With a little help from the Kansas City Royals’ aggressive brand of opportunism, the New York Mets committed a variety of blunders en route to losing the World Series. But the one that might haunt the team most in the wake of its season-ending 7-2 loss Sunday was the acquiescence of manager Terry Collins to the demand of starting pitcher Matt Harvey to remain on the mound for the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead.Up to that point, Harvey had spun a gem of a game — eight innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts — under pressure-packed circumstances. But he’d also thrown 101 pitches and was navigating his way through the heart of the Royals’ lineup for a dangerous fourth time. Meanwhile, Mets closer Jeurys Familia had been warming up and was about to enter the game… before Collins changed his mind after Harvey lobbied to stay in. (Harvey could be seen in the dugout shouting “no way” at the idea of being replaced.)Three batters later, Harvey had already given up one run and put the eventual tying run on base, effectively giving New York its own version of Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez on the hill in the 2003 ALCS. But how much did it really cost the Mets at each step of the way?Under normal circumstances,1As per wOBA, computed using Baseball-Reference’s Marcel projections and using the MLB average to determine the expected runs per plate appearance in a theoretical matchup between Harvey and hitters No. 3-7 in KC’s lineup. the heart of the Kansas City order would score about 0.36 runs per inning against Harvey, giving the team a corresponding 9 percent probability of scoring at least the two runs required to tie the game. But all else being equal, pitchers going through the order a fourth time see about a 7.5 percent increase to their runs allowed per inning — meaning there was more like a 10 percent chance that the Royals would score two or more runs against Harvey at that stage of the game.Meanwhile, the same Royals batters would have been expected to score about 0.35 runs per inning against a fresh Familia, which corresponds to a 9 percent probability of plating two or more runs. A difference of 1 percentage point may not sound like much, but the start of the ninth inning is already a medium-leverage situation before a pitch is thrown, so even small changes to the probability of getting out of the inning without relinquishing the lead (and therefore winning the game) are amplified.Of course, Collins arguably made a bigger mistake when he declined to pull Harvey even after Harvey allowed a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain. With a tired Harvey in the game, the odds of allowing two or more runs in the inning climbed to 19 percent, as opposed to the 17 percent it would have been against Familia in the same situation. (And after Cain stole second base, those numbers became 20 percent and 18 percent.)Again, the odds were still good that the Mets would be able to record three outs before the Royals scored two runs. Eric Hosmer’s subsequent double would have been an unexpected event whether he hit it off Harvey or Familia — it was the game’s most important play in terms of win probability added — and even after that, the Royals still needed Hosmer’s remarkable heads-up baserunning (and a bad throw by Lucas Duda) to tie the ballgame and force extra innings.So it’s unfair to criticize Collins too much for leaving Harvey on the mound to start the ninth inning. But in a must-win game where every small edge matters, that fateful decision definitely shaved a few percentage points off of New York’s chances of sending the Series back to Kansas City.CORRECTION, Nov. 2, 3:15 p.m.: An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the difference in the probability of the Royals scoring two runs in the ninth if Harvey had been replaced by Familia at the top of the inning. The difference is 1 percentage point, not 1 percent. In addition, the article incorrectly referred to Duda’s throw to home as an error. Although the throw was wide of its mark, it was not officially scored as an error.
DEFENDEREXPECTEDACTUALDIFF.DIFF. PER GAME Hassan Whiteside885764-121-1.57 Gilbert ArenasRonnie Brewer Elton BrandRasheed Wallace Chris WebberMike Miller POINTS AGAINST DEFENDER Since 1980, all players who were traded in the first three years of their career, younger than 23, and ranked in the top 100 of Win Shares through their first two seasons. Kristaps Porzingis812691-121-1.84 Giannis Antetokounmpo811706-105-1.32 Regular season 2016-17. “Expected” value is what a shooter would make against an average defender.Source: NBA Andre Roberson871758-113-1.43 New York is not a place where hope lives long.On the eve of the 2017 NBA Draft, Knicks president Phil Jackson appeared on the team’s MSG Network to explain why the team was entertaining trade offers for Kristaps Porzingis, the best young prospect the franchise has seen since Patrick Ewing. Not that there are many contenders for that particular throne. And while Knicks fans understandably don’t extend much benefit of the doubt to Jackson and the front office, trading a player like Porzingis is practically unheard of, especially for the reasons that the Knicks are considering trading him.Tension between Porzingis and the Knicks rose following a missed exit interview following the season; Porzingis’s brother has acted as an intermediary since. But the rift goes all the way back to the 2015 draft, when Jackson reportedly preferred Duke center Jahlil Okafor for, let’s say unconventional reasons. Following the season, Jackson expressed concerns about Porzingis’s ability to stand up to a full season’s schedule, and bizarrely complimented him for going a full game without taking a 3-pointer. Jackson has openly antagonized star Carmelo Anthony for months, which frustrated Porzingis, who sees Anthony as a mentor. And with the team president in open war with his two best players, the Knicks have held pre-draft workouts accentuating the Triangle offense — a system neither quite fits, and which likely precludes the Knicks’ selecting top prospects such as De’Aaron Fox.According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Knicks, who currently hold the No. 8 pick, have been in touch with every team that has a top-5 pick, and are looking for one of those picks in addition to a talented young star. For instance, Ian Begley reports that potential Phoenix deals include Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss along with the No. 4 pick. But even in the best case scenario, the sort of young player the Knicks could get from the teams in the top five accentuates the trouble with trading a player like Porzingis.Prospects like Chriss or Julius Randle of the Lakers or even Jaylen Brown on the Celtics all have potential, but it’s uncertain whether they’ll fulfill it and become playoff-caliber starters. And that uncertainty goes double for whomever the Knicks draft, whether it’s Jackson’s reported favorite, Kansas’s Josh Jackson, or the big man the team has reportedly eyed as a Porzingis replacement, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen. Porzingis has room to improve as well, but fulfilling potential is much less in doubt — he’s already incredibly valuable on the floor. Rudy Gobert1078903-175-2.16 Draymond Green1066866-200-2.64 Anthony Davis839700-139-1.86 LaMarcus Aldridge706596-110-1.53 Dealing a young player who has made an immediate impact is exceedingly rare. Next to this paragraph is a list of every player since 1980 who was traded in the first three years of his career, despite being 22 or younger (Porzingis is 21) and ranked in the top 100 of Win Shares through his first two seasons.Win Shares aren’t an absolute measure of a player’s worth — Porzingis trails the marks set by fringe NBA players such as Josh Childress and Nenad Kristic through two years — but they’re good enough to give us a broad peer group. For the most part, a team only parts with a promising young player when its hand is forced either by the salary cap or by the player himself.Webber, for instance, had negotiated an opt-out into his rookie deal, and forced a trade due to disagreement with coach Don Nelson. Elton Brand, traded after his second season, was a flight risk at a time before restricted free agency gave home teams an advantage in retaining players. As one of the most valuable rookies ever drafted, Kevin Johnson was traded by the Cavaliers — the worst franchise of the decade — as part of a lopsided deal for Larry Nance and Mike Sanders. Arenas was a second-round pick and restricted free agent. He flipped a coin to decide where to sign; the coin came up Washington and spawned a new rule. You know about James Harden.Under slightly different circumstances, Jackson would have the right idea. The Knicks have needs at virtually every position; talent-poor teams are supposed to roll large assets into smaller ones in the hopes of turning one potential star into two or three starters. But Porzingis isn’t just a prospect. He’s the sort of concrete asset that teams like the Knicks should be turning their organization inside-out to make happy.Porzingis’s offensive numbers flattened out in his sophomore season, which may seem like reason for concern. But underneath modest gains to his overall shooting percentage, Porzingis made improvements in key areas. He scored much better around the rim, improving from 57.6 to 70.1 percent on shots from 0 to 3 feet, and from midrange, improving from 40.5 to 48.2 percent from 10 to 16 feet. This was offset by a nosedive on his