It happens every few years: a star-studded college team, fresh off a dominating performance, is compared favorably to the worst squad in the pros. A few years ago, it was the Anthony Davis-led Kentucky powerhouse vs. a pitiful Charlotte Bobcats outfit that set a new NBA low for winning percentage in a season. Now, it’s Kentucky’s 2014-15 team, which trounced fifth-ranked Kansas on Tuesday, vs. the tank-tactic Philadelphia 76ers.In a radio interview this week, former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe (now of the Phoenix Suns) said his alma mater would own the hypothetical matchup. “I’m definitely taking Kentucky,” Bledsoe said when asked who would win a best-of-seven series between the Wildcats and Sixers. “I think Philly would probably get maybe one game.”As others have pointed out, that’s absurd. As awful as they are — and boy, are they awful — the Sixers’ roster represents an All-Star team of college players from the past few seasons:Center Nerlens Noel was first-team All-SEC two seasons ago; if he were in college now, he’d likely be considered the best player in the country;Point guard Michael Carter-Williams was an honorable mention All-American as an NCAA sophomore; had he not left Syracuse, he would likely be considered the best guard in the college game;Guard Tony Wroten made first-team All-Pac 12 as a freshman two years ago;And rookie K.J. McDaniels was named to the All-ACC first team last season.These are all players who could still have NCAA eligibility if they had they not departed early for the NBA.To put these anecdotes in a more rigid framework, we can return to the same projection methodology we used for our NBA preview. The premise there was to take Real Plus/Minus data from last season, adjust for aging effects and regress to the mean to estimate each player’s true talent level. In this case, we also need to account for any information gleaned from the first three weeks or so of the NBA season; since RPM isn’t available for 2014-15 yet, I’m using a weighted average between a player’s current 2014-15 Statistical Plus/Minus (a box score-based statistic designed to emulate RPM in situations where RPM isn’t available) and our projected RPM ratings from the preseason.By this accounting, the 76ers are made up exclusively of below-average players. In fact, 54 percent of the team’s minutes have gone to players below the replacement-level RPM threshold of -2 points per 100 possessions. If we compute a minutes-weighted aggregation of ratings for Philadelphia’s 2014-15 roster (and adjust for the fact that the Sixers are usually trailing in their games), we’d expect them to lose to an average NBA team by 8.9 points per 100 possessions, which is ridiculously bad for a team’s true talent level. (Other teams have posted worse seasons, but that’s usually because they have bad rosters that perform below their talent levels.)But as bad as the Sixers are, Kentucky’s roster would translate to an even worse team at the NBA level. Looking at how well players’ draft slots predicted their rookie RPM performances (and, in turn, how well ultra-early mock draft rankings like these predict a player’s draft slot), and turning the clock back on those rookie-year RPM projections using an aging curve, we can also estimate an NBA-equivalent 2014-15 RPM talent level for every player on the Wildcats’ roster. Their top prospect, Karl-Anthony Towns (who sits at No. 3 in ESPN’s class-of-2015 draft rankings), would translate to a -2.6 RPM performance at the NBA level this season, worse than almost every player on Philadelphia’s roster. Every other Kentucky player, from Willie Cauley-Stein to Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins, grade out with various shades of putrid RPM ratings that would embarrass even Hakim Warrick.The aggregation of Kentucky’s NBA-translated RPM scores would predict an efficiency margin of -13.6 against an average NBA team. Even after accounting for the fundamental uncertainty surrounding projection models, such a team would lose about 88 of every 100 games against average NBA competition on a neutral court. The Sixers are far from average, of course, but even they would be expected to beat the Wildcats 74 percent of the time at home, and 56 percent of the time on the road. Using those probabilities to simulate Bledsoe’s hypothetical best-of-seven matchup, Kentucky would lose the series 78 percent of the time even if we gave them home-court advantage, most frequently falling in six games.It’s also likely those numbers vastly overestimate Kentucky’s chances. The NBA doesn’t let prospects who are not believed to be pro-caliber players take the court in games, so we don’t really know what kind of performance expectations to set for those Wildcat players who will never play in the NBA. This means the aforementioned translations are naturally biased toward inflating Kentucky’s rating. Furthermore, it’s probably not appropriate to assume the same
Teams playing late-round NCAA Tournament games in open domes score fewer points4We used end of regulation scores for overtime games. and shoot worse on 2-point field goals and free throws than do teams playing in arenas or traditional domes. But 3-pointers — often at the heart of the dome effect critique — are converted at a lower rate in traditional domes. In fact, teams shoot threes better in open domes than they do anywhere else, including standard arenas. Overall, teams playing in open domes have an effective field goal percentage of 47.4 percent, 0.5 percentage points worse than teams in standard arenas and traditional domes.These themes hold up when we compare teams’ performances to their season averages — an important consideration given that certain venue types host later rounds and better teams. Free throws aside, teams don’t shoot as well or score as much in the regionals and Final Four as they do over the course of the entire season — which makes sense, considering that they’re playing against top competition. Here, we’re interested in how much worse they shoot and how that varies by venue and shot type. OFF. PERFORMANCE (SWEET 16 AND BEYOND, 2006-15)OPPONENTS’ FULL-SEASON DEF. PERFORMANCE Sources: SPORTS Reference, Ken Pomeroy How have open-dome teams fared and what have they faced? VENUENO. OF GAMESAVG. POINTSEFF. FG%2P%3P%FT%ALLOWED FG%ADJ. EFFICIENCY Georgia Dome369.250.6%48.8%35.9%68.9%40.0%90.3 AT&T Stadium664.950.449.834.768.340.192.7 Lucas Oil Stadium965.449.646.937.073.440.891.4 Ford Field670.247.145.034.366.940.490.7 In line with our previous observations, points, 2-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage suffer most in open domes, while 3-point field goal percentage suffers most in traditional domes. Relative to their full-season performance, teams playing in open domes see their effective field goal percentage decline by an average of 4.8 percentage points, 0.5 percentage points worse than teams playing in arenas or traditional domes. For a typical late-round NCAA Tournament team, that differential equates to about two-thirds of a point