Last week, my colleague Neil Paine wrote about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, who is probably the favorite to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year but who has so far been among the least efficient players in the league according to a variety of advanced statistics. The article triggered a lot of objections on Twitter and in the comments section. Many readers thought it was ridiculous to assess any player, especially a 19-year-old rookie, after just a couple dozen NBA games. Others were skeptical of the array of advanced statistics that Neil cited.So let’s look at Wiggins’s case through the lens of traditional statistics instead. And let’s measure him directly against his peers. Wiggins played in his 30th NBA game on Tuesday night; we can compare his performance so far against other 19-year-old rookies through their first 30 games. I ran a search on Basketball-Reference.com for players who:Were age 19 or younger in their rookie season (based on their age as of Feb. 1 of their rookie year);And who averaged at least 24 minutes per game (i.e. played at least half their teams’ minutes) during their first 30 NBA games.Since 1985-86 there have been only 15 such players (counting Wiggins). The list puts Wiggins in pretty good company. It includes a number of superstars and All-Stars, among them LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Tony Parker and Chris Bosh. There are only one or two total busts, most notably Dajuan Wagner. The rest of the list includes players, such as Luol Deng, who turned into good NBA regulars, and others like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist about whom it’s too early to make an assessment.But in other respects the data is less favorable for Wiggins. When comparing his first 30 games against the first 30 games of those other players, he’s been among the least effective. In the chart below, I’ve listed each player’s statistics per 36 minutes played in the 10 categories that are most commonly used in rotisserie basketball leagues: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, turnovers, personal fouls, 3-pointers made, field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. (For personal fouls and turnovers, fewer is better.) Then, again in the fashion of a rotisserie basketball league, I’ve ranked the players from No. 1 to 15 in each category and added up the rankings to produce an overall score.As a reminder, these stats reflect each player’s performance through the first 30 games of his rookie season only. On this basis, Wiggins ranks about average in points scored, steals, 3-pointers made, turnovers and fouls committed. He’s been somewhat below average in rebounds and blocks — two categories where his athleticism has not yet translated into good numbers. He’s also been a below-average shooter, and his assist rate — 1.6 assists per 36 minutes — has been poor.By the fantasy basketball scoring method, Wiggins ranks 13th out of the 15 players. It’s tough to be a rookie in the NBA, but some of the rookies who came before Wiggins showed more early on. James ranks ahead of him in nine of 10 categories; Durant and Davis rank ahead of him in eight. Even Luol Deng, a player with whom Wiggins is sometimes compared, ranks ahead of him in eight of 10.On the other hand, some rookies who weren’t much better than Wiggins in their first 30 games turned out to have nice NBA careers. Parker and Bosh, in particular, weren’t very productive early on. Overall, a player’s performance through his first 30 games does seem to tell us something — you’d rather take the players from the top half of the rotisserie-style rankings than those from the bottom. But it’s a fairly noisy list.So Wiggins might have lost some value based on his performance so far this year, but he hasn’t crashed. (This conclusion is pretty similar to Neil’s.)What about those advanced stats showing Wiggins to be awful (instead of just mediocre)? They’re probably not the thing for him to worry about right now. Most of those stats will punish players who shoot relatively often but relatively poorly, as Wiggins has so far. But the 5-25 Timberwolves don’t have a lot of better options, and Wiggins has shown some development this year, like shooting well from 3-point range. (And keep in mind that James shot just .417 through his first 30 games.) The bigger concerns are Wiggins’s low rates of rebounds, assists and blocks, deficits that show up in advanced and traditional statistics alike. read more

Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s decision to go forward with the New York Marathon on Sunday despite the fact that the city is still reeling from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy has stirred up another storm of intense reaction in the city.While a third of the city is still without power and parts of Staten Island, where the race begins, are still under water and thousands are homeless, Bloomberg said the city needs to restart the economic engine to keep the city afloat. But many residents and politicians think holding the race is an awful idea.The controversy comes as the death toll from Sandy increased to 95, as emergency workers continue to slosh their way through flooded homes looking for survivors and millions of people remain without power in the Northeast. Of the 39 people the storm has killed in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island, the borough hardest hit. In Staten Island, rescue workers yesterday found the bodies of two boys, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by flood waters.