percentage on long 2s, but he also took fewer of those shots in his second season in favor of more 3-pointers as he adjusted to the NBA 3-point line. Still, he was a good but not exceptional offensive player in a year when fellow young, big stars Karl-Anthony Towns and (especially) Nikola Jokic had breakout seasons.But while Porzingis has untapped potential on offense, he’s already one of the best defensive players in the league. Here’s a chart showing the defenders who affected opponents’ shot value the most in the regular season1These values are based on the NBA’s player-tracking data, which covers shot location, defender location and other variables. The “expected” value is what a shooter would make against an average defender given shot distance and the time on the shot clock, and the actual value is the result that the listed defender allowed.: Brevin KnightKevin Johnson Hedo TurkogluStephon Marbury Alonzo MourningJoe Smith Jason KiddWayman Tisdale James HardenTerry Cummings Though he isn’t as well known for his defense as peers on this list, his production stands alongside that of some of the best defensive players in the league. Meanwhile, Towns was ranked 79th, and Jokic was 479th out of 485. In an environment where teams are increasingly packing a few specialized skills into their big men, Porzingis’s ability to protect the rim, score inside and stretch the floor make him ready to contribute to a contending team right now, today, even if he isn’t quite ready to carry an offense.In sum, Porzingis’s production outpaces his hype. That makes his place on the trading block something familiar to Knicks fans: a reality even more nightmarish than advertised.VIDEO: Why the No. 1 pick is such a valuable crapshoot The small list of young, good players who were traded Which defenders hampered opponents’ shooting the most? Carlos BoozerMichael Beasley Myles Turner1014890-124-1.53
In a typical year, the NBA’s All-Star break offers the league’s most dysfunctional contenders a chance to reset, take inventory and right what ails them heading into the final stretch before the playoffs. This season, thanks to Cleveland’s moves at the trade deadline, the post-All-Star watch likely will fall to the Oklahoma City Thunder and how it weathers the loss of Andre Roberson, the beating heart of its defense.After an offseason that included acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to combine with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder expected to compete at the highest levels. It hasn’t worked out that way. The team is 33-26 at the break and has lost six of its last nine games. There are all manner of reasons for this, from the obvious difficulties of integrating three high-usage stars to the decline of key players on an already-thin squad. (Offseason acquisition Patrick Patterson, who was a reliable stretch 4 for years in Toronto, has disappointed and tanked the offense while he’s been on the court.) Despite all that, the team seemed to have figured something out by January, when it ran off eight straight wins on the strength of its defense and a newly thriving offense. But late in that stretch, Roberson went down with a ruptured patellar tendon. He was lost for the season, and the Thunder had a whole new sort of crisis.Roberson is a singular player in the NBA. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and at 6-foot-7, he has the size and quickness to guard four positions. Roberson’s effect on the Thunder defense is tremendous. He can switch practically any matchup, cover opposing stars and not only challenge their shots but also dissuade them from even attempting them. His defensive Real Plus-Minus — a stat that heavily favors big men — ranks fourth in the league. Overall, the defense was 12.5 points worse per 100 possessions when he left the floor. His effect doesn’t grade out at quite the same level of Golden State’s Draymond Green or Utah’s Rudy Gobert, but he just about maximizes the impact a perimeter defender can have on a game.Or as Westbrook put it: “I think people outside our building, people across the world always complained about different things Andre didn’t do instead of embracing all the great things he did do. I’ve always embraced Andre and I was always very, very happy he was on my team because of things he did on both sides of the ball. Setting screens, cutting, running the floor. A lot of things that you can’t teach.”Those “things Andre didn’t do,” of course, refer to Roberson being one of the worst regular offensive players in the league. Roberson is a notoriously inept and unwilling shooter. He is shooting 22 percent from the 3-point line this season on a diet of wide-open shots the opposing defense is thrilled to see him take. And yet, his overall effect on the offense doesn’t seem to have been as dire as advertised.Since Roberson went out, Oklahoma City’s defensive rating has been 112.3, which would rank 27th in the league, ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. That’s extreme though not unexpected with Roberson no longer there to cover for weaker defenders like Westbrook or Anthony. But here’s the kick in the head: The team’s offensive ratings has barely budged despite losing one of the worst offensive players in the league, going from 110.9 before Roberson’s injury to 111.8 after it. This is much harder to explain.Roberson didn’t simply deprive his offense of a player who could do a better job of shooting, passing or dribbling. He shrank the court, allowing defenders to roam guilt-free, to harass ballhandlers and make life difficult for anyone establishing post position or running around off-ball screens.So clearly the team would be expected to show more improvement than it has in his absence. But while the overall offense has been flat, the individual stars have thrived with Roberson out. With Roberson on the floor, the Thunder pick and roll barely worked at all, producing just 87 points per 100 chances, according to data from Second Spectrum. It didn’t much matter if it was Westbrook handling the ball (90 points per 100 chances), George (73), Raymond Felton (91) or Carmelo Anthony (94). Without Roberson there, the team’s pick-and-roll points jump to 95. Westbrook and George see especially large jumps without Roberson, landing at 100 and 91 points per 100 chances created on the pick and roll, respectively.It gets stranger: George produced only 77 points per 100 chances on drives with Roberson on the floor; without him, that shot up to 96 — on a significant number of shots. Westbrook, too, goes from 98 points per 100 chances to 105, or the difference between Ish Smith and Victor Oladipo this season. And while Roberson didn’t actually affect the team’s effective field goal percentage overall, both Westbrook and George suffered large drop-offs in their shooting numbers when they shared the court with him.But the Thunder have yet to capitalize on the additional space available with Roberson out. Westbrook has played well in some ways, creating at James Harden/Chris Paul levels on the pick and roll, and poorly in others, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three in the games since Roberson’s injury. George has been hot from the three — he’s hit at least five 3-pointers in four consecutive games — and has averaged 29.6 points on a 62 effective field goal percentage through those 10 games. But Anthony has gone absolutely dormant, and both he and Westbrook missed two games to injury.There’s plenty to be encouraged by over these past few games. George looks like a different player without Roberson, and all may be right if he and Westbrook are both firing at close to optimal levels by the playoffs. Further, second-year shooter Alex Abrines, seeing increased minutes with Roberson out, has run hot and cold, shooting 35 percent on threes overall since the injury. That should improve over time.But even so, the offense taking a dip despite subtracting a guy who may be the single worst offensive player who’s actually allowed to play s troubling, and Oklahoma City doesn’t have an obvious source of those unteachable qualities Westbrook mentioned — the cutting, the running, the screens. The Thunder’s stars may finally have the room to operate as stars, but its problems are now ones not solved easily by star power.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Sugar Bowl MVP Terrelle Pryor had surgery Friday to “stabilize a ligament” in his right foot, an Ohio State spokesman confirmed to The Lantern. Pryor tweeted about 4:30 p.m., “Surgery successful.” At noon on Saturday, Pryor posted, “I’m doing good. Resting. Foot up. Can’t do much but lay around. And write in my journal.” Pryor injured his foot during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 31-26 win over Arkansas. He sat out a play on OSU’s penultimate drive, replaced by backup Joe Bauserman. Pryor was limping considerably following the game and said he was in a lot of pain. The junior quarterback threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 115 yards against the Razorbacks. Pryor is one of five OSU players suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after the NCAA learned those players sold memorabilia to the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor in 2009. NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from receiving benefits based on their personae. Pryor said repeatedly that he will return to OSU for his senior season. Coach Jim Tressel made the five suspended players pledge to return before granting them permission to travel with the team to New Orleans for the bowl game.
