Bolt Receives AIPS America Award

first_imgUsain Bolt was presented on Saturday with the 2012 International Association for Sports Journalists (AIPS) Male Athlete of the Year award for his outstanding performance at the Olympic Games in London last year.The Jamaican sprinter received the award shortly after he won his third straight men’s 200 metres title at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the Luzhniki Stadium.The award from the AIPS America was presented by Trinidad Express sports journalist, Kwame Laurence, on behalf of the continental section of AIPS and witnessed by other Caribbean journalists.Bolt and Colombian cyclist Mariana Pajon were named the top sports personalities in Latin American and the Caribbean in 2012. Pajon received her award at a ceremony in Medellin, Colombia, earlier this year, but Bolt was unable to attend.AppreciateIn accepting the award from AIPS America, Bolt said: “Yeah man. Appreciate it. Thanks. “Through what I’ve been through with journalists over the years – I’ve been through some good, some bad stuff – it’s always good to be recognised by them because I know … that they’re not as bad as I thought they were.”Bolt won the 200m on Saturday in a world leading 19.66, ahead of teammate Warren Weir (19.79) and American Curtis Mitchell (20.04).last_img read more

Oosthuizen captures British Open

first_imgThe closest Casey, who was partnering Oosthuizen, managed to get to him during the final round was three shots. Oosthuizen also paid tribute to Ernie Els and his Fancourt Foundation, which provides assistance to talented young South African golfers. With his victory, Oosthuizen became the first player from the Foundation to capture a Major title. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material While the majority of the field struggled to master the windy conditions at the home of golf, Oosthuizen had no such problems. After the first round, he trailed only Rory McIlroy by two shots after the Northern Irishman had blitzed the course in a record nine-under-par 63. Afterwards, at the winner’s press conference, Oosthuizen said: “I felt it was very tight: three shots was nothing, playing that course anything could happen on the back nine, but the minute Paul hit it in the bush on 12, making that seven, and me making that putt for birdie was a huge thing. Surprise victoryWhile Oosthuizen’s winning margin was huge, it was probably not as huge as the surprise of him winning. After all, if someone had been lucky enough to lay a bet of R5 000 on Oosthuizen at the start of the tournament, that person would have walked away with R1-million thanks to odds of 200 to 1 on the South African. Ernie Els, Tim Clark, Jean Hugo, Joshua Cunliffe, and Darren Fichardt missed the cut. South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen stunned the world of golf with an assured performance at the 139th edition of the Open Golf Championship, recording a sensational seven-shot victory on the Old Course at Saint Andrews on Sunday. ‘I felt it was very tight’ “To win an Open Championship is special, but to win it here at Saint Andrews is something you dream about,” he said afterwards. Trevor Immelman shared 23rd place, only one shot further off the pace, on three-under 285 after going around in 68, 74, 75, and 68. Playing with Casey, said Oosthuizen, had helped his game. “He’s just a great guy,” Oosthuizen explained. “Also a great golfer, fantastic person, he’s definitely going to win a major, that’s for sure. South Africa’s Retief Goosen produced a very steady four rounds of golf to finish alone in sixth on seven-under-par 281 after rounds of 69, 70, 72, and 70. 19 July 2010 “But then he told me the story of when he played against Arnold Palmer, when he won his first Masters. He said they wanted to throw stuff at him,” Oosthuizen laughed, “but he was so focused on beating him at Augusta. So, it meant a lot, him phoning me up.” The first thing Oosthuizen did in his speech on the 18th green after winning was to wish former South African President Nelson Mandela a happy 92nd birthday. In round three, Oosthuizen’s 69 was bettered by only six players. That left him on 15-under-par 201 with a round to play. England’s Paul Casey was the closest man to the South African, but four shots off the pace on 11-under 205. There were seven shots between Oosthuizen and third place. Essentially, it was his tournament to lose. Thomas Aiken finished on seven-over-par 295, tied for 74th “At that stage I had a lot of confidence and the holes that were coming up, I knew 13 and 14, to me, I don’t know, I like those holes.” Charl Schwartzel, the best man at Oosthuizen’s wedding, tied for 14th. He finished on four-under-par 284 after rounds of 71, 75, 68, and 70. Ahead of his final round, Oosthuizen received a phone call from South African golfing legend Gary Player. Oosthuizen related: “Gary was saying just to stay calm out there, have a lot of fun, and, you know, he said that the crowd was probably going to be on Paul’s side. Winning one’s first major, no doubt, makes it a fun day, especially when one has done enough over the first three rounds to leave very few challengers for the title. Behind OosthuizenBehind Oosthuizen, on 272, and Westwood, on 279, Casey had to settle for a share of third with Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy on 280. The Englishman went around in 75, while Stenson posted a 71, and McIlroy a 68. Remarkably, McIlroy had three rounds in the sixties, but, crucially, another of 80. “It’s always nice playing with him. We have a lot of fun on the course, talk about other things, things like that. I think it’s important, things like that. It’s still a game you’re playing and you’ve got to have fun with the guys you’re playing with. Otherwise it’s going to be quite miserable out there. But, yeah, we had a really fun day.” Displaying a calmness that surprised many (considering the big stakes), Oosthuizen kept his composure throughout the final round to record a convincing victory which was the fourth by a South African in The Open. Previously Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Oosthuizen’s mentor, Ernie Els, had lifted the famed Claret Jug. “And when I walked down the 18th, I was thinking about his birthday and my manager also gave me a list of things [to say], and it was also on there. What he’s done for our country is unbelievable and happy birthday once again.” Happy birthday “You know, I woke up this morning and I didn’t know it was his birthday today,” he admitted, “but I saw it this morning on the news, on the internet, and it just felt a bit special. Halfway leadOosthuizen topped the leaderboard at the halfway mark after a five-under-par 67 left him on 12-under 132. McIlroy, meanwhile, stumbled to an 80 and dropped way down the standings.last_img read more

