Dwight Howard – It has become anti-climatic at best, boring at the least. The constant speculation on where Orlando Magic center might be traded has just about desensitized anyone who once was interested in the situation. But the Magic’s resistance to countless reported offers and Howard’s embarrassing indecision has left the 7-foot center right where he was when all this talk began in earnest two months ago.All that, and the latest report is that Orlando might not trade him after all, that they will shun any offers from the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets — the clubs making the most noise about acquiring him — and see if playing with the Magic and a new coach (presumably San Antonio assistant Jacque Vaughn) will influence him to stay.Good luck with that.In any case, ESPN reported that league executives have been told by Orlando honchos that it likely will hold on to Howard, who repeatedly has asked to be traded, until the February 2013 trade deadline. That’s, of course, if they do not receive an offer they just cannot refuse before then.Yes, the carousel continues to go round and round. . .There also is the possibility that the Magic are just posturing to siphon more from a suitor in way of compensation. Whatever the case, it appears Howard might not be traded for some time. The Lakers’ and Rockets’ leadership, according to ESPN, left trade discussions feeling the Magic did not have a real interest in trading Howard, who has been an all-star six times in his career.When Howard first requested a trade to the Brooklyn Nets this past December, he explicably waive his opt-out clause, meaning he could have become a free agent at the end of this past season but elected to stay under contract for another year. For a player seeking to exit, it was not a smart move.He could have avoided all this back and forth and signed with the team that he desired all along — Brooklyn. Instead, the rumor mill remains busy with Howard speculation. Most observers at this point are going: “Wake me up when he’s actually traded.” read more

Miami traffic was so bad this weekend that Serena Williams didn’t know if she’d be able to get to her Sony Open match in time.The world No. 1 was scheduled to play Ayumi Morita at 7 p.m. on Saturday night but realized she was going to have trouble making it the few miles from her hotel to the tennis facilities at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.She said: “The traffic was crazy and everyone was like, `I have been here for an hour, and I’m staying like eight minutes away. I’m like, `OK, I’m not going to make my match.’“So I asked for a golf cart, and the hotel didn’t have a golf cart. Then they were like, `We have a motor bike.’ I’m like, `I don’t do motor bikes.’ They said, `We have a bicycle.’ I said, `I really don’t do bicycles, but I will today.”Thankfully, Serena wasn’t in such a hurry that she couldn’t pose for a photo that she tweeted to her 3.5 million followers.The pre-match biking didn’t seem to have any ill-effect on Serena. She defeated Morita 6-3, 6-3.“It was fun,” she said. “It was probably one of my best memories I think ever, riding a bike to a match. That’s pretty cool.”

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was predicted by many analysts to be the first quarterback selected in Thursday’s NFL draft, but surprisingly, the Buffalo Bills selected E.J. Manuel over Smith with the 16th overall pick.“There was a lot of confirmation going on for me, so it was more so a matter of when they were going to take me in the draft,” Manuel said. “I’m going to enjoy tonight. I’m going to enjoy my family, but I know there’s work to be done.”Manuel, who was the only quarterback to be taken in the first round, will now become the new face of the Bills franchise, which has not made the playoffs in 13 years.Manuel was 25-6 in his four years with the Florida State Seminoles. He has a strong arm, throwing 263 completions out of 387 passes for 3,397 yards. In addition, he passed for 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 starts during his senior season.However, many believed that Smith was the overall best quarterback in draft, but  he left disappointed Thursday night before the last two picks in the first round.Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who knows the feeling of being alone in the green room on draft night, offered words of encouragement to Smith via Twitter. Rodgers told Smith to hang in there; good things come to those who wait.Rodgers slipped all the way to No. 24 before former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue called his name in the 2005 NFL draft.ESPN initially reported that Smith decided to leave New York and not return for the second day of the draft. But ESPN insider Adam Schefter tweeted Friday morning that Smith had decided to attend the draft tonight at Radio City Music Hall.If Smith finally hears his named called, he will have the opportunity to walk across the stage in his tailored suit  and hold up a jersey for his prospective team. read more

The NBA playoffs can sometimes come down to key role players knocking down clutch shots in important moments. But mostly, it’s all about the stars. The league revolves around its top players more than any other sport, and those players usually determine where the championship resides each season.So which playoff team has the most star power? One way to measure this is to break players into tiers based on their performance metrics. A few years back, my boss Nate Silver devised a system called “star points,” which awarded teams a score based on how many stars it had on its roster. Players in the top tier of stars (“Alphas”) are worth 3 points apiece, those in the next (“Betas”) are worth 2, and the lower tier (“Gammas”) are 1 apiece. Teams generally need at least 5 of these star points in total to begin thinking about a title run, and 7 star points is where a championship roster really begins to take form.Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t any teams with 7 or more star points this season. The Golden State Warriors would have had 8 if DeMarcus Cousins hadn’t been injured Monday night, but Cousins is out indefinitely with a torn quadriceps and may miss the rest of the playoffs. That drops the Warriors into the co-lead with 6 star points, alongside Toronto. And that could mean a more wide-open postseason than we’ve been used to, in which role players might take on an even greater degree of importance.To calculate star points this season, I turned to the constantly updating player talent ratings from our CARMELO projection-system depth charts. (In the previous iteration of star points, Nate used an amalgam of various advanced metrics, but that was before our player ratings updated in-season.) After resetting the cutoffs for each tier to maintain a similar number of players of each type,1An Alpha now has a CARMELO-projected overall plus/minus of +5.5 or greater; a Beta has a projected plus/minus of less than +5.5 but at least +4.0; and a Gamma has a projected plus/minus of less than +4.0 but at least +2.5. I found that the NBA has six current Alphas (four of whom are active in the playoffs), 13 Betas (12 of whom are in the playoffs, but one of those — Cousins — is injured) and 17 Gammas (13 whose teams are in the playoffs, with two injured). PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/- The NBA’s championship-caliber players, 2019 edition2019 NBA player tiers based on CARMELO-projected plus/minus talent Houston Rockets17531105 ConleyMEM+2.6 San Antonio Spurs15480000 Detroit Pistons14250022 * Star points are based on a weighted total of a team’s stars, in which Alphas are worth 3 points, Betas are worth 2, and Gammas are worth 1.Team totals do not include injured players.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com Boston Celtics16410113 HardenHOU+8.0WestbrookOKC+5.3LeonardTOR+3.7 DurantGS+4.6Oladipo*IND+3.1 * Out indefinitely with injuryPlayers in italics are on teams that missed the playoffs.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com Check out our latest NBA predictions. IrvingBOS+4.1WalkerCHA+2.8 JamesLAL+6.3TownsMIN+4.9HolidayNO+3.2 Cousins*GS+4.1BledsoeMIL+2.8 How the playoff teams stack up on star powerCurrent CARMELO ratings and star points* for 2019 NBA playoff teams Brooklyn Nets14780000 AntetokounmpoMIL+6.9GeorgeOKC+5.2HorfordBOS+3.4 Players By Tier ButlerPHI+4.0MillsapDEN+2.8 CovingtonMIN+2.7 Oklahoma City Thunder16730204 Orlando Magic15340102 GasolTOR+2.5 JokicDEN+6.8GobertUTA+5.1GreenGS+3.3 LowryTOR+4.0GreenTOR+2.8 Utah Jazz16990102 In an unusual twist, two of this season’s Alphas — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — actually missed the playoffs. (Their intertwined soap opera is worth its own set of charts.) But among the postseason’s remaining star power, there are some interesting mixes of player tiers on the top teams.The Warriors might be a surprise with only one Alpha (Stephen Curry), one Beta (Kevin Durant) and one Gamma (Draymond Green). Durant didn’t quite qualify for Alpha status, in part because he ranked only ninth in Real Plus-Minus (and 18th in Box Plus/Minus) this season. Meanwhile, Green was downgraded to a Gamma because of a weak offensive season,2According to our mix of RPM and BPM, he was 0.9 points per 100 possessions worse than the average NBA player on offense, though his defense more than made up for it. Klay Thompson barely broke even in projected plus/minus talent (+0.1), and Cousins now appears to be lost for at least most of the playoffs. The usual caveats about the Warriors’ sometimes lax regular-season efforts apply, but based on performance metrics, this team’s name recognition might outpace its actual star power at this point.And yet, only the Raptors match the Warriors in that regard among postseason teams. They also did it in a very different way: Unlike Golden State, Toronto boasts no Alphas, but it does have one Beta (Kyle Lowry) and four Gammas (Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Danny Green and Marc Gasol). Wait … Lowry is a Beta and Leonard is only a Gamma? The difference between the two (+4.0 vs. +3.7) is so slim as to be splitting hairs, but Leonard had a surprisingly down year in RPM, ranking just 37th in the league, while Lowry ranked 20th. The broader point, however, is that Toronto has assembled an unusually deep stable of star talent. The team has long been known for its depth down the roster, but a series of moves helped turn that depth into something slightly different: a collection of quasi-star-level talent at the top of the lineup. Golden State Warriors17941116 Milwaukee Bucks17391014 ALPHASBETASGAMMAS Denver Nuggets16731014 Philadelphia 76ers16730215 The Rockets and Sixers rank just below the Warriors and Raptors in star points with 5 apiece, but where in that group is Milwaukee, the East’s No. 1 seed? The Bucks have perhaps the Alpha of all Alphas this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But only one other player around him qualified as a star: Eric Bledsoe is a Gamma, while Brook Lopez barely misses the cutoff. Milwaukee’s overall lack of supporting star power would make it a historical anomaly if it does end up winning the NBA title.The Utah Jazz, in the midst of a brutal first-round matchup against the Rockets, also has very little star power (one Beta in Rudy Gobert). But they have a bunch of guys who just barely missed Gamma status: Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Ekpe Udoh and Donovan Mitchell all had CARMELO plus/minus ratings under +2.5 but greater than +1.5. If we added an extra category for “Deltas” — worth, say, a half-point per player — the Jazz would leapfrog Boston and be much closer to the top of the heap than the bottom.Regardless, there’s a reason that star points don’t track perfectly with a team’s CARMELO rating or its championship odds. Depth does matter some, even if the effect is less of a factor as rotations shorten during the postseason. And sometimes teams are simply built with a blueprint that helps them perform better than their star power would suggest (the Bucks are a good test case there as well), while others aren’t quite as good as their multiple stars say they should be (the Sixers could be lumped into that group).Before they blew a 31-point lead Monday night — and, more importantly, lost Cousins to injury — the Warriors were looking every bit the star-studded machine we thought they’d be all season long. Now, they are still sizable favorites to win it all, but their edge in star power is not quite as decisive as it’s been in recent seasons. We’ll find out soon enough whether that will matter in Golden State’s quest for a third straight championship, or if another team near the top of the rankings above can finally supplant the Warriors and build a star-powered legacy of its own. CurryGS+6.6PaulHOU+4.9Nurkic*POR+3.3 TeamCARMELO RatingAlphasBetasGammasStar Points VucevicORL+4.5SiakamTOR+3.0 Portland Trail Blazers15810102 EmbiidPHI+4.4GriffinDET+2.9 Toronto Raptors17750146 Los Angeles Clippers15000000 DrummondDET+2.7 DavisNO+5.8LillardPOR+4.7SimmonsPHI+3.1 Indiana Pacers15440000 read more

