Chris Bosh is listed as day-to-day for the Miami Heat. His team is on a life support.Tonight’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals could be the defining moment of a Heat team built for the championship. If it again wins on his home court to take a 3-2 series lead, then much of the speculation will be at least suspended.A defeat to the Boston Celtics would signal the largest panic alarm in league history.How did Miami get here? The Heat looked strong, even without Bosh (abdominal strain) in handling the Celtics in Games 1 and 2 at American Airlines Arena. Strong, but not invincible.In Boston, the Heat of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were a different, vulnerable club. Their weaknesses showed up for all to see, and James seemed to be operating with little consistent aid from anyone, including Wade.With the series tied at 2-2, Game 5 in Miami places considerable heat on the Heat.Bosh could provide some relief. He has undergone treatment throughout the series, and after various workouts to test his strained abdomen coach Eric Spoelstra that he is ready to play.Spoelstra, however, is still undecided about Bosh’s availability.“He’ll get a vote,” Spoelstra said. “Again. Everything is heightened right now. These are extreme circumstances. Everybody will be involved in the decision, if and when it happens. But you always have to take the player’s opinion with a grain of salt. They all say they’re ready. . . He said he was ready 10 days ago.”The addition of Bosh, even in a reserve role, would give the Heat an additional weapon offensively and an inside defensive presence to defend Boston’s Kevin Garnett. The Celtics are under pressure, too. They understand the importance of winning Game 5 and getting a chance to close out Miami in Boston on Thursday.But the Celtics are older and there was little expectation that they would conquer mighty Miami. They might not, but they surely have made the series far more interesting than most anticipated — especially the Heat.
Before Wednesday’s trade headlined by Paul Goldschmidt, the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals were relatively even on paper. But today, the two clubs inhabit completely different neighborhoods.Arizona and St. Louis ended last year separated by 25 points in Elo rating, and the teams entered Wednesday just two games apart in FanGraphs’ projected standings for 2019. With the trade of the six-time All-Star, the clubs have seemingly chosen different paths. The Diamondbacks appear ready to join the Seattle Mariners as teams that contended in 2018, fell short and have elected to become less competitive to restore their depleted talent bases. The Cardinals add a star talent with the hope that they can close the gap in the National League Central and return the club to the postseason after a three-year absence.The Diamondbacks are in a division with the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers, who are loaded with cash and talent and are heavy favorites in the NL West. Arizona already lost one key free-agent pitcher in Patrick Corbin, who agreed Tuesday to a deal with the Washington Nationals, and free-agent center fielder A.J. Pollock also figures to land elsewhere. The club has also expressed interest in trading ace Zack Greinke, whose contract accounted for 25.8 percent of the club’s opening day payroll this past season — the second-highest share in the majors. It’s a reminder that such contracts can hamstring teams’ abilities to build complete, competitive rosters.Conversely, the Cardinals do not have a clear super team in their way in the NL Central. The Cubs might have limited ability to improve this offseason, but the FanGraphs’ forecast has the Brewers regressing in 2019. The Cardinals entered Wednesday projected for four fewer wins than the Cubs, three more wins than the Pirates and six more wins than the Brewers. After the trade, the FanGraphs projection had the Cardinals picking up three wins to be just one game behind the Cubs and nine games better than the Brewers. (The Diamondbacks fell from 82 to 80 wins.) The Cardinals have been stuck in the standings purgatory — winning 88, 83 and 86 games the past three years — where no club wants to reside, but they could break that streak this year.The Diamondbacks went for it last year on the heels of a 93-win season and in the final year of control over Corbin and Pollock. St. Louis is now in a similar situation, as contributors like Marcell Ozuna, Miles Mikolas and Michael Wacha are free agents after 2019. Goldschmidt is under control for just one season before entering free agency. For the Cardinals, this is a win-now move.And what St. Louis received in the deal is not only one of the game’s best hitters but also one of its most consistent.In wins above replacement,1Using FanGraphs’ metric. Goldschmidt finished the past three seasons at 5.1, 5.2 and 5.0. He’s been worth at least 4.3 WAR every season since his first full year in 2012, when he finished at 2.8. Goldschmidt’s career slash line is .297/.398/.532. His slash line this past season? .290/.389/.533. He’s played in at least 155 games in five of the past six years.Goldschmidt, 31, is still near his physical prime and offers consistent star power for a club sorely lacking it. St. Louis thought it was landing a star in Ozuna last winter, but he had a mildly disappointing season. Since 2016, the only Cardinals to deliver seasons of 4 WAR or better were Matt Carpenter (5.0) and Mikolas (4.3) this past season and Tommy Pham, who was traded to Tampa Bay last season, in 2017 (6.1). Goldschmidt’s 4.3 projected WAR is a big upgrade over the Cardinals’ weakest projected starting infielder, Jedd Gyorko (1.7 WAR) — who could be supplanted in the lineup by Carpenter moving from first to third. And Goldschmidt may not even be the Cards’ final step: Ownership hasn’t ruled out a pursuit of Bryce Harper.While there is not a young star in the trade package, Goldschmidt didn’t come cheap. Some executives liked the return for Arizona, which included young major leaguers in pitcher Luke Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly, infield prospect Andy Young and the Cardinals’ Compensation Round B selection in the 2019 draft. The deal gives the Diamondbacks youth and a number of controllable years.The Diamondbacks had the fifth-oldest groups of batters (at an average of 29.2 years old)2Weighted by games played. and pitchers (29.6) last year. According to FanGraphs, Arizona entered the offseason with the game’s 26th-ranked farm system. Teams prize young, cheap, controllable talent — and now more than ever before, they are willing to endure deep, painful rebuilds to accumulate high draft picks and signing bonus pool space. The Astros and Cubs created a model to get to super-team status that other teams are following. Those clubs took rebuilding to extreme degrees, stringing together multiple 95-plus-loss seasons, but those paths resulted in World Series titles.The Diamondbacks consider themselves to be retooling rather than entering a deep rebuild, though that might be an optimistic assessment: Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb, outfielder David Peralta and starting pitchers Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker are all eligible to become free agents within the next two to three years.Kelly and Weaver immediately fill needs on the major league roster. They are not prospects that are years away from the majors, though they also lack star-level upside.3The Diamondbacks were in the market for a catcher after free agent Jeff Mathis signed with the Texas Rangers. “There are decisions that you want to do and there are decisions you feel like you have to do,” Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said of Wednesday’s trade.More than ever, teams seem comfortable entering retooling periods, but not every rebuild is a successful project. For the Cardinals, perhaps they’ll have to consider such a path down the road. As for 2019, they’re going for it.
