Speculation over Ivanovic’s future and Chelsea are tipped to try again for Stones

first_imgA round-up of the latest transfer speculation involving Chelsea…With Everton having refused to sell John Stones before the recent transfer window closed, there is already speculation that Chelsea will try again to sign the England defender when it re-opens in January.The Sun on Sunday say Chelsea are planning to offer Bertrand Traore to Everton as part of an exchange deal.The Sunday Mirror, meanwhile, predict that Chelsea will make what would be their fifth attempt to take Stones, 21, to Stamford Bridge.The Blues will need to bid close to £40m in order to get their man, it is suggested.The Sunday Mirror also say Branislav Ivanovic could move to the United States at the end of the season.Ivanovic has made a poor start to the seasonIvanovic, who turns 32 in February, is in the final year of his contract at Chelsea and it is claimed that New York City – where his former Blues team-mate Frank Lampard plays – and LA Galaxy would want him.Again it is claimed, this time by the Sunday Times, that Chelsea tried sign Anthony Martial prior to the French teenager’s pre-deadline move to Manchester United from Monaco.And the Sun on Sunday suggest Martial had been on the radars of Chelsea and Manchester City since the age of 11.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

National traits

first_imgJacob DlaminiThe advert in which Desmond Tutu exhorts South Africans to pull together to build the kind of country they each want to live in has got me thinking about national attributes and traits. What does it mean to say the Germans are punctual, the Italians expressive, the French elegant, the Zulus (on the few occasions they are actually considered a nation) fierce, the Japanese hardworking, the Nigerians confident and the Chinese proud?Does it mean that if Nigerians have one thing in common, it would be pride? What about calling the Italians expressive (which, as you know, is a polite way of saying excitable and hot-blooded)? Does that mean every Italian cannot make a point without using her arms? As for calling the French elegant, does that mean that every French citizen knows his Louis Vuitton from his Christian Dior?I cannot provide a scientific answer to any of these questions but have banked enough anecdotes in my short life to know that this business of national attributes is absolute tosh. Let’s take the myth of French elegance. I have visited France (both the metropole and one of its Caribbean peripheries) at least three times in the past couple of years. I have also spent two summers in a French language school whose main selling point is that its faculty is drawn from native French speakers from both the French metropole and the periphery. I would like to think that that’s enough French people and enough time in France to allow me to pass judgement on France’s sartorial standards.Do you know how many French people would, in my book, qualify for the adjective ‘elegant’? One. Yup. One. You read that correctly. Only one French person would qualify for the label ‘elegant’. And, boy, did she look elegant! She was the kind of person so hip, so stylish, she made flip-flops look like haute couture! She was so on top of her game, she made simple scarves look like they were made just for her.She was no spring chicken, either. She was on the other side of fifty, at least. As for her compatriots, the least said about them, the better. The colour clashes, the ball-crushingly tight pants, the sloppy hair, the apparent lack of familiarity with a shower … these were just some of the things that stood out for me.Then there is the one about the punctual Germans. Well, I recently spent a year studying in England. I had one German professor and one German classmate. None could keep time to save their Teutonic behinds. I would always smile at my German classmate as she burst into class huffing and puffing. She rode a bike and lived only a mile away from our campus. I, too, rode a bike but lived six miles away from campus. So, she could not exactly blame her tardiness on the traffic. “Aah, my tardy German friend,” I would say to her every now and again. She did not like it. But what could she do! She was tardy.My professor, on the other hand, always had to preface his seminars with the standard opening: “Sorry, I’m late.” Coming from someone else, that might have been annoying. But coming from a German, I loved it. I loved their constant shattering of the stereotype of the punctual German.Then there is the one about the proud Chinese. Now, pray tell, which people are not proud? Every nation has a history and, for that reason, every nation is both proud and confident. A friend has remarked that if only South Africans had half the confidence displayed by Nigerians, then we would be set. According to my friend’s thinking, Nigerians have little to be proud of given the unmitigated disaster that is postcolonial Nigeria.South Africans, on the other hand, have a lot to be proud of given the modest but significant achievements of post-apartheid South Africa, my friend says. However, she adds, South Africans do not carry themselves with quite the swagger that would be in keeping with their place in the world. My friend may well be right. South Africans can be their own harshest critics.After the British, no one seems to indulge in schadenfreude at their own expense quite like the South Africans. We seem to delight in our misfortune. Listen to the way we talk about crime, the power outages, the dysfunctional metropolitan police system and corruption. Listen to a South African moan for five minutes and you can’t help but wonder what he or she would have to moan about if you took away all these problems. Does that mean that complaining is a national South African trait? I don’t know and, given that I am, as a rule, suspicious of national traits, I would say there is no such thing as a national trait.But I also can’t be blind to the fact that South Africans tend to be the biggest complainers I know. Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to appeal to the better angels of our nature, Bishop Tutu should urge us to be selfish South Africans and do whatever we can to build the kind of South Africa we each would like to live in. I would be willing to bet that such a cynical pitch would stand a better chance of success than the sunny call he is making at present.Hey, a working South Africa might mean less to moan about but it would least be the kind of place we each would want to live in. Isolated from other South Africans.Jacob Dlamini is a PhD student in History at Yale University, a columnist for The Weekender, and former political editor of Business Day.last_img read more

