James42.4 PER 100 POSSESSIONS PLAYERCRUNCH TIMENET RATINGASSIST %TS %USAGE %PIE 1’16-’17Westbrook97.844.815.114.721.5 Russell Westbrook is the MVP. You are likely already familiar with Westbrook’s claim to the award because every conversation that suggests someone else is the MVP must do the work of explaining why it is not, obviously, Westbrook.Westbrook’s case for MVP is self-evident. His season-long triple-double is a historic accomplishment, and its grandeur only grows when adjusted to account for the way the game is played today. Here are the top seasons for the triple-double stats sorted by John Hollinger’s Versatility Index, which shows how good players are at those three metrics, combined1Versatility Index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists per 100 possessions., which adjusts for pace: DeAndre Jordan105+3.21.968.818.723.4 Kawhi Leonard137+24.023.055.440.428.5 PLAYEROFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFFOFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFF 2-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE3-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE Isaiah Thomas163+18.225.065.446.026.4 4’14-’15Westbrook95.741.110.612.517.6 Stephen Curry90+10.827.361.836.123.3 Nevertheless, clucking about the righteousness of one MVP candidate over another inevitably returns to an epistemological debate about “value.” And there are a variety of cases to be made for players who had less outstanding, but perhaps more “valuable,” seasons than Westbrook did. James Harden moved to point guard and turned in a season that was two parts Steve Nash, one part Corey Maggette, and his Houston Rockets have faint yet plausible finals hopes. LeBron James had the best statistical season of his career at age 32, in his 14th year in the league. And Kawhi Leonard squeezed 61 wins out of a depleted San Antonio Spurs roster on which Dewayne Dedmon has a reasonable claim to being the second-best player. Each of those players’ teams has a far greater chance than Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder of making the finals and winning a championship.But what if a player is uniquely valuable when the stakes are highest? We’ve seen an example of this before: LeBron James during the 2015 Finals. During that series, James took two games against the ascendent Warriors basically all by himself. James led all players in points, rebounds and assists, and did so while carrying a true shooting percentage of 47.7 and a usage percentage of 39.3. It was a marvelous series for James despite his poor efficiency, in part because his efficiency remained basically in proportion to what’s expected of the most efficient stars despite an altogether absurd workload.Russell Westbrook has done over 82 games what James did for six. He has scrambled our sense of what game-altering dominance looks like in the age of advanced stats, and he’s done it largely without the benefit of the most important tool of the modern game: reliable 3-point shooting, from himself or his team. Westbrook’s success this season has argued convincingly that top-end efficiency isn’t an absolute requirement for success in today’s NBA, so long as you can make up for a dip in quality with sheer force of quantity.Efficiency is not a vacuumAmong a certain part of the advanced stats-minded crowd, Westbrook is easy to dismiss as an outdated, high-usage, low-efficiency volume shooter in an NBA that has moved beyond ball hogs. This makes sense if you view the split between Westbrook and high-efficiency players like Harden as a proxy battle in some broader war for the aesthetics of basketball. On one side you have the game played as a brutal, Pat Riley-style combat sport, and on the other the spread-’em-out game of the Rockets or Warriors. But Westbrook is defying the norms of efficiency, too. He’s just doing it in his own way.Take a look at this chart showing usage percentage and true shooting percentage, which originally ran in an article by my colleague Ben Morris, in which he made the case for Steph Curry as the MVP: STATS DURING CRUNCH TIME Source: NBA.com DeMar DeRozan139+16.128.854.842.926.1 Russell Westbrook148 min+21.758.3%56.9%62.3%40.3 When a Westbrook pass leads to a 2-point shot, his teammates are shooting 58.2 percent; when they take 2-pointers not directly following a pass from Westbrook, they shoot 48.6 percent. This is a massive difference, but also a logical one: Players shoot better when their point guard sets them up for shots.Things go downhill quickly once OKC ventures out beyond the arc. There, Westbrook passes lead to makes on only 33 percent of attempts; without Westbrook passing to them, his teammates make 31.4 percent. Both numbers are staggeringly bad. The Thunder simply don’t have players who can shoot NBA 3-pointers. Versatility index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists (per 100 possessions).Source: basketball-reference.com 34’61-’62Robertson124.926.710.89.914.2 How teammates shoot after passes from their stars Curry40.0 Leonard41.4 Which stars have teammates who can shoot? Curry58.555.5+3.041.835.6+6.2 LeBron James126+15.140.667.332.124.6 Top NBA players by involvement during crunch time 5’04-’05Garnett89.131.419.18.016.9 The best pace-adjusted triple-double seasons James55.152.3+2.840.937.2+3.7 SEASONPLAYERPOSS. PER GAMEPTSREBOUNDSASSISTSVERSATILITY INDEX James Harden133-3.040.055.651.021.5 In general, the more possessions a player uses,2Plays on which a player takes a shot, draws a shooting foul or commits a turnover. the less efficient his personal offense becomes. You can see the frontier of exceptional player seasons forming a rough diagonal, sloping down from Kevin Durant’s 2016-17 in the upper left to Westbrook’s in the lower right. Generally, that’s the frontier of achievement for maximizing efficiency and usage, and anything that breaks past the outer rim is in the running for the best season in NBA history. Curry’s 2015-16 was more or less unprecedented, but was followed up quickly by Isaiah Thomas and Harden this season, each putting up absurd efficiency numbers with what have traditionally been extremely high usage rates. Then there’s Russell Westbrook.While a glance at the advanced stats (55.4 true shooting; 41.7 usage percentage) will give you the gist of the relationship — less efficient, more usage — they mask just how far out of the norm Westbrook has been. He has bucked the trend that’s afflicted super-high-usage NBA players for as long as the league has existed: Westbrook’s usage has exploded … and his efficiency hasn’t really changed. As a challenge to the basic makeup of NBA efficiency trends, Westbrook’s season is just as much of an aberration as Curry’s 2015-16.This is the final entry in our series making the case for five NBA MVP candidates. We’ve also made the cases for James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James and Stephen Curry. Also, check out our NBA predictions.That said, just because Westbrook’s season has been impressive does not necessarily make it useful or valuable. And while it’s undeniably hard to do what Westbrook has done, it’s been an open question how much value there is in his tirelessly filling up the box score while also eating up possessions. Players such as Curry and Harden, who shake up the ratio by adding efficiency to a standard-issue star player workload, are far easier to evaluate. But a player who can take on limitless responsibility with seeming immunity to defensive attention is a dangerous tool in situations where good possessions are hard to come by, even if he isn’t the most efficient guy on the floor. We’ve seen Westbrook deliver in those situations this season.An unstoppable, moderately efficient forceWestbrook has been laboring under LeBron-esque playoff demands all season long as the late-game anchor for a severely offensively handicapped team.Westbrook’s crunch-time numbers this season are comical. We’ll