The NBA announced on Friday that J. R. Smith, the Knicks’ supreme sixth man, will be suspended five games for violating their anti-drug program.According to the NYT.com, the NBA didn’t disclose specifics about drug-policy violations, but the length of the suspension indicates it was for marijuana. The league issues an automatic five-game suspension for a third violation of the program. No other drug-related violations carry five-game suspensions.Smith, the NBA’s reigning sixth man of the year, was the Knicks’ second leading scorer last season, averaging 18.1 points a game.The Knicks re-signed Smith to a three-year, $17.95 million contract in July. Four days later, Smith had two surgeries on his left knee to repair unspecified damage to his patella tendon and a tear of the lateral meniscus.After Smith has recovered from those surgeries, which could last into the first two weeks of the season, he will carry out his suspension.The Knicks season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks kicks off on October 30.
Venus Williams didn’t attend the summer hearing stemming from the fatal accident she was involved in. (Philippe Crochet/Getty Images)Venus Williams visited her lawyer’s office Thursday, Nov. 9 to sit for a deposition in the fatal car accident she had in June. The 7-time Grand Slam winner was photographed walking into Malcolm Cunningham’s West Palm Beach, Fla., office space. There, she’ll give sworn evidence on the case that led to a wrongful death lawsuit, ABC News reported.After the deposition, TMZ reported the case could move to trial.Linda and Jerome Barson’s daughter filed the suit against the tennis pro after Williams’ SUV and the Barson’ car, which Linda, 68, drove, collided. The Barsons’ were hospitalized and Jerome Barson, 78, died of organ failure two weeks later.The accident occurred as Williams was exiting her gated Palm Beach Gardens community June 9. The athlete entered an intersection when the light turned green. As she turned left, Williams stopped her Toyota Sequoia to allow another car through. When Williams continues straight, the Barson’s Hyundai Accent struck the right side of her SUV.Other News About Venus Williams’ Fatal Car CollisionFla. Cop In New Body Cam Video Isn’t Sure Who’s to Blame for Venus Williams CrashVictim’s Attorney In Venus Williams’ Wrongful Death Suit Says Tennis Champ Accelerated Through Intersection After Light ChangedPolice: Venus Williams Legally Entered Intersection Before Crash, New Video Confirms ClaimBarson family attorney Michael Steinger said surveillance video showed Williams caused the crash by “violating the Barsons’ right of way.” However, after police initially said Williams was believed to be “at fault” for the collision, they said Williams legally entered the intersection. Body cam footage of the scene later showed a cop admitting he was unsure of who was to blame.Williams hasn’t commented on the matter except for when asked about it at a post-match press conference at Wimbledon.“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and — yeah,” Williams said. “I’m completely speechless. It’s just — yeah, I mean, I’m just …”She also issued a statement on Facebook offering her thoughts and prayers to the Barsons and said she was “devasted and heartbroken by this accident.”Williams is not alone in being involved in fatal car collisions. Singer Brandy reached an undisclosed settlement in the 2006 crash that killed a mother of two. Former Olympian and reality star Caitlyn Jenner was involved in a 2015 multi-car crash that killed a 70-year-old woman. Jenner wasn’t charged in the crash but the woman’s children sued her for wrongful death.
Based on projected wins or over/under win totals. Data gathered on March 21, 2017.Sources: Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport, Las Vegas Review-Journal neil (Neil Paine, FiveThirtyEight senior sportswriter): I think the AL West is a really fascinating division because the team that is probably the best in it right now (Houston) finished third last year, the third-best team (Texas) finished first, and those two teams are sandwiched around one (Seattle) that has had the hardest playoff luck possible in recent years. And we haven’t even mentioned a team (the Los Angeles Angels) that contains the potential G.O.A.T.Anyway, the projections say the Astros should be the favorites, so let’s start with them. In a weird way, was 2016 an example of the Plexiglas Principle for them? Their actual record only dropped by 2 wins from 2015, but they were down 10 Pythagorean wins in 2016 after a 22-win Pythagorean improvement the year before. Does that portend an improvement this year?ckahrl: Sadly, you don’t get to carry over any accrued, unmet expectations for wins. Hence the wisdom of shaking up that lineup as much as they did by adding Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick and Brian McCann.rob: It was less the Plexiglas Principle — which is really just regression to the mean — and more the case of a legitimately good team snakebit by poor sequencing and Pythagorean luck.That poor luck does not in and of itself guarantee an improvement, but the talent on the team does. Most of the best players from last year are back, and they made a few additions, which together makes them, on paper, the best team in the division.ckahrl: That said, I still have questions about them …I’m reminded of an old saying that I think belongs to Bill James, that a team with five viable first-base options may not have a first baseman. Plus, can George Springer play a whole lot of center field over a full season? And as interesting as pitcher Lance McCullers should be, and as much as I like what they’re doing with pitcher Chris Devenski, is that a staff we should be entirely sold on? I see how the pieces work individually; I wonder about the aggregate.neil: Yeah, the biggest thing for them might be whether a rotation that was way down from its 2015 form — most notably Dallas Keuchel, but also Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers — can reclaim what went right two years ago.ckahrl: A lot of analysts are banking that Keuchel comes back a good ways, but I also accept the suggestion that this team needed to add a better starter than, say, Charlie Morton. But I guess that’s what the trade deadline will be for.neil: In that department, it also helps that they have the third-best farm system in the game. So they have the assets to conceivably go out and make something happen on the trade market if need be.rob: I’m a believer in the Astros’ rotation. I think last year was a bit of an aberration. FIP (fielding independent pitching) has its problems in terms of describing their performance, but it still has validity as a predictive metric. And from that standpoint, we should expect some bounce-backs from Keuchel and McHugh, at least. The 16.4 percent home runs-per-flyball rate that Keuchel managed last year wasn’t entirely his fault, even if he allowed some hard contact.ckahrl: That hard contact seems like a consistent concern, though, no? That isn’t stuff you can fix with defense.rob: That’s true, but contact management is a skill that fluctuates a lot. That