HOUSTON (AP) — Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Rockets on Monday.Anthony was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks last month before the Hawks released him.Houston general manager Daryl Morey announced the signing and the Rockets posted a picture on social media of Anthony signing his contract.The 34-year-old joins a team led by MVP James Harden and star point guard Chris Paul. The Rockets hope the addition of Anthony will help them contend for their first title since 1995. They lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season.Anthony will get a fresh start in Houston after spending last season with the Thunder, with whom he averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 78 games. The third overall pick in the 2003 draft has averaged 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in a 15-year career that also included stints with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks.The 6-foot-8 Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and has won three gold medals in the Olympics. He is USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.Anthony has averaged more than 20 points every year of his career except last season and led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13, when he averaged 28.7 points a game.
We are now less than a week away from almost all pitchers and catchers reporting, and the two biggest free agents on the market — Manny Machado and Bryce Harper — have yet to sign. The rumor mill around them continues to swirl, but we’re tired of not knowing for sure where these two will play this year. So we thought we’d take matters into our own hands, instead of simply waiting around for the latest hot-stove updates.To that end, we called on our friends at Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP), a strategic simulation game that allows players to put on their general manager hats and run their own teams. We asked them to simulate out the careers of Harper and Machado a bunch of times under scenarios where they sign with a bunch of different teams. Think of it as the multiverse of MLB possibilities that still could play out, depending on where these two superstars end up signing.It’s important to note that this is all guided by the game’s artificial intelligence, so it’s based on a simulation engine primarily intended for fun gameplay.1Though it can be a pretty serious simulation, as far as these things go. Perhaps you’ve heard of the soccer sim Football Manager and its notoriously addictive qualities? OOTP is essentially the same game, except for baseball. Having said all that, in the true spirit of J. Henry Waugh’s Universal Baseball Association, what if …… Machado signs with the White Sox?Frequency: 80 percent of simulations2OOTP ran 25 sample offseasons for us, tracking how often each player signed with which team.Average contract: Eight years for $198 millionSix-year team wins: 78.7 per seasonSix-year WAR: 6.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses divisional series in 2021Machado is one of the brightest stars in the OOTP universe, with an overall rating of 77 out of 80 (using the traditional 20-80 scouting scale). If he were to sign with the White Sox, one of his most frequently rumored suitors in real life, OOTP sees him having a tremendous individual debut in Chicago, putting together an All-Star season worth 6.5 wins above replacement. But the White Sox would have to wait until 2020 to improve as a team, leaping from 63 wins in 2019 to 92 in 2020, with Machado once again having a strong 5.8-WAR season. Chicago would average 92 wins per season in 2020 and ’21, making the playoffs both years, but they would top out with a tough five-game loss in the American League Division Series in 2021, then drop down to 80 wins in 2022 as Machado’s teammates regress.He would average 5.7 WAR per season over the next two years, but the Sox would miss the playoffs both seasons, with Machado opting out of his contract to join the New York Mets on a five-year, $197.5 million deal before the 2025 season. (Chicago would be fine without him, making the American League Championship Series in 2025 and 2026.) In New York, Machado’s individual numbers would decline to an average of 4.1 WAR per season, but he would help the 2028 Mets reach the World Series — where, in classic Mets fashion, they would lose to the Astros in seven games. After bouncing to the Nationals and Rockies in the early 2030s, Machado would retire in October 2032 with a JAWS score of 63.4, which should easily earn him a place in the Hall of Fame.… Machado signs with the Padres?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Eight years for $212 millionSix-year team wins: 83.3 per seasonSix-year WAR: 5.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses league championship series in 2024If Machado were to sign with San Diego, OOTP’s AI thinks that he would make about $14 million more over an eight-year contract than he would with the White Sox. But how would his Padres do on the field? In this universe, Machado would have an incredible initial campaign in Southern California, putting up 7.5 WAR and winning the National League’s MVP in 2019. His team, though, would only improve from 66 to 76 wins, good for third place in the NL West, and Machado would later struggle to repeat his amazing debut season. The simulations have him averaging just 4.1 WAR per season in 2020-21, with the Padres winning only 71 games a year. But in 2022, Machado would bounce back with 5.2 WAR, and San Diego would win 95 games, making the divisional series. It’s part of a three-year playoff surge for the Padres, peaking with 100 wins in 2024 — but that team is projected to crash out of the playoffs with a disappointing five-game NLCS loss to the Dodgers.That offseason, Machado would opt out of his initial contract and sign a five-year, $157.5 million deal with the expansion Memphis Scouts — which are a thing in this universe! — where he would spend the next five seasons playing reasonably well (4.2 WAR per year), but losing so many ballgames would surely give him flashbacks to the horrid 2018 Orioles. The best season of Machado’s final years is forecast to be an out-of-nowhere 4.3-WAR season with the 101-win Cincinnati Reds in 2032, but that team would ultimately lose in the divisional series. In September 2035, Machado would retire from pro baseball as a probable Hall of Famer.