define “crunch time” here as the last five minutes of a game (or overtime) in which neither team has a lead greater than five points. In those situations, Westbrook has been unstoppable. His already absurd usage percentage jumps from “just” 41.7 to 62.3. (Sixty-two point three!!!)Something else interesting happens to Westbrook during crunch time: As his usage goes up, so does his efficiency. His true shooting percentage creeps up to 56.9, and his assist percentage goes to 58.3. While he’s on the court in crunch time, the Thunder is outscoring opponents by 21.7 points per 100 possessions (up from +12.5 overall). In fact, Westbrook’s work rate late in games is so prolific that he produces as much value as entire teams. No, really.We know this thanks to a little-noticed stat on the NBA’s stats site called Player Impact Estimate, or PIE. PIE is the share of all box score activity in a game (so points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) with deductions for negative stats (turnovers, missed shots, personal fouls). The average for a player should be about 103Since there are 10 players on the court., and the average for a team about 50.4Since each team makes up half the players. It’s an especially useful stat when used in tandem with net rating, because you can then see both how well a player is doing individually (the PIE rating) as well as how well the team is performing overall (the net rating).5Net rating is just a team’s scoring differential per 100 possessions.Anyway, Westbrook’s PIE in crunch time is 40.3, meaning he accounts for about 40 percent of both teams’ combined activity all on his own — a greater share of game stats in his clutch minutes than five teams6The Pistons, Heat, Lakers, Nets and Suns. collect as a whole. The Thunder as a team has a 61.4 PIE in crunch time, fourth in the league, which tracks more or less with its 19.9 net rating, which ranks second overall. Source: NBA.com Westbrook30.9% 2’16-’17Harden100.038.410.714.818.3 3’15-’16Westbrook96.733.911.315.118.0 Harden38.3 Source: NBA.com PLAYERTEAMMATES’ WIDE-OPEN 3-PT % Westbrook58.2%48.6%+9.633.1%31.4%+1.7 Harden62.652.5+10.134.037.6-3.6 Jimmy Butler141+12.831.563.041.329.4 A player totally unfettered from the effect of a defense is dangerous all game long, but a particular nightmare late in games.Team composition mattersOK, so Westbrook can get his whenever he wants to get his. No one really doubts this. But Westbrook’s ability to get his teammates quality shots is a lingering question because Westbrook is not Curry, who distorts the parameters of the game without even touching the ball. Curry’s teammates find better shots and make more of them without Curry ever having to generate a traditional assist. But Westbrook’s teammates … let’s just say not even Curry could charm Andre Roberson into hitting his wide-open 3s.The Thunder roster is not quite as bereft of talent as it’s sometimes made out to be — Steven Adams is a very good center, and Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo and a few young players like Domas Sabonis all have their uses. But the team’s players are the worst long-range shooters in the league.This is made clear when we separate out the team’s doomed long range shots. Anthony Davis163-2.78.351.736.124.8 Leonard47.249.6-2.443.838.3+5.5 … As a team, the Thunder were a bit above average at creating wide-open 3s (meaning the nearest defender was six or more feet away). Getting open 3s is good! Except, they shot 32.4 percent on those wide-open looks, good for dead last in the league. Westbrook himself shot 40 percent, which means the rest of the team shot 30.9 percent. Again, on wide-open 3s. No defender within six feet. Thirty point nine percent. A tabletop cactus could shoot 30 percent with the defense out to lunch.So while Westbrook does not have as profound an effect on his teammates’ shooting as his peers, this is hard to pin on Westbrook himself when he’s holding the bag for an Oklahoma City front office running back the ’93 Knicks.“Stat hogging” is not a phenomenonOne final line of suspicion about Westbrook’s stat line revolves around the notion that the numbers are inflated by methods unnatural to the game. One of those allegations: that Westbrook’s teammates let him collect rebounds to help stuff the stat sheets.But it’s not that simple. For one thing, stars have always received preferential treatment on cheap rebounds. There’s an old story about Rockets players getting gassed up when Yao Ming finally began to yap at teammates who tried to scoot in on missed free throw rebounds — generally the easiest to collect — because those are reserved for the star big man, and the NBA runs on hierarchy. And Kevin Love made a habit of grabbing the ball at the ends of quarters, just after the buzzer sounded, and doing a quick turn, point and grin in the direction of the scorer’s table trying to get credit for the board.7These anecdotes came from Bill Simmons interviews that are lost to history after Grantland was shut down.The Thunder also aren’t as blatant about giving Westbook rebounds as they’re made out to be. Yes, it’s conspicuous that Westbrook is pulling in 8.5 uncontested rebounds per game, up from 5.9 a season ago. But we can track how often teammates give up a rebound so that a nearby teammate can pick up the ball: It’s a stat called deferred rebound chances. This season, the number of the Thunder’s deferred chances has decreased to 16.8 per game from a league-high 17.7 a season ago. What’s changed? Well, the 6.6 uncontested rebounds per game Kevin Durant collected in 2015-16 needed to be redistributed somewhere.Unlike shooting or passing, rebounding suffers from severe diminishing returns. There are only so many rebound opportunities, and only so many bodies needed to corral them. Oklahoma City finished first in overall rebound rate, and third in defensive rebound rate. The Thunder have decided to use this surplus of rebounding to leak extra bodies out into the break, knowing their point guard can collect the rebound and start the break. In other words, the Thunder have made a conscious effort to let Westbrook get the rebounds because they think it helps them win, not just because they wanted Westbrook to hoard triple-doubles. The Thunder are fifth in percent of points scored via transition, so it’s working out for them.But there’s a downside: This strategy often leads to Westbrook playing abysmal defense as he hunts for the rebound — the number of shots he contests is dismal, and by far the lowest among league leaders in defensive rebounds, though they are more or less in the same range as those contested by Harden and LeBron. But then, Westbrook has never been a great defender, and it makes a certain amount of sense to have him sacrifice already questionable defensive attention in service of the offense, especially since the defense manages just fine (10th in efficiency) without him. That’s not an ideal outcome, of course. In a perfect world, Westbrook would be more engaged defensively, and have teammates with shooting range that extends beyond the college 3-point line. But the Thunder’s willingness to let Russell be Russell is its own sort of progress.For years now, we’ve been hearing about how evolutionary players such as Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis or even Steph Curry were set to move the NBA game forward. That has largely turned out to be true: Offense in the league has improved at record rates, primarily because players and front offices have maximized efficiency at every opportunity. The league has found a way to squeeze more production out of more specialized players. And that works just fine as a general rule. But Russell Westbrook’s season proves that’s not the only way to remake the NBA in your image. Shaving away minor imperfections in pursuit of the ideal less-for-more ratio isn’t necessary if you come equipped with a never-ending supply of more.