“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people. We have to have an economy,” Bloomberg said at a news conference on Wednesday—the day before he endorsed Obama for president.The mayor promised that the marathon will not divert any resources from storm victims—though it normally takes at least 1,000 city police officers to pull off the mammoth event.“It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind.”But New York City Councilman James Oddo said on Twitter, “If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream. We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones.” According to Stringer, downtown Manhattan “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which goes through each of New York’s five boroughs. Lisa Tobin, 35, a pastry cook from the Bronx who will be running in the ING New York City Marathon for the first time, said, “If the city is able to put on the marathon safely and it doesn’t divert resources away from rescue, then runners should take to the street.”Dave Jaffares, who tends bar at Mullanes Bar & Grill, concurred, saying his bar, which is along the marathon route in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, usually makes $2,000 to $3,000 more on marathon day.“It needs to happen. The marathon is coming at a great time. It gets people back into the idea that we are New York,” said Jaffares. “This is what we do, we do a marathon every year. Nothing stops us.”According to the New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, the event will bring $340 million to the city. The club also said yesterday that it will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy. In addition, the Rudin Family, one of the founding members of the marathon, said it would donate $1.1 million and the ING Foundation said it would give $500,000.“We’re not looking to be a drain on any of the city resources,” NYRR spokesman Richard Finn told Reuters. NYRR had hiked the race fee this year, in part to pay police overtime.Though more than 47,000 people signed up for this years race, organizers now think that about 8,000 of the 30,000 out-of-towers once expected won’t make it. Hotels in Midtown are already struggling to accommodate stranded commuters, guests moved from electricity-starved Lower Manhattan and tourists unable to get a flight out of town, according to reports in USA TODAY.“Things are everything but normal for so many people,” said Patricia Profita, a teacher who lives in the Great Kills neighbourhood of Staten Island. “People should not be running through the boroughs, but instead running to aid those people.”The storm has killed at least 39 people in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island.The NYRR club announced on its Facebook page last night that this year’s marathon is dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane and their families.But the majority of the more than 270 comments on the page were critical of the decision. Dana Donadio wrote, “As a former Staten Island resident, current Manhattan resident and runner of 2 NYC Marathons I have to say this is an extremely bad idea. The city’s resources could be put to much better use at this time.”Scott Cohen, 52, who is running his 18th New York City Marathon in a row, admitted it “seems frivolous in light of the death, disruption and despair in parts of the city.”Still, the fitness trainer expects that by Sunday most New Yorkers will be supportive. “The race has always been a 26.2 mile block party and the city feels the love.” read more

All-America forward Otto Porter is leaving Georgetown after his sophomore season and making  himself eligible for the NBA Draft.“The toughest part was knowing you’re going to leave a great place like this,” Porter said Monday at a news conference on campus alongside Hoyas coach John Thompson III. “I love this place.”Porter, ranked fourth overall among draft prospects by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, was the Big East player of the year and finished second in the voting behind Michigan’s Trey Burke for The Associated Press player of the year award. Burke, also a sophomore, is leaving college for the NBA as well.Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, both highs for Georgetown. Along with outstanding junior guard Markel Starks, Porter led a team that was unranked in the preseason to as high as No. 5 in the AP poll.The Hoyas were a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, but lost their opening game to Florida Gulf Coast and finished 25-7.The 6-foot-8 Porter, from Sikeston, Mo., was Georgetown’s sixth All-America selection and first since Allen Iverson in 1996. He also was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.It’s Porter’s all-around game that impresses, with an ability to score inside or from beyond the 3-point arc, to rebound, to set up teammates and play defense.“Whatever they ask him to do, he’s going to be able to do,” Thompson said.Porter’s breakout performance — the one that put him on everybody’s radar — came on the road against Big East rival Syracuse on Feb. 23. Porter produced 33 points, eight rebounds, five steals and hit five 3-pointers while playing all 40 minutes in a Hoyas victory.After Porter had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists when Georgetown beat Syracuse again on March 9, Orange coach Jim Boeheim declared that Porter ought to be the No. 1 overall pick in the next NBA draft.Now everyone will get a chance to find out exactly where NBA teams think Porter stands.“On draft night, we don’t expect him to be sitting around too long,” Thompson said. read more