goes as much for Good Keuchel — the one who allowed maybe the softest contact in the league in 2015 — as it does for Bad Keuchel. He may end up as a mediocre contact-manager, but that would still be a decided improvement.neil: It also bears mentioning that on the offensive side, Houston had the youngest lineup in baseball in 2016 — though they gave some of that up when they revamped things, like Christina mentioned. But this does seem like a very balanced, complete team now, assuming that the pitchers rebound.Bottom line — is it crazy to think the Astros are on the verge of a great season?rob: No. But I think the more likely outcome is a good season.ckahrl: If Keuchel and McHugh come back as far as they might, if the bullpen gels, if Springer is fully healthy for a season and can handle center, if Yuli Gurriel pans out in the most exciting ways, sure, they could live up to the mid-’90s win total that some of the projectors have them down for.So it isn’t exactly magical thinking. But how many teams get everything they want and hope for?rob: The 2016 Cubs say hi. ;)ckahrl: Hah, yes.neil: OK, so if you’re both a little more bearish on the ’Stros than the projections above, are you bullish on the Mariners or — gasp — the Rangers?ckahrl: Speaking of the Plexiglas Principle, it is certainly fashionable to bash the Rangers.rob: I’m the Designated Rangers Basher around here, so I have to say that they seem like an OK team. But they aren’t as good as their record from last year, and they didn’t make massive improvements. In contrast, the Mariners were good last year and ended up being crushed under the wheels of the Rangers One-Run Magic Machine.Of course, as Christina can tell you, I was wrong about the Rangers last year, while she somehow saw their impressive season coming. So you should probably listen to her.ckahrl: And sure enough, I’m not that down on them. A full year of catcher Jonathan Lucroy and starter Yu Darvish? Those are good things. It’s easy to knock Mike Napoli, but will he be worse than the .699 OPS (on-base plus slugging) the Rangers got from their first basemen last year? (No.) And don’t we expect growth from Nomar Mazara? (We should.)It’s when you get into that rotation’s depth — or the complete lack of any — that things get scary.neil: Yep, when Dillon Gee is the back-of-the-rotation reinforcement …rob: Agreed about the lack of depth, especially in view of the Rangers’ consistent injury problems. Last year, I remember a lot of people saying that they couldn’t repeat their injury woes from the year(s) before. But they ended up with the fourth-most DL days in 2016, according to Jeff Zimmerman’s DL database. The strongest predictor of future injuries is past injuries, and I expect that their depth will be tested once again.neil: And all of this compounds on itself if their true talent was closer to that 82-win Pythagorean team last year than the 95 wins they had in the standings. Your margin for error on injuries and offseason pickups goes down to nothing really quickly.ckahrl: Agreed. To give them their due, though, manager Jeff Banister handles his bullpens well, which helps milk the margins. But even so, the Rangers need to throw good money after bad — and maybe a prospect or two — to add a starting pitcher and take themselves seriously this season.neil: Meanwhile — and you touched on this Rob (plus wrote about it last year) — the Mariners can’t catch a break, it seems. Do they break that trend this season?rob: The Mariners are still squarely in that terrible zone of playoff probabilities that has so haunted them for the past 20 years. If the projections hold true, they’ll be right around 50 percent to make the playoffs, with their success contingent on things like how other teams perform and the vagaries of Pythagorean records. I’d like to say, “Yes, this is their year,” but I’ve seen enough Mariners bad luck to hedge a bit.ckahrl: Talk about a fun team taking some fun risks, though. I like the depth in the rotation and in their outfield. I like a team willing to take a chance on first baseman Dan Vogelbach. I like seeing a team valuing strong complementary pieces, like utilityman Danny Valencia.neil: And starting pitcher James Paxton is the real deal. He led all qualified AL pitchers in FIP last year.They were, though, the second-oldest team in MLB last year. Also, I wonder if Felix Hernandez is running out of steam just as the rest of the roster is finally gaining it.ckahrl: Yes, and they didn’t get a lot younger by adding thirtysomethings like Jarrod Dyson, Valencia and Carlos Ruiz. There aren’t a lot of tomorrows in their mix. And the bullpen is … well, it’s going to be interesting if the organization doesn’t have another call-up like Edwin Diaz to help contribute.rob: To make matters worse, Hisashi Iwakuma has looked cooked in spring training this year, not that such performances count for much.ckahrl: What if Yovani Gallardo is also ready to be beaten like a drum and King Felix is done? Things get ugly early. At which point, GM Jerry Dipoto can break the team up for parts with his usual manic energy.neil: I guess Mariners fans have stuck with them through the playoff drought this long — what’s another rebuilding cycle? But that’s probably overly pessimistic. There’s a universe where they win this division, or at least a wild card.rob: The wild card seems like slim consolation, given the length of their playoff drought.ckahrl: As an A’s fan, I can agree that the wild card is not much to get excited about.neil: We’ll get to the A’s really soon! But first we should talk the Angels.ckahrl: Leave the fork, we can stick it in the A’s later.neil: So … the Angels are just going to keep on wasting Mike Trout’s talent forever, aren’t they?rob: Yep. The gap in projected wins above replacement between Trout and the next best player on the team is about 5 wins. And Trout has consistently overperformed all predictions, so it may end up closer to 7. He’s ridiculous, the rest of the team is terrible, and personally I see them as closer to PECOTA’s 78-win projection than a .500 outfit.ckahrl: They’re an interesting team because they did a nice job filling huge holes by getting Danny Espinosa and Cameron Maybin for very little. Even if Garrett Richards is all the way back, I just don’t see how that staff keeps them in enough games to get them much further than .500. But at least there are potential slugfests to enjoy now.rob: I struggle to get excited about Espinosa or Maybin. I know they’ve both had good performances at times, but Steamer puts them down as below-average players this year. Or exactly the type of player who ends up playing alongside Mike Trout in a disappointing campaign.ckahrl: Improvement is relative. The kitchen linoleum might be the ceiling for those two, but it’s better than what the Angels have gotten from those lineup slots.neil: Still, it does seem like shuffling deck chairs around on the Titanic. (Ben Revere? Really?) They also have the second-worst farm system in the majors, so help is not on the way.ckahrl: The thing about Trout is … he’s still only 25 years old and signed through 2020. Is it a wasted year? Probably, even if they eke