As cutdown day approaches, a look at top Raiders’ undrafted free agents

first_imgALAMEDA — Having spent nine years with ESPN, Jon Gruden knows a storyline.Before the Raiders got on a plane and left Winnipeg late Thursday night following a 22-21 exhibition win over the Green Bay Packers, Gruden took minor exception to a question about the latest “distraction” of playing out of the country on an 80-yard field.“There’s not as many distractions here as you think or anybody thinks,” Gruden told reporters. “Antonio Brown is doing fine. We’ve got a good, young football team. …last_img

Drive to stamp out doping in South African sport

first_imgSAIDS has launched a campaign to rootout doping among South Africa’s athletes.(Image: Sports and Recreation) SAIDS’ Shuaib Manjra and sports ministerFikile Mbalula launched the campaign. SAIDS urged professional athletesto sign the campaign’s pledge.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Khalid GalantCEO, Institute for Drug Free Sport+27 21 761 8034Bongani NkosiThe South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has launched a major campaign to raise awareness about illegal performance-enhancing substances and curb doping among local athletes.SAIDS introduced its “I Play Fair, Say No to Doping” campaign at a media conference in Johannesburg on 14 June 2011.“The core of our campaign is ‘I Play Fair’, let’s bring ethics back into sport,” said Shuaib Manjra, SAIDS chairperson.The drive, targeting professional and amateur athletes across the country, will provide education on banned substances and run actual doping tests. The campaign’s pillars are deterring, detection and prosecution, said Manjra.SAIDS’s latest statistics show that there has been a 100% increase in positive tests for doping over the last two years. The number jumped from 19 in 2009/10 to 50 in recent months. More than 2 000 athletes were tested in each year.Doping is an unacceptable practice that needs to be rooted out for the benefit of the country, said the Cape Town-based institute. The problem of doping is compounded by lack of broad knowledge on banned supplements in local athletics. Manjra conceded that some sports people were inadvertently taking the drugs.The Department of Sports and Recreation has thrown its weight behind the new campaign. “We support the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport in this regard to aggressively attack the use of drugs in sports,” said its minister, Fikile Mbalula.Mbalula will attend the Super Rugby match between the Bulls and Sharks at Loftus stadium in Pretoria on 18 June to raise awareness about the drive. His deputy, Gert Oosthuizen, will do the same at the clash between the Cheetahs and Stormers in Bloemfontein, also on 18 June.The government would like to see the campaign reaching out even to the “far-flung areas of our country”, said Mbalula. “It must be brought to the attention of everybody … that using drugs is cheating”.I Play Fair will also enter the realm of social media to reach its targets and campaign road shows are planned for the country’s rural areas.The South African Rugby Union became the first sports association to support SAIDS’s campaign. “We hope that more sports federations will endorse the initiative,” said Manjra.Bryan Habana, a Springbok wing, became the campaign’s first ambassador after signing its pledge.Schools’ permission neededSAIDS appealed to schools to give it permission to conduct doping tests among adolescents, as part of the campaign. The agency is to sign memoranda of understanding with academic institutions. “We’re willing to work with schools. All they have to do is come forward,” said Manjra.Parents are also urged to endorse testing in schools. “We have to intensify our awareness efforts, working with parents and young people,” said Mbalula.SAIDS’s initiative also has the backing of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Doping is a huge threat to sports all over the world and it’s critical that federations promote campaigns that deter the trend, the world body’s director general David Howman said in a statement.Regulating supplements sectorThe supplements manufacturing and distribution sector remains largely unregulated, according to SAIDS, and new legislation needs to be introduced.Lack of regulation is to blame for the general accessibility of supplements that contain banned drugs, like anabolic and prohormones stimulants.“This is an industry which is jeopardising the future of many of our athletes and we need to regulate it,” Manjra pointed out.SAIDS has launched its intelligence unit to uncover manufacturers and traffickers of illegal sports drugs. It alleges that these individuals are targeting unsuspecting athletes across the country.“We believe that every athlete who leaves the shores of the country to represent us is an ambassador of the country,” Manjra said.“We want a pledge from our athletes for clean play.”last_img read more