A second shot to stop one team; that’s what Ohio State is facing Saturday when it plays Kansas in the Final Four. The rematch will take one of the teams closer to their goal of being a national champion, but don’t bother tallying up statistics to try to calculate whether OSU can or will proceed to the national title game. The trip is the first for the Buckeyes since 2007. Also advancing to the Final Four are Louisville and Kentucky, who will play at about 6 p.m. Saturday. After defeating the NCAA Tournament East Region’s No. 1-seed Syracuse, OSU’s confidence has grown. They are connected on defense, although the offense seems to struggle at times. It’s an ongoing storyline for the Buckeyes, never knowing which player will get hot at the right time. For instance, OSU sophomore guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. went off with 18 points in the win against Syracuse, and trailed only sophomore forward Jared Sullinger, who had 19 points, against the Orange. Senior guard William Buford was quiet for stretches of the contest. Meanwhile in the Midwest Region, Kansas defeated North Carolina, 80-67. The Jayhawks finished strong as senior guard Tyshawn Taylor finished with 22 points while junior forward Thomas Robinson, the Big 12 Player of the Year, tallied 18. With all the momentum you can possibly have on your side after winning a regional final in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas has proven it has the total package as it looks to knock down OSU for the second time this year. The last time these two teams met, OSU was been without big man Sullinger and Robinson was on fire, scoring a career-high 21 points. The Buckeyes were defeated, 78-67. So, what exactly does OSU have to do? Buford has to shoot higher than 1-of-5 at the arc like he did against Syracuse and be the senior leader people expect him to be. But statistics don’t always tell the story, especially in the Final Four. How the teams push through adversity Saturday is what will set these two highly competitive teams apart. I think OSU will come out strong mentally and physically to make it to the last man standing. The stat lines and box scores are diminished at this point in the season. The injuries and the season’s ups and downs go out the window. It’s about who wants it more and who comes ready to fight to the very last second at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday with about 74,400 people cheering the players on. This is the Final Four. Here we go.
Last week was the start of something new for American fans of the English Premier League; it was also the start of something great. For years now, Fox Soccer Channel has dictated how we watched a sport loved across the world, but after the debut of NBC Sports Group coverage of the EPL on Aug. 17, I believe we can now breathe a sigh of relief.Back in October 2012, NBC Sports Network bought the rights to show EPL matches when it outbid Fox and ESPN, although Fox will still carry the UEFA Champions League and ESPN, the Fifa World Cup, who had been airing the matches together for nearly two decades, with a bid of roughly $250 million. I never had anything against the way Fox broadcasted the matches at the time, but after experiencing NBCSN, I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that I don’t want it to go back to the way it was.When Fox Soccer aired the matches, you were required to have a Fox Soccer 2 Go subscription if you wanted to watch any matches that were not aired live on TV. This subscription could be purchased in two separate ways. A monthly subscription would have cost you $19.99 per month, or you could opt to pay for the subscription annually, paying $169.99, saving you roughly $70 a year. With this subscription, you gained access to watch thousands of matches from the EPL to the Champions League on your computer and mobile devices, but it cost you a pretty penny.This brings me to the best part of NBCSN coverage of the EPL. Not only will NBCSN air all 380 EPL matches, but they also offer both Premier League Extra Time and NBC Sports Live Extra at no extra cost to everyone who has NBC Sports. Premier League Extra Time is a collection of extra channels that air any match not shown on an NBCUniversal designated channel and NBC Sports Live Extra offers EPL viewers the capability to stream every match live using a desktop or a mobile device for no extra charge. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is supported by both Apple iOS and Android.This may sound too good to be true for EPL fans, but currently the only downside to NBCSN airing the matches is that not every cable provider is currently carrying NBCSN. However, NBCSN claims on its website that it is working hard on adding other providers to a list that already contains WOW!, AT&T U-Verse, DISH and DirecTV.NBCSN is receiving positive feedback from fans too, as last weekend’s EPL debut earned an average of 792,000 viewers and the best rating for an EPL opening weekend in the U.S. with a 0.8. These numbers show a 43 percent increase from last year when the matches were still shown on Fox Soccer. This significant increase is due partly to the sport gaining more fans across the U.S. but also because of the coverage offered by NBCSN.
Senior wide receiver, Corey Brown (10), reaches for the end zone for the first Ohio State touchdown of the game. OSU won against Iowa, 34-24, Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor It took just over three quarters, but the Ohio State football team finally managed to put Iowa away, winning 34-24 and extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 19 games.The Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-2) were in control of the game from the outset, as senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz caught a two-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock to end a 12 play, 80-yard drive to open the game.OSU (7-0, 3-0) cut the lead to 7-3 after Drew Basil’s 27-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, but Iowa made it 10-3 when Mike Meyer connected on a 28-yard kick of his own.Junior quarterback Braxton Miller then hit senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown on a 58-yard strike on the next drive to tie the game. It was Brown’s sixth touchdown reception of the season.OSU coach Urban Meyer said he was proud of the way that Brown played, citing how he has become more of a leader on the team since senior safety Christian Bryant went down with an injury.“When you lose a Christian Bryant-I keep looking for that next guy and I found him, I think,” Meyer said. “It’s No. 10, Philly Brown. The emotional guy that’s in the locker room and the kickoff team. He was outstanding.”Iowa fired back, though, as Rudock found junior wideout Kevonte Martin-Manley from six yards out to put Iowa ahead at halftime, 17-10.OSU knotted the score again after Carlos Hyde ran for a one yard score to open the second half. The Buckeyes took their first lead of the game at 24-17, when Miller found junior wide receiver Devin Smith for a 14-yard score with a little over three minutes to play in the third.Miller, who ran for 102 yards in the win, said he has not physically felt this good since the beginning of the season.“I had a knee injury and it set me back a little bit, but (I) felt pretty good out there, good week of preparation,” Miller said. “And the O-line did a hell of a job and coaching and it showed it on the field.”Iowa again fought back, as Rudock found sophomore tight end Jake Duzey for an 85-yard score down the right sideline.Meyer said he was “very concerned” about the defense after giving up a play like that.Hyde gave OSU the lead for good when he ran for his second score of the game, this one from 19 yards out. The Buckeyes’ running back broke numerous tackles on the play, leaping over two defenders for the score.“I never had a run like that (before),” Hyde said. “I was just trying to catch my balance and once I did I turned around and I see Philly Brown with an unbelievable block…I got so excited and I hadn’t even scored yet when I saw the block. And then I just went in for a touchdown.”Basil kicked another field goal that put OSU up by 10, and redshirt-freshman Tyvis Powell recorded his first interception of his career when he picked off Rudock just over four minutes to play. The Buckeyes were able to run out the clock to preserve the 10-point victory and stay unbeaten.OSU had to play most of the game without their top cornerback, redshirt-junior Bradley Roby, who was ejected from the game for targeting a defenseless receiver in the first quarter. It is the first time an OSU player has been called for targeting this season.“I’m curious to find out the rule and the replay official,” Meyer said of the play. “That’s supposed to be all replay. If that’s not true, then I need an answer.”Miller finished the game 22 of 27 passing for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and Hyde carried the ball 24 times for 149 yards and two more scores.The win tied OSU for the second longest winning streak in school history, at 19 games, with the 2002-03 Buckeyes.Junior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the team as a whole team has great confidence in itself to keep the streak alive.“That’s something really special about this team is there’s never any doubt that we’re not going to win that game,” Heuerman said. “No matter what the score is, no matter if the offense is getting stopped or defense is getting run through, there’s never any doubt and we always know we’re going to win the game.”OSU is scheduled to take on Penn State next weekend at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
OSU coach Urban Meyer watches the Buckeyes during a game against Purdue Nov. 2 at Ross-Ade Stadium. OSU won, 56-0.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorOhio State junior wide receiver Evan Spencer made national headlines Monday when he told the media he thought OSU’s football team could “wipe the field” with the top ranked teams in college football.Although Spencer acknowledged he was “a little bit biased” before making that comment, and chuckled as he said it, OSU coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday he was displeased with what Spencer said.“I’m very disappointed. I can’t stand that,” Meyer said during Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference. “What he believes and what goes on inside the locker room certainly doesn’t need to be in the papers and all that. I just don’t, I don’t like disrespecting other teams.”Meyer said the media should not expect Spencer to be available for a comment for a “long, long time” as a result of what the wide receiver said Monday.“You don’t do that, that’s not good sportsmanship and that’s not just what we expect,” Meyer said. “I understand he’s a young man that made a minor mistake but we just don’t do that. You talk about your teammates, you talk about the team and move on.”Spencer, who has caught 21 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns for the Buckeyes this season, apologized for his comments Monday via Twitter.“I did not mean to disrespect any FB team today. I am confident in my team, and as is evident in the video (of the interview), I was having fun…” Spencer’s first tweet read. “… With the media answering their questions. I should have chosen my words more wisely. There was no intent to disrespect any other team,” he finished.The No. 3-ranked Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) are looking to remain undefeated and tie the school record for most consecutive wins at 22 with a victory against Illinois (3-6, 0-5) Saturday.“We’ve not spent much time talking about (tying the record) … we’ll address that probably if that does occur,” Meyer said. “That’s certainly not something we’re using as motivation right now but I think any time a player plays at a place like Ohio State and you can make a name or a dent in this great tradition that it’s certainly worth being recognized for it.”