out a whopping 80 or 82 wins. Is that enough of a moral victory to help them with their payroll hangover from the Pujols/Hamilton/Wilson splurge that worked out less than well? Maybe, because I wonder if the Angels aren’t positioning themselves to be players in the stronger free-agent markets of the next couple winters.neil: Amazingly, Pujols’ contract ends after Trout’s does!rob: I do think there is reason to get excited about the long-term future of the Angels. They’ve developed their analytics department in a smart way and made some good hires. Simply hiring people isn’t enough, of course, but in a few years, I can see that paying dividends. Of course, they’ve got the Mike Scioscia problem — his inability to take direction from a GM ended the tenure of the last smart one they had.ckahrl: Well, I wouldn’t sell Angels GM Billy Eppler short. Help isn’t coming soon, but having Trout helps mask what might effectively be a necessary bottom-up rebuild for the organization in the meantime.neil: In the short term, it’s difficult to envision the Angels escaping that 80-ish win purgatory they’ve been trapped in for most of the Trout Era.ckahrl: Have to agree that’s the Angels’ lot, although I’m intrigued by what will happen when Eppler has a shot at spending some money. But with more than $70 million committed per year to Trout, Pujols and Andrelton Simmons in 2018 and beyond, he won’t have as much to spend as he’d like.neil: Finally, we’ve got Christina’s A’s bringing up the rear of the projections — with an OK win total (by their standards)? They made some additions over the offseason that might bring them toward respectability, but are they moving out of a rebuild? What are they doing exactly?ckahrl: Speaking of shuffling deck chairs …It’s brutal, simply brutal, but it’s also a return to the low-stakes, low-upsides bets like when they were going after David DeJesus.rob: I’m really not clear about Oakland’s long-term plan. I feel like the A’s have gone from Moneyball-era prophets of the analytics era to an erratic front office pursuing a series of disconnected moves without an obvious scheme for the next three to five years.ckahrl: The farm system has a few interesting position players, and starter Sean Manaea is going to be fun to watch, but it’s rough sledding in the meantime. Rajai Davis as a 36-year-old everyday center fielder will be a catastrophe for these young pitchers.neil: Just the thing for jump-starting that Sonny Gray renaissance! (If he ever can stay healthy enough to pitch.)rob: Or pitch effectively — he struggled last year in part because of some injuries.neil: Crazy how quickly he went from being one of their lone bright spots to being a non-factor.rob: On that point, the Athletics had the second-most DL days last year, behind only the Dodgers (who seemed to have purposefully built their rotation out of glass). They are likely to have problems again this year, so if their projection is off, I expect it to be overly optimistic.neil: Does Billy Beane get any residual benefit of the doubt at this point? Any hope for the next few seasons? Or is it just a matter of ownership and biding time for a new park?ckahrl: At this point, you can’t give them any residual benefit of the doubt. Results do matter, and with the coming sunset of their revenue sharing, they aren’t going to be anyone else’s charity case. I like Marcus Semien and Khris Davis, and I’d like to pretend I have faith Yonder Alonso’s nice spring means something. But I think 100 losses is way more likely than 78 wins.rob: Beane was brilliant for a long time (see Benjamin Morris’s article), but there’s a strong Red Queen dynamic in baseball analytics these days: You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place. Although the A’s had a strong analytics advantage early on, they haven’t kept up with the pace of growth of analytics in the league. I don’t think they are terribly behind the state of the art in baseball now, but they are falling further and further toward the back of the pack.So I’m inclined not to give him any benefit of the doubt. Staffing is an incomplete proxy for analytics expertise, so maybe he has — or will generate — other advantages to make up for the small front office. But as Christina said, at the end of the day, it’s all about results, and they’ve had some pretty poor results recently. EXPECTED NUMBER OF WINS How forecasters view the AL West 1Houston Astros9391949292.4 5Oakland Athletics7679797577.1 2Seattle Mariners8583888685.4 In honor of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, which starts April 2, FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about what’s ahead. Today, we focus on the American League West with ESPN.com MLB editor Christina Kahrl and FiveThirtyEight baseball columnist Rob Arthur. The transcript below has been edited. 3Texas Rangers8483818583.1 4Los Angeles Angels7883818180.6 RANKTEAMPECOTAFANGRAPHSDAVENPORTWESTGATEAVERAGE
One more piece of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2012 NBA Finals run was cast to the wind during Thursday night’s draft. The Thunder dealt Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to No. 11 overall pick Domantas Sabonis. For those of us who look back fondly on the 2012 Thunder’s killer Big Four of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Ibaka, it was a reminder of how OKC broke up one of the great what-might-have-been young cores in NBA history.But putting aside one of the internet’s favorite pastimes of 2015 — second-guessing the Harden trade — the truth of the matter is that the roster the Thunder sent to the 2016 Western Conference finals had already surpassed the edition that went to the NBA Finals four years earlier, at least according to advanced metrics such as our Box Plus/Minus talent ratings:1Essentially a lo-fi version of ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus ratings, with the benefit that they can be computed for historical seasons. We’ve used them a few times in the past. If Durant does re-up with Oklahoma City, the addition of Oladipo would edge the Thunder ever closer to the Warriors and Spurs at the top of the West. If not, they’ll be just another mid-level team in one of the most top-heavy conferences ever. And a big reason why was the emergence of Steven Adams, who was selected with one of the picks that came to OKC in return for Harden and has become an excellent defender and rebounder. Adams’s strong play made Ibaka expendable, but so had Ibaka’s own downturn over the past couple years. And although comparing shooting guards and stretch fours is a bit apples-to-oranges, Oladipo posted better numbers than Ibaka last season, at a younger age, for less than half the money. As currently constructed, the Thunder are better off now than they were a day ago.Of course, none of that matters if Durant doesn’t opt to re-sign with Oklahoma City in free agency. Despite a bit of a down playoff campaign — and the fact that he probably isn’t even OKC’s best player anymore — KD is still one of the top handful of players in the NBA, and it will be his decision that determines the Thunder’s future far more than Sam Presti’s draft-day machinations.