Cousins has 41 and 23 in Sacramento return, Pelicans rally

first_imgNew Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, right, goes to the basket against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)SACRAMENTO, Calif. — DeMarcus Cousins could exhale at last. The nerves were long gone, his highly anticipated return to Sacramento in the books — and what a beauty it was.Cousins immediately scored after winning the opening tip and never stopped on the way to 41 points and 23 rebounds, and the emotional big man dominated his old team to rally the New Orleans Pelicans past the Kings 114-106 on Thursday night.ADVERTISEMENT Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:46Senators rally support for Robredo; laud her for accepting anti-drug post00:58Trump blames media, Democrats for impeachment during Kentucky rally01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Rookie De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points off the bench to lead seven Kings in double figures.Cousins received overwhelming support and love with a standing ovation during pregame introductions with a few boos. After his initial basket, the Kings answered with a 17-2 run.A video and highlight tribute to Cousins played on the scoreboard during a first-quarter timeout as he was formally welcomed back to the city where he played seven seasons, and the big man gave a big wave.“I loved it,” Cousins said. “I’ve got nothing but love for this city. I came here as a kid and left as a man. As I stated many times, I’ve got people here I consider family. These fans have been great to me throughout the years.”“BOOGIE THANK YOU, LOVE YOU, MISS YOU” read one sign held by a female fan in Golden 1 Center.“Very talented dude,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cousins took the crowd at Golden 1 Center on a trip down memory lane, then left them with some heartache after a spectacular performance. He waved to his supportive former home fans as highlights showed of his time in California’s capital.“It was pretty emotional,” Cousins said. “I was super nervous coming in. The anticipation was like through the roof. I really couldn’t wait for the ball to go up and we could just actually get to the basketball part.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHe hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:21 to play for a 108-106 lead and the Pelicans held on — and Cousins finally got some help in a second-half comeback after New Orleans trailed by 14 at intermission playing without injured star Anthony Davis.Jameer Nelson contributed 18 points with four 3-pointers with Davis sidelined with a left knee injury sustained at Portland on Tuesday. The Pelicans were down 70-56 at halftime with Cousins largely a one-man show already with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Horford, Irving lead Celtics past Bucks Cousins, who was fined $25,000 last week for cursing at a Grizzlies fan in Memphis, shot 14 for 25, dished out six assists and kept his emotions in check.At the 9:23 mark of the first quarter, Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein were tied up under the basket. Cousins then carried the ball out of the crowd and set it down in front of the New Orleans bench before the jump ball.“This was just as big a game for them as it was for us,” Cousins said. “We knew they would be juiced. We knew they would come out swinging and that’s exactly what they did.”He had faced the Kings once already since his February trade, in New Orleans on March 31, and scored 37 points while making 12 of 21 shots in the Pelicans’ 117-89 victory.“For him, he came here as a young kid, really. He’d been with this franchise the entire time,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “You have friends in the city, you have things that you’ve done just from a community service point of view that you had. And then very emotional when he left here. I was there when he got on the plane. I think people don’t realize, they look at these guys as something other than a 22- 25- 27-year-old kid, and that’s what they are. I don’t care how big they are, they’ve got the same emotions as everyone else has.“It’s tough, because it wasn’t his decision to leave. I think when that happens, it stings, it hurts initially. I think he has found himself in a positon where we really appreciate everything he brings to the table.”WEBBER TRIBUTEFormer Kings star Chris Webber worked the nationally televised game for TNT and received his own video highlight recognition and a standing ovation late in the first quarter. Webber stood, smiled and acknowledged the fans.TIP-INSPelicans: Darius Miller started in place of Davis and was scoreless. … After being outrebounded 63-42 in a 103-93 loss at Portland two nights earlier and giving up 18 offensive boards, New Orleans outrebounded Sacramento 47-34.Kings: As the Kings returned from a three-game road trip, Zach Randolph made his home debut for the Kings after missing the Oct. 18 opener against Houston following oral surgery.UP NEXTPelicans: Host Cleveland on Saturday.Kings: Host Washington on Sunday. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Read Next View comments MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PHlast_img read more