2012Ohio34.444.1+9.737.51 3-POINT PERCENTAGE YEARSCHOOLREG. SEASONFIRST 2 TOURN. ROUNDSDIFFERENCEREMAINING TOURN. GAMESNO. REMAINING GAMES Source: Sports Reference 2015UCLA36.851.7+14.923.11 2013Oregon33.348.5+15.235.71 2013Ohio State35.648.5+12.931.62 2013La Salle37.746.2+8.539.02 2014Iowa State35.848.8+13.037.51 2012Xavier35.148.0+12.920.01 Sweet 16 teams that ran hot through the opening weekend 2016Iowa State38.648.810.2—— 2016Villanova35.148.9+13.8—— 2015Xavier35.147.2+12.117.61 2012Louisville31.840.0+8.238.03 2011Wisconsin37.450.0+12.624.11 2013Syracuse33.542.9+9.429.33 2011San Diego State34.945.5+10.631.81 Jay Wright teams shoot a lot of threes. Since the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when Villanova went to the Elite Eight largely on the strength of Wright’s four-guard lineups, the team has been associated with perimeter offense. So when No. 2-seed Villanova plays No. 3-seed Miami tonight, it’s going to toss bombs. The question, given the team’s season-long shooting slump and its recent hot streak, is how many of them are going to fall.Some years, Wright’s team is very good from deep — last season’s squad made 38.9 percent of its attempts, the second-most for a Wright-coached Nova team. And others Villanova is just a bunch of chuckers — the 2012 team made 31.5 percent of its threes, and four Wildcats shot under 30 percent. But throughout Wright’s decade and a half on the Main Line, the team has dogmatically stuck with its perceived strength and has consistently ranked among the top half of Division I in 3-point attempt rate, or the percentage of field-goal attempts that are threes.This year’s team ranked 24th nationally in 3-point attempt rate, the most of any Big East team. Individually, several Wildcats have taken more than 100 threes a piece. In a lot of ways, this was a culminating season for the Wright-era Wildcats. Just one problem: The team wasn’t very accurate.During non-conference play, 49 percent of the team’s shots were threes, and the Wildcats connected on just 30.9 percent of those attempts. That didn’t get any better during the first month of conference play: 39 percent of Nova’s shots came from deep, and but just 33.5 percent were makes. What helped boost their offensive efficiency ranking, which topped the Big East for all but two weeks of conference play, and why VU could get away with such mediocre shooting and still win 16 games in the conference (and 27 overall) was the squad’s 2-point field goal percentage, which was 55.3 percent throughout league play.In February, a few more threes began to drop — 36 percent — and when Villanova entered March, the team’s offense consisted almost solely of a perimeter barrage. More than 41 percent of its attempts were from beyond the arc, led by Kris Jenkins, a Draymond Green-in-training who, at 6-foot-6, has the size to match up with opposing 4s but is an offensive nightmare because of how he moves around the perimeter. It was helped also by Ryan Arcidiacono, who’s become more and more consistent throughout his four seasons. From March 1, when Villanova played a home game against DePaul, through its annihilation of Iowa last weekend (1.26 points per possession), the team has converted 44.7 percent of its threes.Of the 16 remaining teams in the tournament, VU led the first two rounds in both 3-point percentage (48.9 percent) and differential between its perimeter shooting during the regular season and March Madness. Considering each Sweet 16 squad since the 2011 tournament, only four made a bigger leap in perimeter shooting than Villanova’s 13.8 percentage point improvement from the regular season to the first two rounds. The table below shows the Sweet 16 teams since 2011 with the most drastic improvement in 3-point percentage from the regular season to the first two rounds; of those, only five moved on to the Elite Eight. On the one hand, this is evidence that teams tend not to sustain out-of-character starts, which is obvious. On the other, two teams — 2013 Syracuse and 2012 Louisville — went on to the Final Four. 2014Virginia36.946.4+9.533.31 On their face, these results are a good reason to disbelieve the Wildcats’ streaky shooting — but the improvement has been steady and recently fueled by crisp ball movement and superb player spatial recognition just as much as it has by sheer coincidence. That’s good, because Villanova will need more than luck against Miami and potentially Kansas (its probable Elite Eight opponent), which are adept at guarding the perimeter and have skilled close-out and ball-screen defenders. 2011Marquette34.943.5+8.612.51 2012South Florida31.640.6+9.013.31 2012Baylor38.347.5+9.231.02 2015North Carolina35.852.9+17.161.51 2013Arizona37.1%56.3%+19.233.3%1 2013Miami (FL)36.244.7+8.530.81 2011Ohio State42.356.0+13.737.51
2014-159.855.1360.53 FIELD GOALS ON DRIVESTRUE SHOOTING ON DRIVES DeAndre JordanLAC51338474.973.4 Myles TurnerIND26519172.174.3 Montrezl HarrellHOU24118275.578.6 2016-179.562.4165.22 There are players in this group who shoot about as well down low as LeBron does, but generally, the most successful shooters within 3 feet are traditional bigs who need to be fed the ball in advantageous spots to get those looks. Most on this list were assisted anywhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of the time on such shots. That’s the tradeoff that the league has long made with its star big men — they provide efficient scoring and floor-spacing from the post but are reliant on other players to get them the ball. Not so for LeBron.James combines competent play out of post-ups with his utter dominance driving to the hole to provide the same impact on a game that once came from star centers. It isn’t just the scoring consistency and spacing, either: LeBron also piled up more and-one opportunities than anyone in the league this season. Some of the value of those and-ones is already captured in James’s impressive true shooting percentage. But the ability to keep pressure on a defense, inch it closer to the penalty and generate extra opportunities for 3-pointer shooters, all at the same time, is something no other player in the league has. T.J. WarrenPHX24617972.856.4 2015-169.254.5460.55 Tyson ChandlerPHX20514570.760.7 David LeeSA25417870.174.2 LeBron JamesCLE59546177.5%42.5% FIELD GOALS WITHIN 3 FEET Clint CapelaHOU44932271.783.2 Karl-Anthony TownsMIN57340170.058.1 Hassan WhitesideMIA44832773.060.2 PLAYERTEAMATTEMPTSSUCCESSFULPERCENTAGEASSISTED LeBron drives, 2013-present SEASONDRIVES PER GAMEPERCENTAGELEAGUE RANKPERCENTAGELEAGUE RANK Giannis AntetokounmpoMIL64044970.251.2 Nene HilarioHOU25718672.487.1 2013-147.663.0%167.5%3 Rudy GobertUTA54139172.373.4 Kevin DurantGS27421879.661.9 LeBron doesn’t need much help at the rim Richaun HolmesPHI20214873.377.0 Kristaps PorzingisNY20914770.371.4 Minimum 200 attempts and a 70 percent field-goal percentage during the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-Reference.com Dwight HowardATL47434372.465.3 Marcin GortatWAS35825170.172.5 Willie Cauley-SteinSAC22715970.076.7 James scores 135.2 points per 100 plays when he drives to the basket off of pick-and-rolls, according to data from Synergy Sports Technology. That number barely budges when he drives off of isolations — typically regarded as a low-efficiency play, the domain of hero-ball icons like Carmelo Anthony and DeMar Derozan — where he gets 128.1 points per 100. Now compare those numbers to the efficiency of a Stephen Curry spot-up jumper, which is just about the most feared play in the game today: Curry scored 132.5 points per 100 on spot-ups this season, right around the midpoint between a LeBron drive off the pick-and-roll and the “inefficient ones” off isolation.Of course, LeBron doesn’t drive just to score: There’s also the matter of finding all those open shooters. When James passes to spot-up shooters out of the pick-and-roll, his team scores 120.3 points per 100 plays — best in the NBA among players who made at least three pick-and-roll passes per game. That’s due in part to the Cavs simply having better shooters than other teams, but it’s LeBron’s vision and ability to hit teammates from anywhere on the floor that makes the whole thing hum. Kyrie Irving is a very good point guard, but in comparison with LeBron, the offense scores 7 fewer points per 100 plays when Irving passes to spot-up shooters on those drives; Irving also shot 11 percentage points worse on drives this season than James did, 51.4 to 62.4. And so the difference between James barreling into the lane and Irving doing so is not only the daylight between those two sets of numbers, but also the shift in the split-second calculations that opposing defenders must make.Splitting the pick-and-rollEven when opponents know what’s coming — that James is going to get a high screen and be asked to navigate the defense from there — the 32-year-old still manages to pull a rabbit out of his hat from time to time, befuddling defenders who’ve technically done everything by the book. Perhaps no play exemplifies this better than when James splits a pick-and-roll.When Cleveland sets up a high pick-and-roll for James, two defenders align themselves in a way that — they hope — keeps him from going to the basket with the ball. But James is often able to spot the slightest bit of daylight, ducking between the two defenders and beginning an unstoppable, downhill sprint toward the rim anyway.The play — which generally involves James crossing the ball over from his right hand to his left — has ended in a dunk a third of the time this season. While he only pulls this particular rabbit out of his hat occasionally — it only happened 15 times during the regular season — James averaged 1.87 points per play and scored on a blistering 87 percent of his possessions when he split the pick and roll, both rates that easily ranked as the highest in the NBA among players with at least 10 plays, according to Synergy Sports. (Interestingly, Irving had the league’s second-best rate in each category.)In those plays (a number of which came against Golden State and the Eastern Conference finalist Boston Celtics), James capitalizes on defenders not “closing the chain” to stop him from weaving between them with a dribble. Trying to prepare for James’s violent drive to the basket, the second defender generally comes out too wide, allowing James to take the inside track toward the paint, where few players want any part of being in his way.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/lebronmagic.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/lebronboston.