By now, it’s pretty commonly suspected — and not just by bitter pitchers, either — that MLB’s recent home run surge can be traced back to a supply of zippier-than-usual baseballs. The research of our colleague Rob Arthur and The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh backs up that theory, regardless of what Commissioner Rob Manfred has to say on the matter.And with apologies to those poor, beleaguered pitchers, we say: Good! Who doesn’t enjoy the old-fashioned fun of watching baseballs be launched into the atmosphere? (Judging from the ratings for last week’s Home Run Derby,1Which aired on ESPN — the company that owns FiveThirtyEight. nobody — that’s who.) As a celebration of the long ball, then, we used data from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker to plot out just how far MLB’s hitters have bashed the ball over the years.(All data in this story was up to date as of the All-Star break. Inside-the-park home runs and homers without distance information have been excluded from the data.)Anyone who watched Aaron Judge’s performance at the Derby could be excused for thinking that baseballs can, in fact, exit the solar system. The true distances that home runs travel are less than interstellar, of course — though still impressive. According to the Home Run Tracker, which has data going back to 2006, major league batters have crushed 56,785 tracked homers over the last 11.5 seasons, adding up to a grand total of 22,599,628 feet — or 4,280 miles.To put that number in perspective, let’s do a little geography experiment. If we started in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and laid the distances of every home run in that span end to end heading east across the Atlantic Ocean as the crow flies, we would reach the border of Mali and Mauritania in northwestern Africa. Head south and the homers reach the northern corner of Chile, near its borders with Peru and Bolivia. Head north, the homers easily clear the pole, with the last one landing somewhere near Russia’s Bolshevik Island. Across the country, Mike Trout has been busy trying to make his team’s “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” moniker legit with his home runs. With a little over 14 miles’ worth of bombs to his name, Trout has already homered enough distance along Interstate 5 to land in Los Angeles County — and about halfway to downtown L.A. Only a guy who might end up being baseball’s greatest player could reconcile the most absurd team name in sports back to some semblance of reality. No discussion of Trout would be complete without a comparison to Bryce Harper, his longtime rival. At 24, the Washington Nationals right fielder is the youngest player with at least 10 miles of career home runs, and he’s on pace to add nearly three miles this season alone. He’s already hit enough to reach the D.C. suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, to the north or Mount Vernon to the south; give him enough years, and he might get to Baltimore. (Or — if the rumors are right — Staten Island.) Because of the home run surge, that circle is growing more rapidly than ever. Already this season, hitters have driven the ball 1,337,266 feet, or 253.3 miles. That’s 69 percent of the yearly average distance between 2006 and 2016, and as of the All-Star break, we were only 55 percent of the way through the schedule. At that pace, this season will eventually see 466 miles of home runs be hit; that would easily be the most in any season since 2006, and it would be a 10 percent increase over the previous high of 425 miles, set in 2016.Among players whose entire body of homering work falls within the Home Run Tracker era, the biggest bopper is Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Cruz has mashed 297 tracked home runs over a cumulative distance of 121,805 feet, or a hair over 23 miles. String those together, and that’s enough to travel from Safeco Field in downtown Seattle south to Tacoma. At age 37, Cruz is the elder statesman of this era’s long bombers. But it might not be long before he is surpassed by Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who’s already hit nearly 18.5 miles’ worth of home runs in just 7.5 seasons of action. Stanton’s average homer has traveled 414 feet — tops among anyone with at least 100 home runs in our data set — helping him rack up enough total distance to reach from Marlins Park to the Everglades or Biscayne National Park. (Sadly, though, even Stanton is unlikely to hit the 90-plus miles of home runs necessary to reach Cuba.) Speaking of New York City, we don’t have a Judge map yet because he’s only hit 34 career home runs (for 2.7 miles — basically the distance from Yankee Stadium to Central Park). We’ll have to wait and see just how far he can mash the ball in the years to come.Likewise, we don’t have data for most of Barry Bonds’s record-breaking career, either. But if we assign each of his 762 career dingers the 2006-17 MLB average of 398 feet (which, given homers like this, might be far too conservative an estimate), Bonds would have ended up with about 57 miles of homers in his career. (That’s roughly the distance between AT&T Park and Santa Cruz, California; it’s also over 10 times the height of Mount Everest.)Cruz, Stanton and company still have many more miles to go before catching up to that lofty total. But the way today’s hitter-friendly baseballs have been flying out of parks, maybe we’ll see somebody get to 60 miles of home runs before too long.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
Toronto’s made jumpers throughout the playoffs have been by far the most suspenseful of those of any of the final eight teams, taking an average of 0.117 seconds to fall into the basket. That hang time was 44 percent longer than the average of the other seven clubs. And looking at a larger sample size doesn’t change much about the result: At an average of 0.108 seconds, the Raptors’ successful regular-season jumpers at Scotiabank Arena took longer to fall through the basket than any other team’s makes on their home courts, too, according to the SportVU analysis. You might remember that Leonard hit a game-winner in March against Portland — a fadeaway from Scotiabank’s right baseline, with the shooter’s bounce and all — that looked almost identical to the one he would eventually make against Philadelphia.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/KawhiBLAZERS.mp400:0000:0000:12Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.To be clear, even though the Raptors have the longest hang time at home, their numbers are far from an outlier in the data set. The arena did have an odd rim-related issue last season, when officials had to delay a game because one of the rims was slightly crooked and required an adjustment. But no one could look at the numbers presented here and realistically suggest that anything about them is crooked, or that the arena’s rims are fundamentally different from others in the NBA.Still, there’s no doubting the fact that Toronto has gotten a couple of very friendly bounces over the course of the playoffs — not just from Leonard, but also from Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, who told me somewhat candidly, “I hate our rims.” (While that might sound odd, given his incredible hot streak lately, VanVleet had struggled mightily the last two postseasons from the perimeter.)Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/BOUNCES.mp400:0000:0002:21Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.There are a number of potential factors to consider with unusual data like this. One counterintuitive example: A team with dead-eye shooters, for instance, often won’t get opportunities for much hang time on the rim because their jumpers will swish through the net, registering a minuscule amount of time around the basket as a result. At the same time, though, players and teams who use considerable arc might be better positioned to get a beneficial bounce or roll, regardless of how soft or tight the rims are.2Midrange shots usually require less arc than 3-pointers, so a team taking more triples — like the Raptors, who have taken more than 40 percent of their shot attempts from that distance this postseason — might ultimately get more soft bounces. And no team has put more air under its 3-pointers this postseason than Golden State.In fact, while the Raptors’ shots have had the most hang time on the rim during home games, the Warriors have seen the league’s biggest home-road disparity in terms of how much longer the ball has teetered on the basket while playing in familiar confines. Golden State’s jumpers have stayed in the vicinity of the rim 0.02 seconds longer at Oracle Arena this postseason than on the road, by far the biggest gap of any playoff club. By contrast, Toronto’s shots actually hang near the rim slightly longer on the road than they do at home, so it’s hard to claim a soft-rim advantage at home for the Raptors. Trail Blazers-0.001 76ers0.216 Raptors0.224s Raptors-0.008 On jump shots of 10 feet or more, among teams that advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.Sources: STATS SportVU, SECOND SPECTRUM Celtics-0.004 The notion of shot arc is where Leonard’s series-ending jumper comes into play. While Kawhi generally doesn’t put much arc on his shots at all, he had to loft the one against Philly over the outstretched hand of 7-footer Joel Embiid to avoid having it blocked. Leonard’s shot reached a peak height of 18.2 feet before bouncing on the rim — a night-and-day difference from the league-average peak height of just 15.1 feet. The extra height almost certainly gave the shot a greater chance of going in from a physics standpoint.And that shot is the first thing that comes to mind now whenever the Raptors benefit from seemingly lucky bounces. VanVleet, even with his expressed hate for the Toronto rims, has fully leaned into the idea that something magical — with the baskets or otherwise — is happening here.“I think we’ve got a special thing going. Just kind of the aura, and the magic in the air, you can feel it a little bit,” VanVleet told me. “We have a lot to do with that, our fans have a lot to do with that, and things are just going the right way for us.”Check out our latest NBA predictions. Bucks0.206 Celtics0.210 Are the Raptors getting lucky rolls on their home rims?How long shots hang on the rim by team in home games, 2019 playoffs TEAMADDED HANGTIME AT HOME On jump shots of 10 feet or more, among teams that advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.Sources: STATS SportVU, SECOND SPECTRUM The Warriors’ shots survive on the rim longer at Oracle ArenaHow long shots hang on the rim at home vs. on the road by team, 2019 playoffs Warriors+0.020s Trail Blazers0.220 Rockets+0.006 Bucks0.000 Rockets0.181 TEAMBALL IN VICINITY OF RIM 76ers-0.006 Nuggets0.208 Warriors0.214 Nuggets-0.014 Kawhi Leonard’s rainbow arc game-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals over Philadelphia — a buzzer-beating miracle that bounced on the rim four separate times, for 1.8 seconds, before falling through — was historic the second it went down. And that shot will arguably become even more iconic if and when the Toronto Raptors dethrone the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty in the coming days. Few shots have provided that sort of drama while also indirectly ushering in what figures to be a changing of the guard in the sport as we know it.Because of that shot, it’s been hard not to notice the others that have all but taken up residence on the cylinder at Scotiabank Arena. “Those rims are really soft,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said.But do shots really hang on the rims more in Toronto? Will the Raptors have some hidden advantage when they take their home court and try to close out the NBA Finals in Game 5? As it turns out, yes, the Raptors’ jump shots do roll on and around the rim longer in Toronto than other teams’ jumpers do in their respective arenas. But no, that isn’t somehow evidence of anything underhanded at play.In an analysis of Second Spectrum shot-tracking data run by Matt Scott of STATS SportVU, we looked at all jumpers of 10 feet or greater, both in the regular season and the playoffs, and pulled the time measured between when the ball hit the rim and when it left the vicinity of the cylinder for a miss or went through the net for a make. The Raptors’ jump-shot attempts at home this postseason have bounced on or around the rim for an average of 0.224 seconds, the longest of any team to advance beyond the first round.1Even if you exclude Leonard’s wild shot against the Sixers from the data set, the Raptors’ jump-shot attempts have still hung on or around the rim longer, on average, than any other team that made it to the second round.
Rodgers is second only to Andy Dalton of the Bengals in Points Above Replacement.2Points scored above what would be expected with a replacement-level quarterback. Ranking and chart limited to QBs on pace to qualify for ESPN’s QBR leaderboard with highest PAR on their team. Yet the Packers have spent the fifth-smallest amount on offensive non-quarterbacks for the 2015 season. Part of this is because the Packers are fiscally responsible and aren’t spending much in general on payroll. But they also specifically rank near the bottom consistently in spending on the guys who play with their quarterback. Here’s how the Packers’ offensive spending over the past three seasons (including this one) stacks up to the rest of the league: Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. The NFL salary cap alone explains some of this chart. Teams spending more on QBs often end up spending less on other offensive players, simply because they have to spend less money somewhere. But it’s striking to me just how much a lot of teams with big-name, big-money QBs lean on them. For example, the Packers, Steelers and Giants all spent less money than average on offense despite having three of the top QB salaries in the business. In general, many of the top QBs in the game probably deserve even more esteem than the considerable amount they receive already. For instance, Eli Manning should get a bit more of a break sometimes, as he receives literally the least financial support for his offensive teammates in the league.Rodgers, despite his team spending barely more money on offensive teammates than the Giants have for Eli Manning, has put up much better numbers. He has 73 TDs and 15 interceptions (counting the playoffs) since 2013, compared with 58 and 43, respectively, for Manning. What could Rodgers have done with another $60 million worth of offensive linemen?Twitter question of the weekAs usual, tweet me questions @skepticalsports and there’s a chance I’ll answer them, even if they seem a bit silly. Like this one: OK, silly, but interesting. The precise mechanism of NFL home-field advantage is still an open question. The conventional wisdom is that it has something to do with atmosphere, for example how crowd noise affects signal-calling. I can see how these kinds of effects might reach a nadir immediately after the half. But using ESPN’s play-by-play data, I tried filtering for drives by away teams that start immediately after the half, and found that they averaged a similar number of points as other drives.3Ditto for expected points for the handful of plays immediately after the half: I filtered for offensive plays by the visiting team in the first 100 seconds of the second half and found their average expected points added to be virtually identical to that for the visiting team on other plays. But for the margins we’re dealing with, that sample size is way too small to be meaningful.4I looked at about 2,200 third-quarter drives between the 2006 and 2015 seasons. So I fished around a bit and found that, broadly speaking, the third quarter is better for road teams than average.5That is, teams in the third quarter improved their chances of winning (as modeled by win probability added) by just about 1 percent per drive (over around 9,800 drives) in the third quarter (while matching modeled WPA in other quarters).Now, contra the conventional wisdom, many — though not all — statistically minded NFL analysts think home advantage is more likely to relate to officiating. So with that in