3 days agoLiverpool striker Firmino dismisses Keane hugging blast

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool striker Firmino dismisses Keane hugging blastby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool striker Roberto Firmino has dismissed Roy Keane’s blast after seeing Liverpool and Manchester United players for ‘hugging and kissing’ in the tunnel before Sunday’s game at Old Trafford.Firmino and his team-mate Fabinho were seen embracing United’s Fred and Andreas Pereira in the tunnel, with all four players having played for Brazil.Firmino told ESPN Brazil: “I don’t want to create controversy with anyone.”I find it quite normal before the game to greet each other, ask how they are doing. That’s all. Nothing more than that.”But on the pitch, they aren’t friends, each one defends his club to the best of his ability. Then the rivalry increases on the pitch.” last_img read more

BillionDollar Billy Beane

The film version of “Moneyball” depicts many establishment baseball types as ignorant of where wins in baseball come from and clueless about how to properly value talent.Take, for example, the scene when John Henry — the billionaire owner of the Boston Red Sox — tries to recruit the Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane. Henry tells Beane that any managers not rebuilding their teams with Beane’s system in mind are “dinosaurs,” and then hands him a slip of paper. On it, there’s an offer for Beane to become the new Red Sox general manager for the insane amount of $12.5 million over five years. His fictional colleague tells us that the offer would make Beane “the highest-paid GM in the history of sports.” Despite appearing tempted, Beane ultimately declines the deal, claiming, “I made one decision in my life based on money and I swore I’d never do it again.”1In real life, Beane briefly accepted the Red Sox’s offer before changing his mind (citing community and family reasons). He even began negotiating with the A’s over what compensation the Red Sox would have to give his old team for stealing him away. At the press conference announcing that he’d changed his mind, Beane was asked about that negotiation (from a contemporary news report):“Asked from a baseball talent-evaluator perspective what he was worth, Beane laughed and said, ‘I had one opinion before [accepting Boston’s job] and once I got there, I had a different opinion.’”Beane may not be the highest-paid GM in the history of sports, but he may be the most famous. An outfielder originally drafted 23rd overall by the New York Mets in 1980, Beane made his MLB debut in 1984, but was never successful against top competition. After getting washed out of the league, he became a scout for the A’s and eventually worked his way up to GM in 1997. As GM, he has used Bill James-style advanced statistics to inform his decisions, and taken a strictly economic approach to valuing and acquiring players. Under his leadership, the A’s have been a very successful franchise despite routinely carrying one of baseball’s smallest payrolls. Beane’s story caught the attention of author Michael Lewis, who made him the central character in his 2003 bestseller “Moneyball” and something of a cultural icon for sports analytics.Beane’s methods continue to be analyzed and celebrated by sabermetricians, and the A’s continue to massively exceed expectations given the amount they spend. They own the best record in baseball so far this season, and have the fifth-lowest payroll.2While also being rated as the “unluckiest” team this year. They currently lead MLB in Pythagorean wins by an even wider margin. It’s the best 100-game start of Beane’s career, and the best for the organization since its 1990 pennant-winning squad. Over the last 15 seasons,3The period covered by Baseball Prospectus’s payroll data. the A’s under Beane have had the fifth-best winning percentage in baseball, with the fourth-lowest total payroll. (The data used here is current through Monday, July 21.)Beane has been a godsend to the frugal A’s, enabling them to achieve top-tier performance at bottom-tier prices. For this, the A’s have paid him fairly modestly4In general, good GMs are probably way underpaid, but Beane is even more so. — but since we don’t know how much winning is worth to the A’s organization, it’s hard to say exactly how much Beane has been worth to them.For a team like the Red Sox, however, the picture is much more clear. Over the last 15 years, they’ve happily spent over $2 billion in the pursuit of wins — and because they’re one of baseball’s most