Liverpool Coutinho-Mane-Salah-Firmino nearly click as Liverpool shoot themselves in the foot again Melissa Reddy Liverpool FC Correspondent Last updated 2 years ago 05:13 27/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(5) Getty Liverpool UEFA Champions League Spartak Moskva v Liverpool Spartak Moskva Opinion Liverpool’s profligacy and a moment of poor decision-making saw them draw a second Champions League game they should have clearly won A gigantic red-and-white tifo, featuring a golden gladiator, a warrior vanquishing a dragon and the stern words “Win or Die” floated around the Otkrytiye Arena ahead of kick off to welcome Spartak Moscow onto their turf.The message, though, feels more relatable to Liverpool this season with a reaction of fatalism served up on every occasion they fail to register victory. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. While the conclusions on Jurgen Klopp’s side are often overblown and removed from context, the frustrations of supporters are understandable and valid given their witnessing of the same issues ruining a really good thing.The amount of attacking weaponry the club possesses is frightening and when the forward players fully find their offensive groove, Steven Gerrard’s famous “all the best” remark to opposition defences will again trend.On Tuesday night, the brush strokes from Klopp’s “artists” were promising, but without the all-important finishing touches. And as has been the story of their season so far, Liverpool’s inability to translate their dominance to the scoreboard was punished at the other end of the pitch.They had 16 shots in total to Spartak’s four – two a piece in each half – yet the giant screen still read 1-1 at the final whistle.There was no debate over who the superior side was, but conversely, there’s no column for comments next to the results section in the Champions League group table.A draw in Moscow is not the worst result, but the predicament is they deserved more – as was the case against Watford, Burnley and Sevilla.Here, the most intimidating element of Spartak in the opening exchanges had been the Fratria, their ultras, persistently chanting, clapping and swinging their scarves as Liverpool kept Artem Rebrov busy.Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – starting a competitive fixture for the first time in tandem – constantly found spaces to exploit despite the hosts doing their best to be compact and obstructive.They provided glimpses as to how explosive they could potentially be, but with attack Liverpool’s strongest form of defence, almost just doesn’t cut it.The Reds had actually handled themselves well on the rare occasions Spartak advanced early on, but Emre Can’s knack for needing too many touches was capitalised on as he was pressed and played a loose ball down the flank, which set Massimo Carrera’s men on the attack.They moved possession inside and Coutinho was punished for a trip 25 yards out, which Fernando bent over the wall and to Loris Karius’ left.The German had vowed to maximise his opportunity by showing the manager he should be the club’s first choice in-between the sticks, but his weak attempt to keep out the midfielder’s effort didn’t fortify his case as the Merseysiders were the architects of their own misery again.Spartak were enlivened by the opener, but given the cannonry at Klopp’s disposal, the visitors were always going to eventually click and bang in the final third.They did it in stunning fashion too, with Mane and Coutinho combining to devastating and delightful effect.The Brazil international fed the speedster, who commanded the attention of two markers and intelligently slipped the ball around them to meet the No.10’s run.Coutinho took a touch and as Rebrov tried to narrow the angle, he lifted the ball over the advancing keeper with power and precision to score his ninth goal in his last 14 games for Liverpool.After the interval, the Reds resumed their troubling of Spartak’s rearguard, with Dejan Lovren forcing a save off the playmaker’s free-kick.Coutinho was denied from another stellar set-piece with Rebrov doing well to deny him after the wall had been cleared and the bottom-left corner targeted.On 67 minutes, the gloveman was replaced through injury with Alexander Selikhov deputising and he too stood firm as Liverpool’s onslaught continued.More goals didn’t arrive and it’s two Champions League draws in two despite clearly being the most formidable team in Group E. “We, in this moment, are not the luckiest team in world football, so it’s not that things go easy for us,” Klopp said afterwards. “We did really well in creating chances against a very defence-orientated team. We didn’t give a lot of chances away for them; the free-kick they scored with was not a foul, so it’s difficult to change this. In defending if you win the ball clear and there’s still a whistle it’s difficult, but it was a brilliant free-kick. We made our equaliser, we scored and we could have created even more chances, that’s the crazy thing.”We did enough and we had four or five 100 per cent chances and that’s then disappointing but it is like it is. In the Champions League in the group stage the only target you have is to go through the group to the next round, and that’s still possible for us.”We know now more about two teams in the group and both games we could have, or should have, won but we didn’t. In the end that’s always our fault, but we will carry on and carry on like this, or even better. I saw a lot of good things tonight, it was not a perfect game, but there were a lot of good things.”Captain Jordan Henderson, who turned in a top performance with Alberto Moreno also deserving credit as he continues his renaissance, provided a more succinct summary.