Teams that make the NBA Finals have great players. OK, that’s not exactly news. But teams can get great players in different ways. The 2008 Celtics became great largely by signing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the offseason. Ditto for the 2011 Miami Heat, by snagging LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Ditto for the 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers.Other finals teams, however, become great organically; they keep mostly the same players, but those players get a lot better. This year’s Golden State Warriors are one such team. The Dubs’ season has been remarkable, but it’s all the more special because they’ve excelled with nearly the same crop of players from last year.1The only substantive addition to this year’s squad is Shaun Livingston, who ranks seventh on the team in minutes played. The top eight players in terms of minutes are almost identical to last year’s team, plus Livingston. Stephen Curry became an MVP winner; Klay Thompson turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league; Draymond Green nearly won Defensive Player of the Year — this Warriors team became great thanks to leaps in performance by existing players.The Warriors improved dramatically this season, according to our Elo ratings. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, they have surged 211 points. That’s the 13th-highest single-season Elo improvement of all time. That’s unusually high for a team that added little talent.Using work by my colleague Neil Paine, I can quantify the talent change from year to year, based on multiyear Real Plus-Minus projections — these are ex ante projections, which incorporate performance in past seasons, an aging curve and regression to the mean.2Specifically, the talent rating is five times the minute-weighted average of a team’s players’ individual Real Plus-Minus projections. (This relationship is shown in the scatterplot below.) Compared with other teams that have reached the NBA Finals since 1980, and given their 3.3-point improvement according to RPM, the Warriors’ Elo rating should have improved by only 83 points. They did much better than that.But guess who improved more than the Warriors, according to Elo, over the course of this season? Their finals opponent, the Cavs. Of course, the Cavs followed the model of the 2011 Heat and 2008 Celtics, signing big talent in the offseason: LeBron James and Kevin Love. James and Love — with Kyrie Irving before his and Love’s injuries — remade a struggling, below-average Cavs squad (who started the season with an Elo rating of 1463).Look at finals teams with large single-season jumps in their Elo rating and you notice something: They look more like the Cavs than the Warriors. That is, newcomers to the NBA Finals have typically acquired a big piece. The best example is the 2008 Celtics, whose 326-point Elo improvement is by far the all-time highest. That 2008 Celtics squad, not surprisingly, also has the largest swing in RPM talent, 11.4 points.To measure organic improvement only, we need to control for the influx of new talent. Specifically, we need to calculate how much the team would have improved if it had made no roster moves (this is the “old” talent), and compare it with how much they actually improved, thus deriving the benefit of new players (the “new” talent).3Specifically, by taking the players on the current year’s roster, but using their end-of-season talent ratings for the previous year, we can compute how the team would have done this season with the same group of players on both teams. Then, by comparing this change to the actual improvement in those same players, we have an organic, or “old,” talent rating. The difference between that and the actual change in the overall team’s talent rating can thus be attributed to the influx of new players (or “new” talent).As shown in the table below, among finals teams since 1980, the Warriors have the second-largest differential between their organic (“old”) talent and their “new” talent. This suggests that you don’t have to snap up a superstar in the offseason to see huge year-over-year improvement. Some teams, like the Warriors, can make it happen organically.CLARIFICATION (June 5, 10:25 a.m.): Some commenters interpreted an earlier version of this post as suggesting that Kyrie Irving was new to the Cavaliers this season. Irving has been in Cleveland since 2011. We’ve updated the language to make that clearer.Neil Paine contributed to this article. read more