successful franchises, no one in Beantown is complaining.From a strictly economic perspective, not offering Beane however much money it took to get him may have been one of the Red Sox’s poorest decisions since letting Babe Ruth go to the Yankees for next to nothing. And I mean that literally: Over the past 15 years, Billy Beane has been nothing less than the Babe Ruth of baseball GMs. The Red Sox offered Beane $2.5 million per year,5The 2002 Boston Red Sox paid Dustin Hermanson — a relief pitcher with a 4.21 ERA — $5.5 million, or more than twice as much in annual salary as they offered Beane. but even $25 million would have been a bargain.Finding Beane’s potential dollar value to the Red Sox is relatively simple: It’s the amount the team spent under general managers Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington, minus the amount it would have had to spend for the same performance with Beane as GM.6Hat tip to Jeremy Kahan — a hedge fund analyst and good friend of mine — for zeroing in on the Red Sox angle to this question.To show this, we first we need to figure out just how many A’s wins Beane has been responsible for, and how much those wins would cost on the open market.Let’s start by comparing the A’s performance under Beane’s leadership to the performance we would expect from a typical GM with the same payroll.7Prior to their change in ownership in 1995, the A’s maintained a healthy payroll, including the largest in the league in 1991, following their World Series appearance the year before. By the time they started downsizing, Beane was already with the team. This means there’s no way to compare Beane’s performance to that of a different A’s GM with a similar payroll. I created a logistic regression model8A type of model used to predict things like win percentages. that predicts a team’s win percentage by season based on the team’s relative payroll (excluding Oakland from the data), as measured by how many standard deviations it was above or below the average MLB payroll for each season. Below, I’ve plotted the non-Oakland team-seasons from 2000 to 2013 (on which the model is based) in groups of 15 by payroll (so, the dot farthest to the right represents the 15 team-seasons with the highest relative payrolls), and plotted the model’s prediction as a red line. I then plotted Oakland’s 15 seasons through 2014 as a single green point:The point on the upper right represents the 15 team-seasons with the highest relative payrolls. These teams were 2.68 standard deviations above the mean payroll on average and won 58.5 percent of their regular-season games on average.9Note there’s not much difference from a linear regression, which would have an underlying (season-by-season) R-squared value of .183 (though this can be increased by using less noisy metrics such as run differential). Oakland, on the other hand, averaged .81 standard deviations below the mean payroll and won 54.8 percent of its games on average.From this we can take each team’s expected wins per season based on payroll,10The logistic regression formula in Excel is: =1/(1+EXP(-(-0.009677+0.127212*[SD Payroll]))). and then see how many games above or below average it ran. Here’s Oakland, broken down by year (Note: 2014 is through the season’s first 98 games only):This comes out to 180.2 wins above expectation given the A’s payroll (165.5 prior to this year). That’s 12.0 wins above expectation per season (and there’s a good chance of that per-season average rising).“Wins above expectation” may sound familiar to you. It’s conceptually very similar to wins above replacement (WAR), the stat we use to evaluate how many wins a player earns a team versus how many games that team would expect to win without him.11There are two main differences between wins above expectation and wins above replacement:WAR is based on direct player performance metrics like hitting, fielding, etc., while a general manager’s wins earned are imputed indirectly from his team’s performance (both of these methods have their pluses and minuses).WAR is above “replacement,” meaning it’s the number of wins a player earns not over an average player, but over a borderline player — someone you would pay the minimum. A GM’s wins here are measured above what we would expect from the average non-Beane GM.But the difference between a “replacement” GM and an average GM is unclear to me: They all cost a pretty similar amount, and how much value they add is a mystery, so I thought an average GM was the appropriate baseline. Regardless, this means that this