Then-sophomore defensive lineman Adolphus Washington (92) gets up after tackling an opposing player during the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium. OSU lost, 40-35.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAll it takes to end a career early is an injury.Even if the injury itself isn’t of a significant nature, the possibility remains that the player who steps in as a replacement can do such a good job that the original starter loses his place forever.For junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington, that possibility became all too real for the briefest of moments last season. After injuring his groin against San Diego State Sept. 7, Washington watched then-freshman Joey Bosa come in and claim the starting defensive end position, opposite then-sophomore Noah Spence.But a late season switch saw Washington take up a position on the interior of the line, something that could take a career that was once hanging by a thread and turn it into something completely different.Now with Washington “inside for good,” he said he has been improving this offseason with the different style of play on the inside.“I’ve been doing real good with it this spring,” Washington said Thursday. “Especially going up against guys like (redshirt-sophomore offensive lineman) Pat Elflein and (redshirt-junior offensive lineman) Tommy Brown. If I can do it against them, I know I can do it against pretty much anybody.”New defensive line coach Larry Johnson said Washington has the right skill set to be successful as an interior lineman.“You always want a three-tackler, a guy that’s going to get a lot of one-on-ones and have an ability to rush the passer,” Johnson said Thursday. “He’s 285, 290 and that’s big enough to play inside. So you have to take a skilled guy who’s rushed on the edge and play inside and play as a guard position, it’s going to give you a different edge on the inside. That’s what I’m excited about. He’s got great hips, he can rush the passer, so there should be some great things coming from him.”But it’s not just the skill set Washington brings that has Johnson raving, it’s also the drive Washington shows on the practice field.“He’s worked really hard,” Johnson said. “He’s had a really good … spring ball. He really has. We moved him inside because of the pass rush ability, he’s playing the run real nice and then he’s doing a great job for us.”Last season, in limited time, Washington recorded 36 tackles, to go along with four tackles for a loss and two sacks.Even though he played on the interior later in the year after Bosa became established as the defensive end starter, Washington said he was uneasy when practice first started, but that things have improved.“At first I was kind of nervous and scared about it. But now that I got a hold of it, it’s whatever. I am just going to go out there and play,” Washington said.He added that sometimes having to face multiple blockers at once — compared to the one he would face at end more often than not — is what really made him nervous.“The double teams. I used to watch … (senior defensive lineman) Michael Bennett used to tell me about them and he used to be like ‘You just have to get your pads low and fly off the ball,’” Washington said. “So I am like, ‘I can do that’ if that’s all it takes. I can just do that.”Johnson said facing the double teams won’t be a problem for Washington, as long as he pays attention and learns from his coaches.“Talk technique to him. Show him how to fit the double teams, and he’s doing a great job for us so far in spring ball, doing that and as he does it, confidence will come in the run game,” Johnson said. “I’ve been really excited for all these guys, Adolphus has done a really good job for us.”Washington is likely set to have his second chance to start on the interior of the line for the Buckeyes — after starting the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson — when OSU opens its season Aug. 30 against Navy.Kickoff is scheduled for noon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
OSU freshman defender Kylie Knight fights for a ball during a game against West Virginia on Sept. 11 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 2-0. Credit: Kylie Bryant / For The LanternThe No. 15 Ohio State women’s soccer team hosted No. 8 West Virginia on Friday evening at 7 p.m., falling to the Mountaineers 2-0.The defeat was the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season.Throughout the entire first half, the Mountaineers played a tight defense and the Buckeyes couldn’t get anything going. OSU and WVU seemed to fight through every possession and headed into halftime with no score on the board for either team, but the Mountaineers held a commanding 12-1 lead in shots.“I think the first thing was that we had very good possession, we were keeping the ball, but our possession was not progressing forward,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “We needed to be able to gain space with every pass and we just kept knocking the ball around the back, around the back, around the back and that’s not ever engaging a team.”The Mountaineers put the first point on the board in the 77th minute, with their second goal scored less than two minutes later.Despite the loss, Walker said after the game that she was glad the team had a chance to learn from a strong opponent like WVU.“This was a fantastic opportunity for us to play against a team that I think is going to go very far this year. And we learned a lot,” she said. “And so there’s a lot we can gain from this, and as long as we don’t lose the lessons, the loss won’t hurt us that much.”The Mountaineers led the Buckeyes 23-5 in shots.The Scarlet and Gray then hosted Bucknell on Sunday afternoon, shutting out the Bison 2-0.The game marked the first meeting between the two teams.Sunday was also Parents’ Day, where each player’s parents were honored on the field at the start of the game.OSU put the first point on the board with a goal by junior defender Bridget Skinner on a header from sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts’ free kick.The opening score was Skinner’s first career goal.“I was so happy,” Skinner said. “I actually said on Friday morning that that was my goal for the season, so to have that come in the same weekend was pretty cool.”The second half got underway with a goal from freshman midfielder Sarah Roberts in the 50th minute, deflected off a Bucknell defender. This was also Roberts’ first career goal.“It’s surreal,” Roberts said. “I don’t think I really expected it. I haven’t been taking that many shots this year, but Coach had said everybody needs to take at least one shot before halftime, and after halftime, so I had my chance and I took it.”Roberts also explained the importance of carrying the team’s momentum into Big Ten play.“I think we need to learn from our mistakes,” she said. “Watch film, break it down. We’re 5-1-1, and that’s huge going into Big Ten play where the teams are going to be harder, they’re going to be stronger, everything elevated to the next level. So, if we can carry our momentum through the Big Ten, I think we’re going to be competing for the championship.”Walker said she was pleased with the way her team bounced back from Friday night’s loss.“I think the biggest challenge coming off of a loss against a top team is to have a high level of energy, and certainly playing at noon on a Sunday it’s important to wake up and really find that quick rhythm, and I thought we did that today,” she said.The Scarlet and Gray now prepare for conference play as they enter 5-1-1 on the season. “We’re still trying to play faster, all the time, just trying to increase your speed to play,” Walker said. “The faster you can play, the quicker you can pull defenses apart.”The Buckeyes are set to open up Big Ten play in Columbus on Thursday evening as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sonny Milano (22) celebrates after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Oct. 6, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of TNSThe Columbus Blue Jackets’ first two games of the 2017-18 NHL season couldn’t have been much different. They rocked Nationwide Arena Friday with a 5-0 victory on opening night against the New York Islanders before losing at Chicago 5-1 Saturday. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner, recorded a franchise record 20th shutout with the Jackets in the first game, then rested the next night while Joonas Korpisalo got the start in net.Here are some headlines from Week 1 of the Blue Jackets’ season.Panarin impressesArguably the No. 1 storyline coming into the season for Columbus was what type of impact Artemi Panarin would have. The big offseason acquisition, who came to Columbus via a trade with Chicago for Brandon Saad, wasted no time Friday making his presence felt.The left winger tallied three assists in his team debut, setting a franchise record for most points in such a game. His first assist came on an odd-man rush created at the Islanders blue line where right wing Cam Atkinson intercepted the pass as New York attempted to clear the zone. He dropped it to Panarin who dashed to the right side of the net, sent the puck to Atkinson, who deflected it into the net off his skate“Saader lights it up there. They have a good player there in Chicago. We got a pretty damn good one here,” head coach John Tortorella said Friday.Panarin’s speed and his ability to take the puck from end to end are skills the Blue Jackets front office sought out in an effort to be an elite offensive team this season. His two other assists came on a delayed penalty in the second period, when he found defenseman Ryan Murray to the right of the net, and on the powerplay just four minutes later.A few times on defense as well, Panarin positioned himself well and be productive on the back-check.“He’s known for his scoring … I didn’t realize how much work he puts into the other part,” Tortorella said. “I thought it was going to be a little bit of a learning curve in that part of the game. From Day 1, he’s been involved, he’s asked questions; we didn’t have to go to him, he came to us. He had a couple really good back-checks [Friday].”Milano and Dubois score first NHL goalsThe loud expectations put on the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2017-18 season were matched with cannon fire early and often in Friday night’s season opener. Left winger Sonny Milano netted his first career NHL goal just one minute and seven seconds into the season to start a three-goal first period.For the team’s final goal of the night, left winger Pierre-Luc Dubois recorded his first career goal in his anticipated debut. After being selected as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Dubois failed to make the roster in his first camp, but the 19-year-old earned a spot this season and was moved to left wing to allow him to play freely. He said that despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, the depth at forward can be a stronghold.“I had a chance to perform on a two-on-one and kind of wanted that one back,” Dubois said. “So to get another chance like that and a nice play from [defenseman Seth Jones] at the blue line, it felt good.”Milano was one of six players taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft that hadn’t yet played a full season with his club. His goal Friday and another Saturday in Chicago were examples of his unwillingness to play another season in Cleveland. “Sonny, there were some great teaching situations for me with him where he tried to do too much at certain times, but then he made some really smart plays as far as simplifying,” Tortorella said. “That’s where I’m going to keep my thumb on him, just making sure he makes simple plays, and then when the offensive chances come, he’s on his own.”Looking aheadThe Blue Jackets begin a three-game week at Carolina Tuesday night with right winger Josh Anderson back in the lineup. Anderson sat out all of training camp because of an elongated contract dispute that ended in a three-year deal worth less than $2 million per year. Anderson was recalled from Cleveland after passing a conditioning test Monday.There will likely be several line changes Tuesday with Anderson’s arrival. Tortorella put Anderson on the third line with left winger Matt Calvert and center Brandon Dubinsky. Centers Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg swapped the top two lines, and Milano was shifted to the fourth line, despite scoring twice last week.Top performersArtemi Panarin – three assists, three points (franchise record for most points in Jackets debut)Sonny Milano – two goals, two pointsAlexander Wennberg – two assists, two pointsNick Foligno – two assists, two pointsGoaltending:Sergei Bobrovsky – (1-0), 29 saves, zero goals allowed, one shutoutJoonas Korpisalo – (0-1), 24 saves, five goals allowedIn the circle (faceoff record, faceoff percentage, EV record, PP record, SH record)Brandon Dubinsky – 21-19, 52.5, 18-15, 2-0, 1-4Alexander Wennberg – 11-21, 34.4, 10-18, 1-2, 0-1Nick Foligno – 19-5, 79.2, 17-4, 2-1, 0-0Lukas Sedlak – 7-10, 41.2, 7-9, 0-0, 0-1Team: 59-57 overall, ranked 14thSpecial teams units:Powerplay – 1-for-2 vs. NYI; 0-for-2 vs. Chicago (25 percent overall, ranked tied-seventh)Penalty kill – 1-for-1 vs. NYI; 1-for-2 vs. Chicago (66.7 percent overall, ranked tied-27)Up next: 10/10 – at Carolina (1-0-0)10/13 – vs. New York Rangers (1-2-0)10/14 – at Minnesota (0-1-1)
Ohio State’s Cole Gorski celebrates in mid-air at the Simmons-Harvey Quad in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 21, 2018. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterPole vault will be one of the main events Friday at the Buckeye Tune Up, a 22-team meet featuring schools from all three divisions along with some unattached athletes who compete in the meet, but are not affiliated with a team during the competition.Ohio State is having a historic year in both men’s and women’s pole vault. Senior Cole Gorski set the men’s program record at 5.47 meters this season and senior Madison Roberts set the women’s program record at four meters. Along with the record holders, junior Coty Cobb is third all-time at Ohio State and sophomore Megan Hoffman is also third all-time for the Buckeyes.“They are aggressive, they are competitive, and they are humble and are willing to take criticism,” pole vault coach Rob Banhagel said.The meet will feature Cincinnati, which also has two indoor pole vault program record holders in seniors Adrian Valles and Brooke Catherine.Men’s previewValles and Gorski will meet again for the second straight matchup in the friendly rivalry. The two competed against one another in the Music City Challenge, with Gorski finishing ahead of Valles.“Him and I enjoy jumping against each other because we really push each other to that next height,” Gorski said.Cobb has a chance to qualify for the national championships this weekend, with the bar reaching 5.41 meters during the event. Cobb’s current personal record is 5.35 meters, currently 22nd in the country. He only has two chances remaining to qualify for the national championship.“I do believe that this is the meet that this happens for me,” Cobb said.Banhagel said given how deep the team is into the season, training is not as intense. He added that right now the team is not continuing to build from where it is, but rather just trying to stay at its current level.“We’re not lifting to build. We are lifting to maintain,” Banhagel said.Gorski, like many members of the team, has focused on individual work, including how to move his body through the air to clear the bar. His practice has included working with bigger poles and improving his running technique to influence his body movement in air. Along with the competition faced in the meet, this will be Gorski’s last chance this season to earn the French Field House record, which was set in 1988 by Illinois’ Dean Starkey at 5.53 meters. “It’s time for that record to finally come down,” Banhagel said.Women’s PreviewOhio State’s Roberts and Hoffman will face Catherine and Austin Peay’s junior Savannah Amato in a rematch of last week’s Music City Challenge.Catherine placed the highest out of the four in Nashville, claiming third place with a jump of 4.26 meters. Roberts, Hoffman and Amato all finished at the same mark of 3.92. Of the three, Amato has the highest personal record.This matchup also includes a friendly rivalry between Amato and Hoffman. They jumped together in the summers before Hoffman came to Ohio State.When the pair are on the track, the focus is solely on the competition. Getting into the competition mentality was the main focus for Hoffman coming into the meet.For Roberts, this meet is all about being consistent and trying to make the marks to qualify for the national championships. The qualifying mark is currently at 4.26 and is held by Catherine. “We might not be a pole vault school, but we are certainly becoming one,” coach Richard Ebin said.
Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith talks to junior wide receiver Eric Glover-Williams prior to fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Former Sports Editor.Former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith might have been fired on July 23, but exactly a month since he lost his job due to allegations of domestic abuse, his time at Ohio State remains on the forefront of the minds of many.Smith’s tenure and history only grew in importance after Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.After nearly a 12-hour meeting that left the public without any insight until an 8:50 p.m. press conference, questions still remain on how Smith kept his job, or even started, at Ohio State for so long.“This particular case did not give me the red flags to cause me to [include others in the investigation], and I failed in that regard,” Athletic Director Gene Smith said.At the end of the night, Gene Smith had been suspended until Sept. 16 for his failing “to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes,” according to the statement.Head coach Urban Meyer also received a suspension for the first three games of the season, but can return to the team for practices on Sept. 2.“Permitting such misconduct to continue is not consistent with the values of the University and reflects poorly on Coach Meyer, Athletic Director Smith, and the University,” the statement said.With a two-week investigation, followed by a 12-hour meeting and suspensions given to two of the biggest names at Ohio State, the Meyer investigation ended, seemingly, as dramatically as it started. But can a mistake like Zach Smith’s six-year tenure be avoided in the future?For Meyer, the problem came from his strong relationship with former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce.Meyer said his relationship with Bruce “likely impacted” his treatment of Zach Smith over the years.“I followed my heart, not my head and fell short in pursuing all information because, at each juncture, I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt,” Meyer said. “I should have demanded more from him and recognized red flags. I needed to show more care and concern for the entirety of the situation.”Zach Smith’s “red flags” include a 2009 incident when he allegedly picked up his now-ex-wife, Courtney Smith, and threw her against the wall. Other “red flags” include a handful of police reports from 2015 to 2018 made by Courtney Smith that range from him refusing to give their children back to her to Smith “relentlessly stalking” and “harassing” her.When asked about what Meyer would say to Courtney Smith, he only had this to say “for everyone involved.”“I’m sorry that we’re in this situation.”Gene Smith said he was unaware of the Zach Smith incident in 2009, and University President Michael Drake said it has to do with the system in place at the time.“The policies that were in place then were the policies that were in place then, and as Gene said, background checks were done as they are with all employees,” Drake said. “I know he spoke with HR today about things we can do to have more information when hiring and that would be something that would be an improvement for the future.”Gene Smith might not have known about Zach Smith’s history when he was hired in 2012. Meyer might have given Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt back in 2009.But, Smith stayed on the Ohio State staff for six years, and the “red flags” came for years before his eventual dismissal a month ago.“As the head coach, you’re ultimately responsible for everybody’s behavior, and that’s a very difficult thing to do we all know that,” Meyer said. “However, there were red flags and I had wished I had known, I wish I had did a better job at finding things out, I wish I was told more things.”Text messages between Courtney Smith and Meyer’s wife, Shelley, in 2015 showing images of alleged abuse are just more “red flags,” though Urban Meyer said at the press conference that he did not know about these texts back in 2015.Gene Smith and Meyer serve their time over the next few weeks, but not without plenty of questions about what could have been done earlier, and how many “red flags” were missed for years until Zach Smith was fired.
Ohio State No. 3 senior Micah Jordan, looks for the single-leg takedown against Malik Amine of Michigan in the 149-pound bout. Jordan wins by decision, 17-4. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternOhio State and Penn State is a duel, a clash of the titans pitting 17 ranked wrestlers against each other. The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) will take on No. 1 Penn State at home on Friday. The Nittany Lions (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) won their last match against then No. 4 Michigan 25-11, which kept them undefeated on the season.Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said both teams are “loaded,” and that it will be a must-watch duel.“This is kind of what you would dream of as a wrestler to be in an event like this,” Ryan said.The Buckeyes are coming off a 27-15 victory against Northwestern on Sunday while winning six of 10 bouts. Ohio State redshirt junior Kollin Moore, the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 197 pounds, will try and remain undefeated, but will enter as an underdog for the first time all season, taking on Penn State undefeated first-ranked redshirt senior Bo Nickal.Nickal has won two straight NCAA titles and has a 90-3 career record. But Moore said being an underdog does not faze him.“I have been in a lot of big matches and I can wrestle really well,” Moore said. “I think I have proven that I’m one of the top wrestlers in the country.”Ohio State senior Myles Martin, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 184 pounds and undefeated on the season, will be tested against Penn State sixth-ranked redshirt senior Shakur Rasheed, who has not lost in 15 bouts.Ohio State senior Joey McKenna, the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 141 pounds, will return after missing the past two duels due to an undisclosed injury. He will square off against Penn State sixth-ranked sophomore Nick Lee, who has only lost once this season. “Joey is at another level, there is a handful of college wrestlers that are really elite and [McKenna] is one of them,” Ryan said. “We need to hold our ground and get bonus points when we can.”Ohio State redshirt freshman Ethan Smith, the No. 17 wrestler in the country at 174 pounds, will face Penn State first-ranked junior Mark Hall, who is undefeated in 19 matches.Hall won the NCAA title at 174 pounds in 2017, and has lost only four of his 67 career matches. Despite being in his second year at Ohio State, Smith said he is confident heading into his match against such a prominent opponent.“I can’t put [the match] on a pedestal too much, and let it get inside my head so I’m just going to go out there like it is any other match,” Smith said. “I don’t think I’m afraid to shoot or get in on anyone in the country.”No. 6 Ohio State will take on No. 1 Penn State at St. John Arena at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
Ohio State freshman Jack Stevens (19) hits the ball over the net at the game against George Mason on Jan. 18 at St. John Arena in Columbus. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Senior ReporterOhio State accomplished something Thursday that no other team in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association has done so far this season: force a fourth and fifth set on No. 10 Lewis. The Buckeyes (5-10, 1-4 MIVA) stretched Lewis (12-4, 5-0 MIVA) to five sets, but could not complete the upset, losing 25-21, 18-25, 24-26, 25-17 and 15-11. With the third set tied at 23, a long volley ended as junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss killed a ball over the net giving the Buckeyes set point. Lewis forced overtime after a kill by junior outside hitter Kyle Bugee, but a kill by redshirt senior middle blocker Blake Leeson and an error by the Flyers awarded the Buckeyes a third set victory and a two sets-to-one edge over the Flyers, ensuring a five-set match. Leeson hit for .769 with 10 kills on 13 attacks, also providing an ace and six block assists. He said he saw steadiness in his teammates, keeping the Buckeyes focused. “Everyone played more relaxed and didn’t freak out as much over errors,” Leeson said. “I was honestly pretty proud of sets and aspects of the game across the board, but [we’ve] got to push a little harder in spots and not make errors in others to flip that switch to a W.” In the first set, Ohio State used kills by Leeson and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tyler Alter to cut the Flyer lead to one. But Lewis rode kills by redshirt junior outside hitter Ryan Coenen and redshirt senior Julian Moses, as well as senior setter Matt Yoshimoto’s second ace of the night to put the set away for Lewis, 25-21. Coenen led the Flyers with 14 kills and two aces, adding seven digs and two block assists. Alter served as the offensive engine for the Buckeyes, leading the team with 19 kills, while bolstering the defense with nine digs and three block assists. He recorded 16 of his 19 kills in the first three sets. Head coach Pete Hanson was impressed to see Alter flourish with little collegiate volleyball experience. “I thought in the first three-and-a-half sets, Tyler Alter was awesome. He had a great night,” Hanson said. “At one point in time he was hitting close to .500, which for a kid that’s only played literally in — that was his second match in three years, that’s really really good stuff.” But where Ohio State seemed to have momentum in the first three sets, Lewis started to take over as the match wore on. Midway through the fourth set, Lewis used a kill by Coenen and two Buckeye errors to take an 11-7 advantage. A kill by sophomore middle blocker Austin Gerwig helped Ohio State trim the lead to two. But the Flyers capitalized on a kill by Coenen and two Buckeye errors to stretch their lead to five, 18-13. The Flyers finished the set on a 5-1 run, taking the fourth set 25-17 and forcing a fifth set. “The longer it went on the more we just kind of got into bad spots with our serving and passing and that affected our setting and that affected our hitting and just dominoes started to go the other direction,” Hanson said. After the Buckeyes exploded in the fifth set for four quick points courtesy of two kills by sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand, a Buckeye block and a Flyer error, Lewis responded with a six-point run of its own, building a 7-4 lead. Each comeback the Buckeyes mounted, the Flyers cut short, using five blocks and 10 digs to defend their lead and finish off the set, 15-11, and the match, 3-2. Despite the loss, Leeson is keeping things optimistic. “This is the best I’ve seen us play in awhile,” Leeson said. “I’m excited to see where we’re at.” Ohio State will try again for a league win against Loyola Chicago at 2 p.m. on Sunday at St. John Arena.
Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson attempts a dunk against Indiana on Feb 10 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. Photo: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter two seasons with Ohio State, sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson is attempting to make his name in the NBA.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said on Wednesday that Wesson will enter his name in the 2019 NBA Draft, while still maintaining his NCAA eligibility.“I fully support him in going through this process, and we’re gonna walk through it with him,” Holtmann said.Wesson has played in 65 games over his two seasons for the Buckeyes, averaging more than 10 points and four rebounds in both seasons. In the 2018-19 season, Wesson led the team with 14.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.Wesson will be able to return to Ohio State if he goes undrafted or withdraws his name prior to the NBA Draft.
And according to the latest figures, even those marriages which ultimately end in divorce are lasting longer than in the past.The median duration of such a marriage stood at 11.7 years in 2014, compared with 9.6 years in 1995 and 8.9 years a decade before that. Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.Marriages have been lasting longer over the last three decades. Median duration of marriage, England and Wales, 1963 to 2014Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: line chart.line with 52 data points.The chart has 1 X axis displaying values.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.Marriages have been lasting longer over the last three decadesMarriages have been lasting longer over the last three decades – Highcharts CloudMarriages have been lasting longer over the last threedecadesMarriages have been lasting longer over the last three decadesMedian duration of marriage, England and Wales, 1963 to 20141970198019902000201002.557.51012.515Source: ONS Fewer couples are marrying but those who do are more likely to stay togetherCredit:Alamy She argued that the virtual abolition of legal aid, prenuptial agreements and house prices could be the real cause.Sir Paul Coleridge, former High Court family judge and founder of Marriage Foundation, said: “It really is heartening news during the season of family goodwill that the number of intact families is not declining despite the generally held myth that divorce is simply set to get worse and worse.“In fact there have been two bits of good ‘marriage’ news in the last week. Today’s news that newlyweds are doing better than any time since 1974 and last week’s news that there has been barely any increase in cohabitation among new parents.“Just perhaps people are at last beginning to understand that making a formal and public commitment to one another before having a child is about the best insurance policy against future family breakdown that it is possible to obtain.” But Collette Bailey, partner in the Family team at Gardner Leader, claimed that despite the apparent shift away from divorce many people would prefer to split but cannot afford to. For those married in 1999 in Eng&Wales, 31% had divorced within 15 years (compared to 20% for those married in 1969) https://t.co/lGRkqwvHak— Elizabeth McLaren (@StatsLiz) December 5, 2016 One family lawyer said cohabitation appeared to be operating as a form of “natural selection” for relationships, with only the fittest surviving into marriage and beyond. Average age at divorce for both men and women has increased since 1985 in England and Wales https://t.co/3yQle3xEUL pic.twitter.com/V4vcXGn7Hu— Elizabeth McLaren (@StatsLiz) December 5, 2016 Some might say it just seems longer.But official figures suggest that British marriages really are lasting longer than a generation ago.The latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that divorce – both measured as a rate and a total number – fell to the lowest level for 40 years in 2014.Overall 111,169 couples in England and Wales divorced in 2014, a fall of 3.1 per cent in a year and as much as 27 per cent in just over a decade. Divorce lawyers and analysts said the fall in divorce rates appears, perhaps ironically, to reflect the overall shift away from marriage, with more couples choosing to cohabit at least initially.The argument is that those who do then marry are more likely to stay together. The divorce rate has also dropped by around 30 per cent in a decade, for both men and women, to reach 9.3 per thousand married people.It continues a downward trend seen in recent years. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. One lawyer claimed couples would rather divorce but cannot afford toCredit:Alamy Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation think-tank said that this reflected a fall in the number of couples divorcing within the first decade of marriage, by far the most dangerous period for marriages.“So what we’re seeing is that those men who do marry today are taking it a lot more seriously,” he explained.“Today’s marriages include fewer ‘sliders’ who get married under family or social pressure to do the decent thing and more ‘deciders’ who really mean it.” She said: “The ONS dip in divorce rates may not be down to the number of people willingly wanting to stay together but is more likely to do with the increasing pressure and expense of divorce since the removal of legal aid in 2010.“We did a study earlier this year on 2,000 divorced and married couples in England and Wales, and found that 18 per cent are co-existing to avoid the cost and stress of divorce.” Katie Lowe, a family lawyer with JMW Solicitors, said: “Some might argue that cohabitation is almost a form of natural selection for marriage, preventing couples in fragile or troubled relationships from progressing to marriage and, quite possibly, to divorce.”She added that the rising average age at which people divorce – now 45.6 for men and 43.1 for women – showed that a “mid-life mirror” is at work in many relationships. Some might argue that cohabitation is almost a form of natural selection for marriage, preventing couples in fragile or troubled relationships from progressing to marriage and, quite possibly, to divorceKatie Lowe, JMW Solicitors It really is heartening news during the season of family goodwill that the number of intact families is not declining despite the generally held myth that divorce is simply set to get worse and worseSir Paul Coleridge
Show more Hospitals will be banned from selling sugary drinks and high calorie snacks next year unless action is taken to drastically cut their sales, health officials have said.Under a national plan, retailers including Marks & Spencer, WH Smiths and Subway have agreed to cut sales of sweet drinks to a maximum of 10 per cent of their drinks output.The stringent rules will mean sweet fizzy drinks, coffees made with sugar syrup and fruit juices with extra sugar will be heavily restricted in hundreds of NHS cafes, as well as in staff canteens.England will be just the second country in the world to introduce such a plan, with Portugal taking pioneering action last year. Baker Greggs has also signed up to the plan, along with Medirest which supplies hospitals with ready meals and uses suppliers such as Costa and Starbucks. The Government is introducing a sugar tax from next April on the producers and importers of soft drinks with added sugar.Drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml will face a lower rate of tax ,while those with more than 8g per 100ml will face a higher rate. These rates have not yet been set.Ministers have come under repeated fire for not going far enough to tackle obesity, with charities saying a childhood obesity strategy published last year does not go far enough to restrict marketing and advertising of such foods.The new rules Retailers should cut sales of sugar drinks to 10 per cent or less of their total drinks sales by next April – or face a ban 60 per cent of chocolate and sweets sold in shops should not exceed 250 calories – rising to 80 per cent in 2018/19. 60 per cent cent of pre-packed sandwiches and meals should contain less than 400 calories by April 2018, with a maximum of five grams of saturated fat per 100g. This should rise to 75 per cent in 2018/19. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has set out plans which could see a ban on sugary drinks being sold on hospital premises if voluntary action fails Credit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Britain’s obesity levels are the second highest in Europe, second only to Hungary “It’s great that following discussion with NHS England, big name retailers are agreeing to take decisive action, which helps send a powerful message to the public and NHS staff about the link between sugar and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”Subway has already removed all high sugar drinks from its stores, in a trial to see how customers respond if they are only offered drinks with reduced or zero sugar.Katherine Button, the co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “We are delighted that NHS England has taken such decisive action to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals.”NHS hospitals are trusted by patients, families and staff to keep them fit and well and NHS England is helping everyone to take a big healthy step in the right direction.” He said people with diabetes, who sometimes need sugary drinks to quickly raise their blood sugar levels, would still have access to them.Rachel Clark, Health Promotion Manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Sugary drinks are a big contributor to the nation’s obesity epidemic and they contain little nutritional value.“With 62 per cent of English adults being overweight or obese, it is encouraging to see NHS England taking steps to reduce sugary drink consumption across England. Hospitals should be leading by example to make the healthier choice the easy choice.“Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a number of different health conditions, including 11 common cancers.” Almost 700,000 of the 1.3 million people employed by the NHS are thought to be overweight or obese.Health officials have previously announced measures to improve healthy eating in hospitals, including axeing deals on sugary drinks as well as those for salty, fatty or sugary foods.Retailers have also been told to remove these foods from checkouts, while healthy food should be made available at all times, including to staff working night shifts.Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “As a nation, we’re consuming too much sugar.”This can lead to weight gain and in turn increase our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other health conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.”It’s great news that NHS England is leading by example and taking this step to make hospitals healthier places for all of us.” The Government’s new sugar levy will come into force in 2018Credit:Luis Ascui/Getty NHS England said all sugary drinks will be banned if the voluntary target is not met within 12 months.The new rules will also heavily restrict the sale of any high calorie foods.From next April 60 per cent of sandwiches and pre-packed meals on sale in hospitals must contain a maximum of 400 calories per serving – rising to 75 per cent of cases a year later.And 60 per cent of sweets and chocolates sold must not exceed 250 calories – rising to 80 per cent of items by 2019.NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but spoonfuls of added sugar day-in, day-out mean serious health problems.