Gerfen brothers competing for top proficiency awards

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brothers Nole and Clay Gerfen from the Ridgemont Chapter are both finalists for National Proficiency awards. Nole is a finalist in Diversified Livestock and Clay in competing in Diversified Agricultural Production. Their projects are separate but there is quite a bit of teamwork with the brothers that are both competitive at the highest level of the national FFA proficiency competition.Here is more from the brothers.last_img

Top surfers for Covelong Point Surf

first_imgChennai, Aug 24 (PTI): Top Indian surfers including Sekar Petchai and Tanvi Jagdish will take part in the surfing event of 5th Covelong Point Surf, Music & Yoga Festival 2017 to be held at Covelong Point here from August 25 to 27.Apart from home-grown surfers, participants from states including Karnataka, Goa, Odisha and Kerala and those from Sri Lanka, Australia, France and USA are expected to add spice to the competitions.A total of 140 surfers will take part in the various categories.”Covelong Point for four editions has seen some of the best surfers in the country. We want people across the country to work together in taking this sport to a bigger stage,” Rammohan Paranjpe, vice-president, Surfing Federation of India, said in a press release.”The quality of surfers that we see at the festival is astonishing each passing year. We are very focused on extending our support to the sport to develop it and nurture it,” said Arun Vasu, managing director, TT Group, which is organising the event.Former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes and India Test opener Murali Vijay would be associated with the event. PTI SS BNlast_img read more

10 months agoChelsea boss Sarri eager to strengthen wide positions

first_imgChelsea boss Sarri eager to strengthen wide positionsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is eager to strengthen his wide positions.Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League with the mid-season window now open.The Daily Mail says the former Napoli gaffer wants “better wide, creative options”.Sarri already has wingers Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro among his ranks, as well as youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi.But his preference for playing Hazard in an unfamiliar No 9 role seems to have shaped his January plans. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Farewell To Tim Duncan The Greatest TwoWay Player In Modern NBA History

