New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams was a serviceable player for the New York Knicks, a first-round pick out of Notre Dame who was smarter than he was talented. He lasted 10 years in the NBA on being hard-nosed and cerebral.His transition to coaching was surprising at first, but upon further review, made perfect sense. He understood the game. And what he has done since becoming coach of the New Orleans Hornets in his two year has earned him a four-year contract extension, the AP reported.“I would like to thank Mr. (Tom) Benson, his family, Mickey (Loomis, executive vice president) and Dell (Demps, general manager) for putting their trust in me and showing me their commitment,” Williams said in a statement released by the club. “The love and support the city and its fans have shown me and my family in the time we have been here has been incredible and I look forward to continuing to work to make the city and the Benson family proud of the Hornets.”Williams came to the Hornets after five seasons as the assistant coach in Portland under then-head coach Nate McMillan.“The Hornets have a promising future and an exciting young nucleus,” said Hornets executive vice president Mickey Loomis. “It is our opinion that Monty is the perfect coach to develop and lead this group of talent going forward.”Williams took the Hornets to the playoffs his first season with a 46-36 record. Last season, the club went 21-45 after trading star Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that helped New Orleans build for the future with the acquisition of 23-year-old shooting guard Eric Gordon and an additional first-round draft choice.The Hornets then won the NBA’s draft lottery and selected Kentucky star Anthony Davis first overall and added Duke’s Austin Rivers with the 10th pick.This off-season, the Hornets have also traded to acquire forward Ryan Anderson from Orlando and center Robin Lopez from Phoenix, giving Williams something to work with for the future.
Nearly three years ago on a rainy November night in Cleveland, it seemed as though the Chicago Cubs were poised to begin a dynasty. But that promise is gone. The Cubs had an optimistic 69 percent playoff probability on Sept. 17, but a four-game sweep at the hands of their archrivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, all but ended their hopes, and they were eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday night. And as the Cubs collapse, the Cardinals are headed back to the postseason for the first time since 2015.While Cubs manager Joe Maddon is oft-cited as a possible culprit, he is a useful scapegoat: There is plenty of blame to be shared. And perhaps the most consequential area separating the Cubs and Cardinals is pitching. No team has been more productive in drafting pitchers than the Cardinals have been since 2012 — and few clubs have been worse than the Cubs.Since Theo Epstein was hired to lead the Cubs baseball operations in October 2011, the Cardinals’ drafts lead baseball in pitching wins above replacement produced (29.2 WAR from 117 pitchers drafted and signed), while the Cubs rank 25th (2.2 WAR from 105 pitchers drafted and signed), according to Baseball-Reference.com data analyzed by FiveThirtyEight.1WAR totals include all major league WAR produced by pitchers, not just for the team that drafted the player. A significant part of the Cubs’ rebuilding strategy was to use their premium picks, the spoils of tanking, on position player prospects — and then fill in pitching gaps via free agency with their big-market dollars and through trades. But Chicago produced zero pitching WAR — or worse — to date from six of the seven drafts from 2012 to 2018, placing substantial pressure on the organization to fill the voids externally. Free agency is an inherently risky vehicle to improve a team, especially as players are getting younger, and the Cubs have the oldest collection of pitchers in the majors with an average age of 31.1 years.No club has spent more payroll dollars on pitching this year than the Cubs ($128.4 million), and with a modest return from that investment: The Cubs are just 11th in wins above replacement from pitchers. External additions of Yu Darvish, Craig Kimbrel, Cole Hamels and Tyler Chatwood each have pedestrian fielding-independent pitching marks; none has a mark better than 4.18 on the season. Epstein’s quest to “find pitching,” words he scrawled on an office white board in 2016, has also cost the Cubs treasured prospects in Gleyber Torres2Sent to the Yankees for a half-season of Aroldis Chapman. and Eloy Jimenez.3Sent to the White Sox in the José Quintana trade.Today’s model organizations don’t just tank to successfully rebuild (see the Houston Astros) — and many don’t even have to tank (see the Yankees, Rays and Dodgers). They’re creating draft-and-develop success stories. Those clubs have proven that they can draft well without having to pick near the top of the draft, and they can get more out of the big-league pitchers they acquire, like Houston has done with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.The Cardinals, with only one losing season this century, haven’t needed to resort to tanking. They’ve used their drafts to select quality arms — and the value of their homegrown pitching was on display last weekend in Chicago.On Thursday, Jack Flaherty helped St. Louis to a series-opening win with eight dominant innings. Flaherty — drafted by the Cardinals with the 34th