per game.5Teams in open domes also attempt slightly fewer shots and free throws per game.Team offense and opponent defense matter — venue type does notSo we’ve determined that teams shoot a little worse and score a little less in open domes — but they also play against better defenses. This makes sense — open domes host later-round games.The defenses that play in these open dome games allow opponents to shoot 40.2 percent from the field during the season; they give up 62.7 points per game, and have an adjusted defensive efficiency of 91.7 — all weighted by number of appearances. This compares to season-long averages of 40.4 percent, 63.2 and 92.1 for teams that play in traditional domes and 40.7 percent, 63.5 and 92.0 for teams that play in standard arenas. So defenses do get better as venues progress from regular arenas to traditional domes to open domes.In fact, how well a team shoots in a late-round NCAA Tournament game is most related to its full-season effective field goal percentage and the other team’s full-season field goal percentage allowed.6Certain data required to calculate advanced opposition shooting metrics does not extend back to 2006, so we had to lean on the “simpler” opposition field goal percentage. Likewise, how much a team scores in a late-round NCAA Tournament game is most related to its full-season points per game average and the other team’s full-season points per game allowed.7Good old points per game allowed boasts a slightly stronger relationship than full-season defensive efficiency or pace-adjusted metrics. These relationships are noisy but meaningful. (That is, there is a statistically significant relationship between the full-season offensive and defensive stats and offense in all venue types, even though the individual data points are a little all over the place.)On the contrary, there is no statistical relationship linking open domes as a venue type to poor shooting or to decreases in shooting performance — including, importantly, when you control for the quality and efficiency of the offenses and defenses playing in each. NRG Stadium on its own is another story. NRG Stadium is unique — open domes are notIn line with its reputation, NRG Stadium has produced lower-than-average scoring and worse-than-average shooting, both overall and among open domes. Defenses there have been a mixed bag — tough against the shot, middle of the pack in points allowed, and toward the bottom in defensive efficiency.8Full-season stats; relative to other Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and championship game defenses. (Other open domes — Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta — have been the site of good or very good shooting performances, on average.) Superdome363.744.441.536.871.438.388.2 NRG Stadium1265.444.543.830.772.740.293.1
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OSU junior guard Kelsey Mitchell guards the ball in the Buckeyes 89-56 victory over Canisius on Dec. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsBehind 51.5 percent shooting and a solid defensive effort, the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes downed the Canisius Golden Griffins 89-56 on Sunday afternoon.“I thought our effort, our attention-to-detail was better than it’s been,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “We’ve practiced better.”Both teams shot well out of the gate and the Golden Griffins took an 11-9 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter. The No. 12 Buckeyes (8-3) would then outscore Canisius 22-7 the rest of the opening quarter, a stretch that included an 11-0 run and eight made field goals in a row. The teams played just about even in the second quarter, with the Buckeyes edging out Canisius 19-16 in the frame.OSU missed its first four shots of the second half, but a field goal from junior guard Kelsey Mitchell with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter started an 8-0 run for the Buckeyes. OSU would take a 69-44 run into the fourth quarter and would outscore the Golden Griffins 20-12 in the final frame to claim the 33-point victory.Mitchell led the Buckeyes with 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The Buckeyes buried 16-of-21 free throws, and despite converting on over half of its field goals, OSU was just 3 for 18 from three-point territory.“We have good shooters, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well today from the arc,” McGuff said. “That’s something that we’ve got to get in the gym and work on a little bit.”Canisius was led by 14 points from sophomore forward Sara Hinriksdottir. Senior guard Lauren D’Hont grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.Defensive improvementOSU put together one of its better defensive performances of the season on Sunday. Of the Buckeyes’ 21 forced turnovers, 15 were steals. Canisius shot well early from the three-point line – 7 of 16 in the first half – but they finished just 10 for 31 from beyond the arc and couldn’t get anything else going.“I thought our press today was as good as it’s been in a couple weeks,” McGuff said. “We really gave Canisius problems.”The Buckeyes didn’t allow the Golden Griffins to see the free-throw line at all and committed just eight team fouls. All nine Buckeyes who saw the floor had two personal fouls or less. McGuff praised his team for a solid defensive game, but acknowledged that there were still several hiccups.“We had 4, 5, 6, 7 possessions where we had really good possessions and then just didn’t finish them out,” McGuff said. “We were close to having a really good day defensively.”For the game, Canisius shot 34.8 percent (23-for-66).Bench pointsAnother Buckeye advantage came in bench points, where OSU outscored Canisius 40-6. The bench effort was led by freshman forward Tori McCoy, who scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. She was also 3 of 3 from the free throw line.Redshirt sophomore forward Makayla Waterman had one of her best games on the young season, adding nine points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists. Freshman guards Kiara Lewis (10 points) and Jensen Caretti (four points) also contributed off the bench.“As we go through the year, depth is going to be a real strength of ours,” McGuff said. “Today, I thought we had some really good minutes off the bench.”OSU’s current depth has been well documented, but the Buckeyes are about to get even deeper. Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper is just days away from regaining eligibility and will be available to play in OSU’s next game against Alabama State on Friday.“She’ll bring a lot of defense, rebounds and points,” OSU junior guard Asia Doss said. “That means way more depth as far as our rotations and the pressing, I feel like, is going to be even more hectic.”Harper decided to transfer from the University of Kentucky last fall.Up nextOSU will finish off its current five-game home stand with a game against the Alabama State Hornets on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Schottenstein Center.