… Machado signs somewhere else?While OOTP’s AI thinks Chicago and San Diego are the destinations most likely for Machado, it also forced him onto the Phillies, Yankees and Twins for the sake of the full multiverse. The first two outcomes are about a wash individually, with Machado nearing 7 WAR in his best simulated season for each team and producing roughly the same total WAR (33.9 in New York, 32.6 in Philly). He would also stay longer in each city: seven years with the Phillies before opting out to join the Giants and the full eight-year contract span with the Yankees. But in terms of team performance, Machado wouldn’t win a World Series in either Philadelphia or New York, coming closest with a seven-game ALCS loss in 2022 as part of his Yankees timeline. It’s kind of a sad set of outcomes for a pair of teams that you’d think would offer Machado the greatest chance of team success. As for the Twins, they would be very successful with Machado, winning 90.2 games per season in his five years in Minnesota, including a World Series berth in 2021. But he would also opt out of that contract as early as possible, moving on to sign a massive deal with the Giants. Such is the way of Minnesota sports. So where should each star sign? If these OOTP simulations are any indication, it looks like Harper and the Cardinals would be best off with him playing right field in St. Louis, and Machado should lean toward manning the hot corner for the Padres. But those are but two options in the multiverse of possible outcomes. The only thing that we are 100 percent certain about is that at least one of these teams should sign these guys now. Stars like Machado and Harper shouldn’t still be going into spring training without a deal in place — for their own sake and for the sake of fan bases whose teams can use them to compete this season.Special thanks to Richard Grisham and Out of the Park Developments for their help with this story. Let’s move on to Harper, whose future is more difficult to read than Machado’s. OOTP’s AI predicted that he’d sign with any of four teams — the Giants (64 percent), Cardinals (20 percent), Padres (12 percent) and Dodgers (4 percent) — and that’s not even the full spate of his commonly rumored options. But let’s peer into OOTP’s crystal ball anyway. What if …… Harper signs with the Giants?Frequency: 64 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $175 millionSix-year team wins: 82.1 per seasonSix-year WAR: 3.3 per seasonBest playoff result: No playoffsThe Giants are a weird team that won 73 games last season despite trying to contend, and they do have the need for a corner outfielder like Harper if they want to try it again in 2019. According to OOTP, San Francisco would pay about $15 million to $20 million more over a seven-year deal than Harper’s other potential suitors, and they wouldn’t get much postseason success out of it. They are projected to average 85.5 wins per season over the first four years of Harper’s deal, finishing second in the NL West (and out of the playoffs) each year. They would also get classic inconsistent Bryce: 5.7 WAR in Year 1, followed by 2.2 and 2.9 WAR (both seasons riddled with injuries), then 4.4, and then 0.6 in a terrible 2023 season during which Harper would hit .209, with the Giants crashing to 74 wins.After six up-and-down seasons by the Bay, Harper would sign a four-year, $116.8 million deal with the Brewers. He is projected for a strong season on a playoff-bound Milwaukee team in 2025 but then just 2.1 WAR per year over the next two seasons before opting out early yet again to join … yes, the Yankees. During his inevitable run in pinstripes, Harper would boast an .821 OPS as his Yanks make (and lose) the ALCS in 2028, but he would put up negative WAR over the next two seasons. He would retire at age 38 after being released by New York (and briefly rejoining the Giants). Harper’s final JAWS score of 49.9 would put him right on the edge of the Hall of Fame relative to other right fielders.… Harper signs with the Cardinals?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $151 millionSix-year team wins: 87.2 per seasonSix-year WAR: 4.9 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses World Series in 2027 and 2030This is one of the most successful universes either star free agent had in our OOTP simulations. In this world, the Cardinals would grab Harper for the bargain-bin price of $151 million, and he would stay with them for a total of 12 seasons thanks to another midcareer contract extension. St. Louis would be mostly competitive throughout Harper’s dozen seasons there, averaging 87 wins per year and making the playoffs nine times, including two pennant-winning runs. Harper is projected for 53.4 total WAR in a Cardinals uniform (which would actually rank him just below Ozzie Smith for fifth on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard), winning the 2023 NL MVP with a 1.033 OPS and 7.4 WAR. In Harper’s final season as a Cardinal at age 37, OOTP sees St. Louis losing the 2030 World Series to (Machado’s?) White Sox in a heartbreaking seventh game.After leaving St. Louis, Harper would sign a three-year, $62 million deal with the Mets, but a fractured knee would cost him 88 games in his first New York season, and he wouldn’t be the same player afterward, averaging just 1.1 WAR/year in 2032-33. Following an ineffective 51-game stint with the Giants in 2034, Harper would retire as a surefire Hall of Famer with a JAWS score of 69.2.