overall pick in 2014 — has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half of the season, owning a 1.00 ERA over his last 15 starts. Michael Wacha, one of the Cardinals’ first-round picks from 2012, started Friday’s game and allowed one run over four innings. Then, rookie Ryan Helsley, a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft, picked up the win with a scoreless inning in relief. Helsley has a 2.23 ERA through 36 1/3 innings this season. And on Saturday, 2016 first-round pick Dakota Hudson (16-7, 3.45 ERA this season) started a wild back-and-forth affair.On the other side of that Saturday seesaw was Kimbrel, signed for $43 million in June to help Chicago’s struggling bullpen. With his team up 8-7, Kimbrel came in for the ninth inning and immediately allowed back-to-back home runs — a devastating sequence for the Cubs. Kimbrel owns a 6.53 ERA on the season.The Cubs are well aware of their homegrown pitching deficiency and have taken steps in recent years to improve their draft-and-development capabilities. Prospect Brailyn Marquez is an early success story. Darvish has been excellent in the second half of this season, though he’s expected to be an ace, given his $126 million contract. But other clubs like the Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros have gotten ahead of, or have been ahead of, the Cubs.While this group of Cubs will always be remembered for delivering a title, fans may be more focused today on the dynasty that might have been, had they followed the model of the rival Cardinals in drafting and developing pitchers.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
Ohio State men’s lacrosse senior attacker Logan Schuss has one more year, one more chance to do what he’s done for the past three seasons. The British Columbian has led the Buckeyes in many ways during his illustrious four-year career. Last year’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Offensive Player of the Year, Schuss has been a standout since first stepping foot on campus in Columbus. In his freshman campaign, Schuss garnered honorable mention All-American honors, on top of his ECAC Rookie of the Year award and first team All-ECAC status. He has lead the Buckeyes in goals in each of his first three seasons. Recruited by coach Nick Myers from the beginning of high school, Schuss took the risk of heading to a foreign environment to play for OSU, but he said he’s never doubted the decision. “I had the opportunity to have coach Myers come and see me play and we started talking,” Schuss said. “We just saw all the stars line up and I got the chance to come here and play.” As one of the primary recruiters going after Schuss, Myers recalls being impressed by the Canadian’s talent as he watched Schuss grow as a player and a person over a span of almost eight years. “It’s been a great deal of growth,” Myers said. “Logan was a young man that we recruited and I can remember seeing him play for the first time when he was a ninth grader.” Voted a captain by his teammates for this season, Schuss sets an example for his teammates on and off the field. Assistant coach Dave Dobbins said Schuss is a positive influence on the younger players. “We expect a lot out of him, he’s a senior and a captain for us,” Dobbins said. “His responsibilities go way beyond just scoring goals and making assists. He’s what makes the team tick a lot of times.” The success and accolades haven’t gone to Schuss’ head, though, and fellow captain, senior midfielder Dominique Alexander, said Schuss remains very much the person he was when he first came to OSU. “He’s become more of a leader. Overall he hasn’t changed much. He’s still running around yelling at practice, you come around and hear him yelling, getting guys pumped up,” Alexander said. “Logan’s definitely going out with a chip on his shoulder, where he doesn’t want it to be something he looks back on as, ‘I didn’t do my job.’” Dobbins said Schuss’ mentality of not wanting to let down his teammates makes him work harder at practice and show a work ethic seen in few players his age. “He’s a guy that goes out there to practice every day with the right approach,” Dobbins said. “He’s not a guy who always leads with his voice, but leads by example. He’s one of the hardest working guys out there.” The future looks bright for Schuss, who was drafted recently by the Ohio Machine along with Alexander and senior midfielder Kevin Mack, but Schuss said he isn’t letting anything distract him from giving the game his all in his time left at OSU. “I try not to think about the whole ‘getting drafted’ part of it,” Schuss said. “I want to focus on the Buckeyes and being a leader.” As a three-time OSU Scholar Athlete majoring in physical education, Schuss said his future isn’t just squared on lacrosse. He said he sees his career taking him toward a different leadership role. “I’m going to be coming back for a fifth year to do my student teaching,” Schuss said. “I’m going to one day, hopefully, be a P.E. teacher.” In the season opener against Detroit Saturday, Schuss tallied a career-high 10 points. In fact, he has totaled least a point in all 46 of his career games. “On the field, he’s a competitor. He’s very talented. Aside from the talent is a work ethic that his teammates and the younger guys can feed off of,” Myers said. Schuss and the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Jacksonville Sunday at 3:15 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla.
