NBA Power Ratings And Playoff Odds OKC Woes And Resurgent Heat

Despite an abundance of March Madness coverage here at FiveThirtyEight this week, fear not: we didn’t forget about NBA Power Ratings. The short version of how these numbers work: Each team is ranked according to a projection of its strength over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology, see our introductory rankings post.A few thoughts for this week:The Oklahoma City Thunder have been plagued by injuries all season long, a trend continued by Monday’s news that Serge Ibaka will undergo surgery to address soreness in his knee. Ibaka’s +3.8 short-term RPM rating ranks 28th in the league, so taking him out of OKC’s lineup and replacing him with an average player would drop the Thunder by 3.0 points of power rating. Making matters worse, low-rated Enes Kanter figures to see a corresponding uptick in playing time, a further blow of 1.0 point to Oklahoma City’s power rating.Speaking of the Thunder, they currently have a playoff probability of 78.4 percent, according to our simulations. On the one hand, that’s quite a drop from the 92.7 percent mark they sported in our projections two weeks ago, a dip fueled by the loss of Ibaka and the ongoing absence of Kevin Durant. On the other hand, some might think that probability seems much too high, as the injury-riddled Thunder are clinging to the West’s final playoff spot by a mere half-game over the New Orleans Pelicans. So why does OKC get the nod in our simulations? Despite all the injuries, they still have a slightly superior power rating to the Pelicans; the Thunder also face an easier schedule over the remainder of the season.A week ago, I noted that the Miami Heat seemed to be fading rapidly, dropping from a playoff probability of 93 percent on Feb. 2 to 29.5 percent on March 9. But over the past week, the Heat have seen their postseason odds improve dramatically, and now have essentially a coin flip’s chance of making the playoffs. Although they only went 2-2 in the past week, they project to be much healthier going forward, with Goran Dragic, Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside all seeing big playing-time boosts (and Michael Beasley seeing a big dip) in our system.The Atlanta Hawks continue to rank lower here than you’d expect from their season-long power ratings, which speaks as much to the importance of Kyle Korver as anything else. Korver carries a +4.6 short-term rating, 14th-highest in basketball. So his projected absence this week due to a broken nose costs the Hawks 1.9 points of power rating if he’s replaced with an average NBA player. (And in reality, many of Korver’s minutes will go to Kent Bazemore, whose -3.3 RPM is far below average.)Going into this week, the tank-tastic Philadelphia 76ers had claimed either last or second-to-last place every time we issued our rankings. But the Minnesota Timberwolves have now dipped below Philly (but not the Knicks!), thanks to day-to-day injury statuses for Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic — and more playing time for the low-rated trio of Justin Hamilton, Chase Budinger and Zach LaVine. As an aside: How bad has LaVine (who carries an NBA-worst short-term RPM rating of -7.1) been as a rookie this season? He’s not quite as far from the mean in a negative direction as LeBron James is in the positive direction (+8.9), but LaVine is roughly as far from zero (in the opposite direction) as Chris Paul (+7.0) and Kawhi Leonard (+6.8)! read more

Chip Kelly Should Probably Fire Himself

Mike TomlinPIT95-6+24 Ron RiveraCAR51+145+1543 Bruce AriansARI30+120+125<1 Marvin LewisCIN130+184+10140 Gus BradleyJAX30+8-1851 Herman Edwards2007KC47% Jack Del RioOAK10—+37<1 Andy ReidKC30+185+841 Mike McCoySD31+32-1055 Jeff FisherSTL40+124-5613 Dan QuinnATL10—+6<1 Neill Armstrong1980CHI22 COACHTEAMSEASONSPLAYOFF WINSBEFORE 2015DURING 2015CHANCE OF FIRING Dick Jauron2008BUF25 Jason GarrettDAL61+141-11735 Dave Campo2001DAL39 Things look bad for Chip Kelly and his Eagles. Fans are calling for his head; discord is rampant in the locker room; Kelly seems to be linked to every college job not nailed down or on fire; and the Eagles have found themselves on the receiving end of consecutive beatdowns so humiliating that mayor-turned-governor-turned-commentator Ed Rendell — a man last seen in public supplication outside a McDonald’s, begging for a McRib — was so ashamed that he hid his head in a bag. If Kelly is the NFL’s mad scientist, the lab is on fire.In the short term, Kelly is probably safe. He has two years left on his contract after 2015, and his newfound authority over Philadelphia’s roster — wrestled away from Howie Roseman in a power struggle in January — makes him a little more entrenched than your typical head coach. But the Eagles have also been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams, by both the eye test and fancier metrics. So while Kelly the personnel czar still has some rope, we can entertain ourselves with a thought exercise wondering just how often such a disastrous season traditionally leads to a coaching change.To measure just what it takes for a coach to get fired in the NFL, I trained a classification model on data for every NFL coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, looking for the factors that predict whether he’ll return the following season. The best model, in terms of having the lowest “out-of-bag error,” accounts for how long a coach has been with his team, the team’s outlook going into the season, and how many playoff wins the coach has recorded during his tenure with the team. Coaches are typically given more leeway early, with firings peaking three to six years into their tenures, and unsurprisingly, playoff wins buy more job security. We used our Elo ratings as a proxy for team outlook; whatever you think of its predictive capabilities, Elo is a fantastic gauge of team perception and expectations.According to that historical rubric, no current coach1So, excluding Joe Philbin and Ken Whisenhunt, both of whom were fired earlier this season. should be feeling the heat more than Kelly, whose indicators have traditionally led to termination a shade over half the time (through 11 games): Pete CarrollSEA67+276-37<1 Lovie SmithTB20-59+4517 John FoxCHI10—+50<1 Todd BowlesNYJ10—+34<1 Sean PaytonNO96+94-7619 COACHYEARTEAMCHANCE OF FIRING Mike McCarthyGB107+136+202 Sam Wyche1994TB30 Mike ZimmerMIN20+4+995 Bill O’BrienHOU20+120+10<1 John HarbaughBAL810+117-741 Mike PettineCLE20+32-8319 Chip KellyPHI30+144-8652% Jay GrudenWAS20-28+55<1 Rex RyanBUF10—-22<1 Chan Gailey2011BUF28 The idea here is to measure what sort of team performance, somewhat devoid of context, would get a typical coach fired. You’ll notice in the table that Marvin Lewis — a coach pretty unlikely to be fired — is third on this list; that’s mainly because he’s been with the Bengals for 13 years and has zero playoff wins. The real world context is that while that is a broadly undesirable outcome, the Bengals being the Bengals, the team has more than exceeded the existential target of being Not The Browns. (You can see the lasting improvement that Lewis has brought to Cincinnati in the “before 2015″ column, which shows how much the team’s Elo rating improved between the time he got the job and the beginning of this season.) So Marv, like Chip, is probably fine, for reasons that are very different but just as amusing.As for Kelly, he’s in his third year of his tenure with a club, after winning zero playoff games in Years 1 and 2 — a scenario that has traditionally been the death zone for NFL coaches. Coaches in that predicament must show progress to keep their jobs: Roughly two-thirds of surviving coaches improved their team’s Elo rating (relative to preseason expectations) in Year 3, while nearly three-quarters of those fired oversaw an Elo decline from the preseason. So the Eagles’ 86.4-point Elo drop this season doesn’t look good for Kelly — since 1970, only 15 of the 128 coaches in Kelly’s position (Year 3 with a team, no previous playoff victories) oversaw a bigger drop-off in Elo through 11 games of the schedule, and two-thirds of them were fired before the following season began. Jim CaldwellDET20+66-645 Chuck PaganoIND43+173-316 Bill BelichickNE1621+164+761 ELO CHANGE John Mackovic1985KC28 Sometimes coaches still survive odds like Kelly’s. This table shows the coaches whose jobs were in the most jeopardy 11 games into a season yet went on to keep the job. But if Kelly does manage to stick with Philly beyond this season, he would set a new mark for unlikely job retention.Kelly’s trajectory wasn’t always so negative. After Philly beat Dallas in early November to make their record 4-4, there was only about a 5 percent chance that Kelly would be fired according to the model. But the Eagles’ current three-game losing streak has caused his probability of being fired to skyrocket: Gary KubiakDEN10—+66<1 Jim TomsulaSF10—-103<1 Tom CoughlinNYG128+81+217 John Mazur1971NE29 Jim Hanifan1983CRD26 Dave McGinnis2002ARI21 There’s still time for Kelly to turn things around. For one, the average coach who was fired since 1970 was assigned a 76 percent probability by the model at this stage of the season, so Kelly, at 52 percent, has some room left to fall. Second, despite their abiding awfulness, the Eagles somehow have a 15 percent chance of winning the NFC East, which would put a little shine on the turd. Although one of the most similar coaching seasons to Kelly’s2In terms of the arc his probability of being fired has taken each week. resulted in Wade Phillips being fired by the Denver Broncos in 1994, other similar years belonged to coaches who held on for another year (Bruce Coslet with the 1993 Jets) or even unexpectedly went to a Super Bowl a year later (Jim Fassel with the 2000 Giants).However the season plays out, Kelly will probably hang onto his job — particularly given the personnel control matter we mentioned earlier. But based on what typically gets coaches fired, Kelly should be thankful that he’ll (probably) remain employed when the smoke clears on this garbage fire, because historical precedent says it should pretty much be a coin flip whether he gets swept out with the ashes. read more