… Harper signs somewhere else?Harper has been linked to so many teams, it’s tough to keep track sometimes. So we asked OOTP to look at the other teams its own AI saw Harper signing with (the Padres and Dodgers), plus the Phillies, White Sox and Harper’s erstwhile team, the Nationals. Of those, the Dodgers easily offer the greatest amount of team glory — in fact, they would basically become a dynasty with Bryce on board, winning the 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024 World Series and losing it in 2025 (as Harper would put up 44.3 WAR during seven seasons in L.A.).3Just for good measure, Harper would return to Washington in this Dodgers simulation, after a four-season stint with the Mariners, and would also win the 2030 World Series with the Nats in his age-37 season. Individually, Harper would finish with 98.3 WAR in that universe, edging out his 93.2 WAR in the Cardinals simulation for the best of the options we looked at. The rest offer varying degrees of lesser success from both a team and personal perspective, with the Phillies, Nats and Padres projected to make the playoffs a few times on Harper’s first contract (he would re-up with the Padres and Nationals for the long-term in those simulations) and Harper accumulating just shy of 80 career WAR in each universe.
San Diego Padres1999-03.44343310 For years as general manager of the Phillies, Ruben Amaro Jr. tried everything possible to avoid dismantling the championship core that he and his predecessors1Former GMs Pat Gillick and Ed Wade, who in the 2000s had one of the best runs of scouting, drafting and developing prospects by any eventual champion ever. had built in Philadelphia. It was an irrational cause: Some smart observers had seen Philly’s troubles coming even as the team was winning 102 games in 2011, and by 2013, it was difficult for anybody to deny the Phillies’ need to rebuild. Yet, Amaro still did. “People think we’re going to blow up this team,” he told CSNPhilly.com that June. “We’re never going to be in the position of blowing up. There’s no blowing up.”Despite his efforts to stave off the inevitable, Amaro was fired in 2015, and the teardown commenced in earnest. But his hesitation to change course showed how awkward the decision can be to strategically steer a franchise onto a different path. Fast forward to now, and the Phillies are at the other end of the cycle, with current GM Matt Klentak facing a similar dilemma in the opposite direction: How to shift from rebuilding back to actually winning some ballgames? Just like the decision to start a rebuild in the first place, the timing on trying to contend again can be difficult to get exactly right.Certainly, the Phillies have been busy executing their own version of the multi-year renovation projects that yielded World Series wins for both the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros over the past two seasons. In a little more than a half-decade, Philadelphia has gone from breaking 100 wins to racking up nearly 100 losses per year. The team has slashed payroll from nearly $200 million to well under $100 million and has gone from one of MLB’s oldest rosters to its youngest — replenishing its minor-league talent base along the way.In that sense, it was a textbook rebuild. Over the past few years, Philly’s farm system has already turned out plenty of quality players, from rookie home-run machine Rhys Hoskins to World Series-winning reliever Ken Giles2Who was traded to Houston for Vince Velasquez in late 2015. and breakout starter Aaron Nola. Still more prospects are coming through the pipeline this season, including touted shortstop J.P. Crawford and four other members of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list.If the hallmarks of a franchise overhaul are cost-cutting and building up organizational talent, few teams have ever done it so thoroughly as the Phillies of recent vintage. To measure the magnitude of team restoration projects, I calculated a running total of what I’m calling “rebuild points” for each club since 1988.3I picked that year because it basically marked the beginning of the modern era of MLB economics, after the collusion cases of the mid-1980s were resolved and free-agent salaries took off. A team gets a rebuild point if it finishes .500 or worse in a season in which it does any of the following: gets younger as a team,4Based on the average age of its hitters (weighted by plate appearances) and pitchers (weighted by innings). improves its ranking in Baseball America’s farm system rankings or reduces its payroll. Teams can get multiple rebuild points in the same season if they do more than one of the above.Clearly, this isn’t the only way to measure the depth of a team’s rebuilding effort. But according to this metric, only five teams since 1988 have racked up 11 or more rebuild points in any five-season span5Discarding overlapping five-year periods that had fewer rebuild points. — and one of those is the recent Phillies: Colorado Rockies2012-16.42833410 Chicago White Sox2013-17.44134411 Houston Astros2010-14.38044412 * For years when the team had a .500 record or worseOverlapping five-year segments were excludedSources: FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference.com Seattle Mariners2010-14.44633410 Chicago Cubs2010-14.42734411 Philadelphia Phillies2013-17.42734411 Years in which team …* Philadelphia Phillies1995-99.44933410 Baltimore Orioles2000-04.43642410 Detroit Tigers1994-98.41634310 California Angels1992-96.45433410 Tampa Bay Devil Rays2001-05.39243411 TeamYearsAvg. RecordGot YoungerImproved FarmCut PayrollRebuild Pts Pittsburgh