comparison could be understating Beane’s value. For example, Babe Ruth earned only 126 wins above average as a batter, compared to his 163 wins above replacement.Beane’s 12 wins per season above what we would expect of an average general manager is slightly more wins than Barry Bonds earned when he hit 73 home runs in 2001 (11.9 WAR). The most WAR earned by any batter over his entire career was 163 by Babe Ruth.12At least for now, Ruth does maintain a slight edge over Beane in total WAR (with 183.6) on account of his 20.6 WAR as a pitcher. In fact, if you assemble the top 15 position player seasons of all time, they still trail Beane’s 15 seasons as GM, with 180.1 WAR combined versus Beane’s 180.2 wins above expectation.No one can get that lucky. If you’re expected to win 1,116 out of 2,364 games, winning 1,296 games instead may not look impossible, but that’s because our intuitions about these things are terrible. Excel’s binomial distribution function makes calculating such odds pretty easy:13The Excel formula to calculate odds of winning a certain amount given an expected win rate is: =BINOM.DIST([Games]-[Wins],[Games],1-[Expected Win Percent], TRUE). In this case they’re somewhere around one in 13 trillion — effectively zero.14Granted, though odds that they’ve just gotten lucky overall are nil, it’s likely that the A’s have been “running well” to some extent — meaning, their performance has probably exceeded their true expectation. But this is true of any top team. Of course, we can’t know to what degree Beane alone is responsible for the A’s success. But as GM, Beane is formally responsible for the A’s performance, and there aren’t any other obvious causes that would suggest he isn’t responsible (there have been several different managers and 100 percent turnover of players during Beane’s tenure).Imagine the A’s wanted to have exactly this level of success and were willing to pay whatever it cost. With Billy Beane, the A’s have paid $839,902,108 to their players from 2000 up to and including the start of the 2014 season (but prior to recent acquisitions). How much do other teams normally have to pay for this level of success?There are a lot of estimates for the price of wins out there, ranging from ESPN’s Dan Szymborski’s $5.5 million per marginal win and FanGraphs $6 million on the lower end to Lewie Pollis’s $7 million and up to Hardball Times’ $7.6 million on the high end. To make things a little more complicated, the price of wins has also risen substantially with the growth of payrolls in the last decade15I’ll stick with FanGraphs and Hardball Times, because their historical estimates are readily accessible.:If we use these values to price wins above or below expectation on a year-by-year basis for every team as we did for Oakland above, and then sum up by team, it would look like this:FanGraphs’ value for Oakland’s performance adds up to $812 million since 2000, while the Hardball Times’ value adds up to $891 million. Over three-quarters of a billion dollars — that’s huge! We can smell-check these numbers by looking at the overall picture. Leaving aside standard deviations and year-by-year breakdowns for a moment, we can see how each team’s total payroll over the last 15 years has compared to its performance:That trend line shows us how well teams have performed relative to how much they’ve paid, but we can also use it for the reverse:16By solving for Win Percentage. In Excel: =([WPct]-0.4130893)/(0.0000669). The Oakland Athletics have won 54.8 percent of their games, so the corresponding 15-year payroll (the amount we would expect a team to have paid for that win rate) is about $2.02 billion — about $1.18 billion higher than the Athletics actually paid.So the smell-check turned out a higher number than the estimates based on the normal price of wins, when that normal price already seemed absurd.This isn’t broken down year by year, so it could just be that the A’s won a lot more in years when wins were cheaper. To correct for this, we need a more empirical method for pricing wins. On a year-by-year basis, how big would each team’s payroll have to have been to buy its performance? Using the regression above (and some fancywork in R17This is done using the inverse of the logistic regression built above, which leads to very complicated math, but can be done fairly easily in R using the boot package (where “mod” is the logistic model):require(boot)invPred <- function (W,G,mod) {(logit(W/G) – coef(mod)[[“(Intercept)”]]) / coef(mod)[[“payroll.sd”]]}I should note this leads to some very