The Cavs Thread The Needle With Kyrie Megadeal

No matter who you feel won Tuesday’s blockbuster Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade — the likes of which were unprecedented in NBA history — there is an irony worth considering in all this.After years of making win-now moves, the Cleveland Cavaliers began straddling the line between immediate contention and considering the future — a must, given Irving’s messy trade request last month and the threat of LeBron James’s pending free agency. In beginning to walk that tightrope, the Cavs effectively switched places with the Boston Celtics, who, until now, had been stingy with future assets, wanting to win the East while also playing the long game.At its core, this all-star point-guard swap was one of survival for the Cavs, even if it did net them a sizable haul. Irving made it known he wanted out, limiting any sort of leverage for the team. And Cleveland had to thread the needle here by not only getting a good, if not great, player to replace a chunk of Irving’s impact, but also landing something for the future in case James bolts next summer.Thomas, who averaged almost 29 points per game last season, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick clearly checked off those two boxes. But for all the similarities Irving and Thomas share — they’re both undersized, top-flight scorers who struggle on defense — the way they go about generating offense is a bit different. Thomas should be able to shoulder just as much ball-handling responsibility as Irving did. But he played in a free-flowing offense with the Celtics, who boasted the league’s second-best assist percentage. Boston utilized handoffs more than any NBA team — about seven a game, according to Synergy Sports Technology — seeking to take advantage of Thomas’s quickness off the dribble.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ithandoffblur.mp400:0000:0000:10Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.By contrast, James and the Cavs — 20th in assist percentage — used the second-fewest handoffs in the NBA, with fewer than three per night. Only 22 percent of Irving’s 2-pointers were assisted last year, which suggests that he’s a bit more more self-sufficient from close range than Thomas (34 percent) is.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/irvingisojazz.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/kyrieiso.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Picking up Ante Zizic and Jae Crowder, a solid wing player who can both defend and shoot, should be viewed as icing on the cake for the Cavaliers.1Even more reason for celebration if you’re Cavs owner Dan Gilbert? According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the team saved more than $29 million in luxury taxes Tuesday by trading Irving. Probably not championship-level icing, though.Yes, Crowder gives Cleveland an additional perimeter defender, something the club badly needed in last year’s finals against the Warriors. That’s paramount, since Golden State might be more difficult to guard than any team in league history, given all the weapons they boast, and the highly unusual way they use off-ball screens to spring shooters open. But for all the ability Thomas possesses as a scorer — including the disappearing acts he performs around the basket — he stands 6 inches shorter than Irving, and, thus, is even less capable than Irving of stopping anyone on defense. A troubling omen: The Warriors feasted on Thomas’s lack of defense the past three seasons, scoring 108.6 points per 100 plays against the Celtics with Thomas on the court. For context, they only managed 87.2 points per 100 plays against Boston with Thomas on the bench, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.2In 170 minutes on court and 69 minutes off court over those three seasons with Boston.Besides being a liability on one end of the floor, Thomas, a 28-year-old who figures to want a max contract next summer, is still slowly working through the hip injury that sidelined him for the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals last postseason. If he isn’t right physically, and can’t get there next season, that figures to leave James overburdened offensively in a year when the Cavs are hoping to leave a positive lasting impression ahead of their superstar’s foray into unrestricted free agency.Should the Cavaliers get out to a hot start amid these changes, they could opt to go all-in to take greater aim at the Warriors by dangling the Nets’ pick in hopes of landing a player like DeMarcus Cousins. That would carry an absolute ton of inherent risk, though, given James’s status.The safer choice, of course, would be to hold onto the pick in case James decides to walk. If and when that happened, Cleveland — in hopes of bottoming out and rebuilding through the draft — might decide it makes sense to let Thomas do the same as opposed to signing him to a rich, long-term contract.For the Celtics, who got the best player in this deal, the calculus is more clear-cut: They got a better, younger and taller version of what Thomas was, and one who’s under contract at a reasonable dollar figure for a longer time. (The Celtics — who traded stud defender Avery Bradley to shed salary for Gordon Hayward’s max deal — were already facing cap challenges. Trading for Irving eliminates the max-or-no-max decision on Thomas and gives the Celtics an extra year to take stock of where they are before Irving hits the market.)3ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the Celtics are confident that Irving will stay in Boston long term.It’s fair to wonder whether Boston may have handed over a future No. 1 overall pick in this deal for Irving, though that seems a bit more unlikely this season, given that the Nets have a halfway respectable roster, albeit a young one.4D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll and Trevor Booker are on the roster, among others.But beyond the players who were dealt, the teams seemingly swapped their long-term outlooks. The Celtics have reached a new stage — one where they finally felt they were within striking distance of LeBron. Only time will tell whether the gamble works out in their favor. The Cavaliers, showing Celtic-like prudence, found a way to replace their disgruntled No. 2 star — while also building an escape hatch should they lose their biggest star. read more