Then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) tackles Michigan then-sophomore running back De’Veon Smith (4) during a Nov. 29 game at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOn Saturday, for the first time since Ohio State coach Urban Meyer first stood on the Buckeyes’ sideline in the 2012 season, the Buckeyes lost a regular-season game against a Big Ten team.The 17-14 loss at Ohio Stadium to the Michigan State Spartans snapped a national-record 30-game conference streak for the Buckeyes and left the team likely on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff picture when the four-team bracket is released in two weeks.Regardless, Meyer said the team’s sights are solely fixed on the same thing it is throughout the year: its annual meeting with its archrival, Michigan.“Obviously, we’ve got to move past a very, very tough loss, and big game this week, so the rivalry game’s, on the horizon, one that we all take extremely serious around here, and one that we cherish to be a part of,” Meyer said.Senior defensive tackle Tommy Schutt said the timing of The Game could be ideal for the Buckeyes, as the focus that automatically comes with Michigan week was a help in snapping the team back to form in practice.“I would say it’s a little bit easier (to bounce back) than it would be if it was a different game,” Schutt said. “It’s not like we need any extra motivation for this game. We know what’s at stake, we know the rivalry and how important it is to everyone.”The Wolverines (9-2, 6-1) have been one of the more surprising teams in the country under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh. After opening the season with only two votes in the AP Poll, the Maize and Blue are likely to move into the top 10 in the newest CFP rankings.Still, for Schutt and other members of OSU (10-1, 6-1), the turnaround of the winningest program in college football history comes as little surprise.“I thought they would come out and have a great year, like just how they are,” Schutt said. “They have a great coach there, and he’s done a great job of turning that program around after the past couple of seasons. They’re a completely different team than they have been the past couple of years.”The Wolverines have been anchored by their defense, which has allowed the second-fewest yards per game in the country (263.1). One of the standouts on the defense has been redshirt freshman Jabrill Peppers, a do-it-all player.That “all” includes roles on the other side of the ball, as well, as Peppers has added 11 carries and six receptions to 2015 performance and also returns kicks and punts. “We have to be on high alert, because they’re going to use him one way or another,” OSU senior linebacker Joshua Perry said about the East Orange, New Jersey, product. “Anytime you see a special formation or somebody come in who’s generally not in the offensive formation, you have to be on high alert for something.”Schutt said Peppers’ Swiss Army knife-like role on the team is reflective of the entire roster, which has the stability to dictate the game in any style it wants.“It’s a pretty balanced attack this week,” Schutt said. “The quarterback can stand back there and move the ball to some good receivers, big offensive linemen and a good running attack. We have to prepare for both the run game and the pass game and be able to play both of those things consistently.”The rivalry, as it always does, sits very much on the minds of the Scarlet and Gray. But more than anything, the Buckeyes are trying to keep their season on track before the postseason begins and not let the disappointment from the Michigan State game trickle north to Ann Arbor.“It would definitely be tough to go out losing your last few games at Ohio State,” Schutt said. “We come to Ohio State not to lose any games, and losing this one this past Saturday was tough for us and obviously very disappointing and something we’re not going to let happen this weekend.”Kickoff against Michigan is set for noon on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.Attempting a class sweepThe four-year seniors on the Buckeyes have a chance to complete a sweep of the Wolverines on Saturday after taking home the gold pants each of the last three years.A season ago, OSU scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to pull away and top the Wolverines in Columbus, 42-28, despite losing starting quarterback J.T. Barrett to an ankle injury.A second-quarter brawl set the tone for the excitement of the game the year before that. Michigan shook off a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game, only for OSU to take the lead back with 2:20 left.A quick Michigan march down the field put Michigan back down by a point with 32 seconds left. Then-Michigan coach Brady Hoke opted to go for the win by trying a two-point conversion. The pass was intercepted by OSU safety Tyvis Powell, however, and the Buckeyes held on for a slim lead.Finally, in the first year for Meyer and seniors like Schutt and Perry, OSU found itself trailing 21-20 at the half, but buckled down defensively in the second half to shut out the Wolverines over the final 30 minutes and grab a 26-21 victory.Perry said completing his college career without losing The Game would be a defining moment for his time wearing the scarlet and gray.“It would mean a lot,” Perry said. “That’s what I was saying, talking to my parents after the game, I said the one thing that’s really going to make me feel better is getting that fourth pair of gold pants, and so that’s just the mission for me right now.”Schutt said taking on Michigan annually is one of the things he most looked forward to when he arrived on campus, and he is going to cherish the opportunity to sweep the four-game series.“It’s a rivalry that I think is one of the best in sports if not the best in sports, and I think we’re lucky to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s definitely a week we’ll remember and games we’ll remember, and I’m just looking forward to getting out there Saturday.”What happens next?OSU and Michigan, as well as Michigan State, are all still alive in the Big Ten East Division after the Spartans topped the Buckeyes on Saturday.A loss in the ‘Shoe by the Spartans would have eliminated them from Big Ten Championship Game contention, but instead coach Mark Dantonio’s team controls its own destiny.A win by Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan, over Penn State would clinch the East and seal a trip to Indianapolis to take on Iowa in the conference championship.However, if the Nittany Lions upset the Spartans, it will be the winner of the OSU-Michigan game winning the division with a 7-1 conference record.Michigan State would also carry a 7-1 conference record with a win, but it owns the tiebreaker over both OSU and Michigan due to beating each head to head.The Big Ten Championship Game between Iowa and the team that emerges out of the threesome in the East is set for 8:17 p.m. on Dec. 5.