Delhi govt blames rain for delay in CWG projects

first_imgWith just 25 days to go for the Commonwealth Games (CWG), the Delhi government is again set to miss its deadline for the completion of various projects. This time, the government is blaming the slow progress on the rains. The latest deadline set by the state government expires on September 15, but the works seem far from completion. However the state government defended itself blaming rains in the capital and again refused to take responsibility for the debacle in the making. When Headlines Today posed some blunt questions to Delhi PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chouhan, he hinted at the deadline being missed once again. “Normally it doesn’t rain so heavily in September. We should have completed the work by now, but we are facing difficulties because of rain,” Chouhan said. “Rain doesn’t see any deadline, be it September 10 or 15. It is difficult to do construction when it is raining,” the minister added. On the other side, CWG organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi termed the rain as a challenge. He however was confident about the success of the Games. “There were many challenges for the Commonwealth Games. Rain is also a challenge. It has been raining heavily. But we are confident that we will meet this challenge also. Everything will be fine,” Kalmadi said.last_img read more

10 months agoSolskjaer: Man Utd players have clean slate – to a point

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Solskjaer: Man Utd players have clean slate – to a pointby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the players have a clean slate – to a point.Predecessor Jose Mourinho fell out with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, but Solskjaer says he is prepared to take a fresh look at every player.He told MUTV in his first interview: “Playing games is the best time of your life!”The more games you get, the better it is. For me as a manager now it’s great because you have to rotate, so you’ll get to see many players; they’ll get that chance and everyone in”Everybody in the squad knows ‘I’ve got a chance now’ because whatever’s gone, whatever’s happened has happened.”Now it’s just about from here everybody starts with a clean slate and we want players to perform and to give them a chance.”Asked whether that meant everybody in the squad had a ‘blank piece of paper’ going forward, Solskjaer said: “Well you’ve got to start somewhere.”Of course you look at a couple of performances I’ve seen the last few games, but you look at the merits, you look at the team, you pick a team now and you move on; they’ll all get chances.” last_img read more