Blue Jackets refocus after stumbling through roadtrip

Columbus did not have much to be thankful for in its longest road trip of the season.Late-game letdowns were the cause. The Blue Jackets (12-9-4) have lost five games in a row, the longest winless stretch of the 2009-10 campaign. Four of the five losses were during the road trip, and the team continued its fall Saturday against Calgary with a 4-3 shootout loss at home.Before the road trip, the Jackets marked down back-to-back home shootout wins against Anaheim and Edmonton. The team looked re-energized after an embarrassing 9-1 loss against Detroit Nov. 11.But now, Columbus, like a younger brother getting bullied in the backyard playground, looks worn out against the rest of the NHL. It has been hard to watch.This team can win games. Last year, the club never went more than three consecutive games without a win.But this time around has been different. What happened to the Blue Jackets finishing out a hockey game? The club has been ahead in each of the last five games, but failed to hold onto the lead.The Montreal game was a hard one to digest. The Jackets led 3-2 headed into the final period but allowed three unanswered goals as the Canadiens came roaring from behind for the 5-3 win Nov. 24.Coach Ken Hitchcock said after the loss that not managing the game has been the story of the season for the club. He’s right about that.Columbus is third-last in the NHL in goals against, giving up an ugly 86 goals in 25 games with 32 suffered in the third period alone.Saturday night was the worst of the worst.Columbus seemed in control late in the third period with a 3-1 lead, but Calgary scored twice in a 1:19 span to tie it. The Jackets consistently struggle in the third period. They just seem to be outmatched.Sophomore goaltender Steve Mason looked good for most of the night against the Flames. But he gave up three goals on four attempts during the shootout, allowing Calgary constant open spaces between the pipes. He is now 0-4 in shootouts.Maybe he’s moving too fast or seeing the puck too quickly. Whatever it is, the 2009 Rookie of the Year should not panic. He will need to continue to work with the coaching staff to get back where he was last season.These next two games are crucial for one of the youngest clubs in the league. Columbus has back-to-back division games starting tonight against St. Louis at home. The Jackets travel to Chicago Tuesday night to face the Blackhawks, who are on top of the division with 35 points.Standing at 28 points, the club can climb right back to where it was to begin the year in the Central Division with two wins.Losing is contagious. It affects a player’s attitude on the ice, in the locker room and even at home.All it takes is 60 minutes of physical hockey to wipe away the frustration. The losses will be forgotten, the third period woes will vanish, and the Jackets can get back to a winning mindset. read more

Ohio State mens basketball pounds Iowa 7647

The likely momentum gained from back-to-back wins against Wisconsin and Minnesota wasn’t enough to help spark Iowa to an upset win against Ohio State men’s basketball Saturday.The No. 6-ranked Buckeyes (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, and ended the host’s two-game winning streak, defeating the Hawkeyes, 76-47. Sophomore forwards led the way for OSU as Jared Sullinger poured in a season-high 28 points while Deshaun Thomas contributed 10 points as well.In the Buckeyes’ first road test since a Dec. 31 loss to Indiana, OSU also improved their record away from the Schottenstein Center to 2-2.Iowa’s leading scorer, junior guard Eric May, managed only nine points. For the game, the Hawkeyes shot 32 percent and committed 20 turnovers.OSU continues conference play Tuesday at Illinois.  Tip off is scheduled for 9 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.Milestone winSaturday’s win against Iowa was also senior guard William’s Buford 100th career OSU victory. Buford scored eight points and tallied 11 rebounds and five assists in the win against the Hawkeyes. read more

Ohio States Sullinger named finalist for John R Wooden Award

Ohio State sophomore forward Jared Sullinger was named one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award Tuesday. The award, named after former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, recognizes the top player in college basketball. Sullinger is the only player on the list who was a 2011 Wooden Award All American. He was also named first-team All-American by Sporting News for the second straight year. The Buckeye big man has averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds for the No. 7-ranked OSU basketball team this year as the team compiled a 25-6 regular season record. Sullinger’s 14 points and 10 rebounds helped OSU beat Michigan State, 72-70, Sunday and give the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten regular season championship along with the Spartans and Michigan. MSU senior forward and Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green was the only other player from the Big Ten named a finalist for the Wooden Award. Other notable names include Kentucky freshmen forwards Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kansas junior forward Thomas Robinson, and North Carolina senior forward Tyler Zeller. The list, which also requires the student-athletes to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, was comprised of three freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and seven seniors. The Big East had three players on the list, which was the most of any conference. The Wooden All-American teams will be announced during the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. In the meantime, Sullinger and the Buckeyes will travel to Indianapolis for the Big Ten tournament. They will play Friday at approximately 9 p.m. against the winner of a game between Nebraska and Purdue. After the tournament ends Sunday, the team will learn its seeding in the NCAA Tournament. read more

Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman seeing defenses he never dreamt of

Ohio State’s football’s coaches might spend days working on a game plan for the Buckeyes’ games on Saturdays, but offensive coaches have found that planning for the first three games of this season seems ineffective at times. The opponents’ defensive schemes, some coaches say, have been entirely different from anything they’ve seen on film. Rather, the opposition’s strategy has been geared toward stopping the running ability of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. “I’ve seen defenses in the last three weeks that I never dreamt of in my mind to try and stop the QB from trying to run the football,” said offensive coordinator Tom Herman. “It’s an interesting quandary to be in when you have such a dynamic runner back there, that defensive coverages tend to be completely skewed opposed to what you grew up knowing.” This specialized preparation by OSU’s opponents has shown in games. So far this season, the Buckeyes have scored a total 122 points and only 20 have come in the first quarter. That is eight points or more below in comparison to any other quarter. Coach Urban Meyer shared Herman’s sentiment. “All three defenses we’ve faced have been (unique)- we didn’t practice what they played because we didn’t know. So that tells you what they’ve been doing all offseason working on this one game,” Meyer said. Sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman is aware of the differences in schemes by opponents’ defenses, but said he realizes it is something to be expected. “Not every team is going to do exactly what they say they are going to do,” Heuerman said. “They ran a different defense and a few other teams ran some stuff that we haven’t seen yet. That’s all a part of being Ohio State, you gotta come up with some unique to beat you.” The Buckeyes’ next opponent, University of Alabama at Birmingham, might present a similar problem, but Meyer said he does not expect to see such bizarre styles of defense once they enter Big Ten play in two weeks on the road against Michigan State on Sept. 29. “It’s harder as the season progresses for a team to do that, because they can’t just say, ‘We’re working on Ohio State,’ because they have some previous games. So after this game, we’ll see usually what we see, and that is what teams play, because you can’t change defenses in the middle of the year normally,” Meyer said. OSU is scheduled to play UAB in Ohio Stadium at noon Saturday. read more

Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price named manager

The Cincinnati Reds decided to hire in-house to its open managerial position.The club’s front office announced the promotion of pitching coach Bryan Price to manager at a Tuesday press conference. News of the hire first surfaced Monday night on Twitter from Fox’s Ken Rosenthal.Reds General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty said Tuesday that despite a long list of candidates, he and the rest of the front office did not interview anyone else for the job.“Once we had the meeting with Bryan, we saw no reason to go forward (with other candidates),” Jocketty said at the press conference.The club’s CEO, Bob Castellini, described Price as “exceptional,” and said if the Reds did not hire Price, he likely would be heading elsewhere.The two sides agreed to a three-year contract running through 2016.Price, the 61st manager in team history, steps in for Dusty Baker who was relieved of his duties Oct. 3 after the Reds lost six consecutive games to close out 2013, including the National League Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Baker went 509-463 (.524) during his six seasons in Cincinnati; he took his team to the postseason in three of the past four years.Price has served as the Reds’ pitching coach since 2010. During the 2013 regular season, the Reds’ pitching staff owned the MLB’s fourth-best ERA and led the NL in strikeouts. The year before, Price’s repertoire of bullpen arms led the Majors in saves (56) and was fourth in ERA (3.34). The 2012 Reds’ starting pitchers became just the eighth rotation in MLB history with five pitchers making at least 30 starts each.Price, who has never managed at the professional level, pitched as high as AAA in the minor leagues and served as the pitching coach for both the Mariners’ (2000-2005) and Diamondbacks (2006-2009) before coming to Cincinnati.The San Francisco, Calif., native interviewed for the Miami Marlins’ managerial vacancy last offseason, and was rumored to be a possible candidate for the Seattle Mariners current opening at the position.Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who becomes a free agent as soon as the World Series ends, told the Cincinnati Enquirer how he felt his former pitching coach would do as a replacement when news broke of Baker’s firing.“I think he’d be unbelievable,” Arroyo said. “He’s as organized as anyone in the game; he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I’ve seen. He doesn’t buy into stereotypical things in the game … Price looks at evidence. He’s a freaking smart guy, he makes his decision on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or the way things have gone in the past. He doesn’t do that.”According to a September article at mlb.com, Reds’ starting pitcher Homer Bailey also had positive things to say about Price’s ability to hold people accountable, an area some feel Baker struggled with.“We are held accountable,” Bailey said. “We demand certain things out of everyone here, whether you’re the No. 1 starter on the team or the mop-up guy, it doesn’t matter. Our expectations are held so high. Some things are just unacceptable. Our starters are expected to go seven innings. We are expected to keep our team in the game. We are expected to put up quality starts.”Price thanked Baker during Tuesday’s press conference, saying “he became a friend and confidant.”Jocketty said other coaching staff decisions for vacant roles have not yet been made.Price will join John Farrell of the Red Sox and the Padres’ Bud Black as the only active managers who were previously a pitching coach. read more

Football Samuels stock rises Browns falls after NFL Combine

OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel (4) celebrates as he scores a rushing touchdown in second overtime to win the game for the Buckeyes on Nov. 26 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 30-27. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorAlthough the Ohio State football team will not be breaking records in the NFL Draft like it did last season, there are still eight former Buckeyes who are vying for the chance to play at the highest level in 2017. After the 2017 NFL Combine, a few of those players might be hearing their names called a little earlier after solid workouts. However, it isn’t positive for all OSU’s hopefuls.Center/Guard Pat ElfleinPrediction: Pick 114 (Washington Redskins)Pat Elflein’s switch to center worked well for the Pickerington, Ohio, native. A starter for 40 consecutive games and the indisputable anchor of the Buckeyes on the offensive line last season, Elflein mentored now-redshirt senior Billy Price, who will be following in his teammate’s footsteps next season by sliding over from guard to center.At the combine, Elflein looked leaner, with a more slim yet powerful frame. Even with a body that appeared much more in shape, Elflein managed just 22 reps, a rather low number for an offensive lineman.Elflein was not pleased.“It’s OK for right now,” he told the media. “But I’m going to do more at pro day.”While his stock might drop slightly because of less-than-stellar testing, Elflein is a workhorse who can bring a lot to an NFL franchise. Although he is known to have short arms for an interior lineman and lack some fundamental strength, he can still be a late steal.Wide receiver Curtis SamuelPrediction: Pick 37 (Los Angeles Rams)Curtis Samuel did not have the best hands last season, and had a habit of dropping passes. Regardless, Samuel entered the combine as a wide receiver rather than a running back, and showed off his most valuable skill: his speed.Samuel put in a blazing 4.31 40-yard dash time, the second best mark behind only John Ross of Washington, who ran an absurd 4.22 dash time. It was the fastest time of any Buckeye at the combine ever.It remains to be seen where Samuel actually ends up playing in the NFL. His 18 reps on bench press are a relatively high number for a wide receiver and predict his ability to create separation, but would also show his ability to bounce off tackles in the NFL as a running back.Regardless, Samuel earned himself quite a pay-bump with his quick feet.Linebacker Raekwon McMillanPrediction: Pick 53 (Detroit Lions)A leader in the middle of the OSU defense for three years, Raekwon McMillan is another example of a quality linebacker from Columbus. With more than 100 tackles in his senior season alone, McMillan showed his ability to be a reliable and formidable force in the middle on run defense. As a player who is wise beyond his years, McMillan’s ability to drop back in coverage and chase down ball carriers are the biggest questions ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft. One thing that can’t be questioned is the leadership of McMillan.“Everything we did on defense (at OSU) came through me,” he said. “I can do the same thing for their program. I’m never gonna give you a reason to let me go from the team, and I’ll always be a leader … never a follower.”With 23 reps on bench press, and a solid 4.61 time in the 40-yard dash, it seems strange that fans and coaches still question the ability of the Georgia native. Still, the combine is not an actual game. McMillan will be able to play at the next level, but will still have to prove himself at OSU’s pro day. Any team that takes a chance on him will likely benefit from one of the most intelligent and mature players in the draft, but that team might have to wait a year or two before he develops into a well-rounded middle linebacker.But when he is fully developed, McMillan could be one of the league’s best.Cornerback Marshon LattimorePrediction: Pick 12 (Cleveland Browns)Marshon Lattimore went through lingering hamstring injuries throughout his college career before having a stellar year in 2016, picking up four interceptions and returning one for a touchdown. And yet, every team still seemed hung up on his hamstring. Lattimore said he was asked multiple times about his hamstring, often with the question being the first thing asked.After an x-ray signaled he was fine, Lattimore reported injured his hamstring again, but he said it was hip flexor.Before the apparent injury, Lattimore ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, which showed his hamstring was in order (later ruined by reports of another injury). Lattimore has speed, and has the ability to play zone and press coverage, but his health is a major question mark. Still, Lattimore is confident.“At Ohio State, they prepare you the best, I feel like,” Lattimore said. “We perform in college, and then we perform in the league.”A team is going to take a shot at him in the first round, but the question is, who will be willing to take on the risk of a cornerback who can’t stay on the field?Punter Cameron Johnston Prediction: Pick 247 (Green Bay Packers)It’s hard to judge punters in combine testing. Most of what is known about a special teamer is established well before the combine.In Cameron Johnston’s case, he was one of three punters to run the 40-yard dash, and posted the slowest time among specialists of 4.92 seconds. This isn’t exactly an important stat for punters, but it’s worth noting.Johnston is a rugby-style punter who can really boot the ball deep, and could add a nice twist to a team looking for a proven player at the position. He won’t be taken off the board until late, if at all due to the fact he plays a position that is extremely undervalued. Safety Malik HookerPrediction: Pick 7 (Los Angeles Chargers)“The Freak” proved all doubters wrong in 2016 after coming into Columbus as a somewhat forgotten about three-star recruit. He dominated college football as a ball-hawking safety who could hit as hard as a linebacker. A powerfully built frame, and hands like a wide receiver, Malik Hooker is easily one of the top-10 best players in the entire draft. Offseason surgeries have limited his ability to show off his talent at the combine, but his draft stock has not fallen far.A sports hernia surgery and a procedure to repair a labrum in his hip have slowed Hooker temporarily, but he told reporters at the combine that  he played through the injury during the Fiesta Bowl.“That was never a thought,” Hooker said. “Just because I put too much work in with those guys. It would be like I’m letting them down.”Hooker will still remain a top-10 selection in the draft, even though he will have to wait until rookie camp to actually contribute and work towards playing. Cornerback Gareon ConleyPrediction: Pick 31 (Atlanta Falcons)Gareon Conley is the man people forget from the OSU secondary in this draft, which is disappointing considering he is a quality player and one of the top cornerbacks in a cornerback-heavy class. He solidified that with a solid 4.44 40-yard dash time.In skills drills, Conley was right up there with the cornerbacks who were considered leaps ahead of him, and had a good enough showing to make him seem like a potential pick in the first half of the first round.This likely won’t happen for Conley, as teams have bought into the hype of his former teammates Lattimore and Alabama standout Marlon Humphrey. But his testing at the combine, paired with a career of success with the Buckeyes, shows how much Conley can bring to any team that selects him.Conley is projected to drop out of the first round, but that isn’t stopping him.“I don’t worry about it, but I try to motivate myself to get there,” he said. “I definitely want to be a first-round pick. Nobody doesn’t want to be a first-round pick, so I’m going to work as hard as I can to be a first-round pick.”His solid testing and positive attitude just might have gotten him there.Wide receiver Noah BrownPrediction: Pick 83 (Tennessee Titans)Noah Brown’s decision to leave OSU early was a surprise to many. He hopped on the hype train of players leaving after one solid year of production.Only problem, Brown’s numbers were not solid.With the exception of his absurd four-touchdown night against Oklahoma early in the season, Brown did not show much of anything to demonstrate he is going to make a difference in the NFL. The big-bodied receiver has the size to produce, but has far too many question marks to give him a clear distinction as a top-ranked wide receiver.Brown had a solid 19 reps on the bench press, but did not run the 40-yard dash, electing to wait until OSU’s pro day on March 23 to show off his speed. This draft is deep enough at receiver that Brown needed to wow in order to draw more interest. His body and strength alone have given him some consideration for teams desperate for wide receiver, but Brown could not have done himself any favors in the combine. read more