“We controlled the game from start to finish, so should win the game comfortably,” he told told BT Sport. “We’re disappointed. I thought we defended well for the majority of the game and created chances – but we’ve just got to finish teams off and be more ruthless.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Remember Allen Iverson’s infamous practice rant? You probably don’t, so refresh your recollection by watching the clip below. Former NBA player Gary Payton has just shed some light on Iverson’s odd rant. Now that Iverson is done playing NBA basketball for good, Gary Payton revealed that he was potentially the reason Iverson went on the infamous practice rant.In a segment on Fox Sports Live, Payton explained that a group of players were out having a good time and they had “a little bit too many.” Iverson asked Payton how he stayed in such good shape, avoided injuries and always remained on the court. Payton replied, “I told him for real that my coach, George Karl, didn’t let me practice. That was it. I said, ‘You have to stop practicing.’”Bleacher Reports‘ Dan Favale compared the two players’ stats, maybe Payton was on to something.In Payton’s 17-year career, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He played 80 or more games in a season 12 times.In Iverson’s 14-year career, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. He played 80 or more games in a season three times.
To make the World Cup every four years, the United States men’s national team needs to do the bare minimum — that usually entails not being worse than teams from a couple of Central American or Caribbean countries that have a GDP roughly 0.1 percent the size of ours. In Honduras on Tuesday night, the USMNT delivered on that promise: They accomplished the bare minimum.A late Bobby Wood goal secured a 1-1 draw, salvaged a crucial road point and calmed anxiety about the U.S. qualifying for next summer’s World Cup. According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the U.S. now has a 69 percent chance of qualifying. Of course, those odds are more a reflection of the forgiving nature of the Hex, the round-robin CONCACAF World Cup qualification tournament, than the U.S. men’s skill. Six teams enter, three leave with a World Cup bid, and the fourth-place team can still score a spot by beating the fifth-place Asian qualifier.The path to qualification is easy, so it’s still likely that the U.S. team will be off to Russia next summer, but they’ve used up much of their margin for error. As it stands, there’s no scenario in which the U.S. can qualify for the World Cup before the final match in Trinidad and Tobago. The last time the U.S. was still hoping to clinch a spot entering its final game was heading into the 1990 World Cup, basically the dawn of modern American soccer. Even if things go perfectly next month, when they take on Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, this will still go down as the team’s worst modern qualifying campaign.Now the U.S. is faced with two simple questions. What the heck is wrong with this team? And can it be fixed?Where the U.S. went wrongThe problem right now isn’t so much that the U.S. team is bad. It’s not. The problem is that the U.S. was really bad last year when this phase of qualification started, and it hasn’t really ever made up for it. Jurgen Klinsmann was fired two games into the USMNT’s final-round qualifying bid, after a home loss against Mexico and a 4-0 thumping away to Costa Rica. The team was a mess, and Bruce Arena was brought in to stabilize the ship. And he did. In his first four games in charge, he led the team to two home wins and two road draws, the exact kind of record that leads to easy qualification. But the record didn’t earn back any of the points the team dropped in its first two games. Arena stopped the bleeding, but he didn’t fill in the hole that Klinsmann had dug.That left that the men’s team vulnerable to a single bad match — like the match last Friday, in which Costa Rica beat the U.S. 2-0 in New Jersey. Realistically, Arena’s team didn’t play all that badly. The USMNT outshot its opponents 14-9 and produced a 1.26 to 0.62 expected goal advantage. Arena’s men conceded an early goal thanks to some poor positioning from central defenders Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream and some questionable goalkeeping from Tim Howard. Then they were denied a second-half equalizer when Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, made an absolutely inhuman save on a shot from U.S. midfielder Christian Pulisic that took a wicked deflection. If either the blown defense or the amazing save