Homework.It’s the common denominator among all college students, whether they are dedicated biophysics majors or rising athletes.It’s instrumental in the progress of a determined chemistry student. It’s not so critical for a guy like Evan Turner, a star athlete with no doubts about his professional future.In fact, Turner said before this season that the one qualm he had about returning for his junior year was the nightly dose of reading, writing and thinking.Nonetheless, the National Player of the Year candidate remained on campus for a third season.Now, while leading the Buckeyes in nearly every statistical category, Turner might as well slam his textbooks shut.A college education is beneficial to anyone, but not everyone. Turner can Google his name and find NBA Draft experts raving about him as the second or third best prospect on the college basketball landscape. That should tell him enough about how he should order his priorities.The top athlete at a premier athletic institution should focus solely on his or her sport.If athletes earned money in college, it would severely hamper their determination and drive toward reaching the professional plateau. Still, the rampant questioning of the treatment of college athletes has diluted the system.Here’s how Turner’s daily itinerary would look if he illegally received some form of payment while in school:7:44 a.m.: Turner wakes up, stretches out the back he broke in December, then sits on the edge of his bed, waiting for a ball boy to fetch him his toothbrush.8:28 a.m.: The junior arrives at his 8:30 class and grabs a seat in the back row, where he can take a nap without interruption. After all, he has a tutor for learning purposes. Attending class is just making a public appearance. It’s in the contract, er, scholarship.12:03 p.m.: Turner treats his boys to lunch at Applebee’s. He’s the one raking in the dough, so he can help his crew out every so often. Turner chooses his restaurant wisely; he wouldn’t want to raise questions by taking his buddies to a fancy steakhouse. Instead, they’re all “eating good in the neighborhood,” and no one seems to care.2:15 p.m.: The soon-to-be All-American checks in with his tutor just minutes before an exam. He quickly memorizes a sequence of A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s, ignoring six weeks of economics material.2:37 p.m.: Turner finishes his midterm in record time.3:30 p.m.: Basketball practice. Turner arrives early and stays late. Some might contend that that schedule accurately represents the daily routine of a college athlete, with or without pay. But I’d be hard-pressed to believe that Turner follows a schedule that remotely resembles it.At this point in Turner’s career, nothing is guaranteed. Others will speculate on his bright future, but until he crosses that capital “T” on a professional contract, he isn’t assured a penny.That keeps him, and all (OK, most) hyped-up athletes in check, whether it lasts for one collegiate year or four.
Coach John Bluem has the No. 19 Ohio State men’s soccer team in the national picture largely because of his squad’s ability to defend and make opponents earn their scoring chances. The Buckeyes have only given up seven goals in their first 10 games of 2010 and find themselves 6-2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. “We want to make sure that we’re disciplined,” Bluem said. “That’s the key to good defending is to be disciplined and drop back and fulfill your role and function in the team.” Bluem’s defensive philosophy includes conceding space and being patient. The key is being able to capitalize on counter attacks. He said that being successful on defense requires teamwork more than individual performances. “If people go … chasing the ball and defending the way they want to, it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have to work collectively together as a unit. Everybody has to understand what each other’s responsibilities are and if you do that, you can cover the spaces effectively and cover the key players effectively.” Senior midfielder Sam Scales said he has confidence in Bluem’s approach, even if it doesn’t produce the sexiest soccer to watch. When asked about what the team does in practice to be so stout defensively, his answer was simple. “It’s just listening to our coaches,” he said. “They tell us to stay tight defensively. We know how the system works, we’ve all been playing it, and we’re all used to it.” With the exception of last week’s wild 2-2 tie against No. 1 Akron, defense has played a major role in OSU’s unbeaten surge over the past four games. The team tied No. 6 Louisville 0-0, beat Michigan 1-0 and defeated Michigan State 2-1. The Buckeyes are winless in games in which they give up two goals, but they have not given up more than two in any match in 2010. “We just work on our positioning and formations and stuff,” sophomore midfielder Austin McAnena said. “We just got to keep our shape and keep track of runners. If we track runners and win our individual battles, we’ll win on the defensive side.” Goalkeeper Matt Lampson has gotten off to a solid start and has played an important role in the Buckeyes’ defense. His 11-save performance at Michigan was key to OSU getting the win. Bluem keyed on Lampson’s importance to the defense and its effectiveness. “Matt’s a great part of that,” Bluem said. “He manages his box very well, he’s a great shot stopper, has good size and strength, he distributes the ball well. He’s a key figure in our team. He was at his absolute best against Michigan.”