Football Malik Hooker thrilled for his brother Marcus who committed to Ohio

OSU sophomore safety Malik Hooker (24) selfies with fans following the Buckeyes 62-3 win over Maryland on Nov. 12. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorFrom Joey and Nick Bosa to Jacoby, Justin and Zach Boren, Ohio State has had no shortage of brothers suiting up in scarlet and gray. The family lineage grew when 2018 three-star cornerback Marcus Hooker, the brother of former Buckeyes and current Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker, committed to play football for Ohio State Thursday evening.Hooker’s decision didn’t take long to transpire. Wednesday night, at 9:01 p.m., he tweeted that he received an offer from the Buckeyes. Then, the next day at 12:26 p.m., he pulled the trigger and committed.“I wanna thank everyone who believed in me throughout my recruiting process and showing me the right way to doing things,” Hooker wrote on Twitter when announcing his commitment to Ohio State.One of the those who had his ear during the recruiting process was his brother, Malik.“I was happy for him just to see, especially over these last couple of weeks, him stressing out about not been offered by Ohio State already and him wanting to train harder so that he could get that offer and show that he’s capable of playing there,” Malik said.Malik’s mother called the Colts safety the day Marcus finally received his coveted Ohio State offer, then the rising high school senior called his brother and told him that he was going to commit the next morning. Marcus told Malik that as soon as the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship, he wanted to go there.“Just to hear the excitement in his voice, there is nothing better than that as a big brother and somebody that he looks up to,” Malik said.It’s rare for someone to have a brother to learn from who has gone through the recruiting process such as Malik did as a three-star athlete from New Castle, Pennsylvania, in the class of 2014. It’s even rarer when that brother realized his dreams just a few months ago as Malik did when he was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.Given his experience through the recruiting process and in college, Malik wanted to be there to give Marcus advice.“He asked me a lot of advice about just how to go with it, how to pick the school he wanted to go to but it was never advice like, ‘Do you think I should follow your steps and go to Ohio State?’ or nothing like that,” Malik said.Instead, Malik said he told Marcus to follow his heart and get a feel for the schools he fit best.But, don’t get the idea that the 2016 first-team All-American safety isn’t biased in favor of Ohio State. He believes it is “the best of the best.”“I have high praise for Ohio State,” Malik said. “They have done a lot for me and obviously he sees where they have got me to this far so he wanted to follow my footsteps pretty much.”Malik and Marcus aren’t the same type of player – Malik said he’s a pure defensive back, but he believes Marcus has the size and physicality to play linebacker and defensive back – but both are rated three-star prospects. Marcus is one of just two three-star players in Ohio State’s still-incomplete 16-person 2018 recruiting class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. Malik was the 17th-highest ranked player in his Ohio State class. He believes Marcus will surprise people as a lower-ranked recruit just as he did.“I just can’t wait to see him out there and prove a lot of people wrong because like people were telling me in high school, ‘You’re not capable of going to Ohio State,’ I’m sure he is getting that too,” Malik said.Since Marcus will enter Ohio State with the last name of a player who had as much success as his brother, he will have ample expectations. But, Malik said he hasn’t had that discussion with his brother yet, and isn’t overly concerned.“He was always one of those kids that shined brighter than a lot of other kids because he was blessed and gifted athletically so I’m not really too concerned with him feeling like he is pressured because obviously they offered it to him for who he is,” Malik said. “ So, why go out there and try to change something that he already has been his whole life?” read more

Womens Basketball With the future uncertain it is now or never for

Ohio State then-junior guard Kelsey Mitchell drives to the basket and atttempts a layup against Purdue in the Big Ten tournament semifinal in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerThis season almost feels like destiny for Ohio State’s women’s basketball team. With senior guard Kelsey Mitchell, a two-time first-team All-American and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, returning for her final season and a strong, veteran-laden supporting cast surrounding her, Ohio State seems poised to make a deep run in the 2018 NCAA tournament. Head coach Kevin McGuff’s first full recruiting class in Columbus is in its fourth year in the program. Columbus will be at the forefront of collegiate women’s basketball because it will host the Final Four. Ohio State also kicks the season off with a Countdown to Columbus event featuring some of the nation’s top teams, including Connecticut, Stanford and Louisville.Despite the talented senior class and top-two Big Ten finishes the past two seasons, the Buckeyes have fallen short of their goals as they have lost in the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2017. “You get tired of the same thing happening,” Mitchell said. “I think we reached a point in our lives off the court and on the court where we’ve got to make a statement, we’ve got to do what’s needed to be done.”The seniors understand this is their last chance to break through, and McGuff said it is easier to coach a team with the sense of urgency the Buckeyes have this season.But when taking a step back and looking past this upcoming season, which holds great promise, one thing becomes clear — the future of Ohio State seems bleak, especially when compared to the talent on this year’s team.Ohio State’s roster consists of just nine players on scholarship. It returns seven players who have played significant minutes in prior seasons. Five of those players are either seniors or redshirt seniors. Only one player — sophomore guard Jensen Caretti — has more than two seasons of eligibility remaining. The Buckeyes did not add a single freshman or transfer this season. They only have one high-school prospect committed.The two most promising freshmen last year, forward Tori McCoy and guard Kiara Lewis, transferred to Marquette and Syracuse, respectively. McCoy averaged 8.1 points per game in 35 appearances and 10 starts, while Lewis averaged 6.7 points per game in 35 games and 15 starts. Tim McCoy, Tori’s father, told the News-Gazette Tori left Ohio State because she was unhappy and said his daughter “was miserable every day.”When asked what she want to achieve in her final season, Mitchell said it was simple — she just wants to be able to “play happy,” seeming to confirm the dissatisfaction of last year.“We’ve always been a team where if something goes wrong, our season just is in shatters,” Mitchell said. “That’s how it feels. I just want everybody to play, just play as free as possible. And I think that would take care of a lot of things, myself included.”Until three-star post Aaliyah Patty committed to Ohio State Oct. 12, the Buckeyes had not landed a commitment in 23 months. Including Patty, the Buckeyes will have three seniors, one junior and one freshman next season. McGuff expressed displeasure at the difficulty of landing recruits, despite having four open scholarships on the current roster and just four scholarship players returning for the 2018-19 season. “In theory, it should be easier, but people want to play,” McGuff said. “But then all of a sudden you get, ‘Who am I going to play with?’ You get all these questions, it’s different. Everybody wants to play on a great team, but play right away. It’s like, eh, those things don’t always go hand in hand. If there’s opportunity, then you can play right away and then maybe that, the group you come in with evolves into a great time, sort of like the people we have now that are seniors.”McGuff was hired in 2013 to replace Jim Foster, whose teams did not reach the Elite 8 in his 11 seasons at Ohio State, despite the Buckeyes making the NCAA tournament in his first 10 seasons at the helm.But McGuff’s teams have had similar issues. The Buckeyes missed the tournament his first year, made the second round in 2015 and reached the Sweet Sixteen the past two seasons. The Buckeyes have shown no challenges reaching the tournament, but the inability to advance further in the postseason has plagued the team through the past two coaching tenures.With the loss of five seniors after this season, minimal talent returning next year and a talented, yet small group of upperclassmen in their final season, the time to strike is now.Ohio State has not made it to the Final Four since 1993, and if the Buckeyes do not make it this season, it could be a long time until they reach this level again.“Three years, we’ve fell short and we can’t keep having that being an excuse,” Mitchell said. “We’re either gonna get it or we’re not, and I think we have a team right now where as long as we keep going, we can make something happen.” read more