mind, I looked a bit more carefully at penalties in particular. Penalties tend to favor the team on offense, but they favor the offense even more often when it’s the home team. The margins here also don’t look huge, but it’s pretty clear over more than 400,000 offensive plays: For every 100 plays a home offense runs, it normally nets about three (expected) points from all penalties called. The equivalent rate for away offenses is just more than two expected points per 100 plays. That difference adds up to about a point per game: not a large fraction of your typical scoreline, but a pretty big chunk of the total home-field advantage that we tend to see (generally around two to three points per game).But here’s the interesting bit: The home team’s advantage from penalties isn’t divided equally by quarter. Nor is it strongest in the fourth quarter, when calls are most crucial, as in basketball. The home team’s largest advantages are in the first and second quarters, with the smallest coming in the third quarter:Curious!I really don’t have any explanation for this, and at this point I would categorize my speculation as “wild.” For instance: Perhaps the second half is when refs start trying very hard not to give in to their unconscious bias toward the home team.Most empirically significant game of this weekThere are many great and potentially revealing matchups set for this weekend, including the Panthers at the Seahawks. A lot of rookie quarterback theory hinges on the fate of Cam Newton — whose rookie campaign bore the hallmark (namely lots and lots of production) of a potential all-time great, but who has had only one winning season in his first four years.But Carolina-Seattle gets only an honorable mention, because the matchup of the week is clearly the Patriots at the Colts. Since the AFC championship game thrashing by the Pats (known for a certain controversy), these two teams — and their two star quarterbacks — have been on very different trajectories. The Patriots obviously did this little thing called winning the Super Bowl, and have started this season on a tear reminiscent of their 16-0 campaign in 2007. Andrew Luck, meanwhile, has been outplayed by 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck — the oldest non-kicker in football this year.After having one of the league’s strongest offenses last year, the Patriots have managed one of the league’s biggest offensive improvements this year (the biggest improvers have been the Cardinals, who with Carson Palmer back at quarterback have had the league’s second-best offense):Rodgers essentially has maintained his MVP form, while Peyton Manning seems finally to be in real decline. But the Colts and Luck, their 26-year-old quarterback, have underperformed by nearly as much as the Broncos have with 39-year-old Peyton Manning at QB.Luck, who is practically the patron saint of Skeptical Football, is expected to return. Given the result the last time these two teams met, the Patriots are expected to romp. Whether that happens or not, we should learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most important figures and phenomena in the sport today.Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Ella Koeze and Reuben Fischer-Baum. Stop the presses! Last Sunday, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, his first in Green Bay since December 2012. Granted, they were completely inconsequential, and at least the first was pretty much a freak accident — his pass deflected off a linebacker — but Rodgers accepted at least some of the blame for them all the same. Despite the embarrassment, his touchdown-to-interception ratio remains the stuff of legend. Now in his eighth year as a starter, he has 66 interceptions for his career, along with 262 touchdowns (counting the playoffs). Normally, I’m not impressed by such stats. As I wrote last year (and have defended on numerous occasions), I think that his incredibly low interception rate is in part the result of a potentially costly unwillingness to gamble — particularly in situations where his team is down multiple scores late. I haven’t changed my mind.But I don’t think this quirk of Rodgers substantially diminishes his value. Or put another way, he is so valuable to begin with that even if he’s slightly too risk-averse, it’s largely irrelevant. Of course, Rogers is still relatively young (he’ll turn 32 in December), and he hasn’t had to deal with the ups and downs of a full career yet, either. But he’s a huge outlier, even for a quarterback at this stage of his career. For example, here is how he has accumulated touchdowns relative to interceptions game by game for his career, compared to every QB in NFL regular-season history since 1960:For most quarterbacks, losing causes interceptions just as much as interceptions cause losing. Rodgers is no different; he’d be even more valuable if he made certain win-maximizing adjustments (even though they might hurt his statistics a bit). But the steepness of Rodgers’s rise has no parallel. Criticizing him for it is a bit like criticizing Bill Belichick for not going for it enough on fourth down, or criticizing Lionel Messi for playing tiki-taka football so much instead of trading as many possessions as possible with his opponents. That is, they’re still pretty much the best at what they do, but could possibly be doing a little bit better.There’s one more reason to give Rodgers the benefit of any (skeptical) doubt. Which brings us to our …Chart(s) of the WeekNaturally, a quarterback’s ability to win games is affected by his team’s running game, defense, special teams, coaching and everything else. Even his broader statistical portfolio is largely a team accomplishment, and untangling everyone’s contributions can be nearly impossible. But one indicator of the strength of a quarterback’s teammates is money paid on their salaries. Some teams spend lavishly to surround their quarterbacks with high-powered offensive teammates.1Whether NFL teams are any good at this is a different question. The Packers, not so much:
UPDATE (Feb. 25, 4:58 p.m.): Since publication of this post, the Last Man organizers have acknowledged that their database did not include one contestant who was still viable in the competition. She has since been eliminated, but the numbers in this post would be slightly different if the database had been correct at the time of publication. Eighty-five percent of participants have already been felled by what competitors call “The Knowledge,”2Not to be confused with “The Knowledge.” according to the Last Man website. Sixteen percent of all players had, despite their best efforts, learned who won the Super Bowl by midnight on the night of the game (Feb. 7).3I wasn’t a declared player, but I made it only to 9:17 a.m. the day after the game, by which point 27 percent of players had learned the result, too. By the end of the next day, more than half of the competitors had lost their blissful ignorance. The more time that passes, the safer the players are; only about a quarter of competitors who made it through the first post-Super Bowl week perished in the second. Now, as you can see in the chart above, the survivor curve is more like a plateau.But that’s no reason for the survivors to let down their guard. They could still be taken out by the kind of thing that has felled other competitors — phone calls, cupcakes, baby photos, the usual. And it’s not always just the Last Manners who suffer when they lose: One competitor learned the Super Bowl winner via “email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust.” And that husband may find that the guilt of being the spoiler weighs on him for longer than The Knowledge haunts his spouse. It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl, and there are still at least 29 people1As of Sunday, when the data was last updated. who don’t know who won. Those 29 are the recorded survivors of the Last Man challenge, a war-of-attrition, just-for-glory competition to be the last person in the U.S. (or at least in the challenge’s database) unaware of who won Super Bowl 50. (For all of you who still don’t know who won, this post is a safe space.)
