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Georgia still recovering from 'toughest loss'

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Georgia still recovering from 'toughest loss'

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Less than two weeks after Georgia finished 5 yards away from a berth in the national championship game, it's still tough for some players to shift their focus to their Capital One Bowl matchup with Nebraska.

The sting from the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game lingered as bowl practice began Wednesday.

``It was the toughest loss I've ever been a part of,'' said senior receiver Tavarres King.

Quarterback Aaron Murray usually can't wait to devour game film. This game was different.

``I dreaded watching it, but I did,'' Murray said.

Murray said Georgia still has a lot to play for. The Jan. 1 bowl game in Orlando is not a BCS bowl, but Murray said the game will define the Bulldogs' season.

Murray said No. 5 Georgia (11-2) can reach 12 wins for only the third time in school history and finish in the top five of the polls, ``which is an unbelievable season.''

``It can definitely hurt us is we don't win the game,'' Murray said. ``We drop out of the top 10 and it becomes just another season.''

Time expired in the loss to Alabama after receiver Chris Conley caught a deflected pass and was tackled at the 5. Murray's pass was intended for Malcolm Mitchell.

The plan was for a touchdown or incompletion, leaving time for another play. The tipped pass, and subsequent catch, was the worst ending for Georgia.

``I think most of them understand that you can't turn the clock back,'' said coach Mark Richt. ``We fought hard, we had a great plan, we did what we could do that day. We just couldn't get it done. We didn't do enough to get it done, but everybody knows that you have to move on.''

Richt's news conference, designed to preview the bowl game, was dominated by questions about the loss to Alabama.

``There were three teams left. We were one of them,'' Richt said, referring to teams still in the national championship race before the SEC championship game.

``I'd say the same thing I said after the game. I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the game, but not disappointed one bit in our players and coaches and how we battled.''

Richt said he wouldn't change his calls in the final seconds, including his decision to have Murray run a play with 15 seconds remaining instead of spiking the ball.

``If you run a system when you are used to going fast, it's no big deal to just call the next play,'' Richt said of Georgia's no-huddle offense. ``It's what we do. If we spike it, strategically you give them time to gather up and get their senses and get their calls in.''

Richt and Murray defended Conley for catching the deflection when an incompletion would have given Georgia another play.

Murray said he told Conley ``Don't even think about blaming yourself.''

``All of a sudden to see a ball right on you, it's hard to not catch it,'' Murray said.

Added Richt: ``A wide receiver catches the ball. That's his nature. For any wide receiver, if that ball hits in front of his face, he's going to go get it and go catch it.''

Murray, a junior, said he will study his NFL draft options after the bowl game.

``I'm going to think about it and pray about it and sit down with my family,'' Murray said.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Tuesday Murray could be a second- or third-round pick.

``I would go back another year if I were Aaron Murray because if you're not guaranteed a first-round pick it's wise to go back, especially if you play at Georgia with the talent around the quarterback there,'' Kiper said.

Kiper said there will be questions about Murray's size and inability to beat top teams like Alabama.

``Is he going to be 6 feet or a little over?'' Kiper asked. ``He's not going to be 6-2 or 6-3.''

Murray is listed as 6-foot-1.

``I am 6-1,'' he said with emphasis.

Asked about Kiper's comments, Murray said ``I don't know. He's not the one drafting anyone.''

Kiper projects three Georgia defensive players as first-round picks: junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and senior nose tackle John Jenkins. Kiper ranks Jones No. 1.

Murray said he has good reason to push back his draft decision.

``I know personally I want to win a bowl game,'' he said. ``I haven't won one.''

Georgia lost to Central Florida in the 2010 Liberty Bowl in Murray's freshman season and lost to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl after last season.

Richt said he will challenge the team's leaders ``to finish better than we did a year ago and to solidify the job that they've done, because I think they've done an outstanding job to this point.''

Senior linebacker Christian Robinson said the challenge includes moving past the loss to Alabama.

``We want to be a team that finished, we don't want to be a great team that just gave up and laid down because their ultimate goal didn't happen,'' Robinson said. ``We were five yards from being somewhere else but we don't want to show that we weren't worthy of it by not finishing.''

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a recap of the first day of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Yesterday, (Monday) was the first day of the Ravens' OTAs. OTAs continue today (Tuesday) as the Ravens work on developing a new offense. Check out some of the highlights here. 

2. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jaxson Hayes

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jaxson Hayes

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jaxson Hayes

School: Texas
Position: Center
Age: 19
Height: 7-0
Weight: 219
Wingspan: 7-4
Max vertical: 34.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.2 bpg, 72.8 FG% (3.8/5.3), 00.0 3PT% (0.0/0.0), 74.0 FT%

Player comparison: Jarrett Allen, John Henson

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, NBADraft.net 9th, Bleacher Report 10th, Sports Illustrated 9th, Ringer 10th

5 things to know:

*Hayes is considered the best center prospect in this year's class. He is athletic, plays with energy and measured in at the combine at about 7-feet in shoes with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. He can run the floor and play above the rim.

*The skill that stands out most for Hayes is rim protection. He averaged 2.2 blocks in only 23.3 minutes per game. That extrapulates to 5.7 blocks over 100 possessions. He has long arms and appears to have good instincts tracking the ball in the lane. He is following in the footsteps of fellow Texas shot-blockers before him like Myles Turner and Jarrett Allen. The latter may be the best player comparison for Hayes in today's NBA.

*Hayes is not considered a very good rebounder. He averaged 5.0 per game and only once reached double figures. It could be that he just needs to add some weight, an issue that is correctable but would hurt him even more at the NBA level initially. The worst-case concern is that he is soft and won't do the necessary dirty work.

*At this point, Hayes offers nothing in the way of an outside shot. He didn't attempt a single three-pointer in college and didn't do much on offense outside of dunks and putbacks. In order to justify being taken with a high draft pick, he will either need to develop a post game, an outside shot or be extremely good on defense. His lack of an all-round game will certainly give some teams pause in evaluating him.

*Hayes comes from a family of impressive athletes. His father played 12 seasons in the NFL and recently served as the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. His mother played basketball at Drake University and later coached in college, including a stint as an assistant at Oklahoma. Hayes followed his father's footsteps by playing wide receiver in high school before a growth spurt made it clear basketball was the path to go.

Fit with Wizards: Hayes is one of the best fits for the Wizards among the players who could be available with the ninth pick. He does what they arguably lack the most, which is play defense and more specifically protect the rim.

The Wizards allowed the most field goals within five feet of any team this past season and the third-highest field goal percentage in that range. They desperately need someone who can block and alter shots.

Hayes would likely be the Wizards' best shot-blocker Day 1. But whether he can help them in other ways is a question at this point.

Hayes would represent a bit of a project for the Wizards and may not have All-Star potential because of his offensive limitations. Still, he remains one of their best options in the first round. Long-term, he could transform their defense and form a strong pick-and-roll partner for John Wall.

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