had gone slightly differently, the game looks different, the qualifying campaign looks different, and the answer to the question of “What is wrong with the team?” is basically “Nothing.” This team as currently constituted is just about good enough to qualify for the World Cup. The problem is that it isn’t much better than that.Fixing what’s wrongArena’s emergency stabilization job was built around two main pillars. First, he handed the keys of the attack to teenage superstar Pulisic, and second, he narrowed midfielder Michael Bradley’s responsibilities, shifting him from the hub of the team to a more traditional deep-lying playmaker. Everything around them has been in flux. Personnel has changed, formations have changed, tactical approaches have changed.Without much continuity, the team ends up in trouble when the game plan breaks down. Against Costa Rica last week, the defense was badly exposed without protection from midfield. Cameron and Ream were both called upon to step into midfield frequently and neither were able to do the job. And against Honduras this week, the attack sputtered when Pulisic wasn’t able to get on the ball. Since starting to play with the senior national team, he’s averaged 53 touches per 90 minutes, but against Honduras he only got 42, and the U.S. struggled to create chances without his influence.The defensive problems will likely sort themselves out eventually. The team is currently missing half of its starting defense, as both John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin are injured. If they get healthy and back on the field, the defense will immediately take a step in the right direction.On the attack side, the solution is less clear-cut. Pulisic is the team’s crown jewel, and it’s Arena’s job to figure out which players in his fairly deep attacking talent pool best complement the young star. Arena has yet to settle on the best combination. Pulisic has played as a winger in a front three, as a wide midfielder with two strikers in front of him, and as the attacking midfielder at the tip of a diamond. In the last two games alone, he played with four different strikers in Wood, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris. Settling on a more consistent lineup might not only help get the best out of Pulisic but also allow the U.S. to develop a more effective plan B for those times an opponent is able to take Pulisic out of the match.Arena is facing the same challenges all managers do. He has to balance the need for short-term results against the desire to develop a team that over the medium term can steadily improve and peak at the right moment. Up until this week, it seemed like he had gotten the balance mostly right, winning enough to put the U.S. solidly on course while also developing a basic plan. This week, that plan broke down. Now October’s matches can’t serve as a platform to help build the team for the future; instead, they’re all about short-term goals.There’s nothing wrong with this team that time can’t fix. But with two must-win games on the horizon, time is the one thing this team doesn’t have.
During that 2016-17 season, though, five other teams exceeded the Moreyball Rate of the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had the highest non-Rockets Moreyball Rate of any team from 2012 through 2016. That incredible jump from one-sixth of the league foreshadowed what has happened since: The league’s Moreyball Rate has been rising far faster than it did during the McHale years, meaning that the Rockets’ math advantage is once again shrinking, through no fault of their own offensive priorities.While the average Moreyball Rate jumped only 3.7 percentage points from 2012 (58.1 percent) through 2016 (60.8 percent), it has rocketed (pun very much intended) all the way up to 68.3 percent in 2019. That’s a jump of 7.5 percentage points in just three seasons, compared with the four it took to erase a smaller advantage for the previous incarnation of the Rockets. And at the same time that the NBA’s average Moreyball Rate has shot through the roof, the Rockets themselves have once again stalled out. They appear to have hit a ceiling in terms of how many of their shots can really be taken from the most efficient areas of the floor.Houston’s sky-high Moreyball Rates during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons helped them to two of the most efficient offensive seasons in NBA history. During that 2016-17 campaign, the Rockets registered the 10th-best offensive efficiency in NBA history, per Basketball-Reference. During the 2017-18 season, they posted the 11th-best offensive efficiency in history. And during both seasons, the Rockets led the NBA in Moreyball Rate by a healthy margin, even while the league as a whole was catching up.This year, however, they don’t even lead the league in Moreyball Rate, marking the first time since the 2011-12 campaign that they’ve fallen out of first place. (They’ve been passed by Mike Budenholzer’s Milwaukee Bucks, who are at 82.6 percent, the highest figure that can be gleaned from the shot location data in NBA.com’s database, which reaches back to the 1996-97 season.) Amazingly, Houston’s Morey+ this season