When he was hired in May to coach the Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Budenholzer inherited a promising but underachieving core of young players led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks — who have not won a playoff series since 2001 — had just suffered yet another postseason disappointment and hoped a coaching change would help them escape perpetual mediocrity.To say the results have been encouraging would be an understatement. Budenholzer has implemented a new and more modern offensive strategy that is utilizing Antetokounmpo’s unique talents like never before. Under Budenholzer this season, the Bucks are scoring at a conference-leading rate of 113.2 points per 100 possessions. The team has the best record in the NBA, has won 10 of its last 11, and has already beaten conference rivals Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto (three times now). Milwaukee is heading into All-Star weekend as perhaps the most intimidating team in the Eastern Conference.So, yes, the coaching change has worked. But what exactly has Budenholzer done — and why is it working so well for the Bucks? One strategic change was clear even back in the preseason when Budenholzer rolled out his new offense.“Coach Bud wants us to shoot more 3s,” Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon told Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “A lot more 3s.”Last year, the Bucks attempted just 24.7 3-pointers per game (25th-most in the league). Under Budenholzer, they have pumped up their long-range volume to 37.8 3-pointers per game, second-most in the NBA this season (trailing only the Houston Rockets).But Budenholzer has done more than just open the 3-point flood gates in Milwaukee this year: He has engineered a sea change in shot selection.“I think there’s a lot of focus on how many 3s [we are taking], but hopefully we’re having the best of everything,” Budenholzer said to The Athletic. “If you’re an efficient offense, you’re getting to the basket. You’re getting to the paint. You’re getting to the free-throw line. And you’re shooting a bunch of 3s.” This season, the Bucks have done more to modernize their shot chart than any other team in the league, as shown in these year-to-year charts.1The 2017-18 chart is through games as of Feb. 5, 2018. Their share of shots taken at the rim or behind the 3-point line — referred to as the Moreyball Rate, after Houston general manager Daryl Morey — has jumped by 16 percentage points, according to data compiled by PBP Stats. Correspondingly, their average 2-pointer is being attempted from a shorter distance, about 2.5 feet closer to the hoop. And everybody on the team is cutting back on midrange jumpers.The Bucks’ transformations in Moreyball Rate and 2-point shot distance are the biggest changes by any team in the NBA from last season to this one. In fact, the Bucks’ sudden modernization is among the most drastic changes in shot selection by any team during the entire era of play-by-play data (available since 2001-02). Appropriately, Morey produced the biggest Moreyball makeover in league history during Houston’s 2012-13 season, James Harden’s first with the team.For the Bucks, the advantage of being laggards in the Moreyball revolution has been an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of their competitors. Seth Partnow, now Milwaukee’s director of basketball research, wrote for Vice Sports in 2016 that creating makeable shots takes more than just jacking threes and driving headlong into the lane. “Three-pointers and shots at the rim are indicators of good offense, but they’re not good offense in a vacuum, and teams that use them as targets should be wary of putting the cart before the horse. Those are good shots in theory. In practice, the best shots are the ones the personnel on hand can make.”Fundamentally, the Bucks have achieved their impressive offensive efficiency on the strength of the two principles of Budenholzer’s offensive philosophy: pace and space.Budenholzer’s emphasis on court spacing has been emblemized by the image of five “stand-here” squares he had taped to the floor of the Bucks practice court, surrounding the 3-point line. By initiating their offensive possessions with all five players outside the 3-point line, the Bucks leave more space for Antetokounmpo to attack the basket. Once Antetokounmpo draws attention around the basket, he’s free to kick the ball out to open 3-point shooters in space. It’s a positive feedback loop that yields easier shots for Antetokounmpo and his teammates.The Bucks’ improved floor spacing has been facilitated by some shrewd front-office maneuvers. The team signed capable stretch bigs Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova on team-friendly contracts while at the same time cutting ties with paint-clogging centers Greg Monroe, Tyler Zeller and, most recently, John Henson.With all that extra space, Antetokounmpo has been attacking the basket relentlessly this season. Since last year, he has increased his volume of drives per game from 11.0 to 12.9; his paint touches are up from 5.3 to 6.5 per game; and he’s now taking more shots at the rim (523) than any other player in the league. These additional basket-attacking duties have put the onus on Antetokounmpo to read the defense and distribute the ball to his teammates.The result has been a career high in assists for Antetokounmpo this season (5.9 per game), with an emphasis on kick-out dimes. On 289 total assists this season, Antetokounmpo has set up a teammate for a 3-point basket 168 times (58 percent), while he has assisted a teammate in scoring a 2-point basket just 121 times (42 percent). In other words, Antetokounmpo has created 262 more points via assisted 3-pointers than he has via assisted 2-pointers this year. That is the biggest such margin of any player in the league and it’s not even remotely close — Detroit’s Blake Griffin is second with 98 more points assisted on 3-pointers than 2-pointers.Among the top-30 assist leaders this season, Antetokounmpo and teammate Eric Bledsoe are two of only seven players who have created more points via assists on 3s than on 2s. 2018-19Bucks6480+167.55.0-2.5 MEMMike Conley225103328450309-141 SeasonTEAMPrev. seasongiven seasonDiff.Prev. seasongiven seasondiff. NOPJrue Holiday293138431586414-172 The Bucks’ drive-and-kick is producing threesThe top 30 2018-19 NBA assist leaders by the difference in points created from assisted 3-pointers vs. 2-pointers, through Feb. 5 2013-1476ers5166+159.56.5-3.0 TORKyle Lowry287101388574303-271 PORDamian Lillard23188319462264-198 2005-06Cavaliers4760+139.08.0-1.0 2015-16Hornets5164+139.58.2-1.3 CHAKemba Walker174117291348351+3 BOSKyrie Irving195120315390360-30 INDDarren Collison21989308438267-171 2014-15Cavaliers5365+128.87.2-1.6 2012-13L.A. Lakers5163+129.18.1-1.0 2008-09Trail Blazers4454+1011.08.9-2.1 MOREYBALL RATEAVG. 2PA DISTANCE Moreyball Rate is the share of the team’s shots taken at the rim or behind the 3-point lineSome percentage-point and distance differences may not add up because of roundingAs of Feb. 5, 2019Source: PBPstats.com MINJeff Teague17179250342237-105 LALLonzo Ball19461255388183-205 MILEric Bledsoe167112279334336+2 PHXDevin Booker174108282348324-24 GSWKevin Durant192119311384357-27 GSWDraymond Green17896274356288-68 PHIBen Simmons236182418472546+74 UTARicky Rubio182104286364312-52 WASJohn Wall178101279356303-53 2012-13Rockets53%74%+208.8ft6.2ft-2.6ft 2018-19Wizards5871+128.76.9-1.8 ATLTrae Young239155394478465-13 SASDeMar DeRozan192123315384369-15 2004-05L.A. Lakers5061+118.67.8-0.9 OKCRussell Westbrook321163484642489-153 TeamPlayer2P3PTOTAL2P3PDIFF HOUJames Harden251151402502453-49 UTAJoe Ingles19173264382219-163 DETBlake Griffin140126266280378+98 LACLou Williams18569254370207-163 MILGiannis Antetokounmpo121168289242504+262 2003-04Wizards3852+1410.98.7-2.2 DENNikola Jokic285114399570342-228 Source: PBPstats.com 2017-18Raptors5871+128.36.5-1.8 ASSISTSPOINTS CREATED DALLuka Doncic151120271302360+58 Milwaukee has modernized its shot selection, big timeTeams with the biggest jumps in their Moreyball Rate from the previous season and their change in average distances from the basket on 2-point field-goal attempts, since 2001-02 2007-08Magic5366+138.06.9-1.1 2016-17Nets5372+198.46.1-2.4 2008-09L.A. Clippers4457+1310.28.2-2.0 SACDe’Aaron Fox227146373454438-16 LALLeBron James16785252334255-79 WASBradley Beal152117269304351+47 BKND’Angelo Russell230116346460348-112 At the top of the list, Antetokounmpo finds himself in the company of a few other big ball handlers — Griffin, Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic — who can distribute to their teammates from the inside out. LeBron James, who is basically the prototype for this point-forward approach, assisted on 344 of his teammates’ 3-pointers in Cleveland last year (for 1,032 points), more than any other player in the NBA. (He created 226 more points on the 3s he assisted than on 2s.) Antetokounmpo is on pace to post a similarly lopsided distribution of assists this season.Impressively, when Antetokounmpo has been on the court this season, 89 percent of the Bucks’ 3-pointers have been assisted; that’s 11 percentage points more than the team’s assisted-3 rate when he’s been on the bench. The Bucks’ improved spacing seems to be helping Antetokounmpo create all the right shots for his Milwaukee teammates.Establishing a faster pace has gone hand-in-hand with the Bucks’ efforts to create better spacing. Budenholzer has emphasized playing with urgency and purposeful movement, and the team has shaved nearly a second off the duration of its average offensive trip (from 14.0 to 13.1 seconds per possession). According to Synergy Sports, the Bucks have attempted fewer field goals this season during the last seven seconds of the shot clock (from 19 percent of all field-goal attempts to 15 percent) and have correspondingly increased the proportion of their attempts (from 59 percent to 65 percent) that are attempted with somewhere between seven and 18 seconds remaining on the shot clock.Antetokounmpo helps push the pace for the Bucks. Budenholzer has instructed his lanky star to dribble the ball up the court immediately after securing any defensive rebound, which has created more uptempo half-court possessions and shots in semitransition.The Bucks are shooting better when they keep their offensive flow uptempo like this — with an effective field-goal percentage of 56 percent on shots taken with between seven and 18 seconds left on the shot clock and just 48 percent on their more slowly developing shots.A new and more modern offensive approach predicated on floor spacing and pace, along with some smart personnel decisions, have helped Budenholzer unlock the immense potential of the Bucks’ young superstar. Perhaps when they hired Budenholzer the Bucks would have been happy with winning a playoff series. But with Milwaukee in pole position for its first conference championship appearance in nearly two decades, the Bucks now have eyes on a bigger prize. The older Milwaukee generation is surely reminiscing of the summer of ’71 — the last time there was a transformative young star in town. And who knows, maybe this season will end like that one, with an NBA championship for the Bucks. Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