Backroom deals speeches key to AFN national chief victory

first_img(Former AFN natioal chief Matthew Coon Come (left) walks beside AFN national chief candidate Pam Palmater during the grand entry Tuesday. Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Cree, is backing Palmater in her bid. APTN/Photo)By Tim Fontaine and Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsTORONTO–With less than 24 hours until chiefs begin electing a new leader of the Assembly of First Nations, it’s make-or-break time for the eight candidates.For many chiefs in attendance, this will be their first opportunity to meet one-on-one with those vying for the position of national chief.As of Tuesday, 314 chiefs and proxies had registered for the Toronto AFN gathering, but officials said they expected more to register by tomorrow, the day of the vote. A total of 1400 people had registered to attend the gathering by Tuesday morning.There are about 634 chiefs who are eligible to vote for the national chief. The winning candidate needs to garner at least 60 per cent of the vote.Eight candidates are in the race for national chief.Four women are vying for the job, including Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk from Kanesatake, who rose to prominence during the Oka crisis, Joan Jack, an Ojibway lawyer from the Berens River First Nation and former Treaty 3 grand chief Diane Kelly, a lawyer from Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, and Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson University.The field of candidates also includes incumbent National Chief Shawn Atleo, George Stanley, Alberta AFN regional chief from the Cree First Nation of Frog Lake, Bill Erasmus, Dene Nation chief from the Northwest Territories and Terrance Nelson, the five-time former chief of Roseau River.Much of this politicking takes place in caucus rooms. Over the next day and during the voting process, chiefs from each region will meet in these private rooms to discuss amongst themselves where each candidate stands.“Usually they’ll have an idea on who they want to vote for on the first ballot. And then after that what happens is that the candidates will go around to the various caucus rooms and find out if they can pinpoint specific items that they need to work on to gain support for that caucus. Because after the first ballot everything can change very quickly.” says John Beaucage, who ran unsuccessfully for national chief in 2009.Bob Watts,chief of staff to former AFN national chief Phil Fontaine, said each of the camps would also spend Tuesday working furiously to shore up their existing support and try to peel support away from the other candidates.“Right now it’s about shoring up votes, making sure supporters are still supporters and finding ways of networking out in the other camps and seeing where there is help and where there is no help,” he said. “There is a lot of work in the backrooms.”Perhaps the most formal and visible election event is the all-candidates forum. Traditionally held the night before voting begins, candidates have the opportunity to address the chiefs in attendance in a strictly timed and structured format.Beaucage says this will be crucial for incumbent Atleo.“They’re looking at the past record for National Chief Atleo. They’re seeing what was promised three years ago and they’re seeing how that promise was delivered and they’re trying to determine if Chief Atleo deserves another term.”Watts said speech preparation plays a big part of what is happening in the backrooms of each camp.“(Atleo) has probably gone over his speech this afternoon a hundred times to make sure that he is going to hit everything they expect of him. This is going on in all the camps,” said Watts. “This is big politics and people take it really seriously.”While it might be easy to assume that the level of applause is an indication of support, that’s not always the case. At the 2009 AFN election in Calgary, Nelson received the most applause at the all-candidates forum, yet was eliminated in the first round of voting.The speeches will be playing a decisive role in this year’s outcome as many chiefs have still to make up their minds as to who they will support. It appears Atleo has a lock on a large part if not all the B.C. votes making Ontario, which has the second largest block of chief, as a key battleground. Many Ontario chiefs say they are waiting to see how the speeches unfold before deciding where to turn.Talk among chiefs and observers indicate that if Atleo emerges from the first ballot in a show of strength, his opposition will melt away. It seems there is little appetite for the marathon voting sessions from 2009.Watts said this year’s election is probably one of the most important in recent memory.“There is a lot at stake. There is probably more at stake in this election than in any other election,” said Watts. “Just with the way things are going with free prior and informed consent, the focus on resource development, the alternative that the government seems to be presenting that, ‘we’ll go ahead and do stuff and worry about it later,’ versus First Nations saying we want processes, we want to be involved, we want high standards in terms of how things are being done. So these are contrasting visions of the country of how development will happen.”And the high stakes have brought out some of the big hitters in First Nations politics.Former AFN national chief Matthew Coon Come, who is Grand Chief of the Cree, has publicly backed Palmater’s candidacy. He walked next to her as they entered during the grand procession to open the AFN gathering amid drums and singing.Coon Come, however, refused to comment Tuesday on why he backed Palmater.Another former national chief Ovide Mercredi, who is now a band councillor for Misipawistik Cree Nation in Manitoba, has thrown his considerable influence behind Atleo.“(Atleo) is the only guy that can lead,” said Mercredi, as he walked into the Toronto Metro Convention Centre where the AFN vote will be held.This year’s election has also seen a level of criticism directed at the incumbent not usually seen in AFN contests.Palmater has strongly rebuked the work of the AFN and Atleo, accusing the incumbent national chief of being too close to the Conservative government and enabling the assimilation of First Nations people.While her blunt talk has earned her a large following on social media, some chiefs believe that she has crossed the line.Snuneymuxw Chief Doug White, whose community is on Vancouver Island, said the rhetoric employed by Palmater has been “destructive” and done little to advance the cause of First Nations people.“It is a destructive form of politics that destroys the dignity…of the AFN,” said White, who is supporting Atleo. “Throwing rocks doesn’t serve our people.”White also said he was “deeply disturbed” by Nelson and his decision to use a planned trip to Iran as part of his campaign.“It attacks the dignity of the AFN for a candidate to be sidling up to such a repressive regime,” said White. “No social movement in history has ever advanced by peddling ignorance and allying with oppressors.”Rumours have also circulated that some chiefs from the prairie regions may consider leaving the AFN if Atleo again wins the post.The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has openly criticized Atleo for ignoring the direction of chiefs who want the AFN to take a stronger position on enforcing treaty rights.Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox has publicly accused Atleo of pushing the assimilation policies of the Conservative government. Fox nominated Atleo for national chief in 2009.FSIN vice-chief Morley Watson, however, dispelled talk of treaty chiefs walking away from the AFN if Atleo wins.“Whoever (the chiefs) decide to back, we will work with them,” said [email protected]@aptn.calast_img read more