Then-OSU cheerleading coach Lenee Buchman stands on the sideline during an OSU football game against Illinois Nov. 16.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorOhio State fired its head cheerleading coach Monday after an investigation determined she failed to disassociate herself and the program with two former assistant coaches fired in May for sexual harassment.Lenee Buchman, who was OSU’s head cheerleading coach since July 2009, was terminated Monday afternoon in a meeting with OSU athletic director Gene Smith, according to a letter obtained by The Lantern.In an email sent to Buchman by Smith Friday, which was also obtained by The Lantern, Smith wrote that although an investigation by OSU human resources did not find that Buchman retaliated against a student by dismissing him from the team this summer, a report from that investigation exposed “several serious lapses of judgment and leadership” by Buchman.One of those lapses occurred in August, Smith wrote, when she participated in a cheer camp run by Dana Bumbrey, one of the two assistant coaches fired in May after an OSU investigation found “sufficient evidence” he and Eddie Hollins had violated OSU’s Sexual Harassment Policy.“Though I know that the camp was not run by Ohio State, you took our students and brand there with you,” Smith wrote to Buchman. “All the while, you knew the nature of the behavior Mr. Bumbrey had been engaged in, that Ohio State had dismissed him just a few months earlier, and that the university had emphatically chosen to disassociate itself from him and his damaging behavior.”Another lapse occurred Sept. 9, Smith wrote, when Hollins showed up at a cheerleading practice. Smith wrote that although Hollins’ appearance was unexpected, Buchman did not approach Hollins or ask him to leave.“When an assistant that had been fired for sexual harassment shows up at a team practice, it is obvious what is expected of a head coach,” Smith wrote.OSU spokesman Gary Lewis confirmed to The Lantern Nov. 17 that Hollins appeared at one OSU practice this summer, but Lewis said at the time Hollins was “asked to leave immediately.”Smith wrote that because Buchman had aligned herself with Bumbrey after his termination and had not taken immediate action when Hollins appeared at practice, Buchman “failed to demonstrate the leadership and courage expected of our head coaches.”An OSU athletics spokesman declined The Lantern’s request Tuesday for additional comment from Smith. Buchman did not respond to The Lantern’s request for comment Monday.John Camillus, the attorney of former OSU cheerleader Cody Ellis, told The Lantern his client, who was dismissed from the team by Buchman in August, reported to Smith and others Aug. 12 that Buchman had retaliated against him for reporting sexual harassment after Hollins sent Ellis sexually suggestive text messages on July 14, 2012.Smith, however, wrote in the letter to Buchman that he and Miechelle Willis, OSU’s executive associate athletics director for student services and sports administration, agreed that based on a review of the student’s dismissal, Buchman did not retaliate against Ellis.“We are both persuaded that the student’s past behavior — including persistent derogatory and offensive conduct toward teammates and others, the student’s negative attitude and other misconduct — all amply support the student’s dismissal from the team,” Smith wrote.OSU’s investigation into Bumbrey and Hollins began after OSU received an anonymous complaint via EthicsPoint, OSU’s anonymous reporting line, that Hollins and Bumbrey had created a hostile environment by sexually harassing cheerleaders, according to investigation records obtained by The Lantern. The report alleged Hollins had specifically harassed male cheerleaders, while Bumbrey had specifically harassed female cheerleaders.Before that, Ellis initially reported to Buchman in July 2012 that he had received sexually suggestive text messages, Camillus said.When interviewed April 24 as part of OSU’s investigation into Bumbrey and Hollins, Buchman confirmed a male cheerleader reported to her sometime around July 2012 that he had received “inappropriate text messages” from Hollins. Buchman told investigators after receiving the report from the cheerleader, she addressed Hollins directly and requested he cease sending any personal text messages to students. She did not, however, report the complaint to OSU’s Office