Shaquille O’Neal56.325.435.0 Nobody combined offense and defense like Tim Duncan 8Larry Bird41,329120.353.674.2 Wilt Chamberlain35.849.041.4 18Pau Gasol41,57281.438.552.2 4David Robinson38,492100.680.389.3 Includes all NBA regular seasons and playoffs from 1973-74 to the present.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 14Magic Johnson40,783149.134.656.2 11Jason Kidd56,19994.855.470.0 20Patrick Ewing45,80141.265.350.5 7Kareem Abdul-Jabbar50,840144.453.578.0 Kevin Garnett50.033.039.8 10Scottie Pippen49,17487.462.372.7 Hakeem Olajuwon30.638.534.1 The post-Jordan NBA era unofficially ended Monday, when San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan announced his retirement after 19 seasons as a pro. Duncan was at the forefront of the league for the past two decades, winning five championships and a pair of MVPs as the best player of the generation that entered the league as MJ was on his way out. But for whatever reason — be it playing in small-market San Antonio, his relatively low-key public persona or all the things that go into a nickname like the Big Fundamental — Duncan’s greatness remains undersold in many quarters. So here are a couple of ways in which he made a case for being the best player in modern NBA history.All-around greatnessDuncan never scored more than 25 points per game after age 25, and he didn’t crack 20 PPG after turning 30. His low-post game, premised around that classic bank shot, was solid but rarely feared, particularly later in his career. But Duncan augmented his point totals with good efficiency, great rebounding and a nice passing touch for a big man that allowed him to anchor the Spurs’ offense even when his days as a big-time scorer were in the past.And on defense, Duncan was uniformly incredible throughout his career. He was named to 15 All-Defensive teams — the last of which came at age 38 — and led the league in defensive Win Shares five times, to go with nine other top-five finishes. In terms of suppressing offensive efficiency (relative to league average), Duncan’s Spurs were the NBA’s best defensive dynasty since Bill Russell’s Celtics. And even in the twilight of his career, Duncan consistently ranked among the league’s top five defensive players according to the plus/minus metrics. He’s undeniably on the shortlist of the best defenders in basketball history.Put it all together, and it’s hard to find a modern player with a better combination of offensive and defensive résumés than Duncan. To measure this, I used a couple of statistics from Basketball-Reference.com: value over replacement player (VORP) and Win Shares, both of which strive to capture a player’s total on-court influence over his team’s success.1Since VORP only goes back to 1973-74, that’s the earliest season included in my sample. I converted both metrics to a figure representing wins above replacement (WAR), and broke down each into its offensive and defensive components, zeroing out seasons where a player dipped into negative-value territory. Then I summed up offensive and defensive WAR for a player’s entire career — including the playoffs, where Duncan built a good amount of his legend — and took the harmonic mean (which favors balance between the two instead of a lopsided total in one category) of a player’s offensive and defensive tallies.By that standard, Duncan has no peers among modern NBA players: 13Charles Barkley44,179154.941.064.9 Moses Malone40.933.136.6 15Clyde Drexler43,109118.235.654.7 2Kevin Garnett55,701107.387.296.2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar61.582.670.5 Paul Pierce36.337.436.8 19Horace Grant44,79368.341.351.5 6LeBron James46,861196.252.582.8 WINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT 3Karl Malone62,759162.567.595.4 Great both young and oldDuncan also performed those acts of all-around greatness for just about two decades straight, playing like a Hall of Famer as both a young player and an old one. Back in 2014, my colleague Nate Silver was curious about how rare that combination was for a player:I wondered which other players in the NBA, and in the other major team sports, have had so much impact over their full professional lives. In other words, which of them were both very effective as young players and as old players?For an answer, Nate looked at each player’s Win Shares before age 25 and after age 32, taking the harmonic mean (yes, that again) of the two numbers to find players who matched Duncan’s career path. There weren’t many.Since Duncan has only added to his post-32 totals since then, let’s re-run the same exercise, updated through the end of Duncan’s career: NBA WIN SHARES PLAYERTHROUGH AGE 24AGE 33 ONWARDHARMONIC MEAN Tim Duncan47.855.051.1 1Tim Duncan56,738108.1110.3109.2 Michael Jordan53.643.648.1 12Michael Jordan48,485206.541.669.2 PLAYERMINUTES PLAYEDOFFENSEDEFENSEHARMONIC MEAN 9Shaquille O’Neal50,016133.850.273.0 17Robert Parish51,88170.941.452.3 5Hakeem Olajuwon49,97179.593.385.9 The NBA’s best full life-cycle players Dirk Nowitzki53.037.543.9 Sorted by harmonic mean of NBA Win Shares through age 24 and from age 33 onward.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 16Shawn Marion43,93463.047.053.8 In the end, Duncan still trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — it’s really tough to beat that guy in longevity-based measures — but he did pass Michael Jordan for No. 2 all-time in Nate’s metric, another feather in Duncan’s cap as one of the best and truly unique players in NBA history.Better than the raw numbers?And as great as Duncan looks according to the numbers above, both studies were conducted using derivatives of the basic box-score stats. Those can be fine for estimating a player’s value in a broad sense, but they have a tendency to misfire in some areas — such as defense, or even the more subtle aspects of offense like screening or space-creation — where Duncan happened to excel.Perhaps that’s why, when Real Plus-Minus creator Jeremias Engelmann released a bank of adjusted plus/minus data encompassing the 2001-2014 seasons, Duncan ranked as the third-best player of that era, trailing only Kevin Garnett and LeBron James. That’s slightly higher than Duncan placed according to Player Efficiency Rating (he was fifth), Win Shares per 48 minutes (also fifth) or even Box Plus/Minus (sixth), which is designed to emulate plus/minus ratings derived from more granular data.In other words, Duncan’s contributions might be somewhat underrated when we line up his stats against those of other greats from history. The NBA won’t be the same without him in it next season. read more

Football Defensive lineman Nick Bosa will not participate in drills at Ohio

Ohio State junior defensive end Nick Bosa (97) runs to tackle another member of Rutgers’ offensive team during the first half of the game on Sept. 8. Ohio State won 52-3. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorMany former Ohio State players will take the practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the final time Wednesday for their Pro Day: one of their last chances to participate in drills and talk to teams prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. However, according to reports, defensive end Nick Bosa will not participate in drills during Ohio State’s Pro Day. While at the NFL Combine, Bosa ran a 4.79 40-yard dash, third-best among defensive lineman. He also recorded 29 bench-press reps and 33.5-inch vertical. Bosa also had the third-fastest three-cone drill, completing it in 7.1 seconds. Expected by many to be one of the first few players taken in the draft, Bosa’s season was cut short due to an injury suffered against TCU on Sept. 15. Bosa decided to withdraw from Ohio State on Oct. 16, leaving with six tackles-for-loss and four sacks during the 2018 season. Bosa was one of 10 Ohio State players that participated in the NFL Combine, joining offensive linemen Michael Jordan and Isaiah Prince, running back Mike Weber, wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones and cornerback Kendall Sheffield. All are expected to participate in Ohio State’s pro day.At the NFL Combine, Haskins recorded the slowest 40-yard dash of any quarterback, recording a 5.04 time. He also recorded a 28.5-inch vertical. According to reports, Haskins will throw again for scouts on Wednesday after doing so at the combine. In the 40-yard dash, McLaurin, Dixon and Campbell each finished in the top-8 times recorded, with Campbell recording a 4.31 40, tied for the fastest of any wide receiver. Offensive linemen Demetrius Knox, Malcolm Pridgeon and Brady Taylor, along with linebacker Dante Booker and kicker Sean Nuernberger, were not invited to the combine, but will likely participate in Pro Day drills Wednesday. In 2018, all 32 NFL teams were represented at Ohio State’s Pro Day, including five general managers and five head coaches. The 2019 NFL Draft will begin on April 25 in Nashville and will conclude on April 27. read more