How will your favorite NBA team do this year? See all of our predictions for the 2016-17 season » There is little reason for the casual NBA fan to pay attention to the Denver Nuggets this season. They are a bad-to-mediocre team with a ceiling of mediocre-yet-interesting. Where they fall along that spectrum will probably depend on what becomes of Emmanuel Mudiay.Mudiay, who skipped college ball in favor of getting paid as a pro in China, looked like a steal as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He walked into the starting point-guard position in his rookie season and went on to play 30 minutes of horror-show basketball every night. And, yet, because of the quirks of his position, his obvious talent and some promising stats papered over by the all-around badness, Mudiay remains a tantalizing prospect despite having one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory.The baseline stats belie just how bad he was: Mudiay averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the arc. Dig a little deeper and it starts to look worse: His turnover rate was just a hair under 18 percent, and he finished the year with his win shares per 48 at a tidy -0.049. That’s not good! It is in fact very bad!How does a supposed phenom have a season that bad? By having no idea how to put the ball in the basket. Among qualified players, Mudiay ranked dead last in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. He somehow managed to put up worse shooting numbers than Kobe Bryant, who spent the season heaving up as many shots as possible despite his body being held together by bungee cords. Bryant at least had the excuse of being a shameless gunner and 700 years old. Mudiay managed to be a black hole despite taking 200 fewer shots than Old Man Bryant. This isn’t to say that Nuggets fans should be feeling great about Mudiay’s future as he heads into his second season running the offense. The inclusion of Westbrook, Mike Conley and John Wall in the comparable players section of his CARMELO comps will surely induce a few fist pumps, but the sight of Sebastian Telfair and Brandon Jennings should leave them in a cold sweat.Whether Mudiay is able to overcome his growing pains and carry his second-half improvements into this season won’t mean much for the Nuggets’ immediate future — they’re likely a long shot for the playoffs even if Mudiay is great — but it means everything for their long-term plans. Aside from Mudiay and Nikola Jokic, this is a roster almost entirely made up of solid but uninspiring players. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton are fine basketball players, but they aren’t a group that’s equipped to turn the Nuggets into a consistent playoff contender.In the coming years, the Nuggets will have to choose which of their good-but-not-great players are worth keeping around and which are better jettisoned. But none of those decisions will matter if the team can’t find a true star or two to anchor the roster. Jokic looks like he’s ready to play the part, but so much still depends on what becomes of Mudiay. At this point, one timeline sees him developing into an oversized point guard with a passable jumper who can use his speed, strength and vision to control the game. The darker timelines see him slogging through a disappointing NBA career, launching jumpers from a trebuchet and never quite catching onto the rhythm of the game. Mudiay will be much closer to one of those destinies at the conclusion of this season, which means it’s probably going to be a very good or very bad year for the Nuggets.Check out our NBA predictions. An optimist would point out that Mudiay’s shooting improved in the second half of the season; he shot 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break. A pessimist would dunk on that optimist’s head by reminding everyone that shooting was far from Mudiay’s only problem — he created just 0.64 points per possession for his team as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, a rate that was nearly doubled up by Steph Curry (1.11) and lagged behind less lofty competition like Jimmy Butler (0.89) and Jamal Crawford (0.82).Rookies often take a while to find their stroke — Kris Dunn shot 24.2 percent over his last five preseason games — but what makes Mudiay’s shooting stats so ugly is that they weren’t just the result of a broken jumper. He struggled just as much around the basket. He made only 44 percent of the shots he took less than five feet from the rim, a full 15 points below the league average. According to NBA.com, Mudiay made 7.6 drives to the basket per game and converted just 38 percent of the shots he took at the end of those drives. This would maybe be understandable if Mudiay were the size of, say, Earl Boykins and built like a dachshund, but he’s a 6-foot-5 point guard who weighs 200 pounds. Driving to the hoop and finishing strong is supposed to be, like, his whole thing.If Mudiay were a center or power forward coming off a rookie season this rotten, I imagine that he would have already been written off as an Anthony Bennett-style bust, but point guards are evaluated a little differently. The inherent difficulties of the position are going to produce some ugly statistics in the first season, and the problems that rookie point guards have — unfamiliarity with the speed of the NBA, poor shooting, high turnover rate — are usually the kinds of problems that can be solved. Remember when Russell Westbrook’s effective field goal percentage was .414 in his first season? That’s why FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model ranks guys like Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton so highly.This goes a long way toward explaining why CARMELO is relatively bullish on Mudiay as well, projecting him to dig his way out of the basement and be a solid contributor within a few seasons: And don’t forget that for all Mudiay’s failings, he’s had his moments. It was highlights like this that made him a lottery pick to begin with:
Embed Code The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman reports on the details of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.ESPN Stats & Information takes a look at the numbers behind the trade.Kyle Wagner wrote about whether the trade made sense for the Kings.Chris Dobbertean’s latest analysis of the NCAA men’s field.The NCAA is looking at changing the way it chooses teams for March Madness, writes FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine.In a profile in TIME, James Harden makes the claim that he’s the NBA’s most valuable player.Significant Digit: 110, the number of points that Grinnell College scored against Illinois College last Saturday. Grinnell employs the Grinnell System, the hallmarks of which include shooting a lot of threes, subbing entire lineups in and out at once, and employing a full-court press. Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Feb. 21, 2017), we revisit how the Kings got fleeced in the DeMarcus Cousins trade with FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner. Next, we call up bracketologist Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation to break down the stakes in men’s college basketball as March Madness approaches. Finally, is James Harden as good as he says he is? We investigate.Links to what we discussed this week: More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) and sophomore guard C.J. Jackson walk down the floor late in the second half against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe NBA released a list of early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA draft on Tuesday, and among those names was Ohio State redshirt junior shooting guard Kam Williams.The fourth-year guard set career-highs across the board, averaging 30.7 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his first season as the regular point guard while starting in 29 of his team’s 32 games. He shot .391 from the field, including a .376 success percentage from beyond the arc. Williams also led the team shooting 91.9 percent (34-for-37) from the free-throw line.Williams is the second Buckeye player on this list, joining junior center Trevor Thompson who reportedly declared for the draft on March 14.
The Ohio State’s men’s basketball team reeled in its first recruit of the 2018 recruiting class when four-star shooting guard Torrence Watson announced his commitment to play for the Buckeyes Monday evening on Twitter.https://twitter.com/TorrenceWatson/status/884605146130501632The Saint Louis, Missouri, native is the No. 100 overall prospect and the 23rd-best shooting guard in the country, according to 247Sports composite rankings.Though Watson is the first player in his class to commit to Ohio State, he is the third to join the Buckeyes since Chris Holtmann was hired. Four-star forwards Kyle Young and Musa Jallow – each in the 2017 recruiting class – committed to Ohio State on June 26 and July 7, respectively.Three four-star players in the 2018 class – forwards Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens and guard Dane Goodwin – have decommitted from Ohio State’s 2018 class.
However, she has said that after the release of the script of the play, which follows the adventures of an adult Harry and his son, “Harry is done now”.She told journalists: “He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done. The script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was recently releasedCredit:Daniel Leal-Olivas /AFP / Getty Depp renamed it twice – firstly to Vajoliroja, in tribute to the names of his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis, his own name and those of his children Lily Rose and Jack.Later, when he married Amber Heard, he changed the name to honour her, with the yacht becoming ‘Amphitrite’ – the Greek sea goddess and wife of Poseidon. It was built in 2001 in Turkey and can accommodate 10 guests. Rowling is said to have been entranced by the vessel when she and her family stayed on it on a charter trip. The yacht has a plush interiorCredit:Deadline News/Curtis Stokes and Associates Harry Potter author JK Rowling is reportedly selling her luxury yacht for £7m less than she paid for it just eight months ago.The 47m long vessel, called Amphitrite, is believed to have cost the writer £22m when she purchased it in January.The yacht, once owned by Johnny Depp, is now listed for sale at €17.8m (£15m) with Curtis Stokes and Associates. Depp had the yacht refitted with new lighting and wall hangings, reportedly at a cost of £5m. To charter the yacht this summer cost £100,000 a week. Rowling has recently returned to the world of Harry Potter with her involvement in the hit stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Described on the yacht brokerage website as “a modern motoryacht with classic styling”, she comes with five rooms and exterior dining, entertaining and relaxation spaces. The website also lists the luxury features of each room, including the salon, which offers “two separate seating areas with sofas, end tables and coffee tables port aft and forward, 2 lounge chairs and a glass storage and wine bar cabinet to starboard, a beautiful skylight above, 10 large windows on each side with curtains and shades, carpet and double teak and glass doors to the aft deck.” Johnny Depp had the yacht redesignedCredit:Curtis Stokes and Associates/Deadline News “This is the next generation, you know. So I’m thrilled to see it realised so beautifully but, no. Harry is done now.”Asked about the yacht sale, a spokesman for Rowling said they would not comment on private matters. The yacht is on the market for £15mCredit:Deadline News / Curtis Stokes and Associates 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.