Four years ago, in his freshman season, David Lighty and the Ohio State men’s basketball team traveled to play at the University of Florida. “I really didn’t know what to expect going down there my first time.” said Lighty, now in his senior season. “We knew they were good, but when you get down there, it’s kind of unreal, the support they have from all their fans.” Now, with a new batch of freshmen making their first road trip, No. 4 OSU returns to Gainesville to play the No. 9 Gators at 6 p.m. tonight. After an exhibition against Walsh and the season opener last Friday against North Carolina A&T, Florida will be the first ranked opponent the Buckeyes have played this year, something that excites coach Thad Matta. “This will be a great test,” Matta said. “They’re a very experienced team with everybody back. Going on the road with six new guys, you’re looking at a Big Ten type of game.” Despite returning four starters from a season ago, the talk surrounding this Buckeye team remains focused on the newcomers. Freshman Jared Sullinger started alongside Lighty, seniors Dallas Lauderdale and Jon Diebler, and junior William Buford against both Walsh and A&T last week. Though the lineup is by no means set in stone, Matta said he feels comfortable starting those five and plans to do so tonight. Though Sullinger might continue to get starts, freshmen Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft have been just as good so far. In the 102-56 win over North Carolina A&T, Thomas scored 24 points, and Craft handed out nine assists, both team highs, despite playing just 20 and 22 minutes, respectively. Craft, who is the only true point guard the Buckeyes have, will likely see the most playing time at that position as the season progresses. Although Buford started last week, it was Craft who seemed most comfortable. Often, both Buford and Craft were on the floor at the same time, with Buford moving off the ball as a shooting guard, his natural position. Diebler, who was coached by Craft’s father in middle school, said he doesn’t expect the freshman to be fazed tonight. “I’ve known him since he was in like third grade,” Diebler said. “Aaron’s a kid who’s so mature for his age. You see how he plays — he’s tough. He knows what we’re going up against and knows that it’s going to be a tough game for us. I know he’ll be ready.” Although Diebler was quick to praise Craft and the rest of the freshmen, he knows a road game against a top-10 team is like nothing the new class has faced before. Unfortunately, Diebler said, there isn’t much his younger teammates can do to prepare. “You can’t prepare for the crowd being loud and everyone against you,” Diebler said. “Just the mindset of going on the road has to be different. You really have to come focused.” As hard as it is, Matta was cautiously optimistic that his team will be ready. “I’ll probably know in the locker room before the game,” he said. “They’ve been pretty focused, and we’ve talked a lot about that there’s two types of teams that go on the road, one that goes to have fun and one that goes on a business trip.”
One hundred twenty minutes of game time. Two weeks of actual time. Sept. 3, and Sept. 10. However you look at it, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season. How the university determined that number, along with the $250,000 fine levied against the coach, is less clear. “We work with consultants, The Compliance Group, and we look at precedence in cases that have occurred over the years,” athletic director Gene Smith said during Tuesday’s press conference. TCG, which OSU contacted Jan. 21, provides “compliance services to intercollegiate athletics departments and conference offices,” according to its website. TCG counts 45 Division I schools on its client list, 12 of which are from BCS conferences and two of which — Wisconsin and Michigan — reside in the Big Ten. “We wanted to make sure we had, at our disposal, people who had been through this type of case before,” Smith said. That TCG and OSU based these sanctions on previous NCAA investigations, the case requires some context. When former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez violated NCAA rules by having too many coaches on staff and by allowing his team to practice too many hours, the program was put on probation for more than a year and practice time was reduced. The coach received no direct punishments. In Division I basketball, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has been suspended for three Big East games — less than 10 percent of his team’s games — next season for over-contacting recruits with text messages and phone calls. Tennessee suspended basketball coach Bruce Pearl for eight SEC games this season and fined him $1.5 million for lying about having recruits at his home. The eight games are just more than 25 percent of the Volunteers’ schedule. It seems that OSU and TCG have determined Tressel’s violation to be less severe than those of Pearl, but more so than those of Rodriguez and Calhoun. The two-game suspension makes up almost 17 percent of the Buckeyes’ schedule. “We and come to kind of a sweet spot based upon this particular case. All cases aren’t exactly the same,” Smith said. “We just felt like the combination of a two-game suspension and the financial fine was kind of in line with cases that we were familiar with.” If the NCAA agrees, Tressel will have to find a sweet spot on his couch for the first two games of next season.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced Wednesday that they have reached a scheduling agreement in multiple sports, including basketball and football The agreement will entail significant reconfiguration of future schedules in Olympic sports, basketball and football to include matchups between the 24 teams from the two conferences. Pac-12 commisioner Larry Scott and Big Ten commisioner Jim Delany addressed reporters in a conference call and said the deal is beneficial for both conferences. “To me, this is a creative and inventive approach through collaboration to achieve some of the same objectives that expansion can help you with,” Scott said. “It gives our conference more of a national platform, more play on the Big Ten Network and higher quality programming on our network without having to expand.” The deal would likely begin during the 2012-13 seasons in all of the sports with the exception of football, which will honor non-conference scheduling agreements previously in place. By 2017, the football schedule is expected to include a 12-game schedule that will feature each member of the Big Ten playing a team from the Pac-12. The Big Ten had previously planned to play a nine-game conference schedule in football starting in 2017, but because of the deal, the conference will continue with an eight-game conference schedule. The way the matchups will be determined has not been completely worked out, but Delaney said that “competitive equity” would “play a significant part.” This likely means that top-level teams would be paired against each other on a year-to-year basis. Both commissioners acknowledged that possible-marquee matchups could hinder their conferences chances of being represented in the national championship, but said the benefits outweigh the negatives. “I think it helps our football programs,” Delaney said. “I think it will engage fans, help our recruiting, help in the presentation of television. If fans follow it, our partners will be rewarded and we will ultimately be rewarded. Although nothing has been decided, the football matchups will most likely take place early in the season before conference play begins. The two conferences are already linked through the Rose Bowl, which annually pits the champion from the Big Ten and Pac-12 on a New Year’s Day bowl, but this agreement furthers the relationship between the conferences across multiple sports. Despite the strengthened relationship, the commissioners said not to expect any form of official merger in the future or any similar agreements with other conferences. “We have a common DNA but a tremendous recognition that 90 percent, 80 percent of what we do is in our region,” he said. “Those who think regional rivalries and local rivalries don’t mean anything any more, I think that’s erroneous…Our goal is to build something new here on a very strong foundation of history.”