Pirates1993-97.45433410 Baseball’s most extreme five-year rebuildsMLB teams that accrued the most ‘rebuild points’ (for reducing a team’s average age, improving its farm system or cutting its payroll), for five-year spans since 1988 It’s not a bad list to be on. The Astros of 2010-14 are at the top, and they used their time at the bottom to build a champion. As did the 2010-14 Cubs. Also on the list are the Tampa Bay (née Devil) Rays, who built the pennant-winner that lost to Philly in the 2008 World Series. And while the book isn’t written on the current White Sox, they’ve zoomed up the farm-system rankings in recent years and could be positioned for success in the next decade, with top prospects such as Eloy Jimenez leading the way.It didn’t take too long for the historical teams with 11 or more rebuild points in particular to get very, very good again: Within three seasons, they won 60 percent of their games on average, good for 97 wins over a full schedule. But in their first season after the rebuild period — the equivalent of Philadelphia’s 2018 season — that number was still just 50 percent, or 81 wins per 162 games.6Granted, that was up from 43 percent during the final year of the five-year rebuild, so the teams were already making strong progress. In other words, even among a group that was eventually successful, the turnaround wasn’t instant. And yet the Phillies have spent this offseason loading up on older players as though they were a few key pieces away from contention: They signed ex-Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (who turns 32 this season), snagged a couple of free-agent relievers in their 30s — Tommy Hunter (31) and Pat Neshek (37) — and are rumored to be kicking the tires on former Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (32).Even after those moves, most statistical projections call for Philly to finish with something like 75 to 80 wins this year, which would put it on the outside of contention for the wild card (much less the division crown). It’s not beyond the realm of possibility for a rising team in that range to take analysts by surprise — hello, Minnesota! — but it doesn’t happen often. Add in how exceptionally top-heavy MLB is projected to be this season, and you could argue that the Phillies would have been better served by biding their time and building from within for at least one more season.That said, even the most masterful rebuilding projects have their limits. Research shows that the relationship between a team’s farm system and its future record is nowhere near as reliable as we sometimes like to think it is — and that it certainly isn’t as strong as the tie between a team’s payroll and its ability to add production on the open market. There’s also an argument for the necessity of franchise culture-building with veterans like Santana — bringing in players from successful teams may help install a winning attitude for locker rooms whose youngsters have only ever known losing. And then there’s the fact that the Phillies are in a position to start spending a lot of money again: They finally got out from under the final salary commitments of the previous regime and are flush with cable-TV contract cash. It was only a matter of time before Philadelphia started to flex its financial muscle again.That part of the equation can start yielding big benefits in a hurry. To measure the interplay between a team’s budget and its backlog of prospects, I built a regression model that works within the framework of this farm-system analysis by economist and MLB consultant Matt Swartz. In essence, it uses a team’s payroll and its recent prospect rankings from Baseball America to predict how many games it will win, via production from two sources: younger players who haven’t yet reached free agency and veterans who are signed on the open market. Although smart front offices have realized that the former group is a lot more cost-effective than the latter, once a team has a few good farm classes stored away, spending on the latter group can be a powerful way to really shift back into a contending gear.According to my model, a team in Philadelphia’s current situation could ramp up its spending within five years to match the Phillies’ payrolls during their late 2000s/early 2010s heyday7Philadelphia payrolls were about 40 percent higher than the MLB average from the 2004 season through the 2014 season, peaking at 81 percent above average in 2011. and expect to hit about 92 wins by 2022 even if it gradually allows its farm system to slip into the league’s bottom five within five years. By contrast, a comparable team that takes a slower approach, keeping its farm system strong8Generally staying among the Top 10 farm systems throughout. but spending more modestly9Never going more than 20 percent above league average on payroll. wouldn’t even crack 86 wins after five years. Why? Because after banking those good prospect classes (which the Phillies have already done), there are more diminishing returns on maintaining a solid farm system than there are on spending sheer amounts of money at the major-league level.In other words, developing a strong base of young talent is a good way for budding dynasties to start, but it’s what happens next that truly determines a franchise’s fate. Klentak and the Phillies have gone through the first stage of that process, overhauling the organization in just about as dramatic a way as any modern team has. Now they’re just starting the second stage — and with Philadelphia linked to speculation about next winter’s big-name free agents (namely, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado), this could only be the beginning. Although no rebuilding plan is ever foolproof, don’t be surprised if Philadelphia’s version puts them in the same conversation with the Cubs and Astros before long.