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 added: “The overwhelming message from the experts is that Scotland could significantly reduce reoffending by better use of electronic tagging and emerging monitoring technology. “I welcome all of the recommendations the panel has made and am determined that we seize this opportunity to reduce crime even further and make our communities safer.” The new projects will see GPS tracking used in addition to the current radio frequency technology employed to monitor people as part of their sentence. An increase in the use of electronic tagging would be employed in addition to community payback orders and other measures to tackle offending behaviour, ministers said. The introduction of electronic monitoring to tackle the “disproportionately high” rate of people on remand in prison will also be explored. “Effective community sentences have driven Scotland’s reoffending rate down to a 17-year low using smarter, more effective interventions,” Mr Matheson said. “The potential of combining community sentencing alternatives with tagging will allow us to hold people to greater account during their sentence and focus on rehabilitating them.” Ministers say international research shows that short term sentences are not the most effective way of bringing down reoffending. On the use of electronic monitoring ahead of sentencing, Dr Hannah Graham, a Stirling University criminologist, said: “There is a disproportionately high rate of people on remand in prison in Scotland. “The recommendation to introduce electronic monitoring as an alternative to remand opens up extra opportunities to address this issue by closely monitoring and supporting more people in the community pre-trial, without losing sight of the need to ensure public safety.” Ministers set up expert group on taggingCredit:PA Ministers are proposing a radical expansion of the use of electronic tags in a bid to reduce reoffending. Pilot projects will involve GPS tracking, alcohol monitoring technology and tagging as an alternative to custody. The plans, announced by Michael Matheson, the justice minister, will be accompanied by a wider package of support for offenders and follow the recommendations of an expert group. The “sobriety tags” that will be tested respond to ethanol in an individual’s sweat and could be used as an alternative to prison for those who offend under the influence of alcohol. The changes, proposed by an expert group set up by the Scottish Government two years ago, will require new regulations and legislation and further pilot projects are expected to be announced in the coming months. Tagging has been used for around 15 years, largely to ensure offenders remain in their homes overnight under early release from jail, or as an alternative to prison. Under the new proposals, forms of tagging will be used as an alternative to remand in prison and as a condition of bail. Mr Matheson said he wanted Scotland to learn from the systems used in the Netherlands.
Increase A&E waiting times in a ‘minor illness’ area and stop trying to achieve targets for the sake of itSurvey respondent The A&E department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital BirminghamCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley 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. “Our survey shows that a significant proportion of doctors believe that co-located GP services could help to alleviate the problem, while improving patient education and access to primary care and out-of-hours services are also key.”Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “The results here bear out what this college has been advocating for many years.”It is important to match the level of services available to reflect both rising demand and our ageing population.”Co-location of primary care services can offer some solutions to the challenges faced by the rising tide of patients arriving at emergency departments.” A&E departments are now routinely missing the national target to deal with 95 per cent of patients within four hours.Major type 1 A&E departments – those that are located in hospitals – perform the worst, with 87.9 per cent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred within that target in 2015-16.The poll found that only 28 per cent of doctors did not think GP services should be co-located in hospitals.Educating patients on when they should go to A&E was viewed by 72 per cent of doctors as a key step to relieving pressure on emergency departments.Improving access to GPs was seen as necessary by 60 per cent of doctors, while 40 per cent said increasing the availability of doctors out of hours would have an effect.One doctor said: “Inappropriate A&E attendances should be redirected to primary care services for review and patients should be given education at the same time.”Another said: “Increase A&E waiting times in a ‘minor illness’ area and stop trying to achieve targets for the sake of it. If patients have to wait, they won’t use it. Also increase the number of GPs and increase patient responsibility for self-care.” GP surgeries should be placed in accident and emergency departments to deal with patients who turn up to hospital inappropriately, according to a poll of doctors.With key targets for waiting times being missed at A&E departments across England, the survey found that 61 per cent of GPs and secondary care doctors believed this step was necessary to relieve pressure on emergency departments.There are widespread concerns that patients arrive at A&E rather than attempting to see a GP first. The poll of more than 500 doctors found that 27 per cent believed up to a third of people go to A&E when they should be seen by a GP or nurse.Some 13 per cent said that more than half of patients should be redirected to GP services on arrival at A&E. Another said: “We should not be discouraging patients from attending A&E, but should be providing the services that they need and want at one convenient destination – this could include pharmacy, primary care, minor injuries, emergency department and rapid access.”Gareth Thomas, the managing director of Wilmington Healthcare, said: “Urgent action must be taken to tackle the escalating crisis in A&E departments across the country, where patient numbers have been increasing for more than a decade and estimates suggest that many patients should be directed to primary care services. Official NHS figures show about 13 per cent of people who attend A&E are discharged without requiring treatment. A further 35 per cent are discharged after being given advice or guidance only.In the poll, carried out by health care intelligence firm Wilmington Healthcare, 75 per cent of doctors said they thought people went to A&E without needing to because they believed they would be seen faster. Some 74 per cent said patients misunderstood the purpose of A&E and 62 per cent said they believed patients thought they would get to see a specialist.In November, MPs on the Commons health committee warned that poor performance in A&E has “become the norm” for some NHS trusts.
The last surviving British Dambuster has said if the Government bows to a public campaign to knight him, the award should be to remember his squadron and not himself.Nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition organised by the television presenter Carol Vorderman calling on the Government to knight George “Johnny” Johnson.The 95-year-old was part of the RAF’s 617 Squadron, which conducted the celebrated 1943 night of raids on German dams to disable Hitler’s industrial heartland. “I hadn’t realised someone had nominated him, which they had. Then to be snubbed, I thought, was absolutely disgraceful.”He is already 95 and when he was asked to step forward he had no hesitation, just as all those in Bomber Command – none of them had any hesitation.”If you were part of Bomber Command you had more chance of surviving the Battle of the Somme – that is how many died, it was about half, a 50/50 chance, and they were all volunteers.”They were incredibly brave and they have been treated disgracefully since then – even today they haven’t got a medal.”Mr Johnson is one of only two survivors to take part in the raids. The other is Canadian former front gunner Fred Sutherland. The Mohne Dam in the Ruhr Valley after being bombed by 617 Squadron of the RAF, better known as the Dambusters,Credit:Keystone/Getty Of the 133 airmen who left to take part in Operation Chastise on May 16, 53 did not return.Ms Vorderman, a trained pilot herself and ambassador for the Air Cadets, said the decision to the decision to leave him off the honours list was “disgraceful”.She said: “Really, the reason he is the last surviving Dambuster should be enough [for the knighthood], but it is what he has done since then that is quite incredible,” she said. How the Daily Telegraph reported the raids on May 18, 1943Credit:The Telegraph The former squadron leader was nominated for the accolade, but was not recognised in the New Year Honours List.Mr Johnson, from Bristol, said he was “absolutely amazed” at the public response to the petition.”When I think about the whole thing I feel it is being more directed at me and it should be directed at the squadron,” he said.”I’m the lucky one who is still alive. It is the squadron that did all the work and I was just one of the original 133 aircrew that formed the squadron.” Carol Vorderman said not giving Mr Johnson the honour had been a ‘disgrace’ Mr Johnson, who published a book two years about his exploits, said he would accept an honour if he was offered one.”I would … bearing in mind it wasn’t me, it was the squadron it was going to – that’s the whole point,” he said.”I try to emphasise to people that I am the lucky one and I am still alive. It is the squadron that I served with, represented and still represent. Any honour that comes in my direction is an honour for the squadron.”Mr Johnson is the last surviving British member of the Lancaster crews who used Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bombs to attack the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams. 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.
