3 Pitt football players deny assault charges

3 Pitt football players deny assault charges

PITTSBURGH (AP) Three Pitt football players, including starting running back Ray Graham, will play on Saturday against No. 4 Notre Dame despite being charged with simple assault and conspiracy in connection with an incident last month involving three other students.

Graham, junior wide receiver Devin Street and redshirt freshman defensive back Lafayette Pitts deny they were involved in a confrontation with a student who told police he was hit in the head by one of the players.

Online court records don't list attorneys for the players charged in the complaint filed by city police on Thursday. The players were not arrested but have been mailed summonses to appear in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing on the charges Jan. 9.

Graham, of Elizabeth, N.J., is the Panthers' leading rusher with 622 yards and seven touchdowns. Street, of Bethlehem, Pa., is the team's leading receiver with 50 catches for 695 yards and four scores. Pitts, of East Pittsburgh, is also the team's top kick-returner.

School spokesman E.J. Borghetti said in a statement the players have offered to speak with police but have not been questioned or received any court documents.

``We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation,'' Borghetti said. ``However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these misdemeanor allegations. All three players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on this situation.''

According to the complaint, Karl Olsheski, Diana Olsheski and Samantha Mitchell told police they were walking along a street in Oakland, the neighborhood where the university is located, when a group of Pitt football players walked into their path from the opposite direction about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 21.

At the time, Karl Olsheski told police he didn't want to see the players arrested, but did want police to stop the group ``so they wouldn't repeat their aggressions at other pedestrians,'' a criminal complaint said.

Police dispersed the groups and Olsheski and the females returned to a city police station that afternoon to report the incident in more detail. At that time, Diana Olsheski told police she recognized the players as Graham, Street and Pitts.

Karl Olsheski told police that Graham confronted him by saying, ``What's up?'' along with a racial slur. Olsheski said he tried to walk away but that Graham and Street blocked his way and Pitts kept him from retreating.

Olsheski ``stated that shortly thereafter, he was struck one time on the left side of his head by Mr. Street.''

Police tried to ensure the students identified the correct players by having them look at photo lineups. While none of the alleged victims could recognize all three players, each player was recognized by at least one, including Mitchell who recognized Street from a class they took together on vampires.

All six people allegedly involved in the incident are listed in the student directory, but none immediately responded to emails requesting comment.


Associated Press writer Joe Mandak contributed to this report.

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

After a sensational freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, point guard Trae Young plans to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, according to a report by ESPN.

Young will be one of the most fascinating prospects in this class given the extreme highs and lows of his one college season. He vaulted into the top 10 in most mock drafts after beginning his freshman year on fire, but then began to slip over the final months as his shooting percentage dropped.


Right now the Wizards are lined up to be in the late teens, so it's unlikely he falls to their range. But at this point it's difficult to predict where he will go, whether that is top five or later in the lottery.

It really could go either way. Some teams may see him as a Steph Curry-like scorer who can hit shots from unusually deep range. There were certainly times where Young backed up those comparisons.

Teams could see his flaws as a result of opposing defenses honing in on him because they could at the college level. In the NBA he may have more space and therefore be able to play to his strengths.


Or, teams could look at the fact he shot 36.1 percent from three on a whopping 10.2 attempts per game as a sign he is a chucker. He also led the nation in turnovers, commiting 24 more than the next guy. Young averaged 5.2 giveaways per game.

While Curry is the best-case scenario, Jimmer Fredette may be the worst-case. Fredette was the 10th overall pick in 2011 and now plays in China. 

Young will be an intriguing prospect in the draft because the ceiling is high and the basement is low. 

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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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