Tamara Ecclestone doesnt let toddler daughter out of her sight after kidnap

first_img Tamara Ecclestone with daughter Sophia and husband Jay RutlandCredit:Rex After reported threats of beheading, she was released unharmed ten days later after an extensive police hunt. The ransom was not paid, and suspects were arrested.In 2012, a man was jailed for making threats to kidnap Ecclestone herself, demanding a £200,000 payment from her father.In an interview with Fabulous magazine, Ecclestone said she now goes to great lengths to protect her daughter from any similar threats or public scrutiny, never letting her out of her sight for more than six minutes. Petra and Tamara Ecclestone in Los Angeles,Credit:Rex Bernie Ecclestone with his two daughters Petra Ecclestone (l) and Tamara Ecclestone (r) “Of course it is such a worry and a fear,” she said. “You have to take all the measures that you can.” An advocate of attachment parenting, Ecclestone said added Sophia, who is two and a half, sleeps in the marital bed, and will continue breastfeeding until she chooses to stop herself.“Yes, Sophia is two and a half and yes, a lot of people wouldn’t breastfeed now,” she told the magazine. “But it’s so comforting for her and she loves it. She doesn’t have a dummy, a blanket or take a bottle.”You’re doing something that is so amazing for your child, but it can cause such hostility and anger. It makes me wonder what’s wrong with the world. Breastfeeding is such a natural thing.” Petra and Tamara Ecclestone in Los Angeles,center_img 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.  Tamara Ecclestone with daughter Sophia and husband Jay Rutland Bernie Ecclestone with his two daughters Petra Ecclestone (l) and Tamara Ecclestone (r)Credit:Rex Tamara Ecclestone has disclosed she has only let her toddler daughter out of sight for a matter of minutes since she was born, after fears of kidnapping in her wealthy family.Ecclestone, the daughter of F1 billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, said the longest she has been apart from her daughter was when she once left her with sister Petra to make a television appearance lasting around six minutes.Otherwise, Sophia sleeps in the middle of her bed with husband Jay Rutland, with trusted security protecting them all during the day.Earlier this year, Ecclestone’s step-grandmother Aparecida Schunck, 67, was abducted from her home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, by kidnappers who demanded £28m ransom. “I’m always with Sophia and there’s always someone with us. I feel very comfortable with the people that protect us.”When I went on Loose Women recently she sat in the green room with my sister Petra [Stunt, 27]. That was the longest we’ve been apart. My palms were sweating, but I knew she was fine.”My daughter is my biggest priority so her safety is something I take very seriously. But at the same time, you can’t always live in fear because that’s when you let people like that win.”last_img read more

Three men charged with terror offences in connection with UK plot

first_imgThree men have been charged with terrorism offences in connection with an alleged UK terror plot.Umar Ahmed Haque, Muhammad Abid and Abuthaher Mamun, from east London, were arrested as part of an investigation by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command on May 17.Haque, from Newham, is accused of preparing in March and May this year to commit acts of terrorism, Scotland Yard said.The 24-year-old is also charged with four counts of possessing documents useful for committing or preparing an act of terrorism.Abid, 27, also from Newham, is charged under terror laws with failing to disclose information about Haque, while Mamun, 18, from Barking, is accused of preparing to assist another to commit acts of terrorism.A fourth man, Nadeem Ilyas Patel, 25, from Newham, is accused of conspiring with Haque to possess a firearm or imitation firearm on March 30 with intent to cause fear or violence.All four men will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday. 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_img read more

Hero navy surgeon apologises for unsanctioned operation on 12yearold boys genitals

first_imgA decorated military surgeon has apologised after conducting unsanctioned surgery on a 12-year-old’s genitals.Surgeon Commander Anthony Lambert has been branded “not trustworthy” by the boy’s “furious” parents, who have accused him of destroying their son’s trust in doctors.The incident took place during a routine hernia operation, conducted under general anaesthetic, at the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth last year. It has destroyed the boy’s trust and confidence in doctorsAndrew Hannam, solicitor for the family Derriford Hospital The boy’s mother said: “We were incredibly shocked by what happened”, adding that Cdr Lambert was “someone who always believes he knows best”.The surgeon was prompted by a colleague to obtain parental consent before performing the genital procedure, and left the operating theatre to enter a waiting room where the the couple were seated. But he admitted leaving the room without speaking to the family or calling their name.In a letter of apology, Cdr Lambert, who received the OBE in 2013 for his work in Afghanistan, said:“Why I did not call your name when I left theatre to find you, I do not know. I unreservedly apologise for the short-fallings in the care I provided your son.”Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has also written to the family admitting the operation should not have taken place.The GMC were made aware of the matter but has not taken action.Mr Hannam said a claim would be brought against the trust.center_img Cdr Lambert had previously asked the patient and his parents for permission to examine a minor problem in the boy’s genitals during a preoperative consultation, but they had refused.However, during the subsequent hernia operation, the surgeon not only conducted the examination but then carried out a procedure to “free adhesions”.Andrew Hannam, of Partner at Enable Law and solicitor for the family, said the extra operation should not have been performed without consent and prior counselling for the patient.“It has destroyed the boy’s trust and confidence in doctors and that’s something that once it’s lost is very hard to rebuild,” he told The Telegraph. The incident took place at Derriford Hospital in PlymouthCredit:APEX 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_img read more

Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations shut after Strand gas leak forces

first_imgCharing Cross station was cordoned off in the early hoursCredit:DYLAN MARTINEZ /Reuters Police officers walk towards the normally-bustling Charing Cross station after it was shut due to a gas leakCredit:David Mirzoeff /PA Firefighters behind a cordon on the Strand One wrote on Twitter that it was “literally chaos”, adding: “Crush on the stairs. Security being knocked aside.” A large cordon is in place in Central London because of a gas leak… ⛔️ The Strand and Northumberland Avenue are closed🚫 No trains running in/out of Charing Cross and Waterloo East [ro] pic.twitter.com/85DyR1iO9W— BBC London Travel (@BBCTravelAlert) January 23, 2018 The Strand, a major route through central London, was closed entirely and a 165-yard (150m) cordon put in place for around 10 hours. The Metropolitan Police said the exclusion zone was in force while officers worked with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and engineers to fix the leak. Earlier, fire station manager Brett Loft said: “This is a large gas leak in the street and as a precaution we’ve evacuated people and Charing Cross Station is closed.”Commuters are advised to find alternative route and The Strand is closed. Gas engineers are working on isolating the leak and we’d asked people to avoid the area if possible.” Leak blamed on London’s ageing gas pipesThe gas leak that closed a large area around the Strand has been blamed on London’s ageing gas pipe network.Brett Loft, London Fire Brigade spokesman and station manager at Chelsea, said: “It has happened a few times recently.”With the ageing pipes in London there is an ongoing programme at the moment to replace all the pipework.”It’s just one of those things. It happens.”It is the second time in recent weeks that hundreds of people have been evacuated in London due to a gas leak following an incident on Horseferry Road in Westminster on January 9. Cadent said the emergency services’ cordon will remain in place until all safety checks have been completed.”Our priority is to get the train stations opened as soon as possible, followed by the buildings,” it added.”Engineers are working to resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible and we hope to have the stations and streets open by late morning.”‘Crush on the stairs… security being knocked aside’: Chaos as nightclub evacuatedRevellers at Heaven nightclub, in nearby Villiers Street, described trying to leave “as fast as possible”. Westminster City Council said a respite centre was opened at the Queen Mother Sports Centre in Victoria.”More than 1,000 people from the Heaven night club and 350 residents and business personnel were evacuated,” a spokesman said.Hundreds of hotel guests moved in middle of nightGuests were evacuated from a hotel near the gas leak in the middle of the night.Hundreds of people were moved from the Amba Hotel, on the Strand, into emergency accommodation at around 3am.Some guests posted pictures on social media from their evacuation centre. “As a precaution, approximately 1,450 people have been evacuated. They are from a hotel and a night club. The Strand is completely closed and we are asking people to avoid the area.” Police officers walk towards Charing Cross station after it was shut due to a gas leak In an earlier statement, gas supplier Cadent said: “A repair on the gas pipe has been completed. We are now checking the closest properties to ensure there is no gas in these buildings.”No one can enter these properties until we have completed these safety checks.”center_img yeah- lots of people trying to leave at the same time. as soon as the word evacuation was heard from security staff everyone was trying to get out as fast as possible— Chloe-Mai (@cutiepidalecki) January 23, 2018 Police officers walk towards Charing Cross station after it was shut due to a gas leak Firefighters behind a cordon on the Strand amid the gas leakCredit:David Mirzoeff /PA So Twitter friends. Gas leak at Charing Cross. Been evacuated from hotel at Charing Cross since 3am. Here’s the view from evacuation centre. In hotel dressing gown so can’t go anywhere civilised. pic.twitter.com/ZookT3FII0— Christine Outram (@christine_outra) January 23, 2018 Literally chaos. Crush on the stairs. Security being knocked aside.— joshwa (@joshaaronr) January 23, 2018 #CharingCross station is closed & #Strand is shut off due to high levels of natural gas coming off of a ruptured gas main in Craven Street, WC2. Please avoid the area & find alternate travel routes https://t.co/BstLLR9N7Q pic.twitter.com/dAjOBWKpRm— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) January 23, 2018 Another clubber, Chloe-Mai, told how “everyone was trying to get out as fast as possible”: Evacuated from heaven because of a gas leak wow— joshwa (@joshaaronr) January 23, 2018 Fire chiefs sent around 20 firefighters to the scene at 2am. An LFB spokesman said: “We are assisting police on the Strand after a ruptured gas main was discovered using detection equipment and high levels of natural gas were detected in the atmosphere. Two central London railway stations were closed after a gas main ruptured in the West End, causing major disruption for commuters. Almost 1,500 people were evacuated from a nightclub and a hotel early on Tuesday as the leak was discovered close to the Strand.Emergency services were called to the capital’s tourist district at about 2am when high levels of natural gas were detected in Craven Street. By mid-morning, engineers said the pipe had been repaired and properties were being checked for gas before they could be reopened.Nearby roads and Charing Cross station were closed along with Waterloo East station, which is served by the same Southeastern trains. Shortly after midday, all cordons were taken down and the stations were reopened.Commuters had endured major rush-hour disruption, with services diverted into Victoria, Cannon Street and Blackfriars. National Rail said trains might continue to be disrupted until 3pm.Witnesses earlier described “chaos” as doormen at the Heaven nightclub ordered them to leave, while guests at the Amba Hotel were moved into emergency accommodation. Nearby flats and offices were also evacuated. 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_img read more

Hospital locksmith defrauded NHS out of £600k by hiring his own firm

first_imgIt is the first conviction secured by the NHSCFA since its establishment as a special health authority in November 2017.”This is a significant and rewarding outcome for the NHSCFA, and sends a clear message that we will intervene and take action against those who commit fraud against the NHS and who take money originally intended for patient care for their own personal gain,” said Sue Frith, interim chief executive of the NHSCFA.”Andrew Taylor exploited his position at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to satisfy his own greed and personal lifestyle.”The sentence imposed today should act as a clear deterrent to anyone else who thinks that NHS funds are there for their own gain, instead of being there to meet the healthcare needs of everyone.”The NHSCFA’s action now continues to pursue the money taken by Taylor in order to return it to the NHS.” 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 chief locksmith at a major hospital trust defrauded it out of nearly £600,000 by hiring his own supply firm and charging a 1,200 per cent mark-up on goods, a court heard.Andrew Taylor, who was the main locksmith for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, was found guilty of fraud by abuse of position at Inner London Crown Court and jailed for six years.The 55-year-old, of London, was responsible for obtaining a best value quotes for locksmith supplies, but purchased locksmith materials from a company that he owned himself.According to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA), which investigated the case, he failed to declare a conflict of interest and charged “extortionate” mark-up prices, some up to 1,200%.Taylor started to work at the hospital trust as a carpenter in 1998 and was appointed permanent locksmith in 2006.  Between 2007 and 2013, a company called Surety Security supplied Guy’s and St Thomas’ with locksmith materials.Investigators found that apart from two very low value jobs, Surety Security had no customer other than Guy’s and St Thomas’.  It was later discovered that the company was owned and controlled by Taylor. Andrew Taylor, the chief locksmith at a major London hospital trust, who was jailed for fraudcenter_img When the deception was discovered Taylor was suspended, and resigned before disciplinary procedures were completed.The NHSCFA said Taylor abused his position of trust to defraud his employer of £598,524.27. Andrew Taylor, the chief locksmith at a major London hospital trust, who was jailed for fraudCredit:NHSCFA/PAlast_img read more