Transcontinentals Q4 results tops expectations shares surge higher

first_imgThe Canadian Press MONTREAL — Shares in Transcontinental Inc. shot higher after the company reported a fourth quarter that topped expectations for both profits and revenue.Shares in the Montreal-based company were up $1.40 or more than seven per cent at $20.77 midday on the Toronto Stock Exchange after going as high as $22.42.Transcontinental reported a profit of $67 million or 76 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 28, down from $73.4 billion or 95 cents per share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, Transcontinental says it earned 99 cents per share for the quarter, up from 91 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.Revenue for what was the company’s fourth quarter totalled $829.2 million, up from $527.2 million, boosted by its acquisition of Coveris Americas earlier this year.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 76 cents per share and revenue of $777.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Companies in this story: (TSX:TCL.A, TSX:TCL.B)last_img read more

Firefighters Ball raises over 65000

first_imgWinn added that the atmosphere was extra special this year, especially since the firefighters began their charitable society in 2016 to help residents with travel medical expenses. He added that the vast majority of the money raised will be staying in the local area. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The 10th Annual Fort St. John Firefighters Charity Ball brought in an estimated $65,000 after expenses on Saturday night.Firefighters Charitable Society President Adam Winn said that though the final exact tally isn’t in yet, but that at least $65,000 was raised for two causes at the event, after the ball grossed around $111,000. Winn said that the ball was raising money for the local firefighters charity that supports Fort St. John residents cover travel expenses for medical treatment outside the Peace Region. The ball also raised money for the Firefighters Burn Fund.Winn said that the he was stunned at the amount of money the sold-out event raised, especially considering that the local economy has not quite recovered to levels seen five years ago. For the tenth anniversary celebrations, Winn said that firefighters aimed to make the event more lively than in years past, with live music from CC Brooks and the Roadside Distraction and the Montney Coulees making live music a debut at the ball.last_img read more

FSJ city council approves grant to Peace Country River Rats

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John city council has approved a grant to the Peace Country River Rats to help host the 2019 World Jet Boat Race Championships.Peace Country River Rats had requested that the city funds the race with a $2,500 grant.Council has passed a motion to fund the full amount requested by the group. This funding will help alleviate the cost associated with the hosting of the race.The 2019 World Jet Boat Race will be coming to the Peace on July 10 to 21, 2019.last_img