As two of the faces of United States and international soccer, retired forward Abby Wambach and current midfielder Megan Rapinoe have used their platforms to act as leaders for various social issues, such as LGBT and women’s rights. But now, following in the steps of another former U.S. women’s national team star, Brandi Chastain, Wambach and Rapinoe have plans to make a difference in an entirely different way.In an interview with The Lantern before the two spoke at Ohio State for an event sponsored by OUAB, Wambach disclosed that she has made arrangements to have her brain donated for concussion research. Rapinoe later revealed the same during the event.“I think it’s amazing. I’m going to do the same myself,” Wambach said of Chastain’s pledge to donate. “Actually, I’m going to be doing a piece with her in order to get the word out, and I think that will be so important not just for the next generation, but to learn more.”Wambach later added that the piece with Chastain is set to be a podcast.Chastain, known for her game-winning penalty kick and ensuing celebration in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, announced her intentions in early March, becoming one of the most prominent female athletes to do so.The 35-year-old Wambach, the all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer, could prove especially valuable in the research due to her propensity to use her head on the pitch. Of her 184 goals in international play, 77 were deposited using her head.“I think there will be valuable research and information that will be studied, and we will understand more about the heading and the heading process as it pertains to the game,” Wambach said.During the OUAB event, Rapinoe acknowledged that she’s unsure how much information could be gathered from her brain, as she does not use her head to the extent of Wambach. Even so, she said she felt it necessary to contribute to the burgeoning research on concussions. Boston University, where Chastain plans to donate her brain, is the lead researcher on the field of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a postmortem degenerative brain disease that is suspected to be linked to concussions and repeated blows to the head. However, only seven of the 307 brains studied by Boston University belonged to a female, according to The New York Times, which adds salience to the commitments of the three U.S. soccer players. CTE, initially linked to boxing, is now commonly associated with football, as the first large-scale findings on the disease came after Dr. Bennet Omalu published a paper in 2005 on former NFL center Mike Webster. Since the initial report, the list of NFL players diagnosed with CTE continues to grow. An October study from the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University found the disease in 87 of the 91 brains of former NFL players that were examined. Despite the repeated linkage to football, research on the disease and the impacts of head trauma is developing beyond gridiron, namely to soccer. Boston University discovered CTE in the brain of a deceased 29-year-old soccer player in 2014, the first named player to have traces of it. A 2013 study from Yeshiva University found abnormalities in the brains of soccer players who frequently head the ball that are similar to patients who have sustained concussions. The study noted a single header is not enough to result in traumatic brain injuries, but the lead author, Dr. Michael Lipton, wrote that “repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that leads to degeneration of brain cells over time.”As a preventive measure in young players, the U.S. Soccer Federation put forth new safety guidelines in November, banning headers for players under 10 years old, while limiting it in practice for those aged 11 to 13. Wambach said she fully supports safety measures to protect youth players, but she is advocating that there are better ways to go about it than simply banning headers altogether.“We want to make sure that when those 10-year-olds get to that 11-year-old age, the 11- to (13-year-olds) get to the next level, we want to make sure those kids are prepared,” she said. “You don’t want to send somebody out and not know how to do it, how to properly head a ball. I think that actually makes it more dangerous.“If you can do it technically sound, you’re less likely to incur a concussion. In fact, most concussions come from elbow-to-elbow or head-to-head contact, and that’s something that’s a little not talked about.”She said that because of this belief, she is working with the federation to instill new programs to teach proper technique when heading the ball.“I’m setting up a protocol with U.S. Soccer at this point to create a business in and around some of these clubs with soft balls to properly teach how to technically head a soccer ball, how to attack a soccer ball, to not be afraid of heading a soccer ball, because I don’t foresee soccer ever losing heading as part of its game,” Wambach said.Soccer might not be a sport noted for its spine-tingling collisions or overtly physical nature. But Wambach said that is precisely why she thinks research into the effects of the sport could prove invaluable to future generations.“We’re different from the NFL,” she said. “Heading a ball is different than getting struck in the head by a linebacker that’s 300 pounds trying to literally rip your head off, so I’m excited to see what those results are.”Nick Clarkson contributed to this story. read more