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/lebronwarriors2.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The impact of the big man — without the big manThe thing to note through all of this is that James isn’t simply a brawnier version of other drive-and-kick maestros like Westbrook or James Harden. A critical difference is that James provides not only efficient offense, but also the collateral benefits typically associated with a star big man — only without the limitations.Here’s a list of players who shot 70 percent or better from inside of 3 feet this season,4On 200 or more attempts. ranked by the percentage of their close-range baskets that stemmed from an assist: Just about every NBA team has its signature play, the clip that flashes into your head when you think about how they do what they do. It’s Steph Curry pulling up for a transition three, or Chris Paul tossing a lob off of the high pick, or Russell Westbrook catching a whisper of daylight, changing speeds and dunking the seams off the ball.For the Cleveland Cavaliers, the signature play is also the foundational one: LeBron James driving to the hole. Steph pulling up for that 30-footer on the run is the shiniest piece of the Warriors system, but there’s a whole team of clicking, whirring parts underneath that make it work. LeBron attacking the rim is different. It might seem like mere brute force, reinforcing the image of the Cavs playing un-Warriors-like Riley-ball, but it’s the linchpin, the whole system tied up in one player’s ability to do everything at once while doing the one thing he does better than anyone else.It starts with the shootersLeBron is the engine that powers everything, but the rest of the Cavs’ offense is built around 3-point shooters. Going back to the days when James lobbied the team to sign Donyell Marshall or made his playoff runs flanked by Boobie Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak, he has always been surrounded by as much shooting as possible.This season’s Cavs might be James’s most talented shooting team yet, with premium sidekicks such as Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Korver, as well as a handful of castoff shooters such as Derrick Williams and James Jones. During the regular season, 13 Cavaliers played in at least 20 games and shot at least 35 percent (the NBA average) from three. That’s an uncommon amount of firepower, even among contenders: The Warriors had only six such players; the Spurs had nine; the Rockets five.1In the playoffs, the Cleveland rotation has shrunk some, but the number of shooters exceeding 35 percent is holding relatively steady at nine — and doesn’t yet include a slumping Irving, who has shot just 28 percent from 3 in the postseason after hitting 40 percent during the regular season.Shooting and driving have a symbiotic relationship, and their effect on the game is obvious: Good outside shooting spaces the floor for drives; better drives cause the defense to collapse, creating more open 3-pointers. But the effect for the Cavs is even greater than normal, because LeBron James going to the rim is still the most dangerous play in basketball.In the four seasons the NBA has collected player-tracking data, LeBron has been driving far ahead of the pack. He has led the league in field-goal percentage on drives2Minimum four drives per game. twice, and even that doesn’t quite convey how far removed he really is from most of his peers. Year in and year out, James shoots about 5 to 10 percentage points better on his drives than the players who drive most frequently.3Specifically, players with a minimum of seven drives per game. JaVale McGeeGS25318372.379.8
Facing an eight-point deficit, in one of the conference’s most hostile environments, it was a pair of freshmen that ignited a second-half comeback and gave the undefeated Buckeyes a 73-68 win against Illinois on Saturday. Freshman Jared Sullinger scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, both game-highs, despite giving up several inches to both of Illinois’ seven-foot-plus big men. But it was freshman Deshaun Thomas’ eight points off the bench, all of which came in a four-minute span in the second half, that sparked the Buckeyes to their 20th win of the season. After leading for most of the first half, OSU gave up a 7-0 Illinois run to end the first 20 minutes and the Illini led 34-33 at the break. Another Illinois run in the second half, this time 12-4, gave the Illini their biggest lead of the game, eight points, with just less than 12 minutes to go. But when Thomas entered the game, the Buckeyes came roaring back. Two free throws apiece from Sullinger and senior Jon Diebler and one from freshman Aaron Craft cut the lead to three. After a defensive stop, the never-shy Thomas took and made his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, to tie the game at 50 with 9:30 remaining. Two more threes, one from Diebler and another from Thomas, completed a 14-0 run and gave the Buckeyes a six point lead, their first lead since late in the first half. After OSU held a steady lead for the next several minutes, a Demetri McCamey basket and a pair of Mike Tisdale free-throws cut the lead to four with less than a minute to go. Sullinger made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession to give the Buckeyes a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go. Tisdale then hit a 3-pointer, giving OSU the ball with 16 seconds to go and a one-point lead. The Illini fouled Craft after he caught the inbounds pass and the freshman knocked down both free throws to put the Buckeyes up three. On the ensuing Illinois possession, Diebler tipped a pass, forcing a crucial Illini turnover. Sullinger called a timeout after he recovered the loose ball on the floor and a pair of free throws from junior William Buford ended the suspense. Although several Buckeyes struggled from the field all afternoon — Buford and senior David Lighty were a combined 5-22 shooting the ball — OSU was as good as it has been all year from the free throw line. Led by Sullinger’s 13-of-15 effort, the Buckeyes shot a combined 24-of-27 from the stripe. Diebler scored 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Despite his shooting woes, Lighty finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists. Saturday’s game was the first of a stretch of eight games that will see the Buckeyes play six teams currently ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. That stretch continues Tuesday at home against No. 14 Purdue.
To play basketball at former Ohio State men’s basketball player Ron Stokes’ home in Gahanna, Ohio, you have to abide by four rules. “You got to play hard, and you got to play smart, and you got to be coachable … and you have to play defense,” said the former OSU guard and current radio color analyst for the Buckeyes men’s basketball team. Those rules not only shaped the way Stokes played the game at OSU, from 1981-1985, they’ve also molded another player with the same last name. His daughter, redshirt junior guard Amber Stokes, is carrying on the family legacy. “It’s a good advantage to have a dad that knows the game and been in my shoes,” said Amber Stokes, the second of Ron and Lavita Stokes’ four children. For 15 years, her father has commentated on the flagship station for OSU men’s basketball games, which has proven to be an invaluable tool for the younger Stokes. “It’s nice because some people don’t have dads who understand the game,” said Amber Stokes. “My dad understands the game, and he’s able to give me advice.” It might benefit Amber, but being a college basketball analyst who’s watching his daughter play can be a trying experience. “I find myself not even enjoying the game because I’m looking at every single thing because that’s what I do for a living,” Ron Stokes said. “It’s tough turning it off from being an analyst.” Along with announcing every OSU men’s game and attending Amber Stokes’ games when possible, Ron also owns one of the top 50 fastest growing privately held businesses in central Ohio, according to Business First Magazine. He serves as president and CEO of Three Leaf Productions, a media management company with customers including WOW, Kroger and SafeAuto Insurance. His schedule also includes a weekly radio show with OSU coach Thad Matta, maintaining a blog at ronstokesfastbreak.com, and trying to attend his two younger children’s basketball games. “It’s nuts,” Ron Stokes said. “I’m committed to basketball every night.” That commitment to hard work and basketball is mirrored in Amber Stokes, who has already completed her undergraduate degree in criminology. The younger Stokes was also elected co-captain her junior season, a feat her father accomplished as well. Even members of the OSU athletic community see the similarities in the way they play. Denny Hoobler, associate athletics director for development and ticketing at OSU, has watched both family members. He said he remembers seeing Ron Stokes while he was a guard at Canton Mckinley High School and at OSU. He said when he watches Amber Stokes play, he has a déjà vu-like experience. “It’s watching Ronnie Stokes all over again,” Hoobler said. “Just her intensity and defense.” Although her father has influenced her style of play, the same can’t be said for her decision to become a Buckeye. Before attending OSU, Amber Stokes had scholarship offers from a majority of Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference programs, but she said her father never told her to pick the Scarlet and Gray. “He told me wherever I choose to go to, he would support me,” said Amber Stokes, who believes her father wanted her to come to OSU but wouldn’t voice it. Based on the proximity and OSU’s program, Ron Stokes said he wanted his daughter to stay in Columbus, but he wouldn’t feel right if she picked a university because he played there. “Even if it was another school, if I told her to go to that school and she went there because mainly I wanted her to go, and she didn’t have a great experience, I wouldn’t feel right as a father,” Ron Stokes said. In the end, Amber Stokes chose OSU because of its tradition and the atmosphere, she said. Her decision has helped her team achieve the No. 8 spot in the nation this year, and a shot at the National Championship. Although she and her father have enjoyed success on the court, she said she doesn’t plan on following him into the broadcast booth. “No, I don’t think that’s me,” Amber Stokes said. “Let my dad do that job.”