Mr Graham has submitted plans to create the first basement development in the private mews in west London to create “storage and ancillary space”. The new floor would stretch underneath the house and below the back garden.But his neighbours are concerned that the narrow street, where properties sell for around £3 million, will be unable to cope with the large vehicles necessary to do the work.Among them are Lord and Lady Neuberger, who responded in January, during the same period the Supreme Court was considering the Government’s Brexit appeal.They said in their submission that the development would “reduce the quality of life” for residents both during the building work and afterwards. Lord Neuberger is one of the Supreme Court judgesCredit:Supreme Court It is a planning battle that has become a common cause of discontent among homeowners in some of London’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.But in submitting plans for a basement to extend his three-storey mews home, one Notting Hill resident has come up against a particularly fearsome opponent. Former gambling director Malcolm Graham’s hopes of creating an extra floor underneath his property have met with opposition from none other than the most senior judge in the country, Lord Neuberger.The president of the Supreme Court, who oversaw the landmark Brexit court case on the triggering of Article 50, has become embroiled in the battle in his own backyard by filing objections to his neighbour’s plans. Liz Truss was criticised for not speaking out quickly enough after the Brexit ruling Credit:Carl Court /Getty He said judges were “not well treated” after three High Court judges unexpectedly ruled that the Government could not trigger the Brexit negotiations without a vote from peers and MPs.Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, came under fire for failing to speak out quickly enough after the ruling led to sharp criticism of the judges by some sections of the media. Asked whether politicians responded quickly enough to defend the judiciary and rule of law, Lord Neuberger told Radio 4’s Today programme: “They were certainly vocal enough quickly enough after our hearing.”After the (High) Court hearing, I think they could have been quicker and clearer. But we all learn by experience, whether politicians or judges. It’s easy to be critical after the event.”They were faced with an unexpected situation from which, like all sensible people, they learned.” Lady Neuberger told the Evening Standard: “We are concerned that this street is just not suitable for basement development.”Cranbrook Basements, who have submitted the application, told the newspaper there would be “no measurable impact” on the local conservator area and pedestrian access would continue to be safe. Council officers have recommended that a planning committee approves the plans for the basement. It comes as Lord Neuberger publicly criticised politicians for not defending the judiciary quickly and clearly enough after the courts ruled that Theresa May must hold a parliamentary vote on triggering Article 50. 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.
Prince Charles and Diana with a young Prince WilliamCredit:Reginald Davis/REX/Shutterstock The letters have now been made public after being donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, in Simi Valley, California, following Mrs Reagan’s death, as part of a wish that her papers were left to the public record.The Mail on Sunday, which printed extracts from the letters, describes how the Prince struck up a friendship with the Reagans in 1974, when he was serving in the Royal Navy and spent a weekend at the home of Walter Annenberg, the then-US ambassador to Britain, in Palm Springs. Mr Reagan was then the Governor of California.The Prince, who was reportedly so charmed by Mrs Reagan that he told a friend he would have liked to kiss her to thank her for her welcome, continued to write to the First Lady until her death in 2016, using headed notepaper and his distinctive black ink. The Prince of Wales described the breakdown of his first marriage as a “kind of Greek tragedy”, it has been disclosed, as an extraordinary cache of letters to his confidante Nancy Reagan comes to light.A series of correspondence spanning four decades details the Prince’s feelings about the end of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, in which he claims “it all keeps getting worse and worse”.The letter, dated June 21, 1992, is part of a collection of personal correspondence between the Prince and Mrs Reagan, the former US First Lady. A 1992 letter, relating to the breakdown of the Royal marriage and addressed to My Dear Nancy, tells of the wider fall-out of his very public separation, admitting: “No one can really understand what it all means until it happens to you, which is why it all keeps getting worse and worse.“One day I will tell you the whole story. It is a kind of Greek tragedy and would certainly make a very good play!” Prince Charles with Mr and Mrs Reagan at a White House private dinner in 1981Credit:Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images US President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy welcome Prince Charles and Diana to the White House in 1985Credit: DON RYPKA/AFP/Getty Images In one, he tells how he took up reading literary classics as a distraction from media gossip, saying he hoped it would make him “wiser and more knowledgeable”. Prince Charles with Nancy Reagan in 1981Credit:Robin Platzer/Getty Images Princess Diana dances with John Travolta at the White HouseCredit:AP Photo/Ronald Reagan Library In 1994, he details a radio prank in which a DJ telephoned him purporting to be from President Reagan’s office only to wish him happy birthday. In 1985, in happier times, he had written to thank the Reagans for their hospitality and the White House gala at which Diana famously danced with actor John Travolta.“Diana still hasn’t got over dancing with John Travolta, Neil Diamond and Clint Eastwood in one evening not to mention the President of the United States as well!” the Prince told Mrs Reagan. In 1991, when a tell-all book about Mrs Reagan was published, which included salacious gossip about affairs and plastic surgery, he consoled her: “We live in an increasingly uncivilised world and if you happen to find yourself in a public position it becomes progressively more impossible to operate without every move being regarded as having an ulterior motive.”In a separate letter, he also complained about “yet another” dinner to raise funds, on that occasion for the Mary Rose restoration, calling them “the bane of my life”. One of the most poignant letters dated June 7, 2002, refers to death of the Queen Mother on March 30, with the Prince admitting: “I fear it has not been very easy to cope of late.“I have dreaded her eventual departure and now she leaves an enormous chasm in my life.”The letters are currently being examined by archivists and could go on public display in the future. 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.