Ministers urged to order fresh inspections of all Steiner schools  amid fresh

It comes after the The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) was ordered to shut downCredit: Nigel Cox  It comes after the The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) was ordered to shut down 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 majority of fee-paying Steiner schools in England are inspected by the School Inspection Service (SIS), an independent organisation whose inspectors are trained in the Steiner ethos.There is mounting concern about the suitability of the SIS to inspect Steiner schools and hold them to account on their shortcomings, The Sunday Telegraph understands.RSSKL used to be inspected by the SIS but as safeguarding fears mounted, ministers ordered Ofsted to take over. Ofsted can only inspect private Steiner schools when commissioned by the DfE to do so.”It is clearly the case that RSSKL were getting away with inadequate safeguarding under the SIS,” a source close to the Steiner movement said.  “It may be that other Steiner Schools have failing safeguarding cultures that the SIS have also not identified. Ofsted should definitely step in to make sure that children are safe in all Steiner Schools.”The former head of Ofsted, Mike Tomlinson, said: “There is a potential pattern emerging and a potential risk to children. If I was chief inspector I would be urging the Department to give me a brief to inspect them all, not necessarily for everything but particularly for safeguarding.“If they don’t, and something happens in the Steiner school, clearly there will be some serious questions to be answered by the Department and its ministers.” Ministers have been urged to order fresh inspections of all the Steiner schools in the country, as a second school is threatened with closure amid “serious” concerns about child safety.The Steiner Academy Exeter was warned by the government this week that it could have its funding cut off, after Ofsted discovered severe safeguarding and governance lapses. Following the inspection, the regional schools commissioner took the unusual step of instructing it to close immediately while the issues were addressed, so it can ensure a “safe environment” for its pupils. It re-opened a week later.It comes after the The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) was ordered to shut down, following a series of damning Ofsted inspections which uncovered a raft of safeguarding failings. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––Favoured by bohemian, middle-class parents, Steiner schools base their curriculum on the spiritual philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, called anthroposophy, which emphasises child creativity and the importance of rearing free spirited individuals.But there are fears that the safeguarding failures unmasked  at two Steiner schools raise questions about the movement as a whole. Richy Thompson, director of public affairs and policy at Humanists UK, added that ministers should “urgently review whether similar issues are at play in the all Steiner schools”.An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph last year revealed that inspectors have raised concerns about safeguarding at almost half of Steiner schools in the country in recent years. An Ofsted spokesperson said that following its recent inspection of the Steiner Academy, Exeter, it regional director raised his “serious concerns” about the school and “immediate steps” were taken to close it down temporarily.A spokesman for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), the umbrella organisation which runs 35 Steiner schools in the UK and Ireland, said that they take child protection issues “extremely seriously”. “It is a matter of deep regret when individual schools fail in these duties,” the spokesman said.“There is no compromise where the welfare of pupils in concerned.” The spokesman said that the SWSF is taking action internally to ensure there is no “pattern” of safeguarding issues across its schools.“The SWSF has appointed a team of quality care advisers to complete its own independent compliance checks, in-line with the standards set out by the Government,” they said.A spokesman for the Steiner Academy Exeter said: “There is clear and deep regret that the education provided to children at the school has not been of the high standards or integrity required.“We want to reassure parents that we as a school are doing everything possible to address the concerns raised by Ofsted.” RSSKL’s most recent leadership has “apologised to children and families who were let down by the school for a range of past failings”.A DfE spokesperson said that any allegation of a school putting pupils at risk is investigated, and if a school is failing to protect children “we will take immediate action, which can include closing that school down”. The SIS said they are approved by the DfE as an independent inspectorate. read more

Could it be Zara Eugenie or the Clooneys whos in the running

Is there anything more political than choosing your baby’s godparents? You are guaranteed to upset a sibling or an old pal who had assumed themselves a shoo-in, or find yourself begrudgingly picking that friend you haven’t seen for five years just because they made you godmother to little Arabella years ago. Imagine, then, that you are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with a minefield of royal relations and celebrity chums to navigate. What if Oprah already has her hat picked out, but finds she’s been pipped to the post by Lady Louise? The Sussexes could create some sort of minor international incident with their choices for their royal baby.  It is, insiders say, very hard to call who Meghan… read more

He didnt disgrace himself – Mariners boss on Bolt debut

Bolt came on after 71 minutes of the Mariners’ 6-1 defeat of a Central Coast Select XI and caused some nervy moments for the visiting defence with one run and shot forcing the goalkeeper into a decent save.The 32-year-old was inches away from getting on the scoresheet shortly after, as he just failed to connect with a loose ball at the left-hand post with the goal gaping.And while he appeared a work in progress, Mulvey was reasonably encouraged.“He didn’t disgrace himself, he did himself proud, he was on there for 20 mins,” Mulvey told Fox Sports. “I said before the game that football movements are different to athletic movements, but he showed he has got some skills, he did okay.”Asked for a timeframe for when Bolt may make his A-League debut, Mulvey added: “He’s here for the long haul if necessary, but my main focus is on getting the team ready to go for the start of the season. We have seven weeks to go.”There was a bumper attendance for the pre-season friendly but Mulvey was quick to hail the global focus Bolt has brought to Gosford, a northern suburb of Sydney.“He doesn’t lack self-confidence but he’s not arrogant,” he said. “He’s a good guy to have around, he’s had a positive impact on the club, the community, the A-League and within Australia.“This game has gone out to over 60 countries so he’s globalised the competition so that can’t be a bad thing.”Bolt admitted he still has some way to go in terms of his football understanding but vowed to continue learning.He said: “The biggest thing is to understand how the guys play, where I should be when the ball is at a certain point on the field and I am learning that. It takes time to understand and the more I play, the more I listen and train, it will get better.“It will take time to get to know everyone, but the boys have accepted me, always encouraged me.”The given crowd of 9,958 also raised a few eyebrows, with Bolt’s fastest-ever 100 metres clocked at 9.58 seconds.“It’s God’s way of doing what he does,” smiled the Jamaican. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBolt takes first tentative steps on Man Utd dreamAugust 21, 2018In “Sports”Bolt ‘offered cut-price deal’ in Australia — reportsOctober 23, 2018In “Sports”Bolt still chasing professional football dreamNovember 5, 2018In “latest news” Usain BoltSportsMax- Central Coast Mariners boss Mike Mulvey gave a cautious thumbs-up to Usain Bolt’s first outing for the club, saying the world’s fastest man “didn’t disgrace himself” on his football debut. read more

Steven Ramphal cops Chutney Monarch title

The Anna Regina Community Centre Ground came to life on Sunday Night as hundreds flocked the venue to support their favorite artistes vying for the National Chutney Monarch 2019.After some excellent performances, Steven Ramphal was named the winner with his tune, ‘Rang Ke Baare’ followed by the 2018 Chutney monarch, Bunty Singh who performed “Pholourie”.The third spot winner was former Chutney Monarch, Pooran Seeraj with ‘GT Ladki’ and rounding off the top spot was Arjit Singh who performed “Ring on the Lukanee”.An elated Ramphal was lost for words after the announcement. The young artistes who also secured second place at the Carib Soca Monarch said that he remains humble during the competition and had his eyes on the prize from the inception.He walked away with $1M in cash and trophies along with other prizes. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBrandon Harding defends Soca Monarch titleFebruary 17, 2019In “Entertainment”Chutney icon Anand Yankarran diesJanuary 3, 2017In “Entertainment”Jumo to compete in Soca Monarch semisJanuary 8, 2016In “Entertainment” read more