Win both games and Ohio State might get a first-round bye. If not, it might be heading back to Alaska. That is the reality for the OSU men’s hockey team in its Thursday and Friday matchups against Ferris State. With the Buckeyes (15-15-3, 10-13-3 CCHA) able to finish anywhere from fourth to ninth in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, there will be a lot on the line. But coach Mark Osiecki isn’t looking at it that way. “It’s kind of like the Green Bay Packers’ get-to-playoff mentality,” he said, referring to the team that was last to make the playoffs in the NFC and went on to win the Super Bowl. “Let’s keep on moving forward.” The Buckeyes sit in ninth place and, to move up in the standings, will need to beat Ferris State twice and will need Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, University of Alaska and Lake Superior State to lose. A team that wins a game receives three points toward the conference standings, and with only four points separating seeds five through nine, the potential for a bye is there. The top five seeds in the CCHA receive a first-round bye, so getting six points is crucial. “We have to win both games this weekend,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said. “Nothing less.” If the team loses, it could possibly head back to Alaska for the CCHA Tournament. The last time the Buckeyes made the more-than-3,000-mile trip to Alaska, they lost both games in the series, giving up six goals in the second game. “It could mean … we get a first-round bye or fly back to Alaska,” Severyn said. “It’s an incentive to do well.” Osiecki said his players are anxious to get back on the ice and will continue only to focus on what they can control. “They are tired of practicing. … They are just ready to play,” he said. “We worry about ourselves and go from there.” Senior forward Kyle Reed said he knows this series is do or die and the team has to be on top of its game. “I just want to leave everything on the ice,” he said. The Buckeyes, who have an unusual Thursday-Friday series, will have the chance to sit back and watch the games on Saturday to learn their CCHA Tournament fate. If OSU receives a first-round bye it will begin CCHA Tournament play March 11-13. If not, it will play March 4-6. This week’s series against Ferris State has the Buckeyes and Bulldogs facing off Thursday and Friday at the Schottenstein Center. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.
Ohio State video coordinator Kyle Davis spent six years with the program without salary, now he’s living his dream as video coordinator. Credit: Courtesy of Sam HollingsheadOn Feb. 27 inside the Schottenstein Center, Ohio State men’s basketball video coordinator Kyle Davis made the final preparations needed for the next day’s game at Penn State. The day’s practice was scheduled for 3 p.m., and less than three hours later, the entire staff and team would board a bus routed for the airport, then fly to State College, Pennsylvania.At 1 p.m. Davis was approached by associate head coach Dave Dickerson. He asked Davis to compile an organized database that lists every game remaining, through the state championship, for each high-school prospect OSU is recruiting.“When do you need it?” Davis asked. Dickerson answered, by the end of practice. So Davis grabbed graduate assistant Chris Logsdon, who helps with the bulk of the video responsibilities, and the two sat in the video room inside the practice gym and compiled the database for the next four hours. Logsdon found all matchups for the in-state recruits the program is looking at and Davis covered the rest of the recruits. The spreadsheet, which included nearly 70 prospective recruits, was done by 5 p.m.“That’s what you got to do, though,” Davis said.After sifting through complicated state tourney brackets, Davis spearheaded a project that enabled the coaching staff to know who they can visit on certain days and who to send messages of encouragement to on their game days.“There’s no one that can spoonfeed you this information,” Davis said. “This information is out there, but it’s in 17 different places. Every college basketball program needs someone that is capable of finding all this information, putting it together and making sense of it in a way for your whole staff to understand.”For OSU’s program, that someone is Davis, who has been with the organization for seven seasons — four as a student manager, two as a graduate assistant and one in his current role. The three video coordinators before Davis are all current assistant coaches. Kevin Kuwik is at Dayton, Greg Paulus is an assistant at OSU and Jake Diebler just finished his first season as an assistant at Vanderbilt.Davis doesn’t have the coaching experience or playing experience that those in the role before him had, so the path to becoming video coordinator was even more difficult. For six years, his only income was per diem for road trips and holiday breaks as he continued to rack up student loans from undergraduate and graduate school. He spent 30-40 hours each week for four years and 60-plus hours per week for two years at the Schott. But becoming an official member of the OSU coaching staff was always the end goal. Davis’ career has been defined by doing the jobs few would want to do.A startDavis’ passion for coaching began during his sophomore at nearby Hilliard Darby High School when he needed volunteer hours for a class he was taking. He reached out to a local recreational league to help with a sixth-grade team. Then, two weeks before the season, he suddenly became the head coach.The original coach quit and left 16-year-old Davis with a group of kids and parents he had never met.“I loved it. But my team stunk,” he said. “Ironically enough, the guy who was the coach of my team, no one really liked him. So the commissioner of the league purposefully gave him the worst kids in the league. We weren’t very good. I think we won one game all year.”The losses didn’t matter. Davis couldn’t get enough.Davis, back right, started coaching sixth graders when he was 16 years old. Credit: Courtesy of Kyle DavisSo when the commissioner asked him back as a coach, he agreed. That next season, Davis said his team of sixth graders was undefeated. However, some of the parents voiced concern regarding his coaching style after Davis ran a zone that resulted in allowing just two points.Davis said that’s when he learned he was a little too competitive for that league.But before he left, Davis made a valuable connection with OSU’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Richardson; Richardson’s son was on Davis’ team. He also met then-OSU assistant coach — now the team’s director of recruiting and player development — Alan Major, who was watching Richardson’s son play.“I’ll never forget Alan Major, I talked to him after the game and he said, ‘Well, if you’re not a player, you can come be a manager if you want to get involved with coaching,’” Davis said. “From that day forward I thought that would be a pretty cool thing to do.”But he wasn’t done coaching just yet. He still had two more years of high school.At the time, Davis’ brother was in seventh grade and 6-foot-4. Davis knew a few of his brother’s friends and knew them to be pretty good athletes for their age. So, that spring after he concluded coaching in rec league, he began to recruit some of them and other kids at his brother’s middle school and founded an AAU team — at age 17. The 13-and-under Ohio Havoc played their first games that summer.