London has a large French population and attracts many visitors from the country. French citizens were also among those injured in the attack on Westminster Bridge in March.Spain’s Foreign Ministry says that one Spaniard was among the dozens wounded in the London attacks.A ministry spokesman told Associated Press that the Spanish man had been taken to a hospital where he was being treated for wounds described as not serious. The spokesperson spoke anonymously in line with ministry policy.The Met Police have confirmed that four police officers were injured. Of these, one was an off-duty rugby-playing officer who got hands on with an attacker.British Journalist Geoff Ho was also injured in the attack, and was seen holding his neck as he fled the scene. It is thought he was stabbed in the throat. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. His sister posted on Facebook that he had been stabbed in the face, neck and stomach but was stable and in an induced coma.She wrote: “Doctors are very happy with how he’s come out the other side.“A massive thank you to the University of London Hospital for their tireless efforts in helping my brother out.”Germans are among those injured in the attack in London, including one who is seriously injured, according to the foreign ministry. In total seven people were killed and dozens injured. One of the four French wounded in the attack was stabbed in the beck and the back, French media reports said, adding that doctors spent several hours operating on her after she was rushed to hospital.Another French citizen reportedly suffered serious injuries to her legs when when she was hit by the truck on London Bridge.French officials have so far given little information about the French victims and have identified none of them.But European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez said that all four were living in London, which has a huge expat French community estimated at over 200,000 people.Emmanuel Macron’s office said the president was planning to call the families of the victims to express his support. People of all nationalities were injured in the attack on London Bridge on Saturday night.Candice Hedge, from Australia, was stabbed in the throat with a 12-inch knife and is recovering in hospital, while Oliver Dowling remains in a coma after being stabbed in the face.German, French, Canadian and Spanish citizens are understood to have been injured, as well as British police officers.Ms Hedge, 31, was eating a meal with her boyfriend when an attacker came up behind her and slashed her neck. Luckily, the knife missed her major arteries and windpipe. She was in a coma but is now awake and recovering. Canadian authorities said one of its citizens was “directly affected” by the attack, and that consular officials are offering support.Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said that authorities would work to help victims from his country and increase security for those in London casting ballots in legislative elections starting Sunday “to show the force of democracy in the face of enemies of freedom”. Oliver Dowling, from Christchurch, New Zealand, and his girlfriend Marie Bondeville were injured in the attack. Geoff Ho, a business editor with Express Newspapers, was stabbed during the attack on Saturday night. She posted on Facebook: “Hey everyone, just so you know I’m doing OK. Bit of pain but I will survive. Thanks for your thoughts and well wishes. Love to all.”Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, told the media: “We are aware of reports of two Australians who have been directly affected by this attack.“This afternoon, the Foreign Minister spoke to the parents of both Australians. One case has been confirmed and that Australian concerned is in hospital.“In the other case, we are continuing to make inquiries. Our officials will continue to provide every assistance they can to Australians affected by this shocking attack and their families.” Friends took to social media to desperately search for Mr Ho. They knew he had been taken to hospital but didn’t know where. In the early hours of Sunday morning, Isabelle Oderberg, a friend of the journalist, wrote on Twitter that he had been found in intensive care.She wrote: “We have found Geoff. He is in intensive care. Thank you for the RTs and messages. I’ll be going offline now until I hear more.” Geoff Ho
I always say that the river flows well to it’s destiny because of the guidance of a solid rock #engagement #eugieandjack @TheDukeOfYork @TheDukeOfYork pic.twitter.com/hvCnnOwZpo— Sarah Ferguson (@SarahTheDuchess) January 22, 2018 “Her Royal Highness and Mr Brooksbank became engaged in Nicaragua earlier this month.”The wedding will take place in the Autumn of 2018 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, with further details to be announced in due course.”As Royal-watchers will note, the venue of the wedding matches the choice made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will marry at St George’s Chapel on May 19th.Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank, who have been dating for around seven years, will no doubt enjoy a calmer lead-up to their wedding, with their lower profile affording them more freedom in their planning and suggesting their ceremony will not be televised. The ring, they said, was designed together, with Mr Brooksbank picking out a padparadscha sapphire before waiting for the Princess to “sign off” the final creation.He selected the sapphire, he said, because “it changes colour from every different angle that you look of it”, reminding him of the “amazing Eugenie”. On wedding planning, he joked he was “not sure I’ll get a word in edgeways”, with his fiancee vowing they would “do it together”. Princess Eugenie said she had not yet decided on the type of dress she wanted, beyond “no meringue shoulders”. “Planning will start tomorrow, I assume,” she said. 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. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank pose in the Picture Gallery of Buckingham PalaceCredit:Jonathan Brady/PA Total joy!! #engagement @TheDukeOfYork pic.twitter.com/Th58YD0rHa— Sarah Ferguson (@SarahTheDuchess) January 22, 2018 The celebrations, excluding security, will be paid for privately.The couple are intending to move into Ivy Cottage, at Kensington Palace, together.A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh “are very pleased and wish the couple all the best” following their engagement announcement.The Duke of York, father of Princess Eugenie, said he was “thrilled”, calling his future son-in-law an “absolutely outstanding young man” who has got to know his daughter “over a number of years”. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank attend Goodwood Racecourse, 2015Credit:Getty The ring, including padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds Credit:Jonathan Brady/PA He added: “But today it’s their day. I’m just completely overjoyed for them and wish them every happiness.”Mr Brooksbank’s parents, Nicola and George, hailed the news in a statement, saying: “We could not be more delighted with the news of the engagement.”We are completely over the moon and are very excited for them both.”Sarah, Duchess of York, who sent a series of tweets sharing her pleasure. The Duke said attention would turn to planning for the wedding and “getting it all organised” but “we can’t fix a date yet, we’ve got to look at everyone’s diaries. It’s a bit more complicated than that.” In formal engagement photographs taken at Buckingham Palace, the Princess is wearing a dress by Erdem, shoes by Jimmy Choo and a ring described as “padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds”.It closely resembles the ruby engagement ring worn by her mother after Prince Andrew proposed in March 1986.The couple divorced in 1996, but still live together at Royal Lodge, with the Duchess speaking regularly about their close continuing relationship and mutual focus on their daughters. The wedding announcement styled them the “Duke and Duchess of York”.The two Royal weddings of 2018 are not without precedent. In 2011, Prince William married the then-Kate Middleton, with Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall tying the knot three months later.Mr Brooksbank is not expected to be given a new title after the wedding. In December 2016, the Duke of York said it was “complete fabrication to suggest I have asked for any future husbands of the Princesses to have titles”. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, who are engagedCredit:Jonathan Brady/PA “I was over the moon, crying.”Asked about the Queen’s reaction to the news, she added: “Granny actually knew right at the beginning. She was one of the very few people right at the beginning.“We left her this weekend [after a visit to Sandringham], and had a lovely time. She was very happy, as was my grandfather.” The Duke and Duchess of York at their 1986 weddingCredit:Rex Buckingham Palace announced the engagement in a statement, saying: “The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Princess Eugenie to Mr Jack Brooksbank. Princess Eugenie has described how she was left in tears of happiness after her boyfriend Jack Brooksbank proposed in front of a Nicaraguan volcano. In an interview due to be broadcast on The One Show on Monday night, Princess Eugenie said she had been taken “completely” by surprise by the proposal, “even though we’d been together seven years”. The couple, who announced their engagement via Buckingham Palace on Monday morning, will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in the autumn.In an interview celebrating their news, Mr Brooksbank described how he had got down on one knee in Nicaragua, against a backdrop of “a beautiful volcano” where “the sun was setting, birds were flying.”Princess Eugenie said: “The lake was so beautiful. The lake had a special light I’d never seen. I actually said ‘this is an incredible moment’, and then he popped the question. Asked by presenter Matt Baker to introduce Mr Brooksbank to the watching public, Princess Eugenie said: “We share the same passion and drive for life. It’s nice that we get to share this moment with everyone.””It’s very, very special to be a part of your family now,” Mr Brooksbank told his fiancee. “But we’re just Jack and Eug, I suppose.”I love Eugenie so much and we’re just really really happy and over the moon for what’s to come. Very, very excited to spend a lifetime together.”Asked whether, after a relationship of seven years, she had wondered “what was taking so long” with the proposal, Princess Eugenie joked: “Maybe! No, I knew, I knew.”