Sophomore first baseman Zach Ratcliff (34) jumps to catch the ball during a game against Xavier March 19 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 10-3.Credit: Sam Harrington / Lantern photographerAfter three games, three runs were all that separated the Ohio State baseball team from Big Ten foe Nebraska.Those three runs proved costly though, as the Buckeyes (18-13, 2-7) dropped each of three games of a weekend series in Lincoln, Neb., to the Cornhuskers (19-13, 4-2) by a one-run margin.The Buckeyes found themselves with a lead in each game, but just could not seal the deal down the stretch. Two losses were walk-offs while the other saw the Cornhuskers take the lead in the eighth inning.“We just have to finish games. We were right there,” redshirt-sophomore infielder Ryan Leffel said after Sunday’s 2-1 loss. “One play can make the difference … we know that we’re really, really close to being a really good team.”Sunday’s tilt saw the Buckeyes jump out to a quick lead as redshirt-junior first baseman Josh Dezse hit an RBI groundout in the first to score sophomore second baseman Troy Kuhn.That was all the Buckeyes could muster against the Cornhuskers’ junior pitcher Aaron Bummer, however, only picking up three more hits.The Cornhuskers got on the board in the fourth off OSU sophomore pitcher Jake Post. With two outs and men on first and third, Nebraska junior catcher Tanner Lubach hit an RBI single to tie the game.Bummer and Post controlled the game from there as both starters went all nine innings and things stayed tied at one until the ninth.Again with Lubach up to bat and men on first and second, Post gave up an RBI single to give the Cornhuskers the sweep.On Saturday, the Buckeyes held a 3-0 lead until the eighth behind an RBI single from Leffel and two runs scored in the fifth after two errors by Nebraska.Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Tanner Tully started on the bump for the Buckeyes and flirted with a no-hitter until Lubach lined a single to center to begin the seventh.After giving up another single to begin the eighth, redshirt-senior reliever Tyler Giannonatti came in for Tully and allowed one run in the inning off a sacrifice fly from Nebraska senior outfielder Michael Pritchard.Freshman relief pitcher Travis Lakins came on in the ninth with a two-run lead, but things quickly went south.With two outs and the bases loaded, Lakins walked sophomore infielder Jake Placzek to draw the Cornhuskers within one.Junior closer Trace Dempsey came on but allowed a single to Pritchard that scored two and gave the Cornhuskers the series clinching 4-3 win.Friday night saw both starting pitchers dominate the beginning of the game. The Buckeyes’ senior pitcher Greg Greve went six innings without allowing a run.Once again, the Buckeye offense scored first, but this time it was in the fifth when Kuhn singled off Cornhusker senior pitcher Chrsitian DeLeon to score the first run of the series.The Buckeyes scored another off DeLeon in the seventh on an RBI single to center from Wetzel.Lakins came in and pitched a scoreless seventh, but allowed RBI singles from Pritchard, junior infielder Pat Kelly and freshman pitcher/infielder Ben Miller in the eighth to give the Cornhuskers the 3-2 lead.Outside of a single from sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic, the Buckeyes couldn’t get anything in the ninth off DeLeon, preserving the Cornhuskers’ win.The line for the Buckeyes’ starting pitchers for the weekend was 22 innings pitched and only two runs, but it wasn’t good enough.Despite the rough road trip, Greve seemed confident that the Buckeyes would get it turned around.“We played tough, played well, competed well. There’s no need to be alarmed or concerned,” Greve said after Sunday’s game. “We were very close to beating a very good team. We easily could’ve won all three games this weekend. We just have to stick to what we’re doing and keep preparing the way we’ve been doing and learn from the mistakes.”The Buckeyes have a quick turnaround as they are scheduled for two mid-week games against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday and Dayton on Wednesday.Tuesday’s game against the Eagles is set for 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium at Nick Swisher Field.
Then-junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) runs the ball during The Game Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium. OSU won, 42-41.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorWhat a difference a year makes.Last year at this time, heading into the Spring Game, the Ohio State football team had sky-high expectations. It was National Championship or bust. Fresh off an undefeated 12-0 campaign in a sanctioned 2012 season that prevented any postseason play, and with the addition of a top-five recruiting class, the Buckeyes were picked by some experts to compete for a title in January 2014.After Auburn upset then-No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl Nov. 30, the Buckeyes moved in the BCS rankings to the No. 2 spot, which would have guaranteed them a spot in the National Championship Game.Well, two losses later, and here we sit.Gone is the historic winning streak. Gone is 1,500-yard running back Carlos Hyde, as well as four of five starting offensive linemen.So, fans head into the 2014 season trying to figure out exactly what to expect from the Buckeyes on the field in the fall. Urban Meyer is still at the helm, and he managed to bring in another stellar recruiting class. Two-time defending Big Ten Player of the Year, senior quarterback Braxton Miller also returns beneath center. Much to the surprise of some fans, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell returns as well, but with two new additions in co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash and defensive line coach Larry Johnson.However, many questions linger: Can the pass defense improve after finishing ranked No. 112 in the country? Can the offense finally establish a consistent intermediate passing game? Which, if any, of the five-star recruits can make an immediate impact? Really, the big question though, is how good is this team?With the new four-team College Football Playoff system taking effect this year, it is difficult to put a barometer on what constitutes a successful season for the Buckeyes. OSU will always have high standards when it comes to football, and, since it is still one of the most talented teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes should be able to contend yet again for an undefeated regular season.With another relatively weak non-conference schedule and a conference schedule that doesn’t include Wisconsin, Nebraska, or Iowa, and includes Michigan at Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes will likely face their biggest test in the form of Michigan State Nov. 8 in East Lansing, Mich.Should the Buckeyes avenge their Big Ten Championship game loss against the Spartans, they would likely be in the driver’s seat for a chance to win their first Big Ten title under Meyer.A loss, on the other hand, would likely further the negative big-game perception of the Buckeyes. This team needs to win the Big Ten and win a major bowl game to help silence its critics.As we saw last year, however, winning those games is easier said than done. The opportunity to prove themselves on the big stage was the Buckeyes’ for the taking, but in the end they let it slip away.This year, fans can only hope for a season that helps OSU earn back the respect it once had and another chance to prove that the Buckeyes are truly an elite team.