OSU freshman guard Jensen Caretti (33) outlasts Duquesne senior forward Amadea Szamosi’s (15) block in the second quarter of the Buckeyes 89-69 win over the Dukes at St. John’s Arena on Nov. 11. Credit: Angelia Heimsoth | For The LanternFrom the outset of Ohio State’s 89-69 win over Duquesne University on Friday, it was evident that the Buckeyes’ recent efforts to shore up defensive and rebounding issues paid off.OSU coach Kevin McGuff was unhappy with these two areas of his team’s play following a subpar exhibition performance against Ashland on Sunday. So much so that the Buckeyes worked almost entirely on rebounding and defense this week in practice.The increased effort and intensity was noticeable from the opening tip, as the Buckeyes used a full-court press to bother the Dukes throughout the game. Duquesne shot just 36.9 percent from the field and turned the ball over 15 times.“Coach was really harping on defense after last game, and I feel like we locked in and took the message and did a really good job with defense and rebounding,” redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Calhoun said.At times against Ashland, the Buckeyes played loose and weren’t as aggressive as McGuff would have liked on the defensive end. That wasn’t the case this time around.“We’ve been really locked in on that; finding your man and being aggressive,” redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga said. “Continue to go after rebounds, whether it’s offense or defense because that stops their second chance opportunities and then gives us our chance to get second-chance opportunities.”OSU also turned up its intensity on the boards. The Buckeyes were outrebounded 47-38 against Ashland, but they completely flipped the switch against the Dukes. OSU pulled down 55 boards and allowed Duquesne to grab just 33, and all 10 Buckeyes to see regular minutes grabbed at least two rebounds.Leading the way was Mavunga, who attributed her 15-point and 14-rebound performance to the efforts of her teammates.“They were boxing out other players, so then that gave me the opportunity to go into the open gaps and get the rebounds,” Mavunga said.The Buckeyes’ defensive and rebounding efforts caused several scoring droughts for the Dukes that allowed OSU to pull away. To finish the second quarter, Duquesne made just two of its last 11 shots and scored just seven points in the final seven minutes of the half.Duquesne sophomore forward Kadri-Ann Lass buried a three-pointer 15 seconds into the second half, but OSU then used a flurry of scoring and defensive pressure to go on a 9-0 run and build a 55-29 lead. The Dukes pushed back, mounting a 13-4 run of their own, but the Buckeyes again clamped down defensively and outscored Duquesne 30-27 the rest of the way.“We made plenty of mistakes, but we played hard,” McGuff said. “Our effort and intensity was so much better.”Balanced attackThe Buckeyes also used a balanced scoring attack to down the Dukes. 10 different players scored for OSU and four – junior guard Kelsey Mitchell (18 points), Mavunga (15), Calhoun (13) and junior guard Asia Doss (12) – were in double figures.Mitchell, despite scoring a team-high 18 points, struggled again from the field. She went 6-for-17 overall, including a 2-for-9 mark from three-point territory. Mitchell also struggled against Ashland, going 5-for-20 from the field and 0-for-8 from the three-point line.Despite the early season struggles, McGuff isn’t worried.“When she’s not her normal self, she can get down on herself,” McGuff said. “You’ve just got to remind her, ‘Hey, you’re a great player, just keep playing.’”The Buckeyes shot 44.6 percent from the field, including 27.2 percent (8-for-29) from the three-point line. The overall effort on both ends of the floor left McGuff feeling much more pleased than following the Ashland contest.“It’s very simple,” McGuff said. “You practice a certain way, you play a certain way.”Up nextThe South Carolina Gamecocks, a consensus top-five team that defeated the Buckeyes 88-80 in Columbia, South Carolina a season ago, will head to Columbus for a 6:00 p.m. tilt against OSU on Monday. read more

Junior midfielder David Planning (12) takes a shot during a game against Michigan April 12 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 15-6.Credit: Dan Hope / Lantern photographerIn a clash of the only remaining unbeaten teams left in ECAC play, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (5-6, 2-0) is scheduled to host the Air Force Falcons (8-3, 3-0) inside Ohio Stadium Saturday with first place on the line.Getting hot at the right time, the Buckeyes have won four of their last five after starting the season 1-5, including a convincing win over archrival Michigan in front of more than 17,000 fans last Saturday inside Ohio Stadium.However, OSU coach Nick Myers said the team has put the Michigan game behind them and they are now focused on taking an Air Force squad that is currently one of the hottest teams in the country.“For our men, it’s the next play, next game mentality,” Myers said. “We understand what’s on the line this weekend. You got an opportunity at a share of the conference championship, Air Force is looking at an opportunity to win it outright. Right now, it’s as close to a playoff mentality as you can get against a team that is red hot, very well coached, and has a lot of seniors.”Going into its last game against No. 17 Fairfield, Air Force had yet to record a victory over a team ranked in the top 20, but that didn’t stop them from handling the Stags for a 16-8 win.Now winners of six straight, Air Force sits atop the ECAC with the chance to win the regular season title for the first time under coach Eric Seremet.The Falcons are led by 14 seniors, who have the offense rolling right now after having scored 13 or more goals in five of their last six games.OSU senior goalie Scott Spencer said the team is just focused on themselves and playing the fundamentals well this weekend.“It’s not about any one guy. We just really want to hone in on supporting each other and focusing on the little things,” Spencer said. “These last two weeks, we’ve really been focused on fundamentals and the basics and not trying to get too fancy, but really knowing who we are and what we do best.”Spencer, who has started four games for the Buckeyes since fellow senior goalie Greg Dutton went down with an injury, is 3-1 on the season and is the reigning ECAC Defensive Player of the Week after holding Michigan to only six goals while making nine saves in the Showdown in the Shoe.Myers said Spencer, along with the rest of the Buckeye defense, will have to build on their momentum and confidence to slow down a potent Falcons offense led by senior attackman Mike Crampton (33 goals, 16 assists).“He’s been really steady. Scotty is a guy that brings a great deal of consistency to the lineup. He’s got a great work ethic,” Myers said. “Every day, Scotty is going to come to practice ready to go and I’m really happy to see him having success. I think his success is a product certainly of the defense as well. He’s doing his job in there and defensively, we are slowly starting to get more confidence as the year goes on together.”Offensively, junior midfielder Jesse King will hope to continue his stellar play, as he has 21 points in his last three games and 45 on the season. Junior attackman Reegan Comeault will also look to build on his scoring streak as the only Buckeye to tally a point in every game this season.Game time is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. and is slated to be Senior Day for 10 Buckeyes, including senior midfielder Jake Sharick, who won’t be able to play because of an ACL tear that has kept him sidelined all year. Despite the injury, Sharick said the game will be just as special as if he was playing.“We are all working for the same thing,” Sharick said. “Everyone’s trying to get one job done, so I feel just as part of the team as if I was on the field. We’re all gonna take that mindset in for this day, so it’ll be a fun day.” read more

Ohio State sophomore forward Dakota Joshua’s initial reaction following his go-ahead goal in the third period against Minnesota at the Schottenstein Center on Feb. 11. OSU lost 6-5. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorFor the first time since 2009, the Ohio State men’s hockey team is headed to the NCAA tournament.Despite falling to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, the Buckeyes (21-11-6) secured an at-large big in the West region of the 16-team field.The Scarlet and Gray will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, to take on No. 2 overall seed Minnesota Duluth (25-6-7) in the first round, and will have a chance to advance to the final eight of the competition for the first time since the program reached its only Frozen Four during the 1997-1998 season.Puck drop from Fargo is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.While the Buckeyes might not have NCAA tournament experience, their coach, Steve Rohlik, does. Much of that experience was with OSUs first-round opponent.Rohlik spent 10 seasons as an assistant at Minnesota Duluth from 2001 to 2010. He was hired along with the Bulldogs 17-year head coach Scott Sandelin, who has taken Duluth to seven NCAA appearances, two Frozen Fours and won one national championship. Rohlik was on the staff for two of those appearances and one Frozen Four. He became OSU’s associate head coach in 2011 when Duluth won the national championship.“I know their team very well. They have as much speed as anybody in the country,” Rohlik said. “Top to bottom, there’s no secret why they’ve been No. 1 or 2 all year. They’ve done it because they’re that good.”Jacob Myers contributed quotes. read more

first_imgThe father left the children alone when he went to St James’ Park, the court heardCredit:Shaun Botterill/Getty Images 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 father left the children alone when he went to St James' Park, the court heard Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling published by a judge following a private family court hearing in Newcastle upon Tyne.The man had asked Judge Simon Wood to rule he had to see his younger son.But Judge Wood has dismissed his application. He said the family involved could not be named.The man complained his ex-wife had deliberately alienated the younger boy from him.But she denied his allegation and said he was unable to prioritise his children’s needs.She said his decision to leave the youngsters home alone was a “culmination of circumstances”.The woman said neither the 14-year-old boy nor his older brother, now 19, wanted to see him.center_img Judge Wood said neither teenager was “alienated” as their father suggested.The judge said the man lacked “insight” into the harm he had caused.He said the man was “utterly obsessed” with placing blame on his ex-wife while saying he was a “wholly innocent victim”.Judge Wood said the man had denied leaving his children home alone while going to watch Newcastle.The man said he had left them alone for “an hour or so” while taking his St James’ Park season ticket to a friend.He said the boys were aged eight and 13 at the time and he denied doing “anything inappropriate”.The February 5, 2011 game turned out to be one of the most famous in Newcastle’s recent history.Arsenal had gone 4-0 up but the home side came back to earn a 4-4 draw. A Newcastle United fan whose ex-wife accused him of leaving their two sons home alone while he watched his side play Arsenal has lost the latest round of a long-running family court fight.She said she stopped letting him see the boys six years ago after he went to St James’ Park and left them unsupervised while they were staying at his home.The man had not seen his younger son, now 14, since and has now failed in his latest bid to be allowed to meet up with the youngster.last_img read more