OSU players celebrates after an overtime goal against Bowling Green on Oct. 7 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Eric Weitz / Lantern PhotographerThe Ohio State men’s soccer team is currently riding the longest winning streak in program history. The Buckeyes are looking to build on their seven-game tear against Cleveland State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Scarlet and Gary did not face the Vikings last season but are looking to come out with a win despite limited knowledge of the opponent.“We’re going to prepare to play against Cleveland State and do the best that we can against CSU,” coach John Bluem said. “When that game is over, then we will go on to the next.”The Buckeyes have been on fire and plan to take one game at a time to keep its momentum.A daunting challenge for the Vikings will be trying to break through the Buckeye defense, as the OSU back end has been nearly impenetrable lately for the opposition. It’s been three games since a team has found the back of the net against OSU. “The backs are playing fantastic and we know that we just need to go in there and put things away,” senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson said.The Buckeyes have enjoyed the support of their home fans and look for it to continue as the team draws closer to postseason play.“This team is really in a groove right now with seven straight wins and nine unbeaten,” junior forward Christian Soldat said. “It feels great to be at home to play in front of a crowd that grows every single game, and they’re always behind us and we’re going to keep playing for them.”Viking territoryThe Vikings will be entering Wednesday’s match coming off the heels of a shutout win, 1-0, over Belmont on Saturday. Cleveland State has won three games in a row and has extended its record to 6-6-1 overall. Sophomore defender Jake Lagania leads the Vikings with five goals and three assists, followed by junior forward Sergio Manesio with three goals. Cleveland State has used a timeshare system at goalkeeper this season. Junior goalkeeper Nick Ciraldo has played about 600 minutes on the year and has a goals-against average of 2.14, with 16 saves overall, while junior goalkeeper Aleksandar Drobac has played for about 700 minutes and has a goals-against average score of 1.10 with 31 saves.Player of the week awards piling upFor the third consecutive week, redshirt senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, while junior forward Danny Jensen was named Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in October.Both players have been vital to what OSU has been able to accomplish thus far.Jensen leads the team with four goals and three assists on the season, giving him a total of 11 points.Froschauer has started every game in 2015 after transferring from Dayton. He has logged more than 1,000 minutes and boasts a goals-against average of 0.88 and 45 saves this season.Froschauer became the third player in conference history to rack up three consecutive weekly honors. Moving on upAfter Saturday’s victory, the Buckeyes have moved to first place in the Big Ten conference, followed by Maryland and Rutgers, respectively. The Scarlet and Gray have also moved up to No. 18 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.Up nextFollowing Wednesday’s action, the Buckeyes are set to travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, to face Rutgers at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Sue Stimmel, the only women’s lacrosse coach in Ohio State history, announced her resignation Wednesday.In her 15 seasons at OSU, Stimmel accumulated a 122-111 record, and an overall career record of 198-130 with her six seasons coaching at Denison University.She led the Buckeyes to NCAA tournament appearances in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, as well as an ALC Championship in 2003.“She will be sorely missed,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a press release. “We appreciate the great work she has done to start and establish our women’s lacrosse program. She is truly an outstanding person, and we thank her for all she gave the student-athletes and Buckeye Nation.”Senior captain Rachael Cornicello said Stimmel’s decision came as a shock to the team.“She hadn’t said anything during the season about it so that’s why we were a little surprised,” she said. “But we’re trying to see good in it and we still love her as our coach.”Cornicello said her teammates are keeping their heads high and hoping that the program will change for the better.“The sport in general has changed so much even in the past five years, so maybe someone who could bring new ideas to the program would be good,” she said.Though the team is looking to the future, Stimmel will assuredly be missed.“Sue happens to be a very funny person,” said Cornicello. “So her humor will be something that we’ll miss along with her dedication to the team. This has really been her life for the past 15 years. Her dedication to the sport reflects in how we play.”Stimmel attributed her decision to leave to her desire to move on and pursue other professional opportunities.“I want to thank The Ohio State University and the athletics department for the past 15 years,” Stimmel said in a press release. “Building the program has been a truly amazing experience, one that gave me the opportunity to work with wonderful student-athletes and exceptional people. I believe the time has come for me to move on to new challenges and to explore other opportunities.”What these opportunities may be is thus far unclear.“I really don’t know what her plans are,” said Cornicello. “I can definitely see her coaching somewhere in future. She’s so dedicated to the sport and it’s something that makes her happy.”