valuable-looking seasons (like Seattle’s 116-win season in 2001), because that kind of success is virtually impossible to “buy.” But it sums up across seasons very accurately.), we can model this and see that wins may be harder to buy than standard win-valuation models (FanGraphs, Hardball Times, etc.) would suggest. Valuing each team’s relative season-by-season performance this way leads to a very different accounting from above:Over the past 15 years, the A’s have exceeded expectations by close to $1.38 billion — even better than our smell-check estimate of $1.18 billion. This suggests that they’ve performed slightly better in years when they were at a bigger payroll disadvantage (at 2013 market value, those A’s wins would cost closer to $1.78 billion).18Note: though I use a logistic regression so the price of wins isn’t perfectly linear, this approach corresponds roughly to a price per win of around 4.7 wins per standard deviation of payroll. So the table of win prices over the years corresponding to those of Hardball Times and FanGraphs above would look like this: Yes, that’s “billion” with a B. (Or two.)* * * * *Now that we have a sense of Beane’s performance and how much it would cost to replicate it, let’s turn back to the Boston Red Sox and their failure to sign him (or even to offer him anywhere near his worth).The situations in Oakland and Boston aren’t directly comparable. Exploiting market inefficiencies is probably easier for Beane than it is for a successful big-money team, because he has never had to face the winner’s curse or the diminishing returns of spending. On the other hand, the A’s have been way above average, not just a little above average. Aside from the Red Sox’s post-season successes,19I should also note that, while not having any championships to show for it, the A’s have made the playoffs the same number of times the Red Sox have (seven), and they’ve been remarkably unlucky, losing all six series-deciding Game 5s they’ve played. the team has only performed 0.6 percent better than the A’s over the 15-year period — for which they’ve paid an extra $1.2 billion in salaries.But some of that money was spent and some of those wins came before the Red Sox attempted to hire Beane. To be conservative, let’s just look at the period since Henry made Beane his offer: In the last 12 years, the Red Sox spent $1.714 billion on payroll, while the A’s spent $736 million. We can then break down what it could have looked like if Beane had worked for the Red Sox like so:Let’s say it would have cost Boston the same $736 million that it cost Oakland to get the A’s performance with Beane.At the hypothetical $25 million-per-year salary I suggested earlier, Beane would have cost the Red Sox another $300 million. (It’s possible that Beane would have wanted more, but it’s even more possible that they could have gotten him for less.)The difference in performance between the A’s and the Red Sox over that period (where the Sox were as successful as at any point in the franchise’s history, and the A’s were supposedly stagnating after Beane’s early success) has been about 50 games for Boston. Since we don’t know exactly how good Beane would be at procuring additional wins above his Oakland performance, let’s assume that the Red Sox would have had to pay the typical amount teams have paid for wins in the period to make up the difference. According to the year-by-year price of wins from my calculations above, those 50 wins (taking when they happened into account) would have a market value of about $370 million (though this might have been lower with Beane in charge).If we combine these — the price of the A’s performance ($736 million) plus Super-Expensive-Billy-Beane’s salary ($300 million) plus the additional 50 Red Sox wins at high market estimates ($370 million) — merely duplicating their previous level of success still would have saved the Red Sox more than $300 million relative to what they actually spent, and that’s with reasonably conservative assumptions. That’s money they could have pocketed, or spent making themselves even better.In other words, failing to understand Beane’s true value may have cost the Red Sox hundreds of millions of dollars or more. “Moneyball” isn’t just some nerdy obsession that helps a few teams save a bit of money. It’s about more than nickels and dimes; it’s about millions and billions.CORRECTION (July 24, 7:10 p.m.): A footnote in an earlier version of this story misstated the most recent year the Oakland A’s played in the World Series; it was 1990, not 1991. read more

