Twins Quillen and Jaillen Howze verbally committed to the UB football team early Wednesday. Quillen and Jaillen are 2021 three-star recruits and they both have one more year in high school, at Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township, MI.
COVID-19 has disrupted some of UB Athletics’ normal operations but it hasn’t prevented the school’s coaches from recruiting, within the confines of the NCAA mandated “dead period,” of course. The program’s 16 head coaches have been busy communicating with student-athletes via phone, email and social media. Some teams have filled out their 2020 classes; others still need to add one or two pieces.
The Edmonton Eskimos selected former UB left guard Tomas Jack-Kurdyla with the fourth pick in the 2020 CFL Draft Thursday night. Jack-Kurdyla was a four-year starter for the Bulls, coming from Vanier College in Montreal.
Last weekend, the NFL Draft gave us a much-needed break from COVID-19. But after tasting live sports for the first time in over a month, our palate is even stronger for something — anything — to come out of the sports world. I don’t profess to know what comes next, but I do have the advantage of being around — metaphorically now — UB Athletics as a sports editor for The Spectrum. Here’s a brief look at the state of UB Athletics, and answers to some of your questions:
For the third straight year, current UB players were shut out of the 2020 NFL draft. Still, the Bulls had four players — two current and two former — land with NFL teams over the weekend. Three of them signed as undrafted free agents; one, former wide receiver K.J. Osborn, heard his name called in the fifth round.
Cheyenne McEvans was born into a basketball family. So it was hardly a surprise when McEvans asked her parents if she could pick up the sport at age five. It was all she knew at the time, bouncing around between the high school gym her mother coached at and family gatherings, where the only thing her cousins wanted to know was when they could go outside and shoot some hoops.
UB football is hoping for better luck this year after getting shut out of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bulls are led by offensive lineman Evin Ksiezarczyk, linebacker Matt Otwinowski and safety Joey Banks, who are all hoping to hear their names called during the draft, which begins Thursday.
The NCAA concluded Tuesday that a former UB men’s basketball assistant coach violated NCAA unethical conduct bylaws last year when he “fraudulently created and submitted documentation for an NCAA waiver” to UB’s Athletics Compliance Office, according to a press release from UB Athletics.
Each passing day reminds sports fans that both the NHL and NBA playoffs should be starting on April 8 and 18, and the MLB season should have started already. With all sports seasons on hold for the foreseeable future, video games have filled a huge void for fans. Twitch’s peak daily users reached 22.7 million in March and Verizon reported that U.S. video game usage increased 75% during the first week of quarantine.
On March 16, UB granted three-star men’s basketball recruit Josiah Freeman a release from his commitment. Freeman’s departure means that the Bulls have filled just 11 of their 13 scholarships prior to the late signing period, which opens Wednesday. UB has added just one recruit to its 2020 class so far: three-star Louisiana point guard Chanse Robinson.
Kristen Maines knew something was coming — she just didn’t know what it was. On March 12, the women’s tennis coach led her team in a scheduled practice at the Miller Tennis Center. But at the same time, leaders from the Mid-American Conference were discussing how COVID-19 would impact their ability to hold future competitions.
One of the top junior college transfers in the country could be joining the UB men’s basketball team next season. Chipola College point guard Malik Zachery has offers from 17 schools and has narrowed his options to Ole Miss, California and UB. He is set to make his decision on April 15, according to Stockrisers.
The Bulls will enter the 2020 football season — if it takes place on time — with two of the top-10 returning edge rushers in the nation, according to Anthony Treash of ESPN. Using a combination of Pro Football Focus grades and PFF’s wins above average metric, Treash placed UB defensive ends Taylor Riggins and Malcolm Koonce on his list of elite returning edge rushers.
Rachel Barich couldn’t wait for her final season at UB. The senior distance runner was ready to show what her lifetime of work had built up to. She was ready for her moment in the spotlight. But the NCAA cancelled all spring-sport seasons on March 12 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving senior athletes without their senior seasons.
Over the past few months, COVID-19 has sent the global economy into a freefall. On Thursday, the virus found yet another economic victim: Division-I athletic programs. The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday to distribute $225 million to Division-I member schools, a 62.5% decrease from the expected $600 million.
UB women’s basketball senior forward Summer Hemphill announced on Twitter Monday that she will be staying on the team for an additional season.