Lantern file photoOSU senior forward Berta Queralt smiles during a Sept. 9 game against Miami (Ohio) in Columbus. OSU lost, 2-1.The women of the field hockey team have high expectations for this season. With its record of 10-9 last season, the team hopes to win a lot more by coming together and playing as a unit.Coach Anne Wilkinson said she has seen a lot of improvement since last season with the overall cohesiveness of the team.“They really came together through the spring, the summer, and are starting off more as a unit this year than we did last year,” Wilkinson said.Wilkinson has upperclassmen that know the game well and are strong competitors for the group. She is confident they can ultimately win the Big Ten title.Co-captains, senior midfielders Nora Murer and Arielle Cowie agreed the team has grown stronger since last season.Murer said all the players, including the freshmen and players with less experience, have stepped up and they fit well within the team.Cowie said she has noticed a different mentality in this team that she did not see last season, which has brought a lot of positivity to the field.“There is a lot of optimism,” Cowie said. “I think we all want to fight for each other and that is all I can ask for.”The co-captains are excited to start the season and continue to have their expectations grow as players develop throughout the season.Sophomore forward Peanut Johnson also said during preseason the team really connected, and she wants her teammates to continue that bond.In the team’s preseason scrimmage last Thursday the Buckeyes defeated Miami 3-0. They plan to use their strong team mentality for their upcoming games.The Buckeyes will travel this weekend to Philadelphia to compete in the Conference Cup. They are set to play Temple on Saturday and either Maryland or New Hampshire on Sunday. Their home opener game is scheduled for Sept. 6 against Missouri State at Buckeye Varsity Field.
Junior forward Sam Thompson (12) dunks the ball during a game against Minnesota Feb. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 64-46.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorOhio State was lifeless.Outscored, outplayed and outhustled in the first 20 minutes against Minnesota Saturday, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing 28-18 at the break after their lowest scoring output in a first half this season.Then Sam Thompson found his touch.The OSU junior forward exploded in the second half against the Golden Gophers, tallying 16 of game-high 19 points after the break to launch the Buckeyes to a 64-46 victory.“I’m getting into a pretty good rhythm right now,” Thompson said after the win. “It’s a desperation game from here on out. Every game we play is desperation, every game we play is a must-win situation. When you play like you have to win, when you play like there’s no tomorrow, good things are going to happen.”That’s exactly how the No. 24-ranked Buckeyes (22-6, 9-6, tied for fourth in the Big Ten) looked in the second half against Minnesota (17-11, 6-9, tied for seventh in the Big Ten).Flying around the court, Thompson was everywhere — throwing down three thunderous dunks that ignited the crowd and all but dashed the Gophers’ hopes.“He’s a good player. I love Sam, I recruited him at Florida and I think he’s a really good player,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said after the game, referring to when he was an assistant coach at Florida under coach Billy Donovan from 2009-11. “And I wanted him at Florida. So I knew the potential and he’s a good player.”Thompson finished the game shooting 7-12 from the field, aided in the second half by OSU’s ability to force turnovers and get out and score in transition.“It’s funny because I told our guys look, we got zero steals at halftime. We end up with seven. Our activity defensively wasn’t there,” OSU coach Thad Matta said postgame. “Sam — we got out in transition and they lost him a couple times and he’s pretty good at finding the seams there.”At times this year, the Buckeyes have struggled to score, but in their last two games, Thompson has averaged 15 points, and shot 64.7 percent from the floor, including 55.5 percent from three-point land.Since he was inserted into the starting lineup Feb. 1 against Wisconsin in lieu of junior guard Shannon Scott, Thompson and the Buckeyes are 6-1, with the lone loss coming to then-No. 15 Michigan Feb. 11, 70-60, in Columbus.As the regular season begins to come to a close and OSU fights for seeding in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, it might be Thompson who breaks out and becomes that second scorer the team has desperately needed all year, aside from junior forward LaQuinton Ross.“I hope that he is. I think that Sam is one of those guys (who) in his three years here, has worn a lot of different hats for this program. From his freshman year, to his sophomore year, to where he is now,” Matta said. “The fact that he scored the ball at a pretty high level the last few games, I hope he can continue that because that position definitely opens up a lot of things for us.”Thompson’s heroics were a big part of the 25-5 second half run the Buckeyes used to put Minnesota away. Ross said after such a terrible first half, the team (6-22 shooting, eight turnovers) knew it needed to come out with something extra.“We knew in the first half we didn’t come out with the juice, we didn’t come out playing the way that we usually play,” Ross said. “So going into halftime when we was down 10 … I just think everybody knew in their mind they were going to come out and play hard.”Play hard they did, outscoring the Gophers 46-18 in the final 20 minutes while shooting 56.7 percent.“The first half was definitely the worst we’ve played (this season). Coach Matta said that at halftime,” Thompson said. “We came out in the second half, we played some of the best basketball. I don’t know if it was the best, but through stretches we definitely played some of the best ball we’ve played.”If the Buckeyes hope to make any noise in the postseason, it appears Thompson could hold the key to that success.Currently sitting in a tie for fourth place with No. 15 Iowa and the final first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament — set to get underway March 13 in Indianapolis — the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Penn State (13-14, 4-10, tied for 11th in the Big Ten) Thursday at 7 p.m. in State College, Pa.The Nittany Lions beat OSU, 71-70, in overtime last month at the Schottenstein Center.But the way OSU finished off Minnesota Saturday made Matta realize his team has one very important thing.“They’ve got heart. Because I told them after the game, ‘you cashed a chip in.’ Because this team has not done that this season,” Matta said. “I like the fact that they came back and fought and clawed and put the run together. Shows that these guys got a lot of heart, which is good.”