Urban Meyer admittedly gets emotional when talking about this season’s seniors. Tears, hugs and smiles all are commonplace between coaches and their outgoing players in collegiate athletics. But for the 48-year-old OSU coach, this year’s group of Buckeye seniors is far more than a typical graduating class. They helped save the Buckeye football program, Meyer says. “We’re forever indebted to them because they didn’t have to do what they did,” Meyer said Monday in a press conference previewing Saturday’s game against Michigan. What the first-year Buckeye coach is talking about is this: OSU’s 2012 senior class didn’t have to be here, playing for a team ineligible for the postseason even though they’re 11-0 and ranked No. 4 by the Associated Press. When OSU was hit with a bowl and conference championship ban in December 2011 because of the “Tattoo-Gate” scandal that rocked Buckeye Nation to its core a year before, this class of seniors was given a way out. They could have transferred to another school – a bowl-eligible one at that – and played immediately. That fact concerned Meyer greatly. “I still remember the day we walked in, and (OSU athletic director Gene Smith) said, ‘You’re not going to a bowl game,’” Meyer said. “I thought, ‘We’re not what?’ And then my mind started thinking about this year’s team.” Above everything else, Meyer began to strategize how he would compel the seniors-to-be to stay at OSU. He said he called a team meeting 15 minutes after the Buckeyes learned they were banned from the 2012 postseason. After the meeting, Meyer kept the seniors-to-be in the room to try to convince them to stay at OSU. It was easier than he thought it would be. “I had no idea who they were, and they didn’t know me, so it was a leap of faith (for them to stay),” Meyer said. “I think it was also their love for their school.” Almost a year after that meeting, Meyer realizes he was right. “Now that I know them, I know exactly why they stayed,” Meyer said. “Their love for Ohio State.” Most of this season’s OSU seniors didn’t consider leaving Columbus for a second. Defensive end John Simon could have left for the NFL and been an early-round draft pick. A handful of other then-juniors had favorable other destinations, too. They remained Buckeyes. “I don’t think it crossed anyone’s mind to leave,” said senior defensive back Zach Domicone. That doesn’t mean they weren’t upset when they realized their final season as college athletes would be bowl-less, however. Most of the OSU seniors were together when they heard the ill-fated news. “Looking back, we were in the hospital visiting patients and stuff and that’s when it broke. So, it was on the TV’s and on ESPN and people were like, ‘How do you guys feel that you can’t play in a bowl game?’ and we were like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Domicone said. When they returned to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to hear the news again as a team, there was anger, confusion and disbelief spreading throughout the meeting room. “It was kind of one of those things where you sit down and just let it sink in for a little while,” said senior linebacker Zach Boren. The team was, after all, repeatedly told by OSU athletic personnel that a postseason ban was not going to be inflicted. “We were kind of told that we weren’t going to get a bowl ban, that everything was going to be OK,” Boren said. “We had heard from people who had done investigations and stuff that we were going to be all right and that what we already imposed was going to be more than enough.” It wasn’t, and OSU now sits as one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the country – Notre Dame being the other – with one game to play in the regular season. Unlike the Fighting Irish, though, the Buckeyes’ season will end after its game Saturday, and with it, the careers of 22 OSU seniors. That last game on Saturday should be special, however. OSU faces its archrival, No. 20-ranked Michigan, or, as those associated with the Buckeye football program call them, ‘that school up north.’ With a win against the Wolverines, OSU would attain its first undefeated season since 2002 – the most recent Buckeyes’ National Championship squad, which will be honored at half time of the game Saturday. A shot at an AP national championship would remain possible, too. Not a bad way for OSU’s seniors to go out, especially after the 6-7 season the Buckeyes had last year. “We wanted to leave our mark and leave a legacy and last year didn’t really go how we planned and I don’t think anyone wanted to go out like that,” Domicone said. Along with possibly leaving OSU following a 12-0 season, the 2012 seniors have the Buckeye football program headed in the right direction, and that is something they are proud of. “We were just talking about that, a couple of (the seniors). We were just saying how different it’s
The Ohio State women’s track team is set to head to New York where the women are scheduled to compete in the Armory Collegiate Invitational against some of the nation’s top programs, including No. 15 South Carolina, No. 17 Mississippi State and No. 11 Kansas.This weekend, the Buckeyes are looking to continue forward after a successful meet last weekend and see the upcoming meet as an opportunity to work on the little things that need to be fixed.Associate head coach Rosalind Joseph said this week in practice the team has been working more on technique.“Now that we have gotten in a few meets, we are working on what we need to execute,” Rosalind said on the team’s work outside of conditioning. “Each person is starting to figure out what they need to work on individually.”Junior sprinter and hurdler Alexandria Johnson said she is looking forward to showcasing her hard work in practice on her start and technique when she runs the 60-meter hurdles.“Whether it is their finish, their start, blocks, or form, each person has their small change they need to make and that is what we are getting this weekend. (Fixing) those minor things before Big Ten (Championships),” Johnson said.Senior thrower Emily Taylor agreed, saying this weekend is a good chance for each person to figure what she needs to improve on going forward so the team can ultimately be prepared for the Big Ten Indoor Championship, which is set to start Feb. 27. She said this weekend is a “mental and physical” preparation for the big meet.The Armory Collegiate Invitational was recognized as the Division I “Meet of the Week” with the historic background and high level of competition it provides.“This is definitely an honor, to be taken to this meet,” Taylor said. “Not everyone gets to go so if you get on this plane, you should be ready to compete. It’s not something I take lightly.”With more than 100 teams set to participate, the competition is expected to be the toughest the Buckeyes have faced thus far in the season.Joseph said it will be good to see the team compete against national competition this weekend, which helps prepare them for the conference meet. She added that it is always good to line up against some teams they aren’t always used to seeing in the conference to get an idea of where they stack up against the top ranked programs.“Being in a large environment like New York, how the ladies prepare, how they handle themselves outside of normal conditions will be nice adversity to see how they are able to handle that test,” Joseph said.Joseph said the team is always striving to be better than they were the week prior so as long as everyone is competing and improving, then they are “headed in the right direction.”The invitational is set to begin Friday at 9 a.m. and continue through Saturday evening.
Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott won the 85th annual AAU Sullivan Award a day after not participating in the 2015 OSU Spring Game. Gray defeated Scarlet, 17-14. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerDespite not taking the field in more than three months, Ohio State junior running back Ezekiel Elliott is still winning awards.The offensive MVP of the 2015 national title game was awarded the 85th Amateur Athletic Union Sullivan Award on Sunday, a day after the Buckeyes’ Spring Game.The award “honors the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States,” according to its website.Among the finalists were NCAA basketball national champion Jahlil Okafor from Duke and three Olympic gold-medalists.Elliott said in a press release that he was overwhelmed with the award.“I want to congratulate all the finalists,” Elliott said. “I feel somewhat undeserving of this award with all these great athletes up here and all their tremendous accomplishments. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to win an Olympic gold medal, so I want to congratulate all for being here.“I’ve got to thank my parents for pushing me to being the person I am. They demand excellence out of me and that drove me to be the person I am today.”OSU coach Urban Meyer offered his congratulations to his running back in a press release after coaching the Buckeyes in the Spring Game on Saturday.“This is a tremendous honor for Ezekiel and his family, and a privilege for Ohio State to have a Sullivan Award winner,” Meyer said. “I want to congratulate Ezekiel, and his teammates, and the coaches on the Ohio State staff who all work extremely hard to get the best out of our student-athletes on and off the field.”Meyer has now coached two Sullivan Award winners. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow won the award in 2007 while Meyer was the Gators’ coach.Elliott finished the 2014-15 season with 1,878 rushing yards and 18 scores on the ground and has sat out most of spring practice after undergoing offseason wrist surgery.He did not participate in Saturday’s Spring Game, but is expected to return to full strength for summer workouts and fall camp.Elliott and the Buckeyes are set to open their 2015 on the road against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va.
John le Carre (pointing) on the set of the BBC’s adaptation of The Night ManagerCredit:Des Willie The father of John le Carré, one of Britain’s greatest spy novelists, was a violent conman who beat him and his mother and would later call the writer from prison to beg him for money.Le Carré has revealed how his father Ronnie beat his mother Olive, forcing her to flee the marriage, before turning his attention to his son.In a compelling and long-awaited autobiography, Le Carré, a former MI5 and MI6 agent, described Ronnie as a “conman, fantasist [and] occasional jailbird” whose violent temper prompted Olive to “bolt”.The young Le Carré, whose real name is David Cornwell, would sleep in front of his mother’s bedroom door holding a golf club to deter his father, describing himself as “her ridiculous protector”.He adds dryly: “Certainly Ronnie beat me up too, but only a few times and not with much conviction. It was the shaping up that was the scary part: the lowering and readying of the shoulders, the resetting of the jaw.”Le Carré writes in his autobiography, The Pigeon Tunnel, serialised in The Guardian, that his childhood was largely lacking in love as a result.“Today, I don’t remember feeling any affection in childhood expect for my elder brother, who for a time was my only parent,” he writes. “I remember a constant tension in myself that even in great age has not relaxed.”Le Carré adds that his father would ring him from various foreign prisons asking him to bail him out with cash and later tried to sue him after watching his son’s appearance in a documentary and deciding “there was an implicit slander in my failure to mention that I owed everything to him”. In his memoir, Le Carré recounts how he went on to work for British intelligence before taking up writing, outlining the first-hand research and punishing travel schedule that went into producing more than 20 novels – including The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager.His working methods involve “writing on the hoof, in notebooks, on walks, in trains and cafes” and he has no time for laptops and digital devices.“Arrogantly, perhaps, I prefer to remain with the centuries-old tradition of unmechanised writing,” he says.Le Carré’s success has brought him in contact with some of the modern world’s most powerful people, including Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch, but appears to have remained generally unimpressed by the lure of power.The novelist, now 84, refuses to reveal details of his spy work, carried out mostly in German, saying he is “bound by my vestiges of old-fashioned loyalty to my former services, but also by undertakings I gave to the men and women who agreed to collaborate with me”.He adds: “The work we engaged in was neither perilous nor dramatic, but it involved painful soul-searching on the part of those who signed up to do it. Whether today these people are alive or dead, the promise of confidentiality holds.”But Le Carré is surprisingly sympathetic towards Edward Snowden, the former CIA analyst who leaked details of the US’s surveillance programmes before seeking asylum in Russia.He says the British public have been “encouraged by spoon-fed media to be docile about violations of its privacy”. 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.