Ohio State cornerbacks Travis Howard and Bradley Roby aren’t shy about admitting their position coach, Kerry Coombs, is a bit of a trash talker. They said they’re the same way. “Me and Travis are already kind of like that,” said Roby, a rising redshirt sophomore. “He brings that same mentality, that hard-nose, trash-talking kind of play.” Roby said he likes it that way. “That’s how I am. I love that,” Roby said. “I’m right behind him doing the same thing.” Likewise, it seems Coombs’ fiery demeanor has also commanded Howard’s respect. But even more so, the rising redshirt senior said the guidance from the former Cincinnati assistant coach is what he and the rest of the corners need. “It’s definitely been a great change,” Howard said. “I mean, he’s a high intensity guy who’s willing to make sure we perfect our technique and make sure we work hard at whatever we do.” For Coombs, that feeling of admiration and respect is mutual. In addition to having what he called talented and gifted athletes, what has struck the 51-year-old the most is how diligently his players work. “They’re in my office poking their head in all the time,” he said. “They want to know what they can do to get better, they want to know where they fell short.” Coombs said it’s no secret that OSU has a “great history” of defensive secondary players. Outside the coaches’ offices, Coombs said there’s a wall commemorating eight first-round NFL Draft picks that the Buckeyes have produced throughout the years. Coombs said he thinks Roby will be the next to join the wall. “He’s big, and he’s fast, and he’s physical, and he’s intelligent and he’s got great change of direction,” Coombs said. “His transition is outstanding. And if Bradley’s not a first-round draft pick down the road, that would be a shame.” Roby, who recorded 47 tackles and three interceptions in 2011, said being one of the greatest corners to play at OSU has been his goal since arriving in Columbus. “I think about it everyday,” he said. “When I came up here, that was my goal. My goal hasn’t changed. I feel like I’m definitely on path for that.” And Coombs’ approach to the position, he said, will not only aid him in reaching that level, but will holistically benefit the team. Roby said compared to last season’s heavy emphasis on press coverage, Coombs has the cornerbacks playing further off the receivers than ever before. That, Roby said, allows he and the other corners the freedom and ability to be a “ball hawk” and create turnovers via interceptions. “I mean, that’s why I play football,” he said. “I just love to make plays.” Similarly, Howard said playing off is something he’s looking forward to. “I mean, I feel like we were a press team last year, we didn’t have enough opportunities to make plays on the ball so he came in with a new technique,” he said. “Now we’re getting a lot of chances making plays on the balls and getting good vision on the quarterback.” By playing off, Roby said he finds himself in a better position to make the play that every corner dreams of in Saturday’s Spring Game. “I’m trying to get at least one pick-six … it’s going to be there,” he said. “We’re going to have the pressure and they’re going to throw it up. I got to get a pick-six, I didn’t get one all last year, so I want a pick-six for sure.”
Coach Nick Myers addresses members of the OSU men’s lacrosse team.Credit: Molly Tavoletti / Lantern reporterDon’t settle. Don’t get comfortable. Pave your own way.Ohio State men’s lacrosse coach Nick Myers said he strives to instill that advice in his Buckeye team, and will soon encourage another group of young men as the head coach of the 2016 U.S. Men’s National Under-19 team, a position he said he humbly accepts.“The opportunity to put the stars and stripes on and be a part of Team USA and associate with US Lacrosse is something I’ve dreamed about,” Myers said. “The mission is to go there and win a championship.”Myers grew up in southern Maine, a location that isn’t necessarily known for breeding lacrosse players. But as the sport made a slow and steady spread from traditional hotbeds like New York and Maryland, he credited his stepfather for first placing a stick in his hands, guiding him on an admittedly nontraditional journey to where he is today.“In sixth or seventh grade, we were the only kids in our town that had sticks,” Myers said. “We were running a club team kind of out of our house … In high school I never played on a varsity team, it was always a club team.”After graduating from Springfield College (Massachusetts) in 2001 with a Division III All-American honor, he almost immediately began his relationship with OSU, starting as a volunteer assistant during the 2002-03 season. He simultaneously waited tables at Outback Steakhouse to make ends meet, but said the sacrifices were worthwhile.He never looked back from there, taking just six years to reach the top of the program.“I’ve really grown up in this athletic department,” Myers said. “I was 21 when I first got here, now I’m 35. It’s been a lot of growth.”Since becoming head coach in 2008, Myers has led the Buckeyes to the 2013 Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament, the 2013 NCAA quarterfinals with the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, and has reaped numerous All-American and all-conference honors. While Myers has shown success on the field, he said he believes achieving success requires much more than just winning.At OSU, Myers established a leadership council and developed a mentor program between seniors and freshmen, recognizing the student-athlete challenges while offering support.