“I’m sitting there and I had like $11,000 in my hand (for team fees),” he said. “I’m just thinking like, I’m 17 years old. I have $11,000 in my hand to spend on uniforms, travel, tournament fees and all that. What am I doing with my life? This isn’t something a 17-year-old gets to do.”That summer and the next, Davis took his team to compete in tournaments throughout Ohio and in nearby states like Indiana — some of which his team won. He also coached at nationals.Through that experience, watching the competition at that level and finding a passion for coaching, Davis took Major’s advice and became a student manager at OSU when he enrolled Fall 2010.The journeyFreshmen managers are given the duties not sought after by anyone else. Carrying towels and water, mopping up puddles of sweat, dragging Gilman dummies from the main court to the upstairs court along with the cart full of other practice necessities, and staying late to rebound for players are the basic on-paper duties they have.Being a basketball manager is a fraternity with a rite of passage — one where respect isn’t easily earned. There’s not a lot of glory that goes with it either. It’s not a paid position. Managers still have to go to class, then it is right to the Schottenstein Center six days a week for at least three hours (in the preseason, it’s more like four hours). On game days, managers have to be there dressed and ready to hit the floor five hours before tip for shootaround. Managers receive stylish team-issued gear, including a pair of Lebron-brand shoes, but when adding all of it with two games per week, it gets to be roughly 30-40 hours a week outside of the classroom.“No one asked us to do this. This is just something that over the years I learned how to do it, I thought it could be a cool thing. I thought it could be more efficient and it allowed me to extend myself to do other things.” – Kyle DavisBut that didn’t matter to Davis. Being a part of the men’s basketball program at OSU was a title he held with pride. After all, Davis had higher aspirations. From the first day, Davis would do anything possible to become the video coordinator at OSU.OK, well, the second day. The first day, then-senior manager Bryce Crawford, now-assistant coach at Division I University of Maryland Baltimore County, told Davis and each freshman manager privately, “Listen, I don’t like any of you. You haven’t done spit for this program, and I’m not going to like any one of you until you can prove you can do something around here.”“I loved that he did that because it created the most amazing work ethic in us,” Davis said. “And we all thought Bryce was this biggest (jerk) in the world … but it was really cool because we were like, ‘Man, this guy’s legit.’”Davis, back right, coached the Ohio Havoc AAU team for two years before becoming a manager at OSU. Credit: Courtesy of Kyle DavisKuwik, the Dayton assistant, was the video coordinator when Davis joined the program. Davis walked into the video room inside the practice gym and asked Kuwik to help with the video responsibilites, which is work normally reserved to the senior managers and graduate assistants.In the room were four DVRs the staff used to record every game of any team that OSU would play against that year. Kuwik told Davis his tasks involved recording all of those games, which required him to know the TV schedules of those games, find the channels and tape them. Then, he would transfer it to a DVD, catalog it and store it.Kuwik left for Dayton after Davis’ freshman year — when OSU lost to Kentucky as the No. 1 overall seed in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament — and Paulus entered the role. That same year, OSU hired Chris Jent, a former NBA assistant, for a similar role. Davis continued to work around the video department with Paulus at the helm. After that first season, Jent requested to change from the DVSport video software to Sportcode, which he used in the NBA.With the addition of Sportcode, Davis and the entire video team were able to finish video work in half the time. It’s as if they traded in a 1989 Honda Civic for a NASA space shuttle, Davis said.Through his four years as a manager, Davis became the low-level busybody member in the organization that the staff would turn to when things needed to be done. As senior manager, he spent more time in the film room and was in charge of a staff of a dozen or so managers. He was the main point of contact between the staff’s needs and making sure there were managers at the gym for rebounding, opposing team shootarounds and any other task — often with less than two hours notice. Davis helped coordinate official visits, assisted in setting up the team tailgate before football games. He even helped change a tire on State Route 315 on the vehicle of former OSU guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. to ensure he would be on time for practice. Davis made it his job to do any menial task possible to be recognized as a reliable member of the program.“He was always around. He was very adamant about getting involved and tried to figure things out,” Crawford said of Davis. “He was just very locked in and it was very clear that he wanted to get into the business.”Following Davis’ final season in 2014 as a manager, he and then-graduate assistant Weston Strayer made it a mission of theirs to memorize the Sportscode manual from cover to cover.Now, after two years, Davis said he and Strayer designed 16-20 different programs on the Sportscode software to use and relay information to the coaches.“No one asked us to do this,” he said. “This is just something that over the years I learned how to do it, I thought it could be a cool thing. I thought it could be more efficient and it allowed me to extend myself to do other things.”Davis continued to work on these programs through Diebler’s final two years with OSU, which made the video department even more valuable.“It’s so hard to do your job to the best of your abilities as video coordinator if you’re doing it by yourself,” Diebler said. “You need great, great help and those guys were the best in the country, in my opinion at what they did.”Outside of games is when Davis does most of his work, finding new trends that can help coaches make educated decisions for on-court personnel. During road trips, Davis had to have the entire game with individual stats coded by the time the plane landed, which led to Davis frequently being told by flight attendants to turn his laptop off. In game, Davis designed programs that can give OSU its best small and big lineup in the middle of a game. He also charted each shot a player takes on particular plays and paired it with live video that is being coded in the team locker room, and has that ready for coaches to view at halftime and end of the game.“The money didn’t matter, the title didn’t matter, but to know that I had a future within our staff just meant the world to me. I told everyone from the beginning, I’m here for Ohio State basketball. Whether that means I’m wiping the floor, cutting video or recruiting, just whatever it is, I’m happy to be here.” – Kyle DavisHe said sometimes information on paper can be misleading and cannot accurately tell the staff why the team was shooting poorly from a particular spot on the floor. Therefore, he linked all of the stats to video for evidence that can help with development.