The Lynx Have The Best Stathead In The WNBA

The Minnesota Lynx have dominated the WNBA this season, as they have much of the last half-decade. The team has reached the finals in five of the past six seasons, including this one. And since Cheryl Reeve was hired as head coach in 2009, the Lynx have won three WNBA titles. They entered this year’s postseason as the top seed, with a 28-6 record, quickly dismantled the Phoenix Mercury in the semifinals, and now face the Los Angeles Sparks, a team the Lynx went 2-1 against during the regular season. The two play for the title tonight in a winner-take-all Game 5.The engines of this success are obvious: Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles both ranked in the league’s top five for Player Impact Estimate,1Among players who played in at least 10 games. a statistic that measures a player’s overall importance to her team’s success when on the court, and Moore’s offensive rating (1.11 points per possession) led the league.2Again among players who played in at least 10 games. Fowles has had double-doubles in three of four games in the finals, and Moore scored 31 points on 9-17 shooting to take Game 4.But for all of Minnesota’s obvious weaponry, it has a secret one as well: Paul Swanson — the reclusive, in-house statistician for the Lynx and Timberwolves who is integrated seamlessly into the Lynx coaching staff. “Swanny has this unique ability to provide us with stats I wouldn’t think to ask for,” said Reeve, who carries around pieces of paper full of what the coaching staff calls “Swanny Stats.” “There isn’t another team in the WNBA that has the resources to employ someone like him.”Just as the Lynx aren’t any ordinary pro franchise, Swanson isn’t any ordinary stat geek. He entered analytical lore as the unofficial creator of the net plus-minus formula, which he unveiled in 2003 to demonstrate the legitimacy of Kevin Garnett’s MVP candidacy (which he lost to Tim Duncan). And since the beginnings of the WNBA, he’s been one of the few people breaking down and logging the advanced stats of an WNBA team and the league as a whole.To hear it from the coaches and others within the WNBA statistical community, Swanson’s input has helped shape coaching decisions during the team’s title runs. But his effect on the game extends even further: His meticulously curated stats site (which, though publicly accessible, is buried on Google) was a beacon for those who were disappointed by the WNBA’s output.“For a long time, Paul was virtually the only person providing these sorts of advanced stats,” said Richard Cohen of WNBAlien.com, who has corresponded with Swanson over email for years. “This season is the first time the WNBA has actually provided decent stats, but for a long time, his site was the only place you could get anything of value.”Kevin Pelton knows about the league’s statistical desert first-hand. Before joining ESPN, Pelton worked for the Seattle Storm as its advanced stats guru. “There were more independent resources in the NBA that were stepping in to fill that void whereas that never really existed in the WNBA,” Pelton said. “It’s up to Paul.”Not that you’ll hear any of this from Swanson, who wouldn’t comment for this article and has next to no web presence. Other than his frequent postings on the women’s basketball forum RebKell and a handful of mentions by longtime Lynx assistant Jim Petersen (“I try to mention his name and give him shout-outs anytime I can,” he said. “I call him the Great Paul Swanson.”), Swanson is a ghost.There are conflicting accounts of when Swanson began working for the Lynx and the Timberwolves. According to Ashley Carlson, the Lynx’s PR manager, Swanson has been employed as the statistician for both franchises since their inceptions (the Wolves began operations in 1989, the Lynx in 1999). But both Reeve and Petersen said Swanson was a freelancer until the 2000s, when his position became more solidified within the organization. “It’s evolved as a whole from being an independent contractor to now a full-time position,” Reeve said.Initially, it was Swanson’s meticulous game notes that drew attention. He would stay up all night after a game compiling and then updating not only the standard box sheet, but also the so-called “advanced” basketball stats that focused on per-possession numbers.“He was putting out the best game notes in the NBA,” said Petersen, who doubles as an announcer for Timberwolves games. He was one of Swanson’s early converts: “I just looked at it as rebounding numbers and never thought about if a team played fast or played slow and how that impacts the number of shots that go up,” Petersen told MinnPost in 2012.The analytical community didn’t take notice of Swanson until 2002 or 2003, around the time he started including net plus-minus in his game notes. “We didn’t understand how to use it because obviously there are a lot of limitations to just looking at raw plus-minus and that one player only has so much control over what happens on the court,” Pelton said.What kicked things off was when Petersen repeated a few of Swanson’s per-48-minute computations during several Timberwolves broadcasts. Those stats found their way to the Association for Professional Basketball Research message boards — an early petri dish for basketball analytics — and incited a vigorous debate. According to Pelton, there were many skeptics, but because he had access to the game notes, he knew the stats were legit. “Paul was the first I saw to present the argument, ‘Let’s physically compare how a team does with a specific player on the court versus how they do with a specific player off the court,’” Pelton said.But while Swanson’s ideas were clever and gaining steam in the mathier circles, it took longer for them to take hold in the WNBA. “A lot of coaches had learned to work without it and weren’t searching for it,” Pelton said.That meant there was opportunity for the Lynx. “No one in the WNBA was crunching the per possession numbers, and we had access to, but didn’t use, efficiency stats that were unprecedented for the league,” Petersen said. “When Cheryl came in, I told her what Swanny could do for us in terms of advanced stats.” Swanson’s role slowly began to evolve. “He would come to practice, and you don’t ever really think about him,” Reeve said. “I was told he was a fabric of the organization, so I started him off with small tasks, like charting practice.”Those charts, which Reeve refers to as “heat zones,” formed the basis of the Lynx’s defensive philosophy when the coach first arrived in Minnesota. “We were really interested in what our opponents shot at different spots on the court,” she said. Eventually, Swanson began charting the Lynx’s own shots, which Reeve said helped the coaching staff better formulate the team’s offensive execution. “If we really know something, and we want to highlight it, we’ll support it with the stats that bear it out,” Reeve said. “That resonates more with our players, rather than just saying we watched game video.”Two years ago, Reeve extended Swanson an invitation to the daily coaches meetings — an uncommon situation for a statistician. Although both Petersen and Reeve declined to go into detail about Swanson’s specific contributions — “I don’t want to give people ideas of what we do,” Reeve said — the coaches’ conversations with Swanson help shape their game prep and decision making. “We formulate scouting reports based on his information,” Reeve said. “And we’ll use his analysis to put together lineups, whether it is whole lineups or just post pairs and perimeter trios. If Swanny said it, then it is so.”If the Lynx win tonight, they’ll tie the Houston Comets’ record for WNBA titles with four. But whatever the outcome, their sustained run of excellence over the past few years is, from a certain angle, proof of the value of having information and having the good sense to put it to use in a league that’s starved for it. read more