Police said they believed the killers may have been staking out the property and waited until the streetlights went off after 1am, before making their move.Dorset Police received a call at 3.03am reporting that Mr Hedger had been blasted with a shotgun. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.Detectives said Mr Hedger-Cooper, who was in the house at the time of the raid, has been deeply affected by the incident and is being supported by specially-trained officers.In a statement released by police, Mr Hedger’s victim’s family said: “Guy was a caring and compassionate partner, son, brother and uncle who lived life to its full and enriched the lives of all those who knew him.”We are devastated that Guy’s life has been cut short in this way. Guy will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues, but he will live in our hearts forever. We ask for time to grieve in peace.”Detectives believe there may have been an element of pre-planning involved and would like to hear from anyone who may have seen people or vehicles acting suspiciously in the area directly before or during the days or hours leading up to the incident. Mr Hedger was a director of the Avonbourne International Business and Enterprise Trust, which runs colleges and a primary school in the Bournemouth area. Police close to Guy Hedger’s homeCredit:Andrew Matthews /PA Mr Hedger died as a result of shotgun wounds, after armed raiders wearing balaclavas broke into his home in a quiet cul-de-sac close to the edge of the New Forest. Chief executive Debbie Godfrey-Phaure said: “Guy was a very kind and generous man who volunteered and gave his time freely to Avonbourne.”She added: “Guy had a deep passion for education and was dedicated to expanding the experience and knowledge of children in Bournemouth.”Everyone at the trust will miss his guiding hand, friendship and the wonderful service he provided us.” Detectives believe the intruders had been staking out the couple’s property in the secluded cul-de-sac in Castlewood, DorsetCredit:Bliss Aviation/BNPS Police investigating the murder of a man who was shot by intruders at his home in Dorset have arrested four people.Guy Hedger, 61, an insurance executive, was killed in front of his partner Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper, at their home in Ringwood in the early hours of Sunday morning in what police described as an “aggravated burglary”.Detectives announced that they had arrested four people in connection with the murder.A 41-year-old man from Bournemouth was arrested on suspicion of murder and aggravated burglary, while a 44-year-old and a 40-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary. All three people are currently being questioned by detectives. Dorset Police said they were searching properties in Winterborne Stickland near Blandford and in Verney Close in West Howe in Bournemouth.A fourth man, age 40, from Blandford has been arrested on suspicion of murder and aggravated burglary after he handed himself in at Bournemouth Police Station.Superintendent Kevin Connolly, of Dorset Police, said: “I would like to thank the public for coming forward with information.We are very grateful for the all the public support we have received. “We have worked tirelessly on this investigation which still continues even though arrests have been made.“Our appeal still stands for anyone with information that could aid our investigation to come forward as any small detail may be important.“In particular, we are interested in any suspicious activity after 3am on Sunday 30 April 2017 in the Verney Close area of West Howe and in Winterborne Stickland.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A spokesman for insurance company Liverpool Victoria (LV) paid tribute to Mr Hedger.”An extremely talented marketer, Guy was instrumental in building the LV brand and he will be sorely missed by many,” he said. A police search dog is used in the hunt for cluesCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA
Her husband worked for the state bank in Azerbaijan between 2001 and 2008 when his salary was estimated to have been around £54,000 a year. Despite this, at the time of his arrest his wealth was estimated to be in the region of £55 million. Among the items were a Boucheron sapphire and ruby necklace valued at up to £120,000.Investigators also seized a Van Cleef & Arpels pearl necklace which was valued at £20,000 despite having originally been purchased her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, in San Moritz in 2008 for £280,000. A sapphire and ruby pendant was among the items of jewellery seized Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Zamira Hajiyeva lives in a £15 million house in KnightsbridgeCredit:Paul Grover The banker’s wife at the centre of a McMafia-style financial investigation has had hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery seized from an auction house where it was being valued ahead of a sale.Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is currently the subject of the UK’s first Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) case, amid allegations that she used stolen money to fund an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle.Her husband is the former chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, and was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2016 for defrauding the bank out £2.2bn.Last month it was revealed Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in Knightsbridge, west London, had spent more than £16 million at the nearby Harrods department store.She has denied that the source of her wealth is illegal and is challenging the UWO in the courts.But earlier this week investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA), who are looking into her financial background, seized almost 50 items of high value jewellery from Christie’s auction house. Around £400,000 worth of jewellery was seized by the NCA from Christie’s Mrs Hajiyeva, who has lived in the UK for more than a decade, is the first person to be the subject of a UWO, which were introduced in an effort to clamp down on people laundering cash in Britain.As well as spending more than £16 million in the Harrods department store over a ten-year period, Mrs Hajiyeva owns a five-bedroom house worth £15 million and also bought the Mill Ride golf and country club in Ascot for £10.5 million.She is also said to have owned a £35 million private jet and had a wine cellar stocked with some of the world’s most expensive vintages. The National Crime Agency alleges that Mrs Hajiyev used fraudulent funds to purchase her home, which is just a short walk from the famous Harrods department store.It was alleged that she paid a deposit of £4 million for the house in 2009 and had cleared her £7.4 million mortgage in just five years.She had made an unsuccessful application to discharge the UWO, but her lawyers are appealing that judgment.She has denied all the claims and her lawyers have stressed that the UWO is part of an investigative process rather than a criminal procedure and does not involved the finding of any criminal offence. The NCA said it had seized the items because investigators believed that the source of the money that had been used to buy them warranted further examination.Earlier this week a district judge at Westminster Magistrates Court said the NCA could hang onto the items for six months to allow further investigation to take place.The items were seized from Christie’s auction house in London, where they were being valued for Zamira Hajiyeva’s daughter, Leyla Mahmudova.The NCA said Christie’s auction house had co-operated with the investigation and had complied with a formal request for information regarding the listed assets.