoon.

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