In a statement, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “This evening the High Court again ruled that it is in Alfie’s best interests to continue with the end of life care plan developed by the clinical team who have cared for him throughout.”Our top priority therefore remains in ensuring Alfie receives the care he deserves to ensure his comfort, dignity and privacy are maintained throughout. This includes working closely with Kate and Tom as they spend this precious time together with him.”We would be grateful if respect and consideration is shown to all our staff, patients and families at the hospital at this difficult time.” Alfie has been at the centre of a life or death treatment battle, with his parents, Mr Evans and Kate James, trying to block doctors from withdrawing life support in a sometimes acrimonious six-month dispute which has seen a series of court battles.A “last-ditch appeal” in which the Italian Ambassador granted Alfie citizenship of Italy in order to take him to Rome for treatment failed on Monday. Alder Hey said its top priority “remains in ensuring Alfie receives the care he deserves”Credit:Andrew McCaren/LNP Terminally ill Alfie Evans may be allowed home, a judge has ruled but he will not be allowed to go to Rome for further treatment.Mr Justice Hayden described the 23-month-old at the centre of a life support battle as “courageous” and a “warrior”, but said the case had now reached its “final chapter”, he told a High Court hearing in Manchester.He rejected claims by Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, 21, that his son was “significantly better” than first thought because he had now been breathing unaided for 20 hours after doctors first withdrew life support on Monday night at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.Instead, the judge said the best Alfie’s parents could hope for was to “explore” the options of removing him from intensive care either to a ward, a hospice or his home.But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad. Mr Justice Hayden ruled out his family’s wishes to take the child to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, following interventions from the Pope and the Italian authorities. 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. Instead the judge said Alfie’s continued life was a “shaft of light” and a “special opportunity” for his parent to spend time with him – not the time for more legal manoeuvres. And he criticised the “malign hand” of one of the family’s advisers, law student Pavel Stroilov, who had, the court heard, been party to Mr Evans lodging a private prosecution of Alder Hey Hospital doctors, allegedly for murder.The judge said, in fact, the hospital had provided “world class” care for the child.The hospital’s doctors and independent medical experts say there is no cure and no hope for Alfie.Medics say he has a degenerative neurological condition destroying his brain, and it is in his best interests to withdraw life support. During another three-hour hearing on Tuesday at the Family Division of the High Court sitting in Manchester, Paul Diamond, from the Christian Legal Centre representing the parents, suggested the alleged change in the position meant the court should reconsider its decision on allowing Alfie to travel abroad.He handed the court a witness statement from Mr Evans in which he suggested his son’s health was “significantly better” than first thought since life support was withdrawn at 9.17pm last night, as he was continuing to live and breathe.But Mr Justice Hayden said in his ruling: “The sad truth is that it is not. With little, indeed no hesitation, I reject that.”The brain cannot regenerate itself and there is virtually nothing of his brain left.”There is, in truth, with great respect to the efforts of Mr Diamond, no substance to this application, which represents, at least within the court process, the final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.” Tom Evans outside Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where his 23-month-old son, Alfie, has been at the centre of a life-support treatment fightCredit:Peter Byrne/PA
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. Their son grabbed a bag which had their passports and phone in, but they left all their other belongings behind.Seeking refuge in a tunnel, strangers gave them dry clothes. “Everybody was crying, distraught,” Lisa said.On Wednesday evening, concerns were raised that up to 300 bridges, viaducts and tunnels in Italy were also at risk of structural failure too.The death toll from the disaster has risen to 39, including three children. The couple’s daughter had no shoes on and it was not possible to pick her up, the couple recalled, as a tidal wave of people headed to their spot. “I was driving. The rain was so severe you could only see a few cars in front of you.”Something didn’t feel right. We felt we were sliding to the right.”Nicola said: “The car moved sideways and we shuddered. We thought it was the wind but now we wonder if it was the road twisting.””Everyone’s red lights came on,” Lisa said. “Then it seemed like seconds later the reverse lights came on. The car in front reversed and crashed into us. Nobody could really move.’ A British family on a three-week holiday to Italy told of their narrow escape from the Genoa bridge collapse that killed 39 people.Nicola and Lisa Henton-Mitchell, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, were forced to flee from their car and leave most of their belongings behind when a 650-foot portion of the Morandi motorway bridge in northern Italy disintegrated on Tuesday.Describing how they were confronted by a row of red lights from the cars in front, they said vehicles began to reverse suddenly as cars drifted across the road.The couple said it was fortunate they had stopped briefly before reaching the bridge to use the toilet.”We had stopped at a service station to use the toilet,’ Lisa said. ‘Thank God, or it could have been worse.’ British couple Nicola and Lisa Henton-Mitchell, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, told how the stopped briefly at a rest area with their two children on their travels through ItalyCredit:Facebook
“Historically, only the violin, flute and piano were considered to be feminine,” McAneney said. The trumpet, trombone and tuba are almost exclusively male preserves, while the harp is the only instrument skewed in the opposite direction. 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. “Colliery bands were male, and it took a long time for women to get involved… Anne McAneney of the London Philharmonic Orchestra is the only female out of 103 trumpet players in the study, which looked at the make-up of the top 20 symphony orchestras as ranked by Gramophone magazine. There is only one female trumpet player in the world’s top 20 orchestras, according to a survey which found that playing musical instruments professionally is split along gender lines.
Detectives have been unable to check if ‘speedboat killer’ Jack Shepherd ever left the country, Scotland Yard has admitted. Police have told the Telegraph they have no way of knowing whether Shepherd absconded abroad because there is no simple method for checking if a British citizen has left the country. Details of when a person enters and leaves the country are, according to police, not stored on a single database that can be searched by officers in the hunt for a missing person. Shepherd, 31, remains on the run, having been convicted in his absence of killing Charlotte Brown, 24, after he took her out on his speedboat on the Thames on their first date. Shepherd had been drinking heavily when…