Sibling love Hill joins brother in Columbus

Ohio State basketball is betting on the fact spectators will be seeing a lot of the Hills this season.  No, not the brain-numbing, MTV reality show featuring Lauren Conrad and her catty band, but rather the sibling duo of P.J. Hill, a guard on the men’s basketball team, and his sister Tayler, a newcomer to the OSU women’s basketball team.There are undeniable similarities between the two. Both play guard and took the number four for their jerseys.P.J. Hill has long been a favorite of Buckeye fans. The 6-feet 1 inches guard has made a name for himself by coming off the bench and instantly raising the team’s intensity level with a key steal or assist. This year, Hill is being counted on this season to expand his role.“Last year, a lot of teams got away with not guarding me,” he said. “I took that personally, like ‘you can’t shoot, you’re not effective on offense, you’re not a threat.’ So I took that stuff personally. When I get in the games, I’m going to step up and knock those shots down with confidence. I’m going to be an impact player. I’m going to be a threat on both ends of the court.”While senior Hill enters the final act of his career with the OSU men’s basketball team, freshman Tayler Hill begins hers with the women’s team.Tayler Hill comes to the Buckeyes as one of the most decorated players in Minnesota basketball history. She is Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, boys and girls, and was selected as a 2009 McDonald’s All American. While leading her team to a state high school championship, she averaged 31.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.7 steals per game. She finished her high school playing career with 3,894 points. She joins a deep, veteran women’s basketball team that has already established leadership. “If Coach [Jim] Foster wants me on the floor, that’s where I’m going to be at,” Hill said. “If he needs me on the bench cheering my team on, then that’s what I’m going to do.”Rather than be daunted by the prospect of becoming another cog in the machine, as opposed to its centerpiece, she is embracing the positives that come with it.“I’m excited,” she said. “There were times when games got tough in high school when I had to have the ball in my hands at all times. I can rely on other players on this team, I can pass and screen away.”The pride Tayler has for her older brother shines through when she speaks of him. His non-traditional path to the OSU basketball team, which saw him transfer before his sophomore year from tiny Midland College, is a lesson to her in persistence.“My brother is my role model,” she said. “Seeing him work every day and keeping the faith that he has, I know that if he can do it, than I can too. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”There’s a double meaning in that statement. Although the particulars of P.J.’s role in helping bring Tayler to OSU are unclear, his influence is not.“He was a big factor in this because my brother and I are best friends,” Tayler said. “Knowing I can count on him when things get hard was a really big deal for me.”Foster was guarded in his praise of Tayler Hill.  “She’s talented and she can go up and down the floor,” Foster said. “When you’ve scored 4,000 points in your high school career, how many times have you been on the floor with players better than you?”But her freshman status does not necessarily exclude her from cracking the starting lineup in her first year, as evidenced by the playing time given to Jantel Lavender and Sammy Prahalis in their freshmen campaigns.“If you’re a great player or have the potential to be a great player, room is made for them because they earn it,” Foster said. “We’ll find out.”When asked about P.J.’s role in recruiting Tayler to OSU, Foster was glib.“I would say that he’s not disappointed that his sister’s here,” he said.Junior center Jantel Lavender, the team’s leader on the floor, likes what she sees in Tayler.“She’s a great shooter, she’s a great passer, she’s a great leader and she works extremely hard all the time,” Lavender said of Hill. “Those are the attributes that you need.” read more

Darijo Srna defends his reputation after doping ban

first_imgFormer Croatia Captain and Shakhtar Donetsk defender Darijo Srna received an extended ban from football after a positive drug test last year.Srna was suspended for 11 months but is eligible to play again from August 22, after his recent move to Italy with Cagliari.The 36 year old veteran has defended his character after the NADC stated recently that there was “no significant guilt or negligence on the part of the athlete”.He spoke in a presentation today in front of the media: ““The situation is simple, I’ve shown to the whole world that I’m not guilty,”“It was part of my life and it was difficult, but I’m a fighter and I’ve shown that by breaking records with Shakhtar and the Croatian national team.”“If I didn’t believe in myself I wouldn’t be sitting here now. I’ll be able to start playing from August 22, and during this period I’ve been training on my own, even in the Ukrainian off-season.”Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I’ve had a personal trainer and an athletic trainer for nine years, and I’m ready to get started.”Srna has joined Cagliari on a one year deal with an option to extend his stay for a further year and he will be hoping to help the side regain their status in the top flight.He appeared in 134 matches for Croatia during his international career and scored an impressive 22 goals despite playing in defence.last_img read more

Roma make enquiries about Suso Fernandez

first_imgAS Roma have reportedly made enquiries about AC Milan’s midfielder Suso Fernandez, as they see the Spanish player as a potential alternative to Malcom.The Giallorossi had agreed on a deal with Bordeaux to sign Malcom, but the Catalans made an 11th hour move to hijack the transfer.Sporting director Monchi is still looking for someone to play on the right flank, and calciomercato.com reports that he met Suso’s agent Alessandro Lucci today.Rick Karsdorp, Roma, Serie AKarsdorp reveals he had too much stress at Roma Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The Dutch defender has been with the Gialorrossi since 2017, but he has not enjoyed his time in the Italian Lega Serie A.The former Liverpool player has a release clause of €38m, but it’s only valid for foreign clubs and expired on July 15.The Rossoneri are asking for around €40m, but at this stage, Roma are only making enquiries and aren’t ready to submit a bid.Alternatives include Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen, Ajax’s David Neres, Mikel Oyarzabal of Real Sociedad, RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg and Domenico Berardi, the Sassuolo forward who worked with Eusebio Di Francesco at Mapei Stadium.last_img read more

