Wizards

Cassell Jr. loses appeal, won't play for Terps

659434.png

Cassell Jr. loses appeal, won't play for Terps

Sam Cassell Jr. will not play for the Maryland Terrapins this year.

Questions emerged over Cassell's eligibility to play for the Terps over the past few weeks as the NCAA investigated his high school transcripts. The classes in question were taken while Cassell played at Notre Dame Prep high school in Fitchburg, Mass. The NCAA determined that some classes Cassell took while at Notre Dame Prep would not qualify for athletic participation under NCAA guidelines.

Cassell, an incoming freshman, was expected to compete for minutes in the Terps backcourt with returning players Pe'Shon Howard and Nick Faust as well as fellow newcomers Seth Allen and Logan Aronhalt.

Maryland officials twice appealed the NCAA's decision on Cassell, but found little help from the athletic governing body.

"Weve exhausted every option and made our best effort," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said in a news release. "Im very pleased with the work that our compliance staff put in on Sams behalf. Obviously, were very disappointed that he will be unable to attend the University of Maryland at this time and be a part of our basketball program. We will continue to support Sam and his family in any way that we can as they determine their next steps."

Cassell's father, former NBA player and current Washington Wizard assistant coach Sam Cassell, disagreed with the NCAA ruling.

"The NCAA just wants kids to fail. It's not these kids' fault," Cassell told CBS Sports. "The NCAA can't penalize Notre Dame Prep, so they are squashing the kids dreams."

Reports show that other students took the same courses as Cassell and were allowed to play Division I basketball, according to CBS.

"But what the NCAA has done isn't right," Cassell said. "What they do to kids isn't right."

Cassell Jr.'s next move is not currently known, but he has options of trying to qualify with a different school or attending junior college.

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

wallplayerscut.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

kerrigan-smith_vs._eagles_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series