#NHS #QueenElizabethUniversityHospital Salute to the NICU staff Queen Elizabeth University Hospital 4 staying for the night after a 12 hr day shift to cover 4 those who couldn’t make it to work due to the weather.I have no words to appreciate & thank u all hats off a BIG THANK U— Dr Asma Anwar (@MrsAnwar) March 1, 2018 Other staff at the hospital stayed the night after a 12-hour day shift to cover for staff who couldn’t make it in to work due to the weather. Volunteers taking supplies to stranded drivers on the M62 at Milnrow in Greater ManchesterCredit:PA / Eleanor Kelly As the ‘Beast from the East’ brought unprecedented snowfall across Britain the resolute response from the public in parts on the UK has been likened to a “reincarnation of the Blitz spirit”.Snowstorms over the last week have brought parts of the country to a standstill and seen drivers forced to abandon their cars in huge drifts.Thursday was the UK’s coldest spring day on record and more than a foot of snow was dumped in some parts of the country, while temperatures dipped as low as -10.3C in Kinloss, Scotland.The record cold snap has also prompted numerous spontaneous acts of kindness and community spirit as people have gone out of their way to help struggling and stranded strangers.Likewise, it has seen a herculean effort from members of the NHS and emergency workers to keep critical services running. So much respect for the NHS this evening. My neighbours, both doctors, are choosing to leave their kids at home with friends to sleep at the hospital & cover colleagues who are affected by snow. They aren’t obliged, they just care, how lucky are we?!— Lucy Oliver (@LucyOliver_7) February 28, 2018 Ambulance crews have braved challenging road conditions and been forced to shovel snow to clear pathways in order to reach, assess and treat patients needing emergency help.In Nottinghamshire, members of the public came together to assist in clearing a road for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) staff to pass. Locals help an ambulance crew in Nottinghamshire Credit:Supplied Been stuck on this bus on the motorway for 3.5 hours in the snow chaos. A guy who lives nearby just came on handing out water and snacks donated by his local shop. What a guy! That’s the scotland way! ❤️🏴 #snow #M80 pic.twitter.com/XTGy4tY57f— Rachel Muircroft (@rachmuircroft) February 28, 2018 Night all in, helped by 4*4 and relatives #snowday2018 #teamicu #nightshiftselfie @iccueducation @SunderlandRoyal @FICMNews pic.twitter.com/Z20YCCKjT9— Mark Carpenter (@mcarpenter1967) February 28, 2018 Plymouth UK – where the postal workers wear shorts! pic.twitter.com/cfaFjlfhEE— CHRIS THRALL (@christhrall) February 28, 2018 An unnamed surgeon in Glasgow trekked through the snow for eight miles on Thursday so she could operate on a cancer patient.Her colleague, colorectal surgeon Andy Renwick, told BBC Radio Scotland: “I won’t give her name because she would be genuinely upset with me. In North Derbyshire, a local school teacher helped pick up staff in her Land Rover, with the grateful Chesterfield Royal Hospital & Royal Primary Care hailing her as a “heroine”. #gratefulheartofagirl Just want to give a HUGE shout out to say THANK YOU to the AMAZING local midnight angels & heros for their acts of kindness in the snow to call by each & every single one of all our vehicles now 8hours+ on the #M80 with juice/snacks – David Curtis +1 in pic pic.twitter.com/jsNVwLSCzN— Caroline McDermott (@naturcation) March 1, 2018 The quad biking nurse Many dedicated NHS staff left unable to commute to work have chosen to sleep in GP surgeries and hospitals this week. Peter Smith digging snow to make way for the quad bikeCredit:Supplied #NHSsnowHeroes #ThankYouNHS Linda, Nurse, Spilsby.Visited the elderly & sick in her village & provided palliative care for another patient & helped those whose carers have not been able to get through as well as picking up meds for 2 people who ran out! #StormEmma #Snowmageddon pic.twitter.com/a5jZpGTzOP— NHS England (@NHSEngland) March 2, 2018 Nurses Kristene Pain, Jennie Richards and Sallie Woodrow, from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, stayed in empty patients’ rooms overnight so they were available to work the next day. Derbyshire ambulance crew Anderson Westwood and Mary MatherCredit:Supplied While in Lincolnshire, a dedicated firefighter set off the day before his shift and walked more than 14 miles in freezing conditions to get to work on time.“We all have a duty of care to protect our community when we can. It’s like a kind of reincarnation of the Blitz spirit, almost,” said the father-of-one. “Everyone in the emergency services family is going above and beyond everywhere.” Two nurses in Lincolnshire, Helen Davy-Barnshaw and Zoe Watkin-Drury, drove over 70 miles to Norfolk in a snow blizzard so a patient being treated at a mental health hospital could attend a funeral.“It was very important for the patient to attend the funeral of a close family member and we could see that it would have a significant impact on their recovery if they couldn’t be there,” said Ms Davy- Barnshaw. The scene on the M80 Haggs in GlasgowCredit:PA Firefighter Dan CheethamCredit:PA Another patient, fireman Carl Beavan, also pitched in by travelling for four hours to deliver urgent medication to a patient in a neighbouring village. Alison Tyrrell, a Community Nursing Team Manager in Lynton, used a quad bike to get to patients Credit:Supplied 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 Plympton, Devon, a group of teenagers spent the day assisting motorists by pushing cars up a steep hill. “If they hadn’t stepped in there would have been massive tailbacks,” photographer John Allen said. Blizzardy conditions didn’t stop a hardened postman seen wearing shorts delivering letters to residents in Plymouth. She said: “We’ve been trying to get to as many people as we can in about a mile radius from where we can get to the carriageway. Helen Davy-Barnshaw (left) and Zoe Watkin-Drury from the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation TrustCredit:Supplied “A journey that should have taken us a couple of hours took over five hours, but we would definitely do it again. The family and the patient were extremely grateful.”Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust called their efforts “heroic”, adding: “Even in difficult circumstances our nurses still have patient care at the heart of everything they do.”Ambulance crews battle sub-zero temperatures Hundreds of motorists reported being stuck for up to 13 hours, with some spending the night in their cars, and others abandoning their vehicles. Farmers Edward Wharton (left) and Paul Yaxley (right)Credit:Supplied “She walked from Anniesland to Paisley – it took her two hours and 50 minutes. I saw her come in, she had snow goggles on, Gortexed up, top and bottom, snow shoes and walking poles.