“I’m not really an analytics guy. I’m more of an analytics ‘make you look at things in a different way’ sort of guy,” he said. “Numbers are great but until you can actually see why those numbers came to be about, it really doesn’t help you as a coach. You can’t coach numbers. You have to coach basketball things. That’s what this allows you to do.”In the 2015-16 season, Davis was the chief graduate assistant receiving some much needed help in the video room from walk-on-turned-graduate assistant Andrew Goldstein, team videographer David Aaron, head manager Robbie Rucki and others. Diebler, still the video coordinator at the time, was often in the video room compiling anything the staff needed at the last minute, but also knew Davis was available at a moment’s notice and had the assurance that Davis and Goldstein were getting the work completed well ahead of time. With that belief in Davis, Diebler was able to spend more time on the court with the staff and players, and Davis was able to do much of the video coordinator role before he was promoted.Davis, who estimated he worked 75-88 hours per week in his last year as a graduate assistant, said Diebler was the greatest thing to have happened to his development in the way he empowered the video staff.“He’s got a great feel for what’s necessary in that area of preparation and things like that,” Diebler said of Davis. “I thought it was very valuable to help me do my job and (he) worked really hard, spent long hours, wasn’t afraid to stay up late or get up early.”On top of the strides he made in the video room, Davis took on some, if not all, of the responsibilities dealt to the role of recruiting and operations coordinator, which was vacant during the 2015-16 season after Christopher Spartz left the program.“When he left — not like I was going for his job or anything, but it was around this time last year … and I was like, well, someone has to do some of the stuff he was doing,” Davis said. “And I wasn’t sure what we were doing or who we were going to hire so I just started sitting at his desk and doing his job, and nobody said otherwise.”Davis began handling logistics for official visits, helping coordinate prospects with faculty advisors, coaching staff and touring the campus. He also prepared recruiting packets and any other task the program needed done.He wasn’t instructed to do more work than he was given as a graduate assistant, but as was the case as a manager, Davis never shied away from the opportunities available, which were mostly the undesirable tasks that someone had to perform.Through all of that effort came an unexpected moment.On Feb. 28, 2016, OSU hosted No. 8 Iowa as a last-chance effort to back itself into the NCAA Tournament. Dickerson walked over to Davis during the under-eight media timeout while the team was down five and asked for the team’s best small lineup throughout the season. Davis had the info and gave it to him. The lineup, which Davis can’t explicitly remember, went into the game halfway through the second half and cut into the Hawkeyes lead. The Buckeyes earned their second top-10 victory that season, 68-64 over Iowa.It was trial by fire for the work Davis had put in for the past year and a half.“That was so frickin’ scary because if something went bad, (Dickerson) was never going to trust me again,” he said. “It was the stress test. This wasn’t the last minute or last possession, this was towards the end of the game but it was one of those things where it was really cool for me to see that I put all these hours into something, not knowing if it was ever going to be used or not, and it got used.”That hard work, however, nearly didn’t earn him a job on the staff. Davis had a decision to make about his future with the program.A decisionAs mentioned before, managers and graduate assistants aren’t paid and there isn’t time for a second job if you want to advance to be a coach. On top of that, the basketball program does not pay for tuition of graduate school. For Davis’ second year as a graduate assistant, he didn’t have the funds to pay for housing around campus, so he was forced to move back in with his parents in Hilliard. Sometimes, he would even sleep at the Schott if he was there late and needed to be there early the next morning.“It got to the point where I realized I’m 24 years old. I have a lot of student debt. I’m living at home with my parents. I’m chasing this coaching dream, and I love it,” Davis said. “But ultimately, the programs I have built on a platform called Sports Tech … they were rapidly expanding.”Patrick Ford, a former manager and Davis’ friend, worked at Sports Tech’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, and set Davis up with an interview. Sports Tech, the company that bought the popular football video service Hudl, was looking for people who already knew the software; Davis fit the bill.A year before, Davis saw Strayer struggle to get into coaching before Strayer took a job at Lake Superior State in Michigan, which left doubt in Davis’ mind about his chances. Coaching was Davis’ dream but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. After all, he had to start making money.Davis said he once sat down and calculated how much money he would have made if he were paid minimum wage for every hour he worked through his six years with the program. The number after taxes: $111,973.23.“It made me want to f—ing puke,” he said.In the middle of the 2015-16 season, all Davis had to do in order to accept the Sports Tech job was make a trip to Nebraska. However, by mid-April, Diebler left the program for Vanderbilt, which resulted in Davis taking on his responsibilities.Davis was about to make a call to Sports Tech to schedule his visit when David Egelhoff, the director of basketball operations, tapped Davis on his shoulder and asked to meet with him in his office. Davis asked to make the phone call first, but Egelhoff told him that’s why he needed to talk to him.Egelhoff offered Davis his first paid position on staff as the recruiting coordinator. He started to run through the details of the offer and the job, but Davis accepted before Egelhoff could finish.“That’s what I had always wanted,” Davis said. “The moment that presented itself, I was all in. Everyone on the staff knows I’m a two-feet-in guy. I’ve given everything I’ve had to this program for six years. It hasn’t always been the work on the front page. It’s been the work behind closed doors, and I’m cool with that.”“The money didn’t matter, the title didn’t matter, but to know that I had a future within our staff just meant the world to me. I told everyone from the beginning, I’m here for Ohio State basketball. Whether that means I’m wiping the floor, cutting video or recruiting, just whatever it is, I’m happy to be here.”Less than three months later, OSU hired Alan Major — the one who first planted the idea of being a coach at OSU into Davis’ mind — as coordinator of recruiting and player development, and Davis was promoted to video coordinator.One of the first things Davis did as video coordinator was call his mentor, Diebler. Davis told Diebler that when he took the job at Vanderbilt, that was one of the best things that could have happened to Davis. Davis said he was able to prove his worth to the staff with Diebler’s absence, which contributed to his promotion.Davis was in charge of the entire official visit of now-junior point guard C.J. Jackson, who will likely be the starting point guard in the 2017-18 season.