Ohio State freshman Andre Jeff crosses the finish line in 4×400-meter relay to seal the 2018 men’s track and field Big Ten championship in Geneva, Ohio on Feb. 24. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern reporterOhio State’s freshmen had a big weekend at one of the most competitive meets of the season, the Tennessee Relays, in Knoxville, Tennessee.On the men’s side, freshman Eric Harrison and freshman Andre Jeff had impressive days individually and contributed to some of the top performing relay teams. The women’s 4×800-meter-relay team finished second with freshmen Aziza Ayoub and Mary Figler providing a bulk of the support for the unit. The meet involved many professional athletes, including world record holders such as Christian Coleman and Kendra Harrison. Four-time Olympic athlete Justin Gatlin also competed at the meet. Men’s recapOhio State’s sprint medley team, consisting of freshman Tavonte Mott, junior Kyle McKinney, freshman Paul Bete and Jeff, finished first with a time of 3:27.Harrison, junior Nick Gray, senior Duan Asemota and senior Zack Bazile brought Ohio State’s 4×100-meter relay team to a second-place finish with a time of 39.31 seconds. The Buckeyes fell to America’s ProForm team, a professional group that carried Coleman and Gatlin.Harrison set a personal best, finishing second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.70 seconds. Jeff finished second in the 400-meter run with a time of 46.92 seconds. Senior Cole Gorski finished third in pole vault with a jump of 5.30 meters.Bazile finished third in long jump with a jump of 7.79 meters.Asemota, senior Jerry Jackson, junior DeJuan Seward and freshman Joseph Cooper led Ohio State’s 4×200-meter relay team to a third-place finish with a time of 1:25.30.Senior Nick Demaline finished third in the shot put with his last throw of 19.62 meters.Women’s RecapJunior Sarah Kanney won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:54. Ohio State’s 4×800-meter relay team made up of freshman Aziza Ayoub, freshman Mary Figler, senior Olivia Smith and sophomore Annie Ubing finished second with a time of 9:02.Junior Sarah Stanley finished second in javelin throw with a 42.23-meter throw.In the 400-meter dash, senior Maggie Berrie finished second with a time of 52.88 seconds.In the 100-meter hurdles, senior Chantel Ray placed fifth with a personal best time of 13.11 seconds. Ray was among fast company in that competition. Kendra Harrison, who won the race, owns the 100-meter hurdles world record. Ohio State will host its only outdoor meet, the Jesse Owens Track Classic, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, all day both Friday and Saturday.
Ohio State freshman defensive end Tyreke Smith (11) and senior linebacker Dante Booker (52) combine for a sack in the third quarter of the game against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State won 49-6. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State comes out of its matchup against Tulane as the No. 4 team in the country with an undefeated record, tied for the 17th-best scoring defense in the nation.But even with a win against then-No. 15 TCU under its belt, Ohio State has not played an opponent with the offensive weapons that No. 9 Penn State holds.The Nittany Lions hold the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation with 55.5 points per game, including 63 points in each of their past two games.The best offense Ohio State has played so far is the Horned Frogs, who ranked No. 44 averaging 35.3 points per game.After the 49-6 victory over Tulane, which ranks tied for No. 107 in scoring offense, head coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that Penn State offers a completely different challenge to Tulane’s option-heavy offense.“Completely different. Last week was more of a wishbone-style triple option. This will be a true spread quarterback,” Meyer said. “It’s a much different mindset. You’ve got to make sure you always account for it.”The true spread quarterback is redshirt senior Trace McSorley, who is Penn State’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns (59) with 14 total touchdowns on the season, six of which came on the ground.McSorley is a mobile quarterback, which Ohio State has faced the past two games, but one who offers an even larger threat with his arm. And, as Meyer said, a stronger offensive line in front of him.Meyer also complimented junior running back Miles Sanders and said he expects a very similar team that has given Ohio State a lot of trouble in the past two seasons.“Offensive line is better. And that running back is really good,” Meyer said. “We don’t see much difference at all. Scheme’s very similar to what they’ve done in the past and obviously the quarterback’s the guy that makes it go.”The last time the Buckeyes traveled to Beaver Stadium, they lost to Penn State 24-21, which was their only loss of the regular season. A year later, former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett threw two touchdowns in the final five minutes to defeat the Nittany Lions 39-38.Penn State has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges for Ohio State in recent years, and that will happen again on Saturday.Containing McSorley and Sanders is tough with a healthy roster, but with the loss of junior defensive end Nick Bosa, the Buckeyes will need big plays from other members of the defense to hold back the Nittany Lions’ offense.After the Tulane victory, Meyer said he liked the play of the defense without Bosa, but said, with the style of Tulane’s offense, it will not help them against Penn State.“It’s a much different game today than it will be next week,” Meyer said after Saturday’s game. “I thought they played well. They played only 30 minutes of football and we got ’em out. So the challenge of challenges is coming up.”The “challenge of challenges” will force the Ohio State defense to clean up all the mistakes that occasionally plagued the team thus far.It is another year with another major matchup against Penn State, and the Ohio State defense prepared for an offense that looks very similar to one that Meyer ran for the past four years.“You’re playing with a quarterback that can run. That’s one that manages — we’ve had a lot of yards around here over the last years and years and years because of having that ability to do that,” Meyer said. “That’s a real threat. And that’s something that you have to game plan for.”
The furore over Chelsea FC’s former chief scout accused of being a paedophile took a new twist when it emerged that he once trained Barry Bennell, the youth coach charged this week with indecent assault.A Daily Telegraph investigation uncovered a secret payment made by Chelsea to a former junior player who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Eddie Heath, the club’s chief scout in the Seventies.It can now be disclosed that Heath oversaw the club’s youth team set up at a time when Bennell played for one of Chelsea’s junior sides. There is no suggestion that Bennell was a victim or even aware of allegations against Heath. The Crown Prosecution Service announced on Tuesday that it had charged Bennell, 62, with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy while, it is understood, he was youth coach at Crewe Alexandra. It is understood Bennell left Chelsea in the 1970s.Heath is accused of sexually assaulting the unnamed former Chelsea youth player in the 1970s. The alleged victim came forward – emboldened by the unmasking of Jimmy Savile – to lodge a complaint with Chelsea FC and the Metropolitan Police.The Premier League club, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, then settled the claim at a time when Heath’s alleged victim threatened to go public. 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. Roger Evans, the club’s lawyer, told the hearing: “Mr Hurst watched a trial match of 27 schoolboy players who had been selected by Mr Heath and was absolutely appalled by what he saw. Only one, or possibly two, of these boys were potential material for the club.“The chief scout was spending his time hanging around the club premises and not out in the field. He was never north of Watford.” After leaving Chelsea, Heath joined Millwall before moving to Charlton Athletic. He died of a heart attack in the early 1980s while in his mid fifties.John Sitton, a former Chelsea player who rose through the youth ranks, defended Heath.“Eddie was the original youth development officer without the fancy title. I am shocked and surprised Chelsea didn’t fight this claim. I am amazed anything like this is being alleged against Eddie,” he said. “I had always found him to be a good guy.” Chelsea, after being approached by The Telegraph, announced on Tuesday night that it has appointed a law firm to carry out an independent investigation.The club has declined to respond to claims it paid-off the alleged victim . On Wednesday, the latest victim to waive anonymity told of his “horrendous” abuse by George Ormond, a convicted paedophile.Derek Bell, a former Newcastle United player, said: “He [Ormond] was suddenly right in my house … my parents were so innocent.” Another former Newcastle United player, David Eatock, also came forward to say he had been a victim of Ormond at the age of 18, older than other victims who have spoken out. It was also reported yesterday that in 2003 the FA scrapped a programme designed to make sure children were protected from sexual abuse. On Wednesday night, further details surfaced about concerns regarding Heath at Chelsea.Tony Carroll, a junior player at the time, said: “As soon as I read [in The Telegraph] about a payment by a Premier League club I knew it was about Heath.” Mr Carroll, now club secretary of Senrab, a junior football team linked to Chelsea, said: “There were loads and loads of rumours about him, stories that he used to get into the showers with the kids. There were so many rumours about Eddie Heath that I am not surprised at all.” Questions over Heath intensified after the discovery of testimony from Geoff Hurst, the World Cup winner, who took over as Chelsea manager in 1979 and promptly sacked him.Heath then took the club to an industrial tribunal in 1980 for unfair dismissal. In defending the decision to sack Heath, Hurst told that hearing: “I had two options: to reprimand him and give him a kick up the backside or terminate his employment there and then. I felt the more drastic action was needed for the benefit of the club.” Chelsea is owned by Roman AbramovichCredit:Facundo ARRIZABALAGA/EPA Chelsea scout Eddie Heath pictured in the 1970s