The internet is becoming unreadable because of a trend towards lighter and thinner fonts, making it difficult for the elderly or visually-impaired to see words clearly, a web expert has found.Where text used to be bold and dark, which contrasted well with predominantly white backgrounds, now many websites are switching to light greys or blues for their type.Award winning blogger Kevin Marks, founder of Microformats and former vice president of web services at BT, decided to look into the trend after becoming concerned that his eyesight was failing because he was increasingly struggling to read on screen text. “Choosing colours with poor contrast makes navigating, reading and interacting a real pain,” said a spokesman.“Good design means sufficient contrast between foreground and background colours. If it’s important enough to be clear. This is essential for people with low contrast sensitivity which becomes more common as we age.”But Mr Marks said that reducing the contrast risked alienating some users.“To arbitrarily throw away contrast based on a fashion that looks good on my perfect screen in my perfectly lit office is abdicating designer’s responsibilities to the very people for whom they are designing,” he said.“My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print.“You’ll be making things better for people who read on smaller, dimmer screens, even if their eyes aren’t aging like mine. It may not be trendy, but it’s time to consider who is being left out by the web’s aesthetic.”Dr Simon Harper, an experimental Computer Scientist in Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems at the University of Manchester, said: “Black text on a white background may convey a certain harshness, grey text, on the other hand, may convey a softer more friendly feeling. “But for some, these design choices come at the cost of legibility, fatigue and comprehension. We call this a situational impairment, whereby the user is disabled by the device, design, environment, or context of use. “Straining to see text will give many a disabling experience. In the new world of cutting edge digital design all of us will at some point become impaired. “Making sure that controls are present to conform the design to the user, so that the user doesn’t always have to conform themselves to the design – sometimes and impossible requirement, is the only viable option.” My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print.Kevin Marks 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. Google’s guidelines also suggest a 7:1 contrast ratio, but 54 per cent opacity of display, which brings the ratio down to 4.6:1.Mr Marks, who has been named one of the Telegraph’s 50 must influential Britons in technology, said the changes risk undermining the universal reach of the internet. “The typography choices of companies like Apple and Google set the default design of the web, and these two drivers of design are already dancing on the boundaries of legibility,” he warned on the technology site Backchannel.“If the web is relayed through text that’s difficult to read, it curtails the open access by excluding large swaths of people such as the elderly, the visually impaired, or those retrieving websites through low quality screens.“As we rely on computers not only to retrieve information but also to access and build services that are crucial to our lives, making sure that everyone can see what’s happening becomes increasingly important.” More elderly people are using the internet to stay in touch with relatives Lighter fonts may work well on a high-definition desktop but not on smartphones or in brighter lighting conditions The changes in typography have come about because, as web design evolved, the numbers of fonts, colours and background began to diverge from the original set of ‘web safe’ fonts which were deemed legible online.The rise in LCD technology and high definition screens has also allowed designers to use increasingly thinner fonts, which, while working on desktops, can be virtually impossible to read on smartphones or tablets.In recent years, reference guides such as the Typography Handbook have also steered designers away from too much contrast, claiming that traditional black on white typography strains the eyes, and made it difficult for people with dyslexia. And many computers are now set to grow dimmer during the evening to avoid too much blue light after dark, which can keep people awake.But the US based Web Accessibility Initiative, which came up with the original ratio formula in 2008 to help web designers said too little contrast made web pages ‘confusing and frustrating’ He found
The Queen was seen looking happy and relaxed as she enjoyed a horse ride at Windsor Castle on Wednesday. The monarch, 90, was spotted dressed in a beige coat and matching shawl, which she tied round her head, as she rode the small black horse alongside two others in the grounds of the castle. It came as the Duke of Edinburgh was also seen driving his carriage behind security barriers while a police officer stood guard. The Duke of Edinburgh was also seen driving his carriage behind security barriers while a police stood guardCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph Security at the castle was enhanced ahead of the Changing The Guard ceremony on Wednesday afternoon following the Westminster terror attack.Barriers were put in place around the royal residence in Berkshire on Monday evening to support existing road closures for the ceremony, Thames Valley Police said.The force said the changes were “proportionate and necessary” but that there was “no specific threat to Windsor”. Barriers were put in place around the royal residence in Berkshire on Monday evening to support existing road closures, Thames Valley Police saidCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph 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.