“She is operating on someone who has bowel cancer, she knew that had to be done and so she has made extra effort to get in here to make sure that was actually delivered.”Going the extra mile Volunteer Eleanor Kelly, 19, said about 30 people had braved the conditions to take supplies up the hill to the motorway – including to a father with a baby and toddler in the car. Rachel Muircroft shared a story of a local resident who handed out food and water to people stuck on a bus for hours on the M80 in Scotland. “What an amazing community we have here in North Derbyshire! We are genuinely bowled over by the incredible gestures of goodwill we’ve experienced in the last few days from staff, patients and the public!” they said. Was her scrub nurse today, I only walked 50 mins, didn’t want to moan about my sore legs in front of her!!!! #supertrouper!— joanne mcwilliam (@jomcw) March 1, 2018 “Luckily we got back before there was a complete white out,” said the 55-year-old who works for the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust. “But the wind was vicious, blowing the snow into huge drifts. We had to dig the bike out twice!” At the Fakenham Medical Practice in Norfolk, staff who live locally have given up days off and worked double shifts to cover absentees unable to travel, while others arrived at work two hours early to clear snow from access paths.Amy Semper, a ward manager at a mental health ward in Lincoln, completed a 16-mile round trip on foot.“16 miles, a whole load of snow and 27 hours surrounded by some of the most kindest, selfless, hardworking and dedicated people you could ever meet!” she said. More heroics City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust also praised its “amazing staff” for staying overnight to ensure they could treat patients the next day. Today we have been out in the freezing cold weather to deliver some of our snow shovels to @uhbcomms to make sure their employees are able to make it to work tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/69bezniI0Z— Maypole_Ltd (@Maypole_Ltd) 1 March 2018 The high point of this blizzard spirit was captured in Plymouth as a postman was filmed doing his rounds as snow fell wearing shorts.Good Samaritans Good Samaritans came to the aid of motorists left stranded “indefinitely” on the M62 due to snow and ice, with the military also drafted in to help rescue vehicles stuck for hours overnight. Residents from the town of Milnrow formed a human chain to get supplies to stranded motorists, while also opening up a community hall to give people shelter. “It’s been a bit mad. We even had to warm up some hot milk for a guy stuck at the junction with two children.“We knocked on his car and he had a five-week-old baby and what must have been a one or two-year-old girl in the car with him.”For hospital staff in Birmingham, a local business donated and delivered 800 snow shovels to trust staff to help them get to work. An ambulance stuck in the snow Credit:Supplied In rural Devon a committed community nurse battled through snow drifts and blizzards on a quad bike to ensure that her patients were cared for.Intrepid Nursing Team Manager Alison Tyrrell, who is based in the cliff top town of Lynton, travelled five miles to visit her most rural patients in the village of Parracombe, with her husband Peter Smith assisting her by clearing a path in the snow. Carl Beavan and Practice Manager Teresa RandallCredit:Supplied Meanwhile, Derbyshire ambulance staff Anderson Westwood and Mary Mather shovelled snow which had drifted up to a patient’s front so they could assist him with a stretcher.EMAS Chief Executive Richard Henderson praised their efforts: “I have heard so many stories over the past day or so of colleagues and volunteers going above and beyond to ensure they are able to do their job and help the people in our communities.” Kind-hearted Norfolk farmers Edward Wharton and Paul Yaxley braved the Beast from the East to help deliver medication to stranded patients.“The farmers worked as a duo, one clearing the road with a digger and the other behind with the tractor,” said Teresa Randall, Practice Manager at Acle Medical Centre in Norwich. In Kettlewell, North Yorkshire, a district nurse battled the elements to reach patients, with the help of a tractor clearing the route ahead. People help a stuck car in Larbert, near FalkirkCredit:PA Glasgow surgeon walks eight miles Devon GP, Dr Glen Allaway, slept for two nights on the floor of his Exmoor practice to stay open to patients, taking a sleeping bag, soup and sandwiches to work.“I’ve been stranded before in bad weather and stayed with people who run B&Bs locally, so this time I planned ahead and brought my sleeping bag,” he said.In Mundesley, Norfolk, practice manager Lynsey Wayte slept in the staffroom overnight as she was unable to commute in.Managing partner at the practice, Linda Marquis, said many of the team have “gone above and beyond what you would expect” in the circumstances.“They put the practice and patient needs above the personal demands of their own lives arranging childcare and putting on hold their normal lives outside of work,” she said.Newcastle-based referee Lucy Oliver also praised NHS staff, tweeting: “My neighbours, both doctors, are choosing to leave their kids at home with friends to sleep at the hospital & cover colleagues who are affected by snow. They aren’t obliged, they just care, how lucky are we?!” There are countless examples of staff who have given up their spare time to ensure NHS services can continue to function despite the deadly combination of the so-called Beast from the East and Storm Emma.Many acts of kindness have also been highlighted, with staff at Nottingham Children’s Hospital bringing in trays of snow for kids unable to go outside so they could enjoy making snowmen. Our fantastic @NUHPlayService bring the outside inside for our patients on a snow day #playmatters #FamilyHealthNUH #TeamNUH https://t.co/5hodpSxU5k pic.twitter.com/E8XKkdKoEI— N_ttm Children’s (@nottmchildrens) March 2, 2018 Sleeping overnight In rural Lincolnshire, an unnamed GP forced to abandon his broken down car ran the rest of the way to work, “consulting all day in his running gear with no idea how to get home”.Meanwhile, the Met Office has warned snow could give way to floods this weekend with areas of the UK set to be battered by Storm Emma. Donated supplies at Butterworth Hall, a community centre in Milnrow, Greater ManchesterCredit:PA