“I think he’s got a bright future in coaching because he works hard, he cares about the guys on the team and wants to see them succeed,” Diebler said. “I think he’s going to be a good coach and I’m excited to have worked with him for three years and excited to see what the future holds for him.”Davis sits beside the coaching staff and players during the Indiana game on March 4 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of Sam HollingsheadThe job he wants to doSince taking over as video coordinator, Davis has taken on projects that he saw needing improvement and has applied lessons from Diebler on staff management.Davis began to reshape the team’s social media presence this season with the help of David Aaron, the team’s videographer, and Joe Gemma, who works as a graphic designer for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.Davis has also become more involved in official visits. He coordinates how the recruit is getting to Columbus, how is he going to be picked up, when is he arriving for practice, when will he meet with the Student Athlete Support Service Office (SASSO) and what the presentation will entail.“All the little things from golf carts to making sure you can get a private room at a dinner. All those little things, that’s my life,” he said. “The coaches are going to deal with the nitty gritty stuff, but I’m trying to provide the examples with my academic career and my career around the program, how they can relate to kids too.”He also has taken on some operations functions to allow Egelhoff to focus on big picture items for the program.And video — he still does plenty of that.Davis no longer counts the hours he works at home because he understands it’s the nature of the job.“What makes the video coordinator job so tough is that when you go home — you may take a breather to make some dinner — there’s more film to watch,” Diebler said. “That’s like the video coordinator’s nightmare is that you didn’t do enough preparation going into a game to where there’s a surprise. Only way to do that is to make sure you watch all the available film.”Davis had been doing that well before he was named the team’s video coordinator.The only difference now is Davis is performing in the role he has always wanted to.“I love Kyle just from the standpoint of where he started and he’s worked his way up,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “He’s one of those guys that the technology portion of his position is so important. What he can do in terms of how quick he can get the edits done and he’s spot on with everything. He’s figured me out in terms of what I like and what I don’t like. “He’s a guy that when we lose, he’s as sad as anybody in our program, and when we win, he’s as happy (as anyone). He’s a Buckeye.”So, was the journey worth it?“Absolutely. There’s no question,” Davis said. “If you would’ve asked me six years ago, what’s the realistic dream, I would have told you: to be the video coordinator of Ohio State basketball.”
Ohio State junior defender Osman Fofanah dribbles past Rutgers defenders during the second half of the Ohio State-Rutgers game on Sep. 30. Ohio State lost 3-2. Credit: Cody Mefferd | For the LanternThe Ohio State men’s soccer team (1-15-2, 0-8-1 Big Ten) saw one of the toughest seasons in program history come to an end on Saturday afternoon at the hands of Northwestern (6-8-5, 1-5-3 Big Ten) in the No. 8-No. 9 seed matchup in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes went ahead early in the 17th minute on a goal from redshirt junior forward Jake Scheper, his second goal of the season.Scheper took a pass from junior defender Osman Fofanah and volleyed a lob shot past Northwestern’s sophomore goalkeeper Miha Miskovic. It was all Northwestern from there on out. The Wildcats found three goals from their midfield to seal the victory. Junior midfielder Sean Lynch, senior midfielder Camden Buescher and junior midfielder Matt Moderwell tallied the goals for Northwestern.Buescher and Moderwell are the two leading scorers for the Wildcats, and they provided the punch that is expected from them, as they iced the game with goals in the 78th minute and 88th minute respectively. Ohio State took the early lead not only on the scoreboard, but on the stat sheet. The Buckeyes outshot Northwestern 7-4 in the opening 45 minutes. Five minutes after the Scheper goal, Northwestern found the equalizer when Lynch scored his first goal of the season to tie it at 1-1. Despite the match being tied at the half, the opening 45 minutes seemed to put the Buckeyes in a good position to win just their second match of the season, allowing them to live and fight another day. Saturday’s match turned out to be a tale of two halves. Northwestern found its footing and pulled away from the Buckeyes, outscoring Ohio State 2-0 in the second half and outshooting the Buckeyes 7-5. Miskovic and Ohio State redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried both made three saves on the afternoon. Northwestern will advance to play No. 1 seed Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
Ohio State senior Nate Romans (7) swings at home plate in the Buckeyes’ home opener against the Lipscomb Bison on March 15, 2019 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternThe Ohio State baseball team overcame an early 6-1 deficit to claim its second-straight victory. Ohio State (10-10) rallied to beat Northern Kentucky (4-13) 10-8. The Buckeyes produced 14 hits, including two home runs, in the win. After trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, Ohio State cut into the deficit to just a run by the bottom of the seventh inning. With one man on, redshirt sophomore catcher Brent Todys lifted a home run over the left field wall to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game. “[The mindset was] just competing. I’d been struggling of late. Just going out there and putting that bat to help the team string together something,” Todys said. Five Buckeyes recorded multi-hit games, including a three-hit, two-RBI game from senior left fielder Brady Cherry. The freshmen especially shined, combining to hit .417 with five RBI. After a pair of hard groundouts started the game for Northern Kentucky, redshirt senior designated hitter Will Haueter hit a two-out double down the third base line to give his team a runner in scoring position. The Norse capitalized with a two-run home run by sophomore first baseman Griffin Doersching.Following a quick two outs in the Buckeyes’ half of the inning, Cherry snuck a ball down the third base line. Junior first baseman Conner Pohl drove home Cherry with a single to right-center field, cutting the deficit to 2-1 after one inning. Following a hit batsman and a wild pitch, a single to center put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the third inning. A strikeout got the second out, but a fielding and a throwing error by Ohio State freshman third baseman Zach Dezenzo allowed the Northern Kentucky runner from third to score. On the same play, junior right fielder Dominic Canzone roped a throw from right field to record the final out at the plate and keep the score at 3-1. Ohio State head coach Greg Beals noted the importance of the play to bail them out of the inning and prevent further damage. “That’s what you expect out of your big-time players though. Dom’s a big-time player for us. We needed him to make big plays,” Beals said. Junior pitcher Jake Vance recorded two strikeouts in the fourth inning, but two doubles put another run on the board for the Norse. A two-run home run from redshirt freshman left fielder Sam Hedges put Northern Kentucky ahead 6-1. Vance exited the game after four innings. He allowed five earned runs with four strikeouts. But Todys said the team kept its head up even with the five-run deficit.