Mr Hunt said pressures on the NHS were “probably the worst ever” but said the service was coping well under “very, very tough” circumstances with high levels of flu and cold weather.In an interview with ITV News he said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that going forward the NHS is going to need more money” but said long term-planning was needed to ensure resources were used wisely.And he suggested Britain should consider increasing investment to catch up with other European countries. “Neither of these were unpredictable but both have combined to cause the issues that have been widely reported across the country. “Last year we coined the phrase ‘eternal winter’, but the last month and a half has shown an even steeper decline in performance as demonstrated by all the data available – particularly around ambulance delays, the four-hour emergency target and bed occupancy both in acute beds and critical care.”Doctors were left “exhausted and stressed” working in services which could not keep coping with rising pressures, he said. “We do not currently have a sustainable model and, despite the health secretary’s very public defence of the NHS over social media with the US president, we are yet to see such engagement or be invited to his table to offer input into a meaningful and long-term solution,” Dr Scriven added. The NHS has suffered the worst pressure in its history this winter, Jeremy Hunt has said, as new statistics show record Accident & Emergency delays.More than 1,000 patients faced trolley waits of more than 12 hours in January, after doctors had decided they should be admitted to a ward. The figure is the highest on record, and more than twice that the previous month.Overall. just 77.1 per cent of patients at major A&E units were treated within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent.The record low was reached despite the cancellation of up to 55,000 operations, in an attempt to relieve immediate pressures, in the worst flu season for seven years.A quarter of all patients forced to endure trolley waits of more than 12 hours were at Royal Stoke University Hospital, where a senior doctor last month apologised for “third world” conditions.And daughter of an 80-year-old elderly dementia sufferer being treated for pneumonia said he had been left to languish on a hospital corridor for 36 hours, in “absolutely horrendous” scenes. “Both France and Germany have better cancer survival rates than we have and I don’t think it would be acceptable to the British people to have lower standards of healthcare than those two countries.“So whether we need to spend precisely as much given that we have inherently a much more efficient system is something economists need to look at – but we absolutely must make sure we are able to commit to having standards of healthcare that are as good, better, if we possibly can than those countries,” he said, describing current pressures as “not sustainable”.NHS England said that overall A&E performance, including minor units, showed an improvement on December.The Society for Acute Medicine warned that “exhausted and stressed” doctors are working in services that could not keep coping with rising pressures. The statistics for all casualty units – including minor injury units – were the third worst on record. Just 85.3 per cent of patients were treated within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent. 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. John Appleby, chief economist at the Nuffield Trust said: “Today’s figures provide hard evidence on just how bad a winter the NHS is having: over 80,000 patients waited on trolleys for more than four hours at A&E in January, of whom over 1,000 were waiting for over 12 hours. These are the highest numbers since records began. “A year ago we warned that corridors had become the new emergency wards. “Despite the very best efforts of our brilliant NHS staff, patients and their families will understandably be profoundly concerned by the downturn in standards. The appalling human stories arising from the worst winter crisis on record have shocked the nation.“Unlike the Tories, Labour will give our NHS the funding it needs to ensure the health service remains a world class service all year round,” he said. An NHS England spokesman said: “Despite the worst flu season in seven years, A&E performance improved this month. It was better than both the month before, and was better too than the same time last winter. This was partly helped by the fact that NHS-related Delayed Transfers of Care fell to their lowest in four years freeing up beds for patients needing emergency hospitalisation.” University Hospitals Of North Midlands NHS Trust had 272 patients waiting at least 12 hours after the decision to admit them in January, with 107 such cases at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and 77 at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the figures show. Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said: “Today’s statistics expose the hollow nature of the Prime Minister’s claim that her Government has sufficiently prepared for winter. Eight years of severe austerity has left our health service woefully underfunded, understaffed and unprepared for the rise in demand during the coldest period of the year.“January was the worst month on record for major A&Es, with over 1,000 patients being stuck on trolleys for over 12 hours and a staggering 515 per cent increase in those waiting over 4 hours compared with January 2011. “It is deeply concerning that 12 months on the position has worsened, with many harrowing reports of patients being treated in busy corridors by stressed and overworked staff,” he said, calling for funding increases for the health service. Ian Dalton, chief executive at NHS Improvement said staff had treated record numbers of patients, during an “extremely challenging” winter period.He said: “NHS staff across the country have worked exceptionally hard to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced this winter. January saw the highest number of emergency admissions since the data collection began and, on top of this, hospitals had to manage a serious spike in flu cases.”It is clear that hospitals have been under considerable pressure and emergency activity has justifiably taken precedence over elective work, although this is not a decision that hospitals take lightly.” He warned that demand was expected to continue to rise, urging trusts to plan realistically and have enough staff and beds to cope in the coming year, without cancelling operations. “We are expecting demand for emergency activity to continue rising and local systems must plan for next year on this basis. They must use realistic figures and work as one to plan staffing levels, beds and capacity for 2018/19. This will help protect trusts’ ability to perform vital elective work,” he said. The figure is a slight improvement on December, when it was 85.1 per cent. But the target has now not been hit since July 2015.It comes after national NHS guidance suggests the health service has given up on meeting its A&E targets for another year. The key target – to treat patients within four hours – has not been met since July 2015.A total of 81,003 people waited more than four hours in January 2018, which eclipses the record of 79,551 from January 2017.Last year, the Health Secretary said the target was “critical for patient safety” and said the health service should be back meeting it by this year after a cash injection for social care.But annual guidance for the NHS issued on Friday suggests the target will not be hit in 2018/19.The documents from NHS England and NHS Improvement sets out expectations for trusts to achieve 90 per cent performance in September 2018, with the “majority” of providers to achieve the 95 per cent target by March 2019 – and the rest doing so by the end of next year.The guidance follows public wrangles between Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, and ministers over the funding settlement for the health service. Janet Davies, Royal College of Nursing chief executive said: “There’s no more graphic illustration of how tough this winter has been for NHS patients and staff than the fact that last month, over 81,000 people going to A&E had to wait more than four hours for a bed in the hospital – the worst figure on record. Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more. “Distressing scenes of frail elderly people in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter – nursing staff do not want to provide this kind of undignified care, and it is pushing people to quit the NHS.“These pressures are a symptom of a far more long-term problem – we need proper investment in both the NHS and social care in order to treat patients quickly and safely all year round”. Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “The last six weeks has seen the acute services of the NHS under a sustained period of stress due to ‘normal’ winter pressures along with a surge in influenza.
BBC newsreader George Alagiah has said that his cancer could have been discovered sooner if England had earlier screening like in Scotland.The 62-year-old presenter of BBC News at Six was told that his stage four bowel cancer had returned just before Christmas.He was first diagnosed with the disease in 2014, which later spread to his liver and lymph nodes, but returned to work a year later after undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and three major operations, one of which included the removal of most of his liver.There is less than a 10 per cent chance of survival for at least five years for those with stage four bowel cancer. He is aware that it is too late to be cured yet the presenter, who lives in London, says it could have been prevented.If he had lived in Scotland he would have already been screened three times for the disease by the time of his first diagnosis in 2014 at 58-years-old. While men and women are offered bowel cancer screening every two years from the age of 50 above the border, in England bowel cancer screening begins at 60. George Alagiah preparing to present BBC News at Six for the first time after his return to work in 2015Credit:Jeff Overs/BBC/PA He was first diagnosed in 2014 after discovering blood in his stools while on a skiing holiday. After undergoing a colonoscopy, a tumour was discovered on his bowel. An MRI scan later found eight tumours in his liver.In 2016 he told the Telegraph: “I get anxious and then there is a huge relief when the doctor tells me it is clear again. But I am under no illusions.“The doctor warned me last year: ‘Your cancer knows the road, the pathway out of the gut.’ It can happen again.”The presenter now tries to remain positive and stay fit in preparation for surgery, if it is required, but said he sometimes has “wobbly moments” when he imagines his family without him. It is likely that he would have been cured if the disease was caught at an early stage, and there is a near 100 per cent chance of surviving stage one bowel cancer for at least five years. The newsreader, who arrived at the BBC in 1989 and joined BBC News at Six in 2007, said he was more disappointed than shocked after being informed that his cancer had returned after believing he had “made it”.Alagiah, who was born in Sri Lanka, has been married to his wife Frances for 33 years and they have two sons, Adam, 31, and Matt, 27. He told the Sunday Times: “Had I been screened, I could have been picked up. Had they had screening at 50, like they do in Scotland . . . I would have been screened at least three times and possibly four by the time I was 58 and this would have been caught at the stage of a little polyp: snip, snip . . .“We know that if you catch bowel cancer early, survival rates are tremendous. I have thought: why have the Scots got it and we don’t?”Alagiah, who is supporting the campaign by Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer to lower the age of cancer screening in England to everyone from 50, gave the interview in his home, surrounded by letters from well-wishers.“They write to me as friends, which is what many of them regard me as because I am in their living rooms every evening,” he said. 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.