has already dropped below where it was during the 2015-16 season that inspired Morey to bring in D’Antoni in the first place. And even while they’ve cleaned up their defense a bit these past two years, the rate at which leaguewide Moreyball Rates are spiking has left their Moreyball Advantage at the lowest point it’s been in years.It seems unlikely that other NBA teams will simply stop pursuing shots from the Moreyball areas of the floor, so the league average will presumably continue to rise — if not necessarily at quite the rate it has these past few years. And with the Rockets having seemingly maxed out their own Moreyball Rates in the low 80s, it looks like the best way for them to regain the sky-high Moreyball Advantage they had in the early 2010s is by engineering their defense so that opponents simply can’t access the most efficient areas of the floor. But that’s also what every other team in the league has been trying to do to the Rockets for years, and as they’ve been showing us for quite some time now, it’s easier said than done. By attempting so many more of their shots from the most efficient areas of the floor than any other team, the Rockets created for themselves a healthy math advantage. Through shot selection alone, they essentially began each game with a small lead that their opponents needed to erase in addition to out-scoring them over the course of 48 minutes in order to win the game.For the next three seasons under Kevin McHale, however, the Rockets’ Moreyball Rate stayed fairly stagnant. They still led the NBA in Moreyball Rate during each of those seasons, but they did so with rates that hovered between 72.6 and 73.8 percent. At the same time, the league average Moreyball Rate crept upward, eating into the Rockets’ math advantage and, by extension, that small de facto lead with which they began every game.This is perhaps best exemplified by scaling their Moreyball Rate against the league average. Fans familiar with baseball statistics like OPS+ will recognize this formula: The NBA average Moreyball Rate is given a score of 100, while a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent better than league average receives a Morey+ score of 110, and a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent worse than league average receives a Morey+ score of 90. So, in a world where the league average Moreyball Rate is 50 percent, a team with a 55 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 110, while a team with a 45 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 90.Using the same formula, we can calculate that during the 2012-13 season when the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 73.6 percent against a league average of 57.1 percent, they had a Morey+ of 129.1, meaning they attempted shots in the restricted area or from three-point territory at a rate 29.1 percent higher than that of the average NBA team. That is a ridiculously high mark. But it was also essentially the high-water mark for the McHale-era Rockets, whose Morey+ plummeted over the next few seasons, though not through any offensive fault of their own.At the same time the Rockets’ math advantage on offense was shrinking, the same thing was happening on the defensive end of the court. During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets did an excellent job of limiting their opponents’ attempts from the Moreyball areas of the floor. Slowly but surely, however, they ended up yielding better and better shots, and their opponents’ Moreyball Rate crept upward at an even faster rate than the league average.The decline of the Rockets’ math advantage during that time looks even starker when pitting their offense and defense against each other. At the same time as they were shooting 29.1 percent more often from Moreyball areas than the average team in 2012-13, they were forcing opponents to shoot from those areas 3.2 percent less often than the average squad. Add those two numbers up, and the Rockets had a Moreyball Advantage of 32.2 points during that season. By the time they got to the 2015-16 campaign, however, their Moreyball Advantage had been cut by more than half (to 13.8 points).During those four years, the Rockets were the only team to have a Moreyball Rate above 68.8 percent, but the average team still gained steadily gained on them, and their ability to prevent their own opponents from getting to Moreyball areas declined as well. And it was then that Morey decided to hire Mike D’Antoni. Because if the Rockets couldn’t stop the rest of the league from following their lead in following The Math, then the next-best option was for them to take The Math to new heights.In D’Antoni’s first season, the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 81.8 percent, blasting the previous league highs they’d set over the prior few seasons. That 81.8 percent figure was, obviously, the highest in the NBA by far, making it the fifth consecutive season during which the Rockets led the league. Crucially, that rate bumped their Morey+ all the way back up to 128.8 — almost all the way back to where it was during that 2012-13 campaign, when the Rockets first began truly orienting their offense around