Photo by Al BelloNew York Jets’ Geno Smith had both good times and bad times against the New England Patriots on Thursday. The rookie quarterback threw three interceptions and was sacked four times in the Jets’ 13-10 loss to the Pats Thursday. Several Jets receivers missed passes also, adding to Smith’s tough part of the night.“Geno had his (good) moments,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch.”The Patriots also had a sloppy night of play and only managed just nine first downs in their win.“We have a long way to go,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “No one is coming to (our) rescue and save the day, so we’ve just got to fight through it.”Smith’s three interceptions came in the fourth quarter, after the Jets cut into the Patriots lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell’s 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. read more

What has changed is the rest of the Premier League. The average points taken by the other big clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) this season through 35 games was 72.8. In previous seasons this average has not exceeded 70. Among the weakest four of the big six, the clubs Arsenal directly needs to beat in order to qualify for the Champions League, the average point total through 35 matches this year is 67.7. Only once previously (2013-14) has the average been close, and Arsenal was fortunate enough to be clear with 70 points through 35 matches that year.The strategy of Wenger’s Arsenal has been to build a team good enough to reach the top four, usually with 70-75 points and a goal difference between plus-20 and plus-30. The strategy has worked in part because the other clubs with the resources to match these results failed to achieve Arsenal’s consistency. This year they have improved and Arsenal has not.But that is not the whole story. Expected goals, a statistical measure of the quality of chances created and conceded, suggests that Arsenal in 2016-17 are running below the level of quality they have in the recent past. Arsenal’s expected goals difference is only plus-13, easily the club’s worst statistical performance in the last six years. This drop-off has been most pronounced in recent weeks. Since March 1, Arsenal has gone 5-1-4, but the Gunners have conceded as many goals as they have scored. Their expected goals difference is even worse, at minus-4.The most notable change in this time is that Wenger has, for the first time in years, switched to a formation with three center backs, utilizing winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a wingback and deploying a varying set of forwards — including Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott — in a front three. Playing in the new formation has brought a good haul of points, but in those matches Arsenal has conceded more clear scoring chances to its opponents (9) than it has created (5). The streak is unlikely to continue unless the underlying performances pick up. What is most notable about the changes in formation and personnel is that Arsenal usually isn’t tinkering this late in the season. Wenger is known for giving his attackers freedom to improvise on the pitch and to build off relationships and experience. It stands to reason that in such a system, stability in personnel and tactics would lead to higher levels of performance, as players develop understandings from playing together. Arsenal’s statistics over the last six years bear this out. During seasons in which Arsenal has maintained stability in its first 11 over the final weeks of the season, the club has finished hot. In the only two seasons when Wenger made major changes, Arsenal has averaged just 1.6 and 1.1 points per match, respectively, down the stretch.Regardless of whether Wenger continues to tweak tactics in these final three games, his team needs to win — and even that may be not be enough. With luck, perhaps these new tactics and new formation will click and the streak can be extended. But if it doesn’t pull off late-season heroics, Arsenal won’t be seen in the Champions League next fall, and the team that will be seen in England may look much different. The one constant in the English Premier League is that no matter what else happens, Arsenal will finish in the top four. Under manager Arsene Wenger, the club has never finished as low as fifth, a run dating to the 1996-97 season. After 21 years, Arsenal may finally drop outside the top four. The Gunners are currently in fifth place with only a 22 percent chance of fighting their way back into the top four.The implications for Arsenal go well beyond just the trivia. First, it would cost the North London club an annual influx of cash it has grown accustomed to. The top four clubs in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, which provides a major revenue boost; last season Arsenal made about $58 million from the Champions League. If Arsenal finish outside the