“We’re working to create a really strong foundation and to develop them as men,” he said. “We ask, ‘Are they leaving here with a skill set that has really been refined?’ And if we can do that, we’re hopefully doing more than just coaching them on the field.”After earning a degree in education and marrying a teacher, Myers said he never imagined a career outside coaching. And though he lives to teach others, he said he recognizes the importance of self-growth as well, crediting the many mentors he himself has learned from along the way.“Each year you have an opportunity to impact more student athletes but you’re always looking outside yourself to grow, to learn,” Myers said. “There are so many people I’ve had the opportunity to work with who have taught me a great deal, people who are willing to take the time to spend with a coach who’s still learning the ropes.”Among those mentors, Myers particularly credits former OSU coach Joe Breschi for enabling his success both on and off the field, something Breschi said he is proud of.“He is a wonderful tactician and has great passion for the game,” Breschi said. “Nick has the unique ability to balance coaching, family and faith while keeping all life’s challenges in perspective.”As a coach, Myers perpetually seeks to “sharpen his saw,” and as a husband and father of two boys, ages 2 and 4 (who are already armed with sticks, helmets and pads), the balance he strives for off the field is essential with his team at OSU.“The ones who separate themselves are the ones who can be humbled, yet are still starving to get better,” Myers said. “We encourage our men to be go-getters, to be hungry, to crave feedback and to be pushed and challenged.”Myers and the Buckeyes are currently hungry for their first road win of 2015, and have a chance to pick one up against Bellarmine on Friday. The game set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Louisville, Ky.
Seung-Yul Noh watches after driving a ball during the 2015 Memorial Tournament on June 5 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor Spectators were treated to an exciting weekend of golf at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where David Lingmerth secured his first win on the PGA TOUR, defeating Justin Rose in a three-hole sudden-death playoff at the 40th Memorial Tournament.Lingmerth finished fifth or better two of the first three days of the tournament and entered Sunday’s action 12-under par. The win was his 68th tour event. He was visibly excited.“I can’t believe it right now. I’m so happy. I don’t know where to go,” Lingmerth said.Rose entered the final day three shots back of the leader, Keegan Bradley, and held a three-stroke lead before bogeying the 14th and 16th holes, finishing the regulation portion of the round at par.“I pulled off shots when I really had too, coming down the stretch. I would have liked to put myself in a position where I could have sailed coming down the stretch, but I really had to dig for it,” Rose said.A win for Rose would have been his eighth on tour and his second at Muirfield Village, where he won the Memorial Tournament in 2010, his first victory on the American tour.“It would have been lovely to win in the playoff, but there is a lot I could look back and think I could have done better,” Rose said.The Memorial, the annual invitation-only tournament founded by Upper Arlington native and Ohio State alumnus Jack Nicklaus, has featured some dramatics lately, as two of the last three finishes have been decided by a playoff, and four of the last five by two strokes or fewer.Originally from Sweden, Lingmerth has had success on the European Tour, but he is still cutting his teeth on the American circuit, and he was eager to play at Muirfield Village.“I had never played here, I wanted to come experience it,” Lingmerth said.Lingmerth, who had been heavily recruited to return to Europe for part of the summer, expressed his desire to stay in the United States to seek his first victory, honeyed by the fact that it came at the Memorial.“This tournament, hosted by Mr. Nicklaus, I can’t think of many things that compare to it,” Lingmerth said.In choosing to play the Memorial, Lingmerth skipped the Nordea Masters in his native Sweden.Tiger Woods, a five-time winner at Muirfield, finished two-over, good for 71st on the leaderboard. He rebounded somewhat on Sunday, carding a two-over after an abhorrent Saturday, when he had a career worst single-day score of 85.Woods had previously announced he will not play again until the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on June 18. He attended the Memorial out of respect for his friendship with Nicklaus, whom he is still seeking to dethrone as the all-time major tournament wins leader.The Memorial, Nicklaus’ pride and joy, samples elements of some of golf’s great tournaments. The invitation process is similar to that of the Masters at Augusta National, and Muirfield Village is named after a course in Scotland where Nicklaus won his first Open Championship in 1966.