first_imgMr Holgate, a Cambridge graduate and former HM Treasury official, insisted he wanted to remain in post but had been forced to quit. “Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the Council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed.” Residents were trapped "screaming for their lives" as flames raged through the block The council boss forced to quit over the Grenfell Tower disaster is set to receive a six-figure pay-off, The Telegraph has been told.Nicholas Holgate, who was paid £193,000-a-year as chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council, announced his resignation on Wednesday night a week after the catastrophe. Mr Paget-Brown is believed to have offered his resignation at a meeting of the council cabinet but it was rejected. One source said no senior councillor wanted to take the role on. The £150,000 a year  head of the housing management company that ran Grenfell Tower is also under renewed pressure to quit after Theresa May said the first act of Kensington’s new council boss will be to “look at” how his organisation was run.In a statement, Mr Holgate accused Sajid Javid, the Cabinet minister in charge of local government, of interfering to force his dismissal.“On Tuesday 20 June, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government required the Leader of the Council to seek my resignation,” said Mr Holgate in a statement.Sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Holgate will be entitled to compensation for losing his job, understood to be equivalent to at least six months’ pay that covers his half-year notice period. That equates to about £100,000.It is not clear if Mr Holgate could attempt to bring a legal action over the alleged ministerial interference. Sharon Shoesmith who was sacked by the then Education Secretary Ed Balls over the Baby P scandal was subsequently awarded £679,452 after she successfully sued for unfair dismissal. David Lammy, the Labour MP whose friend Khadija Saye was killed in the fire, said although Mr Holgate’s resignation was welcomed, it was not enough and that Nicholas Paget-Brown, the elected Conservative leader of the council, should also quit.Mr Lammy said: “This is a circumstance in which many people should consider their position and step aside. The leader of the council should go. The political leadership has been poor and he [Paget-Brown] should go. He has lost the faith of the people on the street.” Kensington and Chelsea council has been roundly criticised for its slow response to the tragedy – it has been accused of being ‘invisible’ on the ground – while a series of official  investigations, including a criminal inquiry, continue into what went wrong. 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.center_img  Smoke billows from Grenfell Tower Credit:AFP He added: “If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction.”The Justice4Grenfell campaign welcomed his  resignation.Yvette Williams, a spokeswoman for the group, said: “He [Mr Holgate] wasn’t left with any alternative, I think it was the right thing for him to do, the community had been completely abandoned by the local authority.”  Smoke billows from Grenfell Tower  Robert Black, the chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), which was in charge of Grenfell Tower on behalf of the council, is also under huge and renewed pressure to quit. Residents were trapped “screaming for their lives” as flames raged through the blockCredit:Eyevine Residents had repeatedly voiced their concerns that Grenfell Tower was “a disaster waiting to happen” but they were ignored.Mrs May, when pressed on the TMO, told MPs on Thursday: “The issue of the tenant management organisation… has come across loud and clear to me from my conversations with local residents. “One of the first acts of the new chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council will be to look at the tenant management organisation and any action that needs to be taken.”last_img read more

first_imgSock’s agent said that the teenager had subsequently got in touch with the player.Mary Jane Orman, said: “The boy messaged Jack directly on Instagram and is from Ireland. He is gone home now but Jack invited him to his matches and said he will send him a towel.”The man in the hat may have got the towel, but the boy he snatched it from has got the glory. She said it was the kind of incident which went against the sport’s efforts to encourage more children to get involved in tennis.“I hope that somebody recognises him and comes forward with his name and that Jack Sock can give him a towel and it was lovely to see Jack Sock offering to do that,” she said. If you find out, we’d like to send him a #USOpen towel. @AustralianOpen, @rolandgarros, maybe send one of yours as well for a Slam sweep?— US Open Tennis (@usopen) July 4, 2017 “I know what it’s like for children and young people at Wimbledon. You want the whole thing to be a wonderful experience and you don’t want anybody to be going home disappointed so I think it was a lovely gesture of him and I hope he manages to find the guy.” Judy Murray recalled how as an eight-year-old Andy was left bitterly disappointed when he failed to get an autograph of his then hero Andre Agassi, after spending all day waiting for him at Wimbledon’s practice courts.“It had quite a big impact on him as a little kid. I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s so good at staying behind and signing everything for everybody because of the experience  that he had,” she said.The footage from Sock’s first round match against Christian Garin shows him glancing up at the teenager, who travelled to Wimbledon from Ireland, and throwing the towel towards him after he appeared to ask the player for it.But the heavily-set spectator in a straw hat in front of him intervenes and grabs at the towel, pulling it down towards him, with what appears to be the help of a woman in a matching blue shirt sitting next to him. 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. If ur the bloke in the blue polo shirt and hat, you should be ashamed…… https://t.co/KlZ250NCQP— judy murray (@JudyMurray) July 4, 2017center_img No sweat! Happy to chip in an #AusOpen towel. 🇦🇺 🎾— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) July 5, 2017 Sock’s appeal for the teenager to contact him prompted the organisers of other Grand Slam tournaments to come forward with offers of towels, including the US Open and the Australian Open.And the maker of the Wimbledon towels, Christy, followed suit, stating: “We would love to help out.” If anyone knows the kid that unfortunately had the towel ripped out of his hands…tweet his name at me and I’ll be sure to get him one 🤙🏻— Jack Sock (@JackSock) July 4, 2017 Whether it’s an autograph, a sweatband or even a towel, picking up a memento from a Wimbledon match can be the high point of many a young tennis fan’s day.But one Wimbledon spectator put paid to that simple delight when he snatched a towel thrown by US player Jack Sock towards a teenage boy.Footage from the match on Court 8 showed the middle-aged spectator determinedly wrestling the player’s towel away from the boy sitting one row behind him.After the match Sock promised that if the teenager, thought to be from Ireland, came forward he would present him with a replacement towel to make up for his disappointment: The towel snatching incident was the kind of ungentlemanly behaviour frowned on at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and it quickly prompted condemnation from players and fans.Andrew Murray’s mother Judy certainly did not mince her words when she saw a replay:last_img read more