“We felt like we were still in it, and we felt like our bats are good enough right now to where we can get ourselves back into the game when we are down like that,” Todys said. Ohio State freshman designated hitter Marcus Ernst was able to immediately respond with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman center fielder Nolan Clegg launched the first home run of his collegiate career to reduce the Norse lead to three.“Just chip away at their lead,” Clegg said. “We were still very early in the game, so we had plenty of time.” A fielding error and a hit batsman kept the inning alive for the Buckeyes with two outs. Cherry took advantage with a two-RBI double to deep left-center field to make the score 6-5. “That four runs in the fourth for us kind of put us back in the mix and gave us that believing feeling,” Beals said. Northern Kentucky started the sixth inning with a pair of walks, and a bunt by Northern Kentucky advanced the runners into scoring position with one out before a sacrifice fly by Hedges moved the score to 7-5. Ohio State freshman pitcher Bayden Root stepped on the mound in the seventh inning and he struck out three, surrendering one hit. Pohl was able to hit a double in the gap in right centerfield to open the bottom of the seventh. Dezenzo drove a hard liner to third base, which bounced off the diving third baseman’s glove for a double, bringing home Pohl to cut the Ohio State deficit to one. This set the stage for Todys to lift the Buckeyes ahead with his two-run home run. Following a strikeout to record the second out of the bottom of the eighth inning, a pair of bases-loaded walks pushed the Ohio State lead to 10-7. The ninth inning proved difficult for the Buckeyes for the second-straight game. Northern Kentucky loaded the bases with two outs, and a passed-ball strikeout reduced the deficit to two. Junior pitcher Andrew Magno struck out the final batter to earn his second save of the year, as the Buckeyes survived another late-game scare.“Those experiences, I think, are thickening our skin a little bit, toughening us up. Our guys again survived,” Beals said. Root earned his first collegiate win with a four-strikeout performance in 2 2/3 innings of relief. “This was a big game, because this gets us back to even ground. Now we just go in and never look back,” Todys said. Ohio State will return to start a four-game series with Hawaii at Bill Davis Stadium at 5:05 p.m. Thursday.
“The part-bursaries are being offered in a far more generous way,” he told The London Magazine.“You will be looking eventually at [families earning] £150,000, £170,000, £190,000 potentially benefiting.”He conceded that soaring fees at St Paul’s mean his school has become “increasingly unaffordable”.“It was our founder’s vision,” he said, “[to educate] boys indifferently of their background and we’ve drifted away from that.”St Paul’s School was founded by educational pioneer and dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, John Colet, in 1509.It was meant to be “an inclusive meritocracy in which boys ‘from all nations and countries indifferently’ would be educated, without regard to means or race”.But St Paul’s isn’t the only private school whose soaring fees are pushing out middle-class parents. One of Britain’s most famous private schools is offering bursaries and scholarships for children of middle-class families, even if parents earn £120,000 a year.London-based St Paul’s, which charges £7,827 a term, is offering discounts to families on a combined salary of £120,000, after headmaster Professor Mark Bailey admitted the school had become “unaffordable”.This comes amid concerns that private school fees – which have risen by 550 per cent in the past 25 years and now cost up to £30,000 annually per child – are affordable only to wealthy foreigners.Professor Bailey added that eventually, families on a combined income of £190,000 would become potential beneficiaries of bursaries. “The changes have been phenomenal with the arrival of Russians, Chinese and people from the Middle East as well as emerging countries such as Kazakhstan.”Now we are finding people coming from South America, we’re getting Brazilians and Argentinians and also Mexicans. I get people ringing me from South Africa and saying, ‘If my son gets into St Paul’s, we will move over to London.”Independent schools argue they are trying to combat the soaring increases. Figures from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) reveal that bursaries and scholarships totalled more than £850 million last year, with more than £700 million coming directly from schools’ budgets.But it isn’t just middle-class parents that are suffering as youngsters are also under increasing pressure to meet their parents’ expectations.Lucy Elphinstone, head of Francis Holland School in west London, said: “The [current situation] is fuelling desperation among parents, which is having a detrimental effect on children’s mental health.”Already schools are tackling a growing culture of tutoring children ahead of assessments as parents push them through, in many cases, up to six exams at different institutions in an effort to make it to the best school. Professor Mark Bailey, pictured in 1998Credit:Philip Harris 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 changes have been phenomenal with the arrival of Russians, Chinese and people from the Middle East as well as emerging countries such as KazakhstanSusan Hamlyn St Paul’s was meant to be “an inclusive meritocracy” Research shows fees are their least affordable since the 1960s and that the children of previous generations who were able to go private schools will no longer be able to do so.The average pay packet is currently around £25,000 a year but it now costs more than £30,000 to send a child to board for a year, while the annual cost of a private day school is £15,500.Particularly in London, the average private school fees have risen at triple the rate of inflation over the past five years.And the sheer volume of pupils competing for places has turned London into a ‘pressure cooker’.At the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb, 2,000 students applied for 100 places.Soaring demand, an influx of wealthy international parents and rising costs in paying staff and modernising facilities are often-cited reasons for the increase in fees.Susan Hamlyn, a former teacher and director of The Good Schools Guide, said the increase in foreign families sending their children to private school was a major factor.She said: “I’ve been working at The Good Schools Guide for the past 16 years.