Roadworks are carried out and potholes are filled by workers in front of the Houses of ParliamentCredit:Getty Images Many rural councils are under increased pressure to deal with road maintenance.Earlier this year the Local Government Association called on the government to tackle the disparity in funding between national and local roads.The Association said £1m would be spent per mile on strategic road networks such as motorways from 2015-20 – compared to just £21,000/mile for local roads.There are also concerns that deteriorating rural roads will make access for the emergency services harder and response times longer – potentially putting lives at risk.”The deteriorating state of rural roads has been exacerbated by the recent, prolonged freezes,” NFU Mutual motor insurance specialist Ian Flower told Farmers Weekly. “Further flooding also poses an additional hazard as many deep potholes are disguised.”The government announced last month that it was giving a further £100m to councils to help repair potholes and protect local roads from severe weather.This was on top of £75m in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as an extra £46m or highways authorities announced before Christmas. More motorists are thought to be seeking recompense directly from local authorities, while others might shoulder the costs themselves rather than claim on their car insurance. 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 pothole plague on rural roads is putting horse riders at risk, the farmers’ insurer has warned. Bad weather and a lack of maintenance and funding has left some roads in such a bad state that they could be closed altogether, NFU Mutual has said. The poor state of the roads is leaving those who us them at higher risk of accident, including cyclists and horse riders. Jeremy Atkins, an NFU Mutual senior agent in Devon, told Farmers Weekly that rural roads were the “arteries of the countryside” and it would have serious implications if they became unusable.”Other rural road users such as cyclists and horse riders are also at risk,” he said.”They may need to take sudden avoiding action when they encounter a pothole or may ride, unsuspecting, into deep potholes which are filled with rainwater.”The warning comes a month after research by campaign group Cycling UK and magazine Cycling Weekly found 49.5 per cent of cyclists have crashed because of potholes.Figures from NFU Mutual suggest a 48 per cent increase in the number of pothole claims from 2015-17, with the total value of claims almost doubling over the same period.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced in March that councils would be given a further £100 million to tackle potholes and repair storm damage in England. Workmen fill in potholes in front of the Houses of Parliament in February Credit:Jack Taylor /Getty Images It is clear that despite all the talk from central and local government, not enough is being done to fix our increasingly dangerous streetsEdmund King, AA president Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “It is wrong that funding for local roads is miles behind that of the strategic road network.”Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road yet government funding on the strategic road network is 52 times higher than for local roads.” The potholes plague facing Britain has spread to residential streets, AA figures have shown.According to a new study nine out of 10 drivers said the condition of UK roads had declined over the last decade. The AA poll of 17,500 motorists also found that two-thirds of motorists said roads had “considerably deteriorated” in the past 10 years.Some 42 per cent of drivers rated residential streets as “poor” last month, compared with 34 per cent in March 2017.It comes after a recent survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that local authorities in England and Wales needed £9.3 billion to bring their roads up to scratch.The harsh winter led to a spike in pothole-related breakdowns, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is clear that despite all the talk from central and local government, not enough is being done to fix our increasingly dangerous streets.”Our potholed roads are in a perilous state. AA breakdown operations are rescuing record numbers of drivers whose tyres or wheels are damaged by potholes.”The current lack of proper investment on local roads means highway authorities are doing little more than papering over the cracks.” A Department for Transport spokeswoman said the Government is investing £23 billion on roads.She added: “We have listened to the concerns of road users and are already providing councils in England with over £6 billion to help improve the condition of our local highways. This funding includes a record £296 million through the Pothole Action Fund – enough to fix around six million potholes.”While it is for councils to identify where repairs should be undertaken, we are also looking at how innovative technology can help them keep their roads in the best condition and save money.” 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.
Viva! highlighted that the ad stated the hormones were “linked to” cancer, rather than that they “caused” cancer.In support of the claim, they referred to a range of papers, which they believed showed the presence of more than 35 hormones in cow’s milk, including oestrogen hormones and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).But the ASA found that the poster breached rules regarding misleading advertising and substantiation, and banned it from appearing again.An ASA spokesman said: “While the claim stated that some hormones in cow’s milk were “linked” to cancer rather than definitively stating that they caused cancer, we considered that consumers would nonetheless interpret it to mean that because of the hormones that were present in cow’s milk, drinking cow’s milk could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.”We considered that the various sources provided by Viva! constituted adequate evidence that over 35 hormones were present in cow’s milk.”However, we were concerned that the studies were unable to account for confounding factors which could affect the results.”We also noted that the papers referred to other conflicting evidence and all noted the need for additional studies to confirm their findings. 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 vegan group’s advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority A vegan group’s “misleading” advert linking cow’s milk to cancer has been banned.The poster by activists Viva! triggered two complaints to watchdogs after being seen on buses in Bristol last September.The ad was banned following an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because Viva! was unable to substantiate claims that hormones in cow’s milk are linked to cancer.The ad featured an image of a cow’s udder and included the claims “Some dairy industry facts we bet you don’t know … Most cows are pregnant when milking. That’s why milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen … some of these are linked to cancer. Milk is for babies, so let Viva! wean you off the teat!”Two people complained to the ASA that the ad’s claim “milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen … some of these are linked to cancer” implied that drinking cow’s milk could cause cancer, was misleading and couldn’t be substantiated.Viva! said the claim referred to hormones that were naturally occurring in cow’s milk, which increased during pregnancy and were essential for calf development.The campaign group said the claim did not refer to hormone treatments or artificial hormones. “The studies did not support Viva’s assertion that the findings of increased risk of cancer were specifically a result of the hormones present in cow’s milk rather than to other factors.”We therefore concluded the claim ‘milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen …some of these are linked to cancer’, as it would be understood by consumers to mean that due to the presence of hormones, drinking cow’s milk could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.”He added: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.”We told Viva! not to make claims which stated or implied that due to the presence of hormones, drinking cow’s milk could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.”Viva! founder and director Juliet Gellatley said: “There’s plenty of scientific data linking milk and other dairy products to an increased risk of some cancers and many researchers are pointing the finger of blame at the hormones naturally present in dairy.”
Sixteen people taken to hospital after double decker bus and lorry collide on A47Credit:Terry Harris/THA Steve Wickers, managing director at First Eastern Counties bus company, confirmed a driver based at their King’s Lynn depot had died and said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.He said: “Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and we will be providing as much support to them as we can through this difficult time.”We will now be working with the police while they undertake their investigations.” An aerial shot of the A47 crashCredit:Terry Harris/THE 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 crash, involving a Bretts Transport lorry, happened near the firm’s distribution centre at Thorney Road in Guyhirn.A spokesman for Bretts said: “We acknowledge there has been an incident on the A47 this morning involving one of our vehicles just outside our premises.”At this stage we are giving the emergency services our full support and co-operation.” The lorry driver had escaped injury and round a three-mile stretch of the A47 was closed following the collision until 5.30pm yesterday. Emergency services deal with the incident on tha A47 Credit:Terry Harris/THA A bus driver and a passenger have died after a double decker smashed into a lorry on a busy Cambridgeshire road. They have been named today as driver Michael Elcombe, 45, of Swaffham, and passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Kettering, Cambridgeshire Police said. Twelve other people were injured, five seriously, in the crash on the A47 near Guyhirn on Tuesday morning.The bus collided with the lorry as it was pulling out of a yard onto the road, Inspector Jamie Langwith said, and footage from the aftermath at the scene showed the bus, which had been travelling eastbound on the road, lodged into the side of the lorry.The driver was from Norfolk and aged in his 50s, while the fatally injured passenger was from Northampton and aged in his 70s, police said. Injuries sustained by those hurt in the crash at around 7.30am range from broken legs to brain injuries, but none are in a life-threatening condition, Inspector Langwith said.He added said: “What we do know is that they have a coming together where the HGV has pulled out of the yard and the bus has collided into the side of it.” According to its website, Bretts Transport specialises in deliveries to the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors, delivering more than 4,000 tons of canned food and other grocery products along with 5,000 pallets of food grade packaging each week.Those injured were taken to Peterborough City Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.