first_imgRogers claimed the three women must have colluded, but later said it was possible he had said those things but he did not recall it due to his mental health problems.”I get very fiery,” he said. Rogers said did not see Mrs Guy enough in the months leading up to her death, but he tried to help out with odd jobs.Rogers, of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, who was crying during parts of the interview, said he was “gobsmacked” when officers came to arrest him and agreed that he had said: “I just want to know who grassed me up.” The court heard John, of St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, called the emergency services to Mrs Guy’s home on November 7 2011, saying she thought her mother had died and claiming Mrs Guy had been suffering from stomach and bowel cancer.Police installed covert recording equipment in John’s home while they were in custody being interviewed in 2016.In one exchange, Rogers said to John: “No honestly, you have got nothing to worry about, it’s me that’s the one that’s done the act.”Rogers and John both deny murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter. The trial continues. Betty Guy was found dead at her home in Frome, SomersetCredit:Martin Cavaney/Athena  He told the interviewers Mrs Guy was “old and frail” and while he did not know the specifics of her medical conditions she had “complications” and used to keep a “big bag of tablets” next to her. Betty Guy was dead by the time her grandson arrived at her home, the court heardCredit:Wales News Service  Betty Guy was found dead at her home in Frome, Somerset Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A former soldier accused of smothering his grandmother told police he would not have killed her or anyone else because he “shot someone in Iraq” and “that is why I am messed up in the head now”, a court heard.Barry Rogers, on trial along with his mother Penelope John for the murder of Betty Guy, told officers that he was the 84-year-old’s “blue-eyed boy”, during an interview after he was arrested in 2016.In a video of the exchange played at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, the 33-year-old said he could not have killed the former nurse.”I shot someone in Iraq,” he said. “I would not kill anyone else, that is why I am messed up in the head – because of Iraq.”Rogers, who said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said his mother called him just before Mrs Guy died but he did not remember what she said.He then drove to his grandmother’s home from Frome, Somerset, where he was living at the time, “doing 140 miles per hour on the motorway”. He said she was already dead by the time he arrived at her home in Johnston, Pembrokeshire, on November 7 2011. Penelope John arriving at Swansea Crown CourtCredit:Dimitris Legakis /Athena Penelope John arriving at Swansea Crown Court “I drove from Frome to Johnston pretty fast and by the time I got there my nan was already dead,” he said. “I knew for weeks, for months that my nan was ill. We all knew it was coming. Betty Guy “I think my mum phoned me, I can’t remember exactly what was said or the details, but she phoned and I should have left straight away but I didn’t, I left later… I felt guilty then because I should have left earlier and if I left earlier then I might have seen her.”The court previously heard Rogers, who said he also suffers from borderline personality disorder, told three girlfriends that he had helped his nan “pass”, in the years that followed her death.He and John, 50, who is accused of feeding her mother a cocktail of pills and whiskey, came under suspicion after one of those women, Sandra Adams, reported what he had said to police.last_img read more

A study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, advised that people should avoid emoji at work altogether, especially the first time you talk to someone.  The ruling was thought to be the first in English legal history to incorporate an emoji, or web symbol, to explain a point of evidence. Almost three quarters of adults are now dependent on emojis to communicate with each another, the study found Almost three quarters of adults are now dependent on emojis to communicate with each another, the study found She said: “As we increasingly communicate through our phones and computers, it is only natural that our language will evolve.“Digital communication should not be an excuse to take the easy road out. We all need to understand the foundations.”Emoji, a popular way to replicate non-verbal communication, are used six billion times a day and have been described as the fastest growing language in history.  Emojis are ruining the English language because young people rely on them to communicate, research suggests Dr Ella Glikson, an expert in business and management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, said that the research shows using emojis in the workplace does not increase perceptions of warmth, and actually decrease perceptions of competence.However, other studies have focused on the positive aspects of emoji. Researchers from Edinburgh University published a paper earlier this month which found emojis are helping people feel included on social media. When the inclusive emoji were first introduced in 2015 there were fears that the icons could be used inappropriately or abusively, and could even stoke racial tensions.But when researchers analysed a sample of a billion tweets they found that most people who choose to personalize the colour of their emoji do it to make it more aligned with their own skin tone.And even in tweets where the selected skin tone was different from that of the user, posts were found to be mostly positive. The researchers called for even more options to personalise characters to a greater degree.  In 2016, a High Court judge took the unusual step of including a smiley face emoji in an official ruling. In an attempt to make a judgment in a family court case comprehensible for the children it affects, Mr Justice Peter Jackson used a smiley face symbol.   Emoji are ruining the English language because young people rely on them to communicate, research by Google has found.Over a third of British adults believe that emoji are to blame for the deterioration of the English language, according to new research.YouTube, the video sharing website owned by Google, commissioned a study where 2,000 adults aged between 16 and 65 were asked about their views on the current state of the English language.  The vast majority (94 per cent) of respondents said they believe there has been a decline in the correct use of English, with four in five identifying youngsters as the worst culprits.The research found that more than half of British adults are not confident with their command of spelling and grammar. Almost three quarters of adults are now dependent on emoji to communicate with each another, as well as spell checks and predictive text. A spokesman for YouTube said that English language tutorial videos are seeing a huge surge in popularity. Since April 2017 there has been a 126 per cent increase in views of English language lesson videos on the site, they added. Lucy Earl, whose YouTube channel English With Lucy has over a million subscribers,  gives tips and advice to those looking to improve their language skills.  But one expert has warned that while there is a “superficial attraction” to using emoji, they are among the most damaging aspects of communication technology.Chris McGovern, a former Government adviser and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education said: “There has unquestionably been quite a serious decline in young people’s ability to use the English language and write properly punctuated English.“We are moving in a direction of cartoon and picture language, which inevitably will affect literacy. Children will always follow the path of least resistance.“Emoji convey a message, but this breeds laziness. If people think ‘all I need to do is send a picture’, this dilutes language and expression.”Academics have previously warned that peppering an email with emoji could harm your job prospects by making colleagues less likely to share information with you.  Emojis are ruining the English language because young people rely on them to communicate, research suggests 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. read more

Teachers have been told not to ask a classroom of children what they did at the weekend an attempt to “poverty proof” schools.Staff should not initiate group discussions about what activities pupils did during school holidays as this can lead to less well-off children feeling awkward and uncomfortable, according to the charity Children North East.Luke Bramhall, who leads the organisation’s Poverty Proofing the School Day project, said that teachers must be sensitive in their choice of conversation topics to ensure pupils do not feel excluded.“Students have told us at some schools, they have discussions after the holidays or after Christmas as a whole class. Students are asked to tell everyone what they got for Christmas,” he said.“Students lie about what they got for Christmas because they want to fit in or they didn’t get as much as others.”Mr Bramhall added: “On a Monday morning, sometimes if there is ‘a pass the teddy bear round [and talk] about where you went and what you did on the weekend’, students have reported that it is difficult, awkward and uncomfortable.”While these are “important discussions”, it is important that teacher create the right “narrative” so that children from deprived households to do feel left out, he said. Mr Bramhall advises headteachers on how to “poverty proof” their schools. After interviewing children at the school, he gives bespoke advice for headteachers which reflects the needs their pupils. Experts from Newcastle University found that the charity’s work in schools improves attendance, attainment and uptake of free school meals, trips and music tuition.One headteacher banned fancy pencil cases after advice from the charity. Pauline Johnstone, head of St Wilfrid’s Primary School in Blyth, Northumberland, has also introduced a standard backpack for pupils in a bid to make school life easier for disadvantaged children.“As a school we had thought we did OK, it was all very equal and children didn’t feel disadvantaged,” Mrs Johnstone said.”It was quite difficult to listen to some of the feedback.” Children reported it was “very obvious” that some of them did not have the same things everyone else had, she said.The school took the decision to ban designer pencil cases – some of which can cost well over £10 – as well as no longer demanding parents make donations for pupils’ dress down days and introducing a standard backpack.Mrs Johnstone said there was initial anxiety from parents about the pencil case ban, “but the majority could see why we were doing it”. One school has banned pencil cases One school has banned pencil cases 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. read more