“They are called the hard core – a cross-over group that includes elderly drink drivers and others from all age groups.”Hard core older drink drivers will have developed bad habits over years, probably got away with it in the past and believe they can still drive safely when half-cut.”Drink-driving can result in three months’ imprisonment, a £2,500 fine or a driving ban. He added that the figures suggested that “morning-after” enforcement designed to catch drinkers going to work still drunk was not working.”What is surprising is that, with more of the enforcement done the morning after to catch the home boozers, the number of elderly drivers caught has gone up. “With less likelihood of retirees needing to get up early to go to work, the chances of getting caught at that time of day must be lower,” he said. More elderly people are getting caught for drink-driving because they believe they can still drive safely when drunk. New figures suggest that pensioners are still getting behind the wheel after a drink – while teenagers are less likely to risk it. The number of under-19s caught drunk at the wheel has plummeted over ten years while the number of over-65s has risen.Data released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request shows that 1,436 under-19s were caught drink-driving in 2015, compared to 6,744 in 2005. The overall number of people convicted of drink driving has fallen from 84,540 in 2005 to 45,970 in 2015. But pensioners have bucked the trend, with the number of over-65s convicted of the offence rising from 1,295 in 2005 to 1,435 in 2015. However, just three over-65s have been convicted of causing death by careless driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs in the past ten years.Accidents involving drivers who had been drinking also fell over the same period, from 10,080 in 2005 to 5,740, according to separate figures from the Department for Transport, with the number of fatal accidents falling from 470 to 180.Expensive alcohol means young people are less likely to be driving home drunk from bars and clubs, according to a spokesman for the AA. He added that older drivers have a misguided view that they can still drive well after having had a drink. 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. He said: “For the younger drivers, the cost of alcohol in pubs and nightspots will have put downward pressure on drink-drive statistics in their age group.”However, there is a need for targeted policing of places with late night drinking. “Although the majority will heed the warnings, it is the minority who flout the law and still pose a high risk.
Zulhash Uddin, another councillor, called for a full review of safety measures at any future events in the borough.“It is so sad to hear that somebody has lost their life. Safety is a number one issue at events like these and this will trigger a review when we do get the council issuing permits and licensing. One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was woken by the sound of the air ambulance landing. He said he had heard that the pair may have been overcome by carbon monoxide. A post mortem on the cause of the man’s death will be held in the next few days.”We don’t know for sure. It’s so sad,” he said. “Maybe they were cold and put a stove in their tent or something?”A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police is making enquiries to establish the circumstances surrounding an unexplained death in Tunbridge Wells.”A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council spokesman said the festival was authorised under a temporary licence and the authority had “no discretion to select the type of events held providing they meet the requirements of the relevant legislation”. A man was found dead in a tent and a woman airlifted to hospital yesterday after attending an outdoor sex festival.The man, who was in his 50’s, and the woman were understood to have been at the two-day Flamefest, a so-called “kinky rave”, in woodland near Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent.Detectives and paramedics were called to a campsite shortly after 6am when the two people were discovered unconscious.Attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful, and his death was last night being treated as “unexplained” while investigations continue. The unconscious woman was taken to hospital by air ambulance where she was being treated.It remained unclear what caused the pair to lose consciousness. One man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said barbeque apparatus had been removed from a tent, raising the possibility they were overcome by fumes. Others claimed the man’s death may have been drug-related. Kent Police vehicles at the site of Flamfest near Tunbridge WellsCredit:FLYJM The festival, in its second year, attracted controversy after boasting of being an event for “kinky, quirky, creative hedonists” who could “explore their wild side”. According to its website, visitors can “explore kinks” and “play within the boundaries of our common-sense rules”. There were also DJs and circus-style performers including fire-breathing acrobats and sword swallowers. Last week, Dianne Hill, councillor for the ward where the festival was held, told a local radio station: “I’m no prude but this is the wrong place for this sort of thing. It’s a residential area. A big worry is they say there will be coaches coming down – where are they going to park?”Helen Smedley, festival organiser, said it was a private event and insisted no sex would be on show to the public. She was yesterday unavailable for comment.However, local councillor Nasir Jamil, from Southborough Town Council, said yesterday that he was “appalled and disgusted” after seeing two couples having sex in a beauty spot where he normally walks with his children.“The organiser has fooled the council by saying it was a music festival but it wasn’t a music festival at all,” he said.“The whole community here is very shocked. Then we heard there was a death here and I was really, really shocked. I think there was illegal drug taking going on.” The location of the festival, which has a “discreet adult play area” with “fetish equipment” and an outdoor “dungeon” with dominatrixes, was a closely guarded secret. But when it emerged it would be held on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells the local media was inundated with complaints. Organisers of the event drafted in extra security to stop gatecrashersCredit:Grant Falvey/LNP Flamefest, which is in its second year, has a ‘discreet’ adult play area and an outdoor dungeonCredit:Facebook Still from a promotional video for Flamefest 2017,Credit:Youtube/Flamefest “Obviously local people did raise concerns about the festival. I am sure this will be looked at by the appropriate agencies.”Police were yesterday seen focusing their investigation on a cordoned off large white tent. 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.
They argue that the UK has a “Victorian” attitude and “upstairs-downstairs” approach towards chefs and hotel managers, which holds the industry back.. Chef John Campbell, founder of the Woodspeen restaurants, said the Government should “get a move on”, explaining: “Brexit’s going to be a big opportunity for us, certainly in London where we have all that new… A source from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told The Telegraph it is working on a hospitality strategy post-Brexit, but there is not one yet. Leading figures in the hospitality industry are calling on the government to develop an industrial strategy post-Brexit as British people do not see it as a “real job”.