top four, the club will qualify for the Europa League, where Tottenham Hotspur earned almost $23 million last season for a similar performance.It may also cost them players. Playing in Europe’s premier club tournament offers prestige and glory that in turn helps attract better players on transfers. Arsenal should be particularly worried about maintaining their Champions League streak because star forward Alexis Sanchez has only one season remaining on his contract. If Sanchez does not sign a new contract this summer, he may have to be sold in order for Arsenal to recoup a transfer fee from his departure. The sharks are already circling, with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chelsea rumored to be considering bids.But the most significant casualty of Arsenal’s disappointing season may be Wenger himself. The long-tenured manager has not signed a contract for next season. If Arsenal cannot right the ship, he may be gone, ending an unprecedented run of consistency at the top. (Since he took the reins at Arsenal, 159 different coaches have held a job in the EPL, plus another 53 have held interim positions.)So with three Premier League games remaining for most of the teams at the top of the table, the stakes could hardly be higher. With yesterday’s victory at Southampton, Arsenal remained in the top four race with a 22 percent chance of Champions League qualification. To get there, Arsenal will need Liverpool or Manchester City to drop points, and the Gunners will probably need to win all of their remaining matches. Arsenal projects to a 61 percent chance of finishing in the top four if it wins out, with chances falling fast if any more points are dropped.So how has Arsenal found itself in this predicament? The streak is evidence that the team hasn’t had a really bad spell in decades. But that doesn’t mean the team has gotten any better — and that’s part of the problem. Wenger’s Arsenal for years has treaded water in the third- and fourth-place spots — last season was the first time Arsenal had finished above third since 2005. All it would take for the Gunners to fall would be for the other big clubs in the Premier League to play up to expectations. And this season that is exactly what has happened.Arsenal has taken 66 points through 35 matches with a plus-26 goal difference. These numbers are not particularly unusual for Arsenal in the last several seasons. Since 2010-11, Arsenal’s points through 35 games have ranged from 64 to 70. The goal-difference numbers are ranged similarly, from plus-21 to plus-32. The Gunners’ stats this season show up at the lower end of the team’s recent level, but they are not outliers. read more

Breaking balls typically have greater whiff rates than fastballs, and breaking balls are being thrown more frequently.On sliders, pitchers are often looking for more horizontal break — and less vertical movement — than on a curveball. They’re getting both this season: Velocity is still certainly at play in these nastier breaking balls: Increased velocity generally leads to an increase in spin rate. (The average curveball spin rate this year is 2,536 rpms, up from 2,315 rpms in 2015). More spin (specifically, transverse spin) creates more of the phenomenon known as Magnus Effect, which plays a key role in determining a pitch’s movement.But velocity hasn’t surged as dramatically as pitch movement has in recent seasons. And it isn’t just that fresh faces with killer breaking balls have replaced older, craftier pitchers: 86 pitchers who threw at least 50 curves in 2017 and 2019 averaged an increase of 1.4 inches of greater vertical break, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Something else must be at work.One possibility is that new methods of training, and new technologies, are playing a role in creating better breaking balls. For example, when Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer revamped his slider in the 2017-18 offseason, he wanted a pitch with zero inches of vertical movement and an elite level of horizontal movement. At Driveline Baseball, a data-based training center, he used new pitch-tracking technology, allowing for improved feedback of the pitch-in-progress. Specifically, he wanted to create a certain spin axis, which determines the direction the ball moves, while spin rate determines how much the pitch can move. Detroit Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who also designed a slider at Driveline, has quietly become one of the top pitchers in baseball. His slider ranks as the game’s seventh best since 2018, in terms of runs saved compared to the major league average per pitch type. “I’ve worked on it at Driveline a ton in recent years,” Boyd told FanGraphs. “At Driveline, we were on the Rapsodo [pitch-tracking tech] and the Edgertronic [high-speed camera] a lot. … Again, we were working that thing, working that thing.” The technology allowed him to monitor the spin rate and spin axis of the pitch. High-speed cameras showed him how his grip was imparting spin on the ball. The work paid off: In 2017, Bauer saw just 2.83 inches of horizontal movement on his slider, which ranked him 131st in baseball. But this season, he’s up to 11.1 inches, putting him third. Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). White Sox left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer became yet another pitcher to look into designing a pitch this winter. In a Driveline-like facility called Dynamic Velocity in Omaha, Nebraska, he created a cut fastball to better combat right-handed hitters. After righties hit .338 against him last year, they are batting .095 this season. Bummer has allowed only one earned run in his first 11⅓ innings this season. His cutter and fastball rank among the best in the game.“It’s actual proof that your ball is moving, not someone sitting behind you and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a great pitch. That looks really good,’” Bummer said of the tech-aided pitch development. “You have instant feedback that tells you, ‘Did that pitch do what it’s supposed to do?’ To me that was a huge deal. The belief behind it.”While the effort to create better pitches began with curious (and/or motivated) players going outside the game to independent facilities, teams are hiring more and more outsiders to pitch-design roles within their organizations. Over the offseason, the San Francisco Giants hired former Driveline pitch-design guru Matt Daniels, and the Philadelphia Phillies hired another design specialist in Eric Jagers. The industry is so interested in pitch design that the Edgertronic SC1, the most common high-speed camera, is selling more quickly than Sanstreak can produce it. This year, the Edgetronic and Rapsodo devices were seen in spring training bullpen mounds all over Arizona and Florida. The Orioles held “mandatory group spin axis seminars” this spring.Pitchers’ pitches will likely keep getting better, moving faster and with more movement. There is seemingly no end to the increasing frequency of strikeouts. While the home run surge has masked other areas of offensive decline, technology and training is giving pitchers a new edge.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Cam Burrows talks to the media on Aug. 12 after practice at the Woddy Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Photo EditorJust days before the season opener, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer indicated on Wednesday that redshirt junior Cam Burrows could miss the entire 2016 campaign. Meyer was not confident the defensive back was going to be healthy enough to play for the Buckeyes this season. “I don’t think he’s going to play this season,” Meyer said.An OSU spokesperson told the media on Wednesday that Burrow’s foot was bothering him.After appearing to be fully healthy for the first time since his sophomore campaign back in 2014, he was forced to redshirt in the 2015 season after breaking his foot.Burrows began his career at Ohio State with lofty expectations, as he was a four-star recruit according to 247Sports back in 2012. He was viewed as the second best recruit in the state of Ohio, the eighth best cornerback prospect and the 61st best recruit overall.When OSU released its first depth chart on Tuesday, Burrows was not on the two-deep at safety. Redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker and junior Damon Webb are scheduled to start at the two safety positions with freshman Jordan Fuller and junior Erick Smith serving as the primary backups. read more

There is an axiom in sports that all die-hard fans embrace. Once a team has reached a level at which its coach is grumpy after a victory, that team has “arrived.”So it was with the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday in their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings before a crowd of 15,251.On the back of their strong special teams’ play, the Blue Jackets improved to 5-1-0 this season, the best start in franchise history. The Jackets got two goals from their power play unit, and captain Rick Nash scored a short-handed goal during the penalty kill.It didn’t seem to be enough for coach Ken Hitchcock.“We didn’t play that well tonight,” he said. “We competed, but we didn’t play that well. We need better play if we’re going to get to the next level.”The energy was noticeably absent from the building at the beginning. At least a third of the stadium’s seats remained empty at the first drop of the puck. The subdued atmosphere wasn’t improved when L.A. right winger Dustin Brown kicked off the scoring with a shot from just outside the slot that beat Jackets goalie Steve Mason.This Jackets team, unlike many in the past, refused to head into the dressing room down a goal. With just under a minute remaining in the period, left winger Jason Chimera brought the puck out of Columbus’ end, sped through the neutral zone, and fired a slap shot from the left circle. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was too slow for it, and the Jackets went into the first intermission tied up.The Jackets never looked back.Mason continued to flash the kind of dazzling goaltending that made him the NHL Rookie of the Year last season, making 27 saves, many of the jaw-dropping variety.During one stretch in the second period, Mason made a series of saves on a flurry of opposing shots, including one in which he was caught out of position but made a diving recovery to cover up the puck in front of the net.Mason was quick to credit his teammates.