The Math. Morey+ score* for the Houston Rockets 2018-19119.8– Winners of five straight games, the Houston Rockets nudged their record back up to their season-high mark of two games over .500 (16-14) with a blowout win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, during which they set an NBA record by making 26 3-pointers. Despite this hot streak, however, it’s still fair to say that the Rockets have not performed as expected thus far this season. When searching for reasons why that might be the case, the focus has often been on their inability to replicate last season’s switch-happy defense or the early-season injuries and suspensions they had to weather or their general offensive malaise. (If ranking fifth in offensive efficiency can be described as a malaise.) But the root of Houston’s issues may actually just be that the rest of the league is increasingly subscribing to Houston’s core beliefs, which has eaten into the team’s math advantage.To fully understand what that means and how that’s happened, we need to back up a bit. Daryl Morey has been the general manager of the Rockets since 2007, but it wasn’t until the 2012-13 season that the purest form of Morey’s basketball philosophies truly began to shine through on the floor.Coming off three consecutive non-playoff seasons and having just traded for James Harden, the Rockets re-engineered their offense to play not only to their new star’s strengths, but also to The Math. It was during that season that the Rockets began their maniacal pursuit of the most efficient shot on every single possession, turning their collective backs on years of NBA tradition by eschewing the lost art of the mid-range jumper whenever possible in favor of attempts either at the rim or behind the three-point line.It’s easy to see the benefits of that offensive strategy now — six years after the Rockets took it to what then seemed like its logical extreme — but at the time, it was not yet really accepted that this was a healthy way to construct an offense. Not everybody believed in The Math. The Rockets did, however, and they did to a degree that was then unheard of in league history.During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets attempted 73.6 percent of their shots from either the restricted area or three-point range, per NBA.com. (For the balance of this piece, we’ll refer to this percentage as a team’s “Moreyball Rate,” in keeping with certain segments of the basketball analytics community.) The next closest team was the Denver Nuggets at 67.4 percent, while the average NBA team had a Moreyball Rate of 57.1 percent. SeasonMorey+ score 2012-13129.1– * A rating where 100 equals the NBA average and every point above or below 100 equals a one percent change (up or down). 2013-14124.8– 2017-18126.1– 2015-16120.1– 2016-17128.8– 2014-15125.3–
Even after final exams this week, the No. 6 Ohio State women’s basketball team might not take its toughest test until Dec. 19. That’s the day the Buckeyes will get their shot at the No. 1 team in the nation: Connecticut. The Huskies are riding an 86-game winning streak. A win against the Buckeyes could extend the streak to 88, which would tie the 1971-74 UCLA men’s team for the longest winning streak in college basketball history. The game will be played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, N.Y. OSU coach Jim Foster said he’s looking forward to the location of the game more than he is the opponent. “A lot of people watch really interesting matchups, regardless of who it is. I think where it is is a little more significant than who. Connecticut is Connecticut, there’s no two ways about it,” Foster said. “But Connecticut at Madison Square Garden? That’s a historic building.” Connecticut will try to match OSU’s star power of center Jantel Lavender and guard Samantha Prahalis with its own duo in forward Maya Moore and guard Tiffany Hayes. All four players are members of the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden award, which is given to the most outstanding player in college basketball each season. Moore won the award in 2009 and is Connecticut’s career leader in scoring. Prahalis said knocking off Connecticut would be a big moment for the OSU women’s basketball program. “Playing UConn and playing to our potential, and hopefully coming out with a victory, that would make our mark,” Prahalis said. The Buckeyes’ matchup with the Huskies will be the last marquee game of what has been a murderer’s row of a non-conference schedule for OSU. The Buckeyes will have already faced LSU, Virginia, Oklahoma and Syracuse before they take on Connecticut. Prahalis said the Buckeyes are always prepared for each opponent’s best effort. “Anytime we go somewhere to play, or that they come play us, they give us their best shot,” Prahalis said. “We wouldn’t expect anything less. We treat every opponent as they’re going to try their hardest, because they are.” The Buckeyes are 8-0 following an 95-84 win over Oklahoma. Foster said his team this year could perhaps be the best he’s coached in his nine seasons at OSU. “Maybe,” Foster said. “You can’t answer that question today, but I think we’ve got some depth that we haven’t had.”