Britain will withhold foreign aid from countries if money is being wasted, Priti Patel has said.The International Development Secretary said that new aid spending deals will include “performance agreements”, allowing ministers to take away 10 per cent of donations if certain strict targets are not met.It came as Ms Patel announced that the UK will contribute £1.1 billion to a global aid fund to help fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.Ms Patel, who last week said too much of Britain’s aid budget is “stolen or wasted”, announced the three-year pledge alongside Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.The investment in the Global Fund of around £366 million a year will help the organisation save eight million lives from the diseases. Ms Patel said: “This latest round of UK investment demonstrates that Britain is keeping the promises it has made to the world’s poor while underlining the Government’s commitment to tackle the great global challenges of our time, including disease, which is in the national interest.”But even some of the best performing international aid institutions can improve and deliver better value for taxpayers and those in need.”That is why we are using this investment in the Global Fund to secure a demanding performance agreement to make sure UK aid achieves the maximum possible impact.”Performance agreements will become the norm for the Department for International Development’s engagement with international institutions, as Global Britain uses its leadership to demand more for UK taxpayers and the world’s poorest.” Singer Bono shakes hands with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauCredit:CHRISTINNE MUSCHI /Reuters U2 singer Bono, who founded the ONE campaign against poverty, said: “In an era of strained budgets and growing isolationism in some quarters, world leaders have come together to make the single largest multilateral investment in a global health project in human history.”We can deliver a knockout punch to three of the deadliest killers of our time, and today’s accomplishment makes that possible.”There is surely more work to do, we have to keep at it, but today is a good day.”Saira O’Mallie, ONE’s interim UK director, said: “The UK’s bold pledge of £1.1 billion to the Global Fund is welcome news for the world’s poorest.”Priti Patel has made a shrewd investment, sending a strong signal that Britain continues to be a leader in global development. British taxpayers can be proud that their generosity will help save millions of lives.” Priti Patel in Quebec for the conference fighting Aids, TB and malariaCredit:Geoff Robins The money will fund 40 million bed nets to tackle malaria, provide enough anti-retroviral therapy for 1.3 million people with HIV and support the treatment of 800,000 people with tuberculosis.A proportion of the investment will be used to leverage £100 million from the private sector specifically to tackle malaria.Britain’s investment is part of a global effort amounting to nearly 13 billion dollars (around £10 billion). 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. We can deliver a knockout punch to three of the deadliest killers of our time, and today’s accomplishment makes that possibleBono
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. His disappearance after a night out on the Thekla, a nightclub on an converted old ship which is permanently moored in the city centre.And Deakon Wilkins, 24, was also found dead in the Floating Harbour near Temple Meads rail station on February 5 after he went missing in January.He was last seen leaving Motion nightclub in Avon Street in the early hours of Saturday, January 14.The spate of deaths has triggered speculation on social media that a serial killer could be on the loose, targeting men who have been out clubbing for the night. Kaye Hulme added: “I don’t care what any one says but there is something sinister about these deaths!”Police have said that the deaths of the first two men are not being treated as suspicious.Both cases have been handed to the Avon Coroner for investigation, rather than being treated as criminal cases.They have not yet said if the death of Abdulkadir Mahamoud’s is being treated as suspicious.Asked about the social media speculation Avon and Somerset police said: “There is nothing to suggest that any of the deaths are linked or suspicious.”They appear to have been tragic accidents.”We are always willing to receive new information and intelligence, which is not based on speculation.”We are continuing to work with the coroner on the incidents which are being treated as non-suspicious sudden deaths.”The spate of deaths has led to the Royal Life Saving Society issuing a warning for people to be more safety conscious near water. A body believed to be a missing 29-year-old Abdulkadir Mahamoud was pulled from the River Avon on FridayCredit: SWNS.com The bodies of three men have been recovered from the water in Bristol in the past six weeksCredit:SWNS.com Police have dismissed claims on social media that a serial killer is pushing people to their deaths in a city’s docks.The bodies of three men have been recovered from the water in Bristol in the past six weeks.A body believed to be a missing 29-year-old Abdulkadir Mahamoud was pulled from the River Avon on Friday.On February 27 the body of 26 year-old Lewis Ball was found in the nearby Floating Harbour after a two-week manhunt. Joe Henderson wrote on Facebook: “Police and the media are avoiding the obvious – becoming very clear that Bristol has a serial killer on the loose.”Alistair Bunce said: “Bristol Pusher strikes again? Surely CID must be starting to think there is someone out there pushing people in!”Bianca Symone Liliana Anoushka added: “This is strange. Been saying it for months now.”Noticed as they are all men and not women. Perhaps there’s a pusher? Perhaps robbing drunk men after nights out and pushing them in the river? Who knows?”