Sports Today: NFL Draft ratings up, Reds win second straight, basketball recruiting update

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Sports Today: NFL Draft ratings up, Reds win second straight, basketball recruiting update

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: Fans cheer from the viewing party during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

One of the interesting things about football is how narrative-driven the coverage of it is and how often those narratives are wrong. 

To be clear, I’m as guilty as anyone of developing and falling in love with a good narrative — it’s kind of a necessary evil for a complex sport in which a team only plays 12-18 games per year but people are interested in talking about it every day — but I try to stick to the ones that have at least a reasonable chance of being true. 

Which brings us to the announcement by the NFL that ratings for the 2017 draft on NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2 were up on the compared to last year and higher than 2015 as well. 

That would seem to take some more air out of the suggestion the league or even football itself was losing its overall appeal as ratings for games were down last season (when more people watched but spent less time doing so). 

This is nice for those of us sticking with the narrative that says the overriding factors for last year’s decline were the attention that shifted to the presidential election and a primetime slate that had too many games that looked bad on paper, turned out to be blowouts on the field — or both. 

Of course, audience fragmentation is a factor as well even if that is hitting the NFL later than seemingly anything else in pop culture. 

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals are continuing their offseason program at Paul Brown Stadium this week, and one of the topics of discussion was rookie running back Joe Mixon.

His selection in the second round was controversial because of a well-documented incident in which he broke a woman’s jaw three years ago, and he has some new teammates able to relate to entering the league under a cloud. 

Carlos Dunlap is one who got his second chance in Cincinnati after a DUI caused him to miss the SEC championship game at Florida in 2009. 

“I was given one, and it paid off for me and my family huge, immensely,” Dunlap said. “His is a lot more extreme than mine. But’s not the end of the world because the man who’s judging us all (God), he gives us a second chance, so why can’t the men on land give a second chance?

“Now you shouldn’t just give somebody a second chance just because of their talent,” Dunlap continued. “But if you show the right people and demonstrate the right steps, I feel like you can earn that second chance. That’s the way it should be. It should never be given, but you can earn it. I feel like he’s going to earn it here, and has probably been earning it every day.”

Bengals vets talk Mixon pick

Just when the Cincinnati Reds were threatening to let their season go off the rails, they have won two in a row. 

Both last night’s 4-3 win over the Pirates and the 5-4 win in St. Louis on Sunday were come-from-behind victories. 

Billy Hamilton wore the laurel of hero last night, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. 

Reds starter Amir Garrett didn’t get the win, but he turned in seven strong innings, allowing two runs on just two hits (both solo homers) while striking out four. He also walked three… 

If you had May 1 for the first time a recruit would mention new Dayton coach Anthony Grant’s NBA coaching experience while talking about why he signed with the Flyers, you're a winner! 

That recruit was Matej Svoboda, a 6-7 forward from the Czech Republic who verballed to UD while Archie Miller was still the coach of the Flyers and signed Monday after being re-recruited by Grant. 

“I like the style he wants to play,” Svoboda wrote in an email to the Dayton Daily News. “He is a really good coach with NBA experience, and I’m sure he can make me a better player and also do big things with Dayton.”

There is still the matter of the NCAA Clearinghouse, which prevented Kostas Antetokounmpo from being eligible last year… 

A second local schools is now in the mix for a 2018 Cincinnati basketball prospect. 

Jaxson Hayes of Moeller tweeted yesterday Miami University has offered him a scholarship, joining a group that also includes Wright State and Northern Kentucky along with several out-of-state schools. 

New RedHawks coach Jack Owens added another member to his 2017 signing class yesterday when Miami announced the addition of Nike Sibande. 

He is a 6-3 guard from Indianapolis who joins Jalen Adaway, Isaiah Coleman-Lands, Darrian Ringo and Dalonte Brown as part of Owens’ first recruiting class. 

Congratulations are in order for Cameron Stubbs, a cornerback for the Flyers football team who earned an invitation to the 49ers rookie minicamp this weekend... 

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