Ohio State freshman forward Kaleb Wesson (34) works his way into the paint in the first half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Dakich made three of four three point attempts in the first half aiding Ohio State to a 91-69 win. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 13 Ohio State (18-4, 9-0 Big Ten) has survived a few scares. On Jan. 17, it came within four points of losing to Northwestern in the final minute in an eventual 71-65 win and was trading leads with Nebraska Monday, until pulling away late to a 64-59 win.Now it welcomes a struggling Penn State (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten), which has lost four of its past six games, to the Schottenstein Center at 8 p.m. Thursday, with eyes set on a 10-0 start to Big Ten play.Projected StartersPenn State:G — Jamari Wheeler — Freshman, 6-foot-1, 170 lbs., 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apgG — Tony Carr — Sophomore, 6-foot-5, 204 lbs., 18.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.8 apgG — Shep Garner —Senior, 6-foot-2, 196 lbs., 10.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.4 apgF — Mike Watkins — Redshirt sophomore, 6-foot-9, 254 lbs., 13.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 0.7 apgF — Lamar Stevens — Sophomore, 6-foot-8, 226 lbs., 15.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apgOhio State:G — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 13.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.4 apgG — Kam Williams — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-2, 185 lbs., 7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.5 apgF — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 19.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.3 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apgC — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs., 11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.1 apgScouting Penn StateThe Nittany Lions have been involved in plenty of close games this season. Nine of their 21 games have been decided by single digits, and two have gone into overtime.Part of the reason they are in so many close games has been their defense. Penn State has the 43rd-best defensive efficiency in the country and has held opponents to just a 47 percent effective field goal percentage (37th-best), according to the advanced statistics website KenPom.com. It also ranks in the top 25 in blocking and steal percentages.However, this defense matches up poorly against Ohio State. It typically plays man-to-man, a type of defense Ohio State has flourished against this season. The best way to slow down Ohio State’s 31st-best offensive attack has been to run a zone defense. Penn State’s offense also will not match up well against Ohio State’s defense. Though the Nittany Lions have shot 37.4 percent from the 3, they generate 54.4 percent of their offense from inside the arc, the 57th-highest rate in the nation.Teams that have been able to beat Ohio State do so from long range, with 36.4 percent of opponents’ points coming from 3-point range, 36th-highest in the country. Opposing teams have mustered only the 257th-highest 2-point percentage in its point distribution at 46.9 percent.Monitoring Kaleb Wesson’s minutesOhio State has relied heavily on freshman center Kaleb Wesson this season. After sophomore center Micah Potter injured his ankle in the fourth game of the season, Wesson took over as the starter and has not let up.As a starter, Wesson has averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. While the numbers don’t jump out, Wesson has become a better defender and has avoided foul trouble more. He has fouled out three times as a starter, but only once in his past 10 games.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said that even though Wesson has shown improvements and has been a key cog in the team’s success this season, he still does not want to put much pressure on his young big man by playing him too much.“It’s a lot to expect a kid of his size as a freshman really even to play 20 minutes,” Holtmann said. “I think his minutes are probably where we’d like for them to be. I think sometimes he could play a little more, sometimes a little less depending on how he’s playing. He’s done a very good job with the minutes, but I wouldn’t want to put 30 minutes on him right now as a freshman.”Wesson’s conditioning has improved, but it is clear after five minutes on the court that he gets worn out. He starts to breathe heavily and is slower to post and seal, meaning the team needs to bring in a fresher defender to maintain solid interior play. As he continues to develop and adjust to the workload, Wesson will turn his raw tools into game skills and be able to keep using those tools later into games, Holtmann said.“He’s so gifted with his hands and I think his feet can get better,” Holtmann said. “They’re not bad right now, but they’ve got to get a lot better in the offseason. His explosiveness, his movement. But I think that you can tell pretty early on when he’s [tired].”
Kevin De Bruyne is the best footballer I have ever faced in the Premier League, says new Everton forward RicharlisonThe Brazilian is quickly putting doubts over his £35m price tag to ease by scoring three goals in his first two league games at Everton following a disappointing first season in English football with Watford.And as for who is the “biggest monster” he has played against so far, Richarlison told Premier League Brasil: “The biggest monster is difficult to say, in a league that only has monsters (laughs).“But I think the guy who impressed me the most was De Bruyne. He put our team on the wheel last year.”The 21-year-old is convinced that manager Marco Silva will become regarded as one of Europe’s finest one day.Solskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.“Marco Silva is a great coach,” Richarlison added.“And has been very important to me here. He is very attentive to the players, explains right whatever you do in the field, he does the same teaching style.“I have no doubt that he will be one of the great coaches of Europe in a short time. I’ve always played well with him and I hope he can reciprocate that confidence he has in my work on the field, delivering what he expects from me to the club and to my teammates.”Richarlison and Everton will be back in action on Saturday against Bournemouth.