of Human Resources.A June 20 letter to Buchman from Heaton said Buchman “did not follow the proper channels” of reporting the initial complaint from an OSU cheerleader and instead tried to resolve the issues on her own. The letter stated OSU coaches are “required to report any complaints that a reasonable person would believe to be sexual harassment.”Buchman was retained by the university at the time. She was required to attend a sexual education harassment session with her team, which Lewis said was completed July 26, but she also received a 1 percent salary raise Aug. 23 to $43,003 from her former salary of $42,577.Steve Chorba, who was hired along with Ray Sharp as one of two new assistant coaches this summer to replace Hollins and Bumbrey, was named interim head coach Monday, OSU athletics spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed Monday. Chorba previously served as the head coach of Illinois State University’s cheerleading team.
Kolkata: Citizens may have to shell out a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh for littering in public places, as the West Bengal Assembly passed a Bill to enhance the penalty for offenders. The penalty has been raised through an amendment to section 338 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (second amendment) Act which was passed in the Assembly Thursday. The move comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her displeasure after finding out the newly inaugurated Dakshineswar skywalk was stained with betel juice. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life The Bill proposed to impose a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 and a maximum penalty of Rs 1 lakh fine on litterbugs. The earlier law stipulated that minimum penalty for dumping garbage was Rs 50 and the maximum fine was Rs 5,000. It also came on a day, state Urban Development Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim was elected the new mayor of Kolkata after the exit of Sovan Chatterjee, on the directions of Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had formed a 11-member committee on Wednesday to check spitting and littering in public places. Hakim said, he will take up a major awareness drive to keep the city clean. A senior citizen, who did not wish to be named, said “The city had earlier failed to impose a fine of Rs 50 for littering, I am not sure how effective it will be this time.”
Kolkata: Several devotees could be seen waiting outside temples of Lord Shiva with umbrellas on Monday, as they celebrated the occasion of Maha Shivratri. However, although the city did not witness any spell of rain in the morning, the evening saw a light drizzle.”Several districts of Bengal, including Kolkata, received light to moderate amounts of rainfall throughout the day. The city may also witness light to moderate amounts of rainfall on Tuesday due to cyclonic circulations which continue to prevail in Bangladesh and Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Boseother adjoining regions. There is also a possibility of thunderstorm and lightning occurring in the city, along with gusty winds,” said an official of the Alipore Meteorological department. “The maximum and minimum temperature in the city is likely to be around 28 and 21 degree Celsius respectively on Tuesday,” he further added. On Monday, while the minimum temperature in the city stood at 21.1 degree Celsius which is slightly more than normal, the maximum temperature was recorded at 28.7 degree Celsius, three degree lower than the normal temperature. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataMeanwhile, the maximum relative humidity in the city was recorded at 93 percent, with the minimum relative humidity standing at 65 percent. In the previous week several districts of Bengal, including Kolkata, witnessed rough weather conditions due to Western disturbance, as thunderstorms along with strong gusty winds swept the region. Six people were killed last week due to inclement weather in the region, while there were several reports of material damage. Daily life was disrupted for almost a week in the city, as several pockets witnessed traffic snarls and moderate waterlogging. “However, this time the cause of the turbulent weather condition in the city is going to be different. A cyclonic circulation has occurred in Bangladesh and other adjoining regions, which is the primary reason,” the official said.