Detective Constable Richard Sears said: “Vitalij Kiseliov showed no concern for any potential confrontation during these burglaries and targeted his victims at a time when they would have been asleep or were woken as a result of it.”Burglary can have a huge and detrimental impact on people’s lives and I do hope that those affected by Kiseliov’s actions can take comfort in this successful conviction.”A spokesman for Kent Police confirmed this week that Kiseliov, of Chatham, Kent, had ‘removed a parrot from a cage’ during one raid. A parrot was the unlikely hero to bring a serial burglar to justice after its savage bite caused blood to seep from the thieving man’s hand – which was then used as crucial DNA evidence.Serial burglar Vitalij Kiseliov managed to break into the home of of Peter and Trudy Rowing in Gillingham, Kent, in the dead of night, stealing a laptop and phone.He also stole two oxygen tanks which help Mrs Rowing with her breathing, as well as four cans of lager.His plan was foiled when he tried to take Rocky the African Grey parrot out of his cage – the expensive birds can sell for £500.Crime-fighting Rocky bit the burglar on the hand, leaving his blood around the house. When police were called to the scene they found Kiseliov’s blood by the door.Because of his serial crimes, his DNA was in the police database – so law enforcement managed to arrest him the next day – June 16.Speaking this week, Mr Rowing, 72, said he and his wife have had Rocky for more than 20 years – and hailed him a hero for helping convict Kiseliov.He said he reckoned the burglar had tried to pinch Rocky, knowing he was a valuable bird, but got “more than he bargained for” when the bird bit him. He said: “(The police) reckon Kiseliov threw Rocky out of the window because he bit him.”They found blood by the door. They got him the next day because he was on their database.” 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. Credit: Steve Finn Rocky the parrot was soon reunited with his owners after their granddaughter put out an appeal on Facebook for anyone to look out for the parrot.Recorder Sarah Elliott QC told Kiseliov : “Your burglary spree caused real misery to your victims and in many ways real fear.”The victims were asleep in their own homes at night. Some were brave enough to go down and try to confront you or find you.”Victims talk of their distress and fear and lasting feeling their homes have been invaded. Night time burglaries when people are in their beds asleep are terrifying for them and have lasting consequences.”One lady had poor eyesight and needed a breathing machine. Among other things, you stole her oxygen.”Kiseliov, who admitted six counts of burglary – five between the hours of 3,45am and 5.20am on June 15 and one on June 11 – and was jailed for four years at Maidstone Crown Court last week, and will be deported at the end of his sentence. Credit:Steve Finn
Last week the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told MPs on the science and technology committee there is an urgent need for in-depth research to establish if increased time online is responsible for the rise in mental ill health among the young.Dr Max Davie, a College health promotion officer, accused social media companies of withholding vast troves of data on user behaviour, including time spent online, which could be shared with researchers.He said: “Facebook has data. Twitter has data. They’re not sharing that data with researchers… they’re sucking data from all of us, and they should be sharing it for the public good.”The Daily Telegraph is campaigning for a statutory duty of care on social media and gaming firms to protect children from harm online. In its written evidence to the Commons science and technology committee, the royal college has also backed new laws to keep the tech firms in check. 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. In the past month, Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, has warned the NHS is “picking up the pieces” of an epidemic of mental illness among children, fuelled by social media, and pledged to “ramp up” mental health care to cope with it.The government and information commissioner are drawing up proposals for statutory codes that could impose curbs on the “compulsive” techniques used by the social media and gaming firms to keep children online such as switching off night-time notifications and video auto-play.The average time spent online for all children, aged five to 15, is 2hrs 54mins a day at the weekend, and 1hr 54mins during the week. It is almost double what it was a decade ago.However, it masks big variations with 11% classed as “extreme” users, spending more than five hours a day online at the weekend, and 3% more than eight hours a day, equivalent to more than 200,000 children aged 5-15.Research by UCL found teenage girls who had spent more than an hour a day on social media from the age of 10 were more likely to suffer emotional and social problems. Boys who tended to play more video games were less affected.Professor Yvonne Kelly, who led the UCL study, believed some form of enforced time limits on usage was needed given the increasing evidence that heavy use was linked to mental ill health: “The companies have a big part to play in this as they have very sophisticated ways of getting all of us to use their application. I would not put it all at the parents’ door.” One in 20 children (5%) aged three or four spend over three hours a day online at weekends, while one in five (20%) spend between one and four hours a day online during the week, equivalent to 280,000 children. Last week The Daily Telegraph revealed one in four children under four own a tablet.Among five to seven-year-olds, 3%, equivalent to some 60,000 children, spend more than five hours a day online during the weekend, while double that proportion spend between four and seven hours online.By the time they reach their final years of primary school, almost one in ten (9%) spend more than five hours a day online at the weekend, equivalent to more than 250,000 children. Some 3% spend more than six hours online.The figures which cover all online activity from social media to homework follow evidence from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of a “clear association” between the longer time spent online and mental health issues. The OECD found young “extreme” users who spent over six hours a day online on a weekend were less happy with their lives. More than 150,000 younger teenagers are spending over eight hours a day online at weekends, according to an official breakdown of young “extreme” users.Amid mounting concern over the potential impact of screen time on rising mental ill health among the young, new figures from Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, show some 6% of children aged 12 to 15 are devoting the majority of their waking time at the weekend to online activities.A further tenth of teenagers (11%) are spending between five and eight hours a day online at the weekend, equivalent to about 300,000 children.The proportions fall during the week when the children are at school but 1%, equivalent to some 28,000 children, are still spending more than eight hours a day online, 4% more than six hours and 11% between four and eight hours, equivalent to more than 300,000 pupils.The start of secondary school at 11 is seen as the point when most children become more active on social media but the figures show increasing numbers of heavy users of digital technology from as young as three or four. Almost one in ten of children spend more than five hours a day online at the weekend by the time they reach their final years of primary school.Credit:Peter Byrne/PA Social media websites such
The crouching legs of what will be the UK’s largest bronze statue were unveiled on Monday ahead of its installation outside the Theatre Royal Plymouth next year.When complete, the statue of a female actor poised to leap into action during a performance of William Shakespeare’s Othello will be seven metres (23ft) high, almost nine metres wide and weigh nine-and-a-half tonnes.Titled “Messenger”, it has been designed by local sculptor Joseph Hillier as part of a wider £7.5 million regeneration project in the port city that was heavily bombed during World War Two.The legs were unveiled at a foundry in the Welsh village of Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant where the rest of the statue will be cast before its transfer south to Plymouth.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––More than 200 bronze panels are being welded together to create the giant figure which will be the UK’s largest bronze by volume.It has been created using 3D scans taken from pictures of the actor who inspired Hillier in 2014.”The sculpture celebrates the potential of creativity as a dynamic catalyst for change,” Hillier said.Visitors will be able to walk under the statues’s body “into the theatre, like an archway”. 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.