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. “Luckily, the driver was able to stop.”Davis tore a number of ligaments in his leg and doctors have told him he will never be able to run again.In mitigation, Chris Gaiger said Davis “made a stupid and foolish mistake and the consequences for him could be damaging for his career”.In sentencing Davis, District Judge Lorraine Morgan said despite the serious consequences of his actions, she would only fine him as this would allow him to continue his career in the services.She added: “You have provided an exemplary service. Considering your circumstances and references, the impact the incident has had on your physicality and career, a fine is what you deserve.”Davis, Bulford Camp, Salisbury, Wilts, pleaded guilty to trespassing in the proximity of a railway and obstructing a railway engine.He was fined £1,250 and ordered to pay £85 costs and £125 victim surcharge. “As a result of falling onto the line, he dislocated his knee. It caused a massive trauma for the driver who had to make an emergency stop. Ian Davis outside Southampton Magistrates Court Credit:Daily Echo/Solent News & Photo Agency A British Army policeman caused nearly £150,000 of rail disruption after he ran across the tracks during a drunken night out, a court has heard.Sergeant Ian Davis forced a train to make an emergency stop when he fell and dislocated his knee trying to reach friends on another platform.The 32-year-old was left unable to move in the path of an oncoming train. Luckily, concerned passengers on the approaching South Western Railway train spotted Davis and informed the driver, who was forced to make an emergency stop.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Staff at Southampton Central Railway Station, Hants, were then able to rescue Davis, who has been with the Royal Military Police for 12 years, before being taken to hospital.Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that South Western Railway had calculated Davis’s actions caused delays of 36 hours to 79 services at a cost of £145,170. The court also heard the incident would result in Davis being demoted.Prosecutor Liam Hunter said Davis, who had only recently been promoted to sergeant, had been out drinking with his friends before losing them at the four platform station on August 24.He said: “The group had become separated and he saw them on another platform and tried to get across.
Organic turkey farmers have warned of a co-ordinated campaign by vegan activists, who send death threats and frighten the birds, as attacks rise in the run-up to Christmas.Ethical farms, which allow the public in to see the fields in which their turkeys roam, fear they have been targeted because of their public presence – as factory farms do not open to the public and can afford heavy security.Paul Kelly, who owns the Kelly Bronze turkeys, reared by small farmers across the country and a favourite of Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith, said attacks by protesters are on the rise.His Christmas turkeys roam free in fields together in flocks, and are carefully raised for six months, with would-be buyers able to track the birds’ progress on Instagram.He told the Sunday Telegraph: “They’re attacking the small farmers because there are lots more of them and they’re easier to target as they can’t afford big padlocks and security.”We’ve been targeted this year, it’s on the rise, there’s nothing you can do. “They’re scaring our turkeys and shouting at them through loudspeakers.”They let the birds out of the pens and we lost four of them, these pedigree turkeys that we were trying to save the colour, they did a lot more harm than good.”The small farmers are happy to show you what they’re doing, it’s the bigger companies who can afford to hide away.”I think there’s a bigger trend towards vegetarianism and veganism, they’ve probably all got together, Christmas turkeys is a high profile thing, they know the farmers have Christmas turkeys on the farm, it’s low hanging fruit for them.”I’ve had death threats, loads. It’s part and parcel of the job. There’s nothing nice about killing any animal but you just treat them as you want to be reared and kill them with absolute respect.”Small, local farms have worried that they could be put out of business if they are subjected to constant vandalism and attacks.Susan Gorst, who runs Moorgate Farm in Potterspury, near Milton Keynes, said this year was the first in 19 years rearing turkeys she has been attacked by vegans.She told the Sunday Telegraph: “The gist of what I thought was their argument was that we kill animals – they said ‘oh you say that you love these animals but you kill them’ “But I thought – we are giving them a happy life, they couldn’t get a happier life anywhere else than what they get here.”Mrs Gorst said the vegans had been frightening her “sensitive” birds by shouting through a tannoy, explaining: “The most disturbing thing for me was they frightened the turkeys and they wouldn’t come out [into the field] again.“They are supposed to be there to protect the animals but they were upsetting the turkeys.“Turkeys are quite sensitive and they don’t like anything unusual.” She said that if the vegans return to her small farm, she will ring the police, adding: “I found it upsetting that they did pick on me, you take it personally, and you only become a farmer because you love animals, you want to care for them and want to be with them. The reason why I do the things the way I do it is because I don’t agree with big slaughterhouses and cruelty to animals. “If they put us all out of business the only place you could buy a turkey is a big slaughter house and factory farm. We are the people who are trying to improve animal welfare, it’s very unfair.”Farmer Mat Carter, who runs Greendale Farm Shop in Woodbury, Devon, said his staff have been subjected to death threats because of their “pick your own turkey” scheme, where customers can come and look at the turkeys at the farm before choosing one to eat.Vegans had spray-painted “murderer” and “go vegan” on the front of his shop, and on pheasants for sale outside. His staff had also been subjected to unpleasant phone calls, with one reportedly calling and asking the butcher: “How would you like it if I cut you up and put you on the counter?”TV chef Richard Corrigan, who owns a farm at his Virginia Park Lodge hotel and restaurant, said farmers markets and butcher shops should have extra police protection to guard against vegan attacks.He told the Sunday Telegraph: “This is their income, these very aggressive vegans are dealing with farmers income which is already really tight. Authorities need to step in if there’s any intimidating going on and they should have policemen on standby at farmers markets.”Why don’t they sit home and eat their Quorn and enjoy themselves and leave the rest of us alone? Be vegan but keep yourself to yourself, don’t be annoying everyone else.” 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 university was forced to apologise to transgender students after they were told to use the “gender neutral” toilets instead of the men’s.Two Masters students at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) were confronted by a security guard after using the men’s toilets at the student union building on campus.Toby George, 21, who is studying Criminal Justice and is Tilbert Wilson, 24, who is taking Early Childhood Studies, are both biologically women but identify as men.After the pair emerged from the men’s toilets, the security guard asked them to present their identification cards. They were also asked why they had not used the “gender neutral” toilets in the building next door.–– ADVERTISEMENT –– “The security guard said the gender neutral toilets are available. I said ‘Well, I don’t identify as gender neutral, I identify as a man’,” said Toby George, who is the student union’s LGBTQ+ officer and a trainee special constable. Toby George is the student union’s LGBTQ+ officer and a trainee special constable 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. Last month, they obtained an apology from NGS Security, which is contracted by the university. It apologised for “comments and actions that may have caused offense” and have since given all their staff extra training on the universities’ gender identity policies. A spokesman for the university said: “Following a report regarding students’ use of toilet facilities within the Students’ Union (SU) building a meeting was arranged between the students and representatives of the University. “The meeting was very productive, and a positive way forward was agreed between all who attended. “This included all security staff (internal and external) being given up-to-date information on the use of toilets within the SU’s licensed premises and the wider University.“It has now been clarified to all concerned that any person can use whichever toilet aligns with their gender identity.” “Just because I don’t have the parts…it is quite disappointing this was allowed to happen. The security guard said he had been told to ask for student identification cards if there was any suspicious behaviour.“I studied policing as an undergraduate. Suspicious behaviour is someone doing drugs– not a transgender person going to the toilet”. According to the university’s policies, students must be treated “as their self-identified gender”.“This includes the use of facilities, including toilets, the use of gender markers where they are allocated, and respecting the name, title and pronouns that have been requested,” the policy says.The students complained to the university authorities about the incident, which took place at a charity choir event at the student union in October. Tilbert Jackson is doing a Masters in Early Childhood Studies