Christian belief has halved in Britain in 35 years with just one in three people now identifying as Christian – while atheism and Islam continue to rise.Figures published by the British Social Attitudes Survey reveal the widest ever margin between staunch atheists and believers who are certain that God exists.Of almost 4,000 people polled by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), 38 per cent described themselves as Christian – a fall from 50 per cent in 2008 and 66 per cent in 1983.Those identifying as Muslim increased from 1 per cent in 1983 to 3 per cent in 2008, and 6 per cent in 2018. The survey shows that the biggest change is in the number of people who define themselves as “confident atheists”, which rose from 10 per cent in 1998 to 18 per cent in 2008 and its record high of 26 per cent in 2018. In contrast, researchers found that an overall 55 per cent of the population express some sort of belief in some kind of God.Nancy Kelley, deputy chief executive at NatCen, said that the steady decline in religion and belief among the British public is “one of the most important trends in post-war history”. “As our society has become more secular, the role of religious institutions and religious identities in determining our moral and social norms has weakened. Other world views, such as scientific rationalism and liberal individual-ism, now play a more significant part in British society.”The report’s authors said the survey suggests Britain is becoming more secular “not because adults are losing their religion” but because older people with an attachment to Christian denominations are “gradually being replaced in the population by unaffiliated younger people”.They added that religious decline in Britain is “generational” as people tend to be less religious than their parents.Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of evangelism and discipleship, said: “For many people ticking a box marked ‘Church of England’ or ‘Anglican’ is now an active choice and no longer an automatic response. In spite of this, the Church of England remains at the heart of communities.”Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the non-religion charity Humanists UK, said: “With these trends set to continue, policymakers in every field, from education to constitutional law, to health and social care, need to wake up to such dramatic social changes.” 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. read more

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGovt White Paper on sugar: A political prop to disguise the “too big to fail” lies- RamsammyMay 11, 2017In “Opinion”LETTER: Sugar industry ‘stewardship’ very questionableJuly 28, 2017In “latest news”After protesting 75% wage reduction Albion Estate workers say they are now joblessOctober 4, 2018In “Business” …in sugarThose who thought your Eyewitness might’ve been a bit over the top when he predicted the remaining three sugar estates will end up being shuttered, should consider the report that they fell short of achieving even their modest first crop target of 36,000 tonnes. And this, in the face of Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt being adjudged as the best in the industry and capable of bringing down the cost of production that had skyrocketed to over US$.40/lb when world market prices were hovering around US$.12/lb.That Albion, always the most efficient estate, took another week’s production and still couldn’t reach its target, is an ominous sign. Similarly, Blairmont’s failing to meet its modest target after an extra THREE weeks! What this means is the cost of the sugar produced is even HIGHER than the old, unacceptable costs. The rump sugar industry is fast going backwards – and approaching the abyss of no return. No end to subsidies!We once hear that absenteeism of cane cutters (imagine the powers-that-be thinking that calling them “cane harvesters”, would motivate them!!) contributed to the shortfall. So why is this news?? Absenteeism in ALL the estates has been endemic for the past decade: exactly what was done to bring them back in the fields?? Closing the other estates?? If the Wales cane cutters refused to move to Uitvlugt to work, why would, say, Rose Hall workers go to Blairmont or Skeldon to Albion??The unilateral closure of the four estates by the PNC Government signalled to the workers on the remaining estates they were expendable…and therefore it’s not surprisingly they would’ve begun hedging their bets. The workers at the bottom of the work-chain frankly don’t give a damn that GuySuCo still doesn’t have a Board. But the managers and field superintendents would be affected since they’re virtually on their own.Even in the best of times recently, the latter group were conspicuous by their absence from the fields – and with no one looking over their shoulder, it’s hooky time, baby!! Slavery and then indentured labour were introduced because sugar production demands labour be absolutely guaranteed during the harvesting season. Since your Eyewitness doesn’t think world opinion would approve us returning to those days, then it’s up to the powers-that-be at GuySuCo, to introduce INCENTIVES to get cane-cutters to come out.And this is what this government isn’t prepared to do – even though the Desmond Hoyte administration in 1990 showed what wonders could be achieved by sweetening the pot. Nope! This government will say, sugar isn’t viable; close down the remaining estates, and then sell them off with the others for a song.Of course, that’ll be AFTER the vigorish is passed under the table!!…on child labourYour Eyewitness notes a host of full-page ads by the Government trumpeting “World Day against Child Labour”. This is so hypocritical!! How can this PNC Government fire 7000 rural, agricultural workers – with no alternative employment in sight – and expect their families to survive without their children having to “labour”?? Does this PNC Government understand the nature of our rural economy? Even in the best of times, children of sugar workers have to perform all sorts of part-time labour in order for food to get on their table. Fishing, vegetable gardens, rearing chickens and sheep/goats, etc, is not child’s play – but in the rural areas, it’s certainly child’s work!!But since Guyana has now graduated to a cash economy – light bills, phone bills etc – those “chores” of the rural children in the sugar belt will now be formalised as they’re forced to take paying jobs – full time or part time – in whatever openings there might be in local workshops etc.But so what? Vengeance is mine, says the PNC!!…on catfish/gilbakaThe PNC Government had since 2016 to address concerns by the US Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) on our export of catfish to the US. They still haven’t done so!So what? Their constituency isn’t affected!! read more

Following Friday’s historic passage of the no confidence motion, a meeting will be scheduled between Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger when he returns from Cuba in January.The president will leave Guyana tomorrow for his third round of chemotherapy treatment.However, Jagdeo announced the proposed meeting during his press briefing earlier today during which he read a letter from Minister of State Joseph Harmon. In the letter, the Harmon promised that a precise date for the meeting will be set upon the President’s return.Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and President David GrangerIn addition, Jagdeo told the press that he would have received an official document from Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Issacs, certifying the passage of the no confidence motion.This, he posited takes on special significance as certain sections of society have raised questions about the validity of the vote, despite it being recognized not only by the government itself but the National Assembly and international community.The no confidence motion brought by the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party against the Government was successfully passed when Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament Charandass Persaud broke ranks and voted in favour of the motion.A total of 10 MPs debated the motion, but when the dust was settled and a vote of division was called, Persaud’s vote changed the numbers to 33 in favour of the motion versus Government’s 32 votes against the motion.Hours after the historic event, President David Granger has said he is eager to engage the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on any concerns he may have. He also provided assurances that there will be no confrontations.The President’s expression of eagerness to meet with the Opposition Leader came hours after Jagdeo said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is ready and willing to work with the coalition Government to determine the way forward. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOpposition Leader briefs Western Diplomats on no-confidence voteDecember 28, 2018In “latest news”Next step in appointment of Chancellor, CJ is ‘meaningful consultations’-HarmonFebruary 8, 2018In “latest news”President Granger returns from Cuba, meeting with Opposition Leader yet to be confirmedJanuary 2, 2019In “latest news” read more

first_imgPrimary Metals has engaged Enernova – Novas Energias, a subsidiary of Electricidad de Portugal (EDP), the sole transmitter and largest producer and distributor of electricity in Portugal, to commence construction of eolic wind energy generators on Primary Metal’s Panasqueira tungsten mine in central Portugal. Construction is planned to start in the first quarter of 2008 and will include six or seven 2 MW generators, which will be located on hilltop land to the north of the property. The electrical power generated will be directed to the national grid.Under the terms of the agreement, originally signed in July 2001, Enernova will pay the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Beralt Tin and Wolfram, €65,000 (C$100,000) upon the start of construction. A further €500,000 (C$750,000) will be payable upon start-up of the generators, scheduled for the first quarter of 2009.Beralt has been receiving €4,000/y (C$6,000) to reserve the area for Enernova’s use since 2001. After start-up and during the 25-year term of the contract, Beralt will be paid €27,500 (C$41,000) annually plus a further €2,000 (C$3,000) per MW of installed capacity.Primary Metals, through Beralt, owns a 100% interest in the Panasqueira tungsten mine in Portugal and is currently producing some 100,000 MTU/y of tungsten trioxide in concentrates. Tungsten is currently trading at around $260/MTU. The Panasqueira mine has a long history of production of high-quality wolframite concentrates and is the dominant producer of high-grade tungsten concentrates outside China.last_img read more