Commentary Ohio State mens basketball facing major issues as postseason play nears

Poor practices prior to games, on-court chemistry struggles during games and a disengaged star player have started to derail what seemed to be a promising year for the Ohio State men’s basketball team. After losing three of five games and dropping from No. 3 to No. 10 in the rankings during that span, the Buckeyes are facing major issues as the regular season winds down. OSU has two regular season games remaining, but the postgame mood following Sunday’s 63-60 defeat by Wisconsin was that of a NCAA Tournament loss. “Somebody’s got to step up and just be that guy to say, ‘This is enough,’ and bring us all together,” said sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas. It’s clear that the Buckeyes are desperate for leadership as the calendar turns to March, but where will it come from? Conventional wisdom would say that guard William Buford, the team’s lone senior, who sat inches to the right of Thomas as he professed the need for a leader, would be the primary player to speak out and rally the team. But the fact of the matter is that Buford’s leadership style doesn’t fit the needs of the Buckeyes right now. The team needs a vocal presence, something Buford has shown a discomfort with during his four years at OSU. That’s not to say that Buford isn’t a terrific player or a good leader. It’s just that his lead-by-example approach doesn’t seem to mesh well with a team that, aside from Buford, relies heavily on sophomores and a couple freshmen. What about All-American sophomore forward Jared Sullinger, whose past success and national recognition should instantly qualify him as a team leader? Sullinger has been quiet of late, failing to hit double digits points while shooting 1-of-7 on free throws the past two games combined. He was not made available for comment following the loss to Wisconsin, quite possibly his final game at the Schottenstein Center. During the postgame press conference, Matta implied that Sullinger has seemed disinterested lately. “I know this, when Jared is playing his best basketball, he’s engaged and into it,” Matta said. The theme of disengagement was prevalent throughout the team Saturday, leading Matta to throw the Buckeyes out of practice the day before their final home game. That’s a very alarming occurrence this late in the season when a supposed championship-contending team should be locked in for the stretch run. Matta dismissed immaturity as being at the root of OSU’s problems. “My freshmen always come to practice,” he said. “They do a great job. Honestly, I don’t know the answer.” Unfortunately at this point in the season the lightly-played freshmen will be of little help to a team devoid of leadership. If the Buckeyes want to make a serious run in March, the answer will have to come from within the quartet of sophomore guard Aaron Craft, Sullinger, Buford and Thomas. The most likely candidate at this point is Craft, who took the lead on answering postgame questions from the media Sunday. Whether or not this means Craft will elevate his leadership role moving forward remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, if the Buckeyes can’t come together and resolve their issues in the next couple weeks, the disappointment of February will turn into greater disappointment come March. read more