In total, just under £12,000 a month – or £144,000 a year – is paid to the 34 people living in the UK who are entitled to the money after suffering injuries in the war. If that sum was divided equally it would mean each of the 34 pensioners would receive £350… It is understood that just over a fifth of the pensioners are German, with the vast majority thought to be foreigners who collaborated with the Nazi regime. The German government is paying 34 “Nazi collaborators” living in the UK £12,000 in tax free pension payments each month, The Telegraph can reveal. The lump sum handouts are part of a series of payments made to 2,000 former soldiers or collaborators wounded fighting for the Third Reich. 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.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTrump: Obamacare key provisions to remainNovember 12, 2016In “latest news”Frustrated by Congress, Trump signs order to weaken ObamacareOctober 12, 2017In “World”US judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appealDecember 15, 2018In “World” (AFP) President Donald Trump declared Monday that his predecessor Barack Obama’s signature reform and expansion of the US health insurance system is defunct, after he cut subsidies to insurers.“Obamacare is finished. It’s dead. It’s gone,” he told reporters.“It’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. It is — and I said this years ago — it’s a concept that couldn’t have worked. In its best days it couldn’t have worked.”Since becoming president in January Trump has persistently sought to end Obama’s Affordable Care Act, cutting back some government budgetary support and pressing Congress to repeal and replace it.The effort in Congress though has failed, last week forcing Trump to order an end to the “cost-sharing reduction” program, payments to insurers designed to help millions of lower income Americans afford coverage.“I knocked out the CSRs; that was a subsidy to the insurance companies. That was a gift,” Trump said.“The insurance companies have made an absolute fortune with Obamacare,” he said.But he said that, to protect people who will lose their insurance, the White House is working with Congress for “some kind of a short-term fix” before coming up with a longer term plan.
…urges swift establishment of Petroleum Commission to build capacityA former Energy Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has urged Government here to work expeditiously to set up the Petroleum Commission (PC) so that they could start building capacity in the oil and gas sector ahead of the first oil production, which is set to begin officially in 2020.Former Energy Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kevin RamnarineAddressing a small audience at Duke Lodge on Wednesday during a public lecture on the oil and gas sector, Kevin Ramnarine who served as a Minister on the twin-island republic for over four years said it is important because it will help the country to better prepared for this new industry.Ramnarine was keen to state that setting up such a Commission six months before oil production begins is counterproductive and will not help to manage the sector in the way it ought to be managed. He said this Commission must be established now and strengthened right away.According to him, Chatham House recommendations on accountability states that (oil) producers at an early stage of development of their resource base should start with one credible body, which in this case is the PC, of which the Government is already looking into establishing.The former Trinidadian Minister noted that it is equally important that checks and balances are particularly important in small countries that have few qualified personnel to oversee the sector. With the absence of this, it could lead to just a handful of people dominating the Governance system.Ramnarine told the audience that while credibility, intellectual capacity, resourcing and public trust in the Commission are paramount, public trust in the Commission, as well as earning respect from international oil companies and openness and transparency, are also key elements to its success.While taking a closer look at the draft Petroleum Commission Bill, the former Energy Minister made several recommendations that could help to strengthen the Bill in its current form. One of those recommendations was to extend the life of the board beyond one year.The reason for this, he said, was mainly because international oil companies develop relationships with these entities and the faces behind them, and over time when they remain in that post for a longer period of time, it gives these companies some level of certainty.A section of the audience during the lecture on oil and gasAnother one of his recommendations was to allow the Board to appoint the Commissioner, instead of having the Minister responsible for the industry to appoint that individual. He said the same should obtain for the Secretary of the Board who he thinks should be an attorney with extensive experience at the bar. He went as far as to say that the minimum experience should be 15 years.While there is provision within the draft bill for a member of the Parliamentary Opposition to sit on that Commission, Ramnarine said the Bill should be clearer so that they do not have to revisit the act quickly, allowing for the representative to be appointed on the written advice of the Opposition Leader.Further, he believes that while there is provision for one individual to be recommended from civil and or academic to sit on the Board, he believes that there should be individuals from both areas. He is also of the opinion that representation from an environmental agency should also sit on that Board.The former Trinidadian Minister didn’t stop there, he went on to state that the Board should include the Commissioner of the Lands and Surveys Commission, mainly because in composing the Board, they may want to legislate for geography and gender, as it was done in the Ghanaian model.“Decisions should not be made only by simple majority. Majority decisions should require special majority or should require unanimous vote. The Commission should be self-funding and any surplus fund should be deposited into the Consolidated Fund,” he added.He said in the next two years Guyana will be presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right and to create a tremendously prosperous future. It is therefore essential that Guyana gets it right from the start to avoid any difficulty down the road. “Getting it right means always doing what is in the national interest. The national interest must always win,” he posited.The Petroleum Commission Bill was laid in the National Assembly by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman during the last session. This Bill seeks to pave the way for the setting up of an agency that would manage the impending oil sector in Guyana. The Bill is now before the Special Select Committee.The parliamentary Opposition had criticised the Bill stating that it gives the Minister too much power. Without the Board, the Minister would be granted the power to discharge the functions of the Board. The Opposition believes the Bill in its current form will not allow for the creation of an independent agency that would
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPolice constable accidentally shot by colleague in LindenMay 3, 2015In “Crime”Man jailed for robbing Police OfficerMarch 5, 2018In “Court”Suspected gunman shot dead, police rank injured during SWAT team operationJuly 14, 2015In “Crime” Police say one of their own, a Constable, is currently receiving medical attention at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, after being accidentally shot in his upper right arm by one of his colleagues during the pursuit of a robbery suspect at Leopold and Breda Streets, Charlestown, Georgetown.According to the police in a release, the incident happened around 15:30hrs on Tuesday and the injured officer’s condition is listed as stable. Investigations are currently in progress with regards to the robbery suspect who escaped.