Opinion Barcelona needs to sell Ivan Rakitic next summer

first_imgWe will tell you the reasons Ivan Rakitic needs to be sold by FC Barcelona next summer, it appears that his time at the Catalan club has passed.Even though Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic is still one of FC Barcelona’s top players, we truly believe that the club needs to sell him next summer and we are going to discuss the reasons we think this is the best option for both parts.The Croatian midfielder is arguably one of his country’s most decorated players alongside Luka Modric, he was an essential part of the National Team that reached a historic World Cup final last summer that they lost against France in Russia.At club level, Ivan Rakitic has practically never stopped winning and growing as a football professional. After starting with Swiss club FC Basel, a young Rakitic was scouted by German side Schalke 04 and they could buy him for €5 million back in 2007.During his time in the Bundesliga, the Croatian midfielder quickly started developing the skills that eventually took him to the Spanish La Liga after Sevilla decided to pay a low €2.5 million to the German club and that’s when his career really started to take off.Ivan Rakitic came to Spain for a long time, and it’s been 9 years already since the first time he arrived.”Sería un gran sueño para mí poder volver a jugar con la camiseta del #SevillaFC”, dijo hace menos de un año un Ivan Rakitic al que ahora, tras llegar Frenkie de Jong, empiezan a ver en la Ciudad Condal fuera del Barça https://t.co/vNu2MesTBi— Carlos Pérez (@carlosperezED) January 25, 2019With the Andalusian club, Ivan Rakitic’s football really started to flourish and his last year with them was the perfect season that called the attention of major clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, and FC Barcelona.With Cesc Fabregas leaving the Catalan club after a failed attempt to succeed there, Barcelona’s number ‘4’ jersey was suddenly open and the Spanish giants were the ones who made the biggest offer for the player.They paid a reported €21 million in 2014, he came alongside Luis Suarez on the same season and he made an immediate impact. Since then, Ivan Rakitic has completely taken charge of the position as one of the most creative midfielders in the club.Since he came to the Catalan club, Rakitic has contributed to the club’s success and won a total of 12 trophies which include three La Liga titles, one Champions League, four Copa del Rey titles, two Spanish Supercups, one UEFA Supercup, and one FIFA Club World Cup.But the new generations are coming and Ivan Rakitic has already won everything at Barcelona, it is time for him to leave room for other great players and also attempt to leave a good amount of money for his transfer to the club that gave him everything.FC Barcelona, Valencia CFMatch Preview: Barcelona vs Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Is derby time in La Liga, as Barcelona welcomes Valencia to the Camp Nou Stadium tonight at 21:00 (CET).Con la llegada de nuevos fichajes, canteras y malos partidos de Rakitic. ¿Debería el Barça venderlo y confiar en los jóvenes? pic.twitter.com/LDxEAT3CAP— Soydelbarca_ (@Soydelbarca2) January 25, 2019Even though he is already considered a veteran, Ivan Rakitic still has several good years of great football on his boots and the Catalan club should get a good deal for a World Cup runner-up who has won everything at Barcelona.Frenkie de Jong’s arrival is another reason why he needs to leave, his presence could easily prevent the Dutch young player to grow to become the player that everybody imagines he will transform into someday.The number ‘4’ that Ivan Rakitic wears right now is one that fits Frenkie perfectly, a mythical number at FC Barcelona that not any player can wear and seems destined to belong to De Jong once he comes to the club next summer.All the signs point to Ivan Rakitic leaving FC Barcelona, the only problem here is that manager Ernesto Valverde would oppose his arrival but the club already thinks that even the manager could leave soon if the results don’t come his way throughout the current season.We all know that the main target this season is the Champions League, Valverde will surely resign if he doesn’t win the title and this will leave the open door for players like Rakitic next summer.The player already told Estadio Deportivo that his dream is to return to Sevilla.We keep going 💪⚽️! ➕3️⃣✅ #ForçaBarça 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/xXXS8S84wY— Ivan Rakitic (@ivanrakitic) January 20, 2019Which club do you think could be better for Ivan Rakitic after FC Barcelona? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more