“It’s extremely huge the way these guys are stepping up right now,” he said. “These guys are coming in and putting up a big effort and making my job easier.”Columbus’ Raffi Torres took some of the pressure off him with a rebound goal out of a scrum in front of the Kings’ net on the power play. He was assisted on the play by Derick Brassard and Kris Russell, who had just been signed to a contract extension by the club earlier in the day.Columbus was not finished yet.Down a man because of a cross-checking penalty on Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin, Rick Nash decided to take matters into his own hands.  Jackets center Samuel Pahlsson deftly stole the puck away from a Kings forward and swept it to a waiting Rick Nash, just past the blue line. Nash raced up the ice and undressed the Kings’ Justin Williams with a deke to his left before letting fly with a backhand shot that beat Quick.“I noticed there was a forward playing defense, and I thought I’d try something. Luckily enough, it worked,” Nash said of the goal.Jakub Voracek finished the scoring with an empty-net, power-play goal with 1:11 left in the game.As Jackets fans stood and applauded their team’s victory, there was joy once more in Mudville as the sting of the Buckeye football team’s defeat faded from memory. read more

Moments after time had expired on the 2009 Ohio high school boy’s basketball championship game in March, the victorious Columbus-Northland Vikings lined up to shake hands with runner-up Cincinnati-Princeton. When Northland’s Jared Sullinger met Princeton’s Jordan Sibert in line, the teams came to a brief halt. Sullinger took a moment to console a dejected Sibert before the two left the Schottenstein Center court in different directions.Before ever playing for a state title, Sibert and Sullinger became friends. They gave two of the earliest verbal commitments to Ohio State’s 2010 recruiting class. Last week, they officially signed their letters of intent, and along with four other high school seniors, joined what some consider to be the best group of recruits in the nation.Joining Sibert and Sullinger are DeShaun Thomas from Fort Wayne, Ind., Lenzelle Smith from Zion, Ill., Aaron Craft from Findlay, Ohio and J.D. Weatherspoon, Sullinger’s teammate at Northland.The group members, dubbed as the “Super Six,” have grown to know each other well.“I love the fact that they’ve got a good feel for each other,” coach Thad Matta said. “They’re very close, and they’ve communicated for the last couple of years in the process of the recruiting.”Matta has adapted a knack for bringing in highly touted recruiting classes during his career in Columbus. Including Sullinger and Thomas, he has signed eight five-star recruits since 2006, according to Rivals.com.Matta said even though they might be highly rated, he treats these players like all the others.“The one thing I always try to do with recruits, once they finish their senior year of high school, I go and sit down with them and just say, ‘Alright here’s how it’s going to be,’” Matta said. “‘It’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever been through before. It’s a completely different game. It’s a completely different level.’”This most recent class will draw comparison to OSU’s 2006 class that included four players now on NBA rosters. Matta is not ready to compare the two in terms of talent, but he said there is one thing both groups have in common.“I think we got in both classes what we needed,” Matta said. “When they rank recruiting classes, they need to rank it on, ‘Did the team get what they needed?’ For us, I think we got what we needed not only for this year but for the future of our program.”What is particularly encouraging about these recruits, Matta said, is the success they’ve had on and off the court.“We’ve got six great kids and six kids that I think truly understand what Ohio State is about athletically and academically,” Matta said. “You have three 4.0 students in the class. Every guy has played for a state championship, and three of them have won a state championship.”Among the three state champions is Sullinger. With all the hype surrounding the “Super Six,” Buckeye fans hope the next time he hoists a trophy, Sibert will get to join him. read more

first_imgOne is selling for £110 A quick eBay search brings up dozens of £5 notes being sold for much more than a fiver.440 million of the notes will be printed. They are made of a thin polymer and last on average five years longer than the paper note, which is being phased out.The paper note will be accepted in shops until 2017.New notes are still being distributed, and it could take until the end of next week for all the cash machines dispensing £5 notes to get new ones. One is selling for £110Credit:eBay 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.center_img Got a new polymer £5 note? Even though the streets are due to be awash with them soon, people are putting the new note up for £200 and more on eBay.The notes, released last week, are already flooding eBay for rare money collectors and people eager to get their hands on them early.Collectors are looking for notes with low serial numbers while they are still in mint condition.The first batch of new notes will have a serial number starting AA01. The Queen got the first £5 note, which is AA01 000001.Collectors are looking for notes with serial numbers starting AA01 and preferably with low six-digit serial numbers.This £5 note sold for over £200, and this one sold for £196.If you  have a new £5  note, it may be worth checking the serial number, as it could be worth money.last_img read more