Redskins

No. 21 Minnesota beats North Florida 87-59

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No. 21 Minnesota beats North Florida 87-59

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll knows that the loss to No. 21 Minnesota will help his team later in the season in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

Driscoll said the Ospreys wouldn't face another team as physical as the Gophers, so he offered a different point of view about Saturday's 87-59 loss, stating the games are more important for the individual matchups than the team.

His prime example: junior forward Travis Wallace.

Wallace - making his fifth straight start - scored eight of North Florida's first 16 points as the Osprey's took an early lead against Minnesota. Wallace finished with a season-high 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting and had six rebounds in Saturday's loss, continuing his development as a key starter for North Florida.

``We talked about this the other day privately,'' Driscoll said. ``He's an all-league player and he has the ability to be an all-league player. And when he plays within himself, and he plays within our system, he's an all-league player. Just sometimes, like all kids, sometimes they get out of doing things at certain times and other teams figure things out. You got to be able to fight through that.''

Parker Smith added a team-high 22 points for the Ospreys (3-5), but a season-high 22 turnovers and season-low 35.1 percent shooting doomed North Florida, which had won back-to-back games. The Ospreys were playing without guard Jerron Granberry, who has missed three games since the death of his father, and forward Andy Diaz, who has missed four games with a leg injury.

Diaz's injury opened the door for Wallace to start and Driscoll believes starting has helped Wallace's game grow. He's scored in double-figures in five straight games and adds an interior presence for a team that relies on 3-point shooting. Perhaps playing against the bigger, more physical Gophers will add to Wallace's progression.

Sunday he was matched up often with Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, an athletic 6-foot-8, 245-pound big man who was named to the preseason Lute Olson All-America team. Mbakwe scored 11 points, had six rebounds and three blocks.

``It's just not him, whoever you play you've got to come out there and give it your all,'' Wallace said. ``You got to be physical with them. People at this level, they're all physical, they're all big. You got to find the angles. It's not really who you're playing, its really what you do.''

But Minnesota's physicality was an issue for North Florida. Rodney Williams scored 15 points and had eight rebounds, and Austin Hollins added 12 points for the Gophers (8-1), winners of four straight. Minnesota outrebounded the Ospreys 48-35, including 25 offensive rebounds for the Gophers.

``We really struggled with their physicality,'' Driscoll said, later adding: ``Our room for error in playing these kinds of games is very small. But these guys know that. It isn't like this is the first time they've ever played a ranked team or whatever. It's not like this is new to us, and that's part that struggles for me as a coach because I believe we can win every single game.''

After hitting its first five attempts of the game, the Ospreys made just five shots on 23 shooting the rest of the first half as the Gophers forced tough looks and 11 North Florida turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Minnesota trailed 18-10 with 11:45 to play in the half, but followed with a 20-3 burst that included a 7 1/2-minute scoreless stretch for the Ospreys. Six of the eight field goals during the Gophers' run were layups or dunks.

``The thing that we struggle with is when a team raises its intensity to another level,'' Driscoll said. ``I don't know what their run was, but it seemed like we were stuck on 21 for six, seven minutes.''

Smith connected on just 6 of 19 attempts, including a 3-for-11 mark from the 3-point line.

The Gophers blocked a season-high 13 shots, including a career-high four from Andre Hollins and three from Mbakwe. Minnesota also tied a season high with 15 steals.

Minnesota scored 16 points off turnovers in the first half and used its size advantage to grab 14 offensive rebounds turned into 13 points. The Gophers finished with a season-high 25 offensive boards, ultimately outscoring North Florida 54-24 in the paint.

``We just don't see this kind of girth at our level,'' Driscoll said.

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These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.

Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done

But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.

"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.

Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.

So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.

"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"

Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.

Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.

"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."

Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.

"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

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: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

School: Virginia Tech
Position: Guard
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 204
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.4 FG% (5.6/11.8), 37.4 3PT% (1.7/4.6), 77.8 FT%

Player comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Tomas Satoransky

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 20th, Ringer 16th

5 things to know:

*Walker-Alexander is a big guard known for his offensive skillset. He can handle the ball, pass and score in a variety of ways. He can play both point guard and shooting guard and affect games with his passing at either spot. 

*He was an excellent three-point shooter in college. As a freshman, he shot 39.2 percent from long range on 4.5 attempts per game. His percentage dipped as a sophomore to 37.4 percent, but that was still impressive given he attempted 4.6 shots per game. 

*Walker-Alexander has a plus wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on defense. He averaged 1.9 steals per game this past season in Blacksburg and his highlight reels are flooded with open court dunks off turnovers. He appears to have strong instincts as a perimeter defender, but could struggle initially at the NBA level against quicker and stronger guards.

*Though he has great size and length for a guard, Walker-Alexander is not considered a premier athlete for the position. He does not have elite quickness or the ability to play consistently above the rim. Because of that, some wonder how high his ceiling will be in the NBA. He may, however, have a high floor given his well-rounded game and basketball IQ.

*Walker-Alexander is from Canada. He has played for the national team as a junior and is part of a new wave of players from the country in the NBA. Walker-Alexander was a high school teammate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just enjoyed a strong rookie season with the L.A. Clippers.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards need help at just about every position, so even a guard can't be ruled out. Walker-Alexander would give them more backcourt depth and that is needed long-term, even after John Wall returns from injury.

If Walker-Alexander can develop into an above average perimeter defender, he could be very useful for the Wizards. They need to improve at stopping dribble penetration and three-point shooters. They could use more players with Walker-Alexander's length and ability to force turnovers. Also, he would help spread the floor with his shooting.

All that said, the Wizards could probably find a player with more upside than Walker-Alexander with the ninth overall pick. He would be more in line with their decision to take Troy Brown Jr. last June.

Like Brown, he is smart and a safe bet to carve out a long NBA career. But could Walker-Alexander become an elite player at his position? He seems like a better option if they trade down into the teens and acquire more picks.

Best highlight video:

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