Kobe Bryant, declared out for the remainder of the NBA season, was in a talkative mood and what he had to say was scathing toward Los Angeles Lakers management.The proud franchise is 22-42 on the season, and Bryant shakes his head in dismay at the record.“How can I be satisfied with it? We’re like 100 games under .500,” Bryant said. “I can’t be satisfied with that at all. This is not what we stand for. This is not what we play for. A lot of times, it’s hard to understand that message if you’re not a diehard Laker fan. It’s hard to really understand where we’re coming from and what we’re accustomed to, which is playing for championships and everything else is a complete failure. That’s just how it is. That’s how it was explained to me by Jerry (West) and all the other great Lakers who have played here and that’s how I grew up thinking. So that’s just how it is.”Bryant said changes have to start in management.“We have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team,” he said. “What kind of culture do we want to have? What kind of system do we want to have? How do we want to play? It starts there and from there, you can start building out your team accordingly.“You got to start with Jim,” Bryant continued. “You got to start with Jim and Jeanie and how that relationship plays out. It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority. And then it goes down to the coaching staff and what (coach) Mike (D’Antoni) is going to do, what they’re going to do with Mike and it goes from there. It’s got to start at the top.”D’Antoni has one year remaining on his contract worth $4 million. His teams are just 62-74 (.456) since joining the Lakers last November. Injuries have been a factor, but so has his system that does not appear suited for the talent.Bryant said he has “not one lick” of patience for the Lakers’ management team of Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak to rebuild the team into a contender.“Oh yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again,” Bryant said, sarcastically. “No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform. No excuses for it. Right? You got to get things done. It’s the same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court, is the same expectations I have for them up there. You got to be able to figure out a way to do both.”“You know how I feel about Phil (Jackson, who reportedly will take a job with the New York Knicks in management this week),” said Bryant, who won all five of his championships with Jackson as the coach. “I have so much admiration for him and respect and I have a great relationship with him. Personally, it would be hard for me to understand that happening twice. It would be tough. I don’t really get it.”
The Buffalo Bills probably need to beat the New England Patriots if they want to secure a playoff spot, but it didn’t have to be that way. As you’ll see in the video above, their odds would be higher if they hadn’t messed around and benched Tyrod Taylor, who’s been surprisingly good, a few weeks back.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Sept. 8, 2015), we offer a preview of this year’s NFL season now that Tom Brady is playing a full slate of games. Plus FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey helps launch our newest crowdsourcing project — challenging you to win the Super Bowl using his avatar in Madden. Then we bring you the latest in our U.S. Open mini-podcast, Baseline, with host Carl Bialik. And to close out the show, a Significant Digit on the weirdness of this year’s Premier League season.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Below are links to some of the articles we discussed on the show.FiveThirtyEight’s comprehensive NFL preview coverage, rolling out all this week.Walt Hickey and Neil Paine go behind the Madden ratings.Want to win Madden with Walt as your quarterback? Here’s how to take part in our crowdsourcing project.The full archive of Baseline podcasts from Carl Bialik.Significant Digit: 0.8. Soccer journalist Michael Caley recently created an “Early Season Weirdness Rating” for the Premier League. This year’s early weirdness is only 0.8 standard deviations above the average weirdness at this point in the season. In other words, just a little bit weird! Video: Win the Super Bowl with Walt as your QB Hot Takedown
Terry Bradshaw48788643616282 Donovan McNabb45677285457972 Jim Kelly76647947656456 Roger Staubach79707983407375 Dan Fouts81697160875530 After breaking down the characteristics of Manning and his teams over the years, it’s amazing to see how sharply the usual tendencies were inverted along Denver’s path to the championship. On average, Manning’s teams were middle-of-the-pack on defense, and a shade better than that at running the ball. That was more than enough to rattle off an absurd string of 10-plus-win seasons, because Manning was very good — if not completely and totally great — in every facet of passing the football. His average defense was worse than that supporting Brett Favre, Joe Montana or Steve Young, and the running game was less efficient than what Tom Brady, Drew Brees or John Elway was working with.Manning did have a lot more help than Dan Marino, but he also bested him across every passing category — like a more accurate, deeper-throwing version of the Dolphins great, who got the ball out just as fast but was more careful with it. And since we’re looking at percentiles instead of raw output, the differences between eras soften, though they don’t completely disappear.That was prime Peyton, however. This year’s version was far, far worse, particularly in categories where he once excelled. To wit: His rates of completions, touchdowns and interceptions, each typically among the top 30 percent of regular QBs, all dipped into the bottom quarter of passers this season. Meanwhile, his defensive support, usually in the middle of the pack, zoomed up to the best in football. Peyton Manning91648870956052 Sources: pro football reference, football outsiders Tony Romo80778259606954 Joe Namath42886839924930 Kurt Warner93828944676061 From a lot of angles, Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time. His second Super Bowl win, however, came in decidedly un-Peyton-like fashion, with Manning riding in the wake of an all-time defense while doddering well below replacement level for most of the season. Perhaps this is karma, a just reward after a career of — with a few exceptions — being shackled to some of the worst defenses ever to run deep into the playoffs. It’s the popular line of thinking, at least, and popular enough to dig a little deeper. So: Just how bad were Peyton’s defenses in his best years?Here’s a look at the statistical profiles of Hall of Fame and near-Hall of Fame QBs from the modern era — this includes the defensive and rushing support each received throughout his career, but especially his prime. To find this, I took each passer’s performance in a few categories — completion percentage, yards per completion, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, sack percentage — and sorted them by their percentile relative to the league in any given season. I then weighted each season to give more weight to a player’s best years according to value over replacement (like I did with Ken Griffey Jr. here). Then, I did the same for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average for both rushing offense and defense. It’s been a stunning reversal, the likes of which we haven’t really seen from such a good QB before; the only possible exceptions were the final full seasons of Marino, Ken Stabler and Joe Theismann’s careers. Those performances all came in the service of mediocre teams, though. Somehow Manning actually turned an even more extreme version of this formula into a championship.We aren’t sure if the Super Bowl was Manning’s final game, and it’s hard to speculate about how this changes Manning’s legacy (not that a paltry two titles will ever satiate the “Count The Ringz!!!” crowd anyway). But even if Manning happened to be dragged to a championship in the final throes of his senescence by Von Miller and Denver’s ferocious defense, it’s hard not to appreciate the strange symmetry after Manning spent a career elevating middling and worse teams with his brilliance. Troy Aikman88384677788056 Ben Roethlisberger81797157355968 John Elway59646367637649 Philip Rivers82738167644333 Brett Favre78558257704763 Dan Marino74577866945030 PERCENTILE VS. LEAGUEDVOA FROM… QUARTERBACKCMP%YD/CMPTD%INT%SK%RUSHING OFFENSEDEFENSE Ken Anderson83526784486945 Joe Montana93327484717369 Drew Brees90528267887031 Carson Palmer69597551775547 Aaron Rodgers82799388367759 Bob Griese86558756458750 Tom Brady77688485787852 Steve Young98719078428267 Warren Moon74537159705259
Ohio State women’s basketball coach Jim Foster hasn’t quite embraced the idea of social media. “I mean really, tweeting?” Foster said. “Who cares what you think at the moment, you’re going to change your mind in five.” He might not tweet about his 760 career wins, a Final Four appearance or being 12th on the all-time NCAA wins list, but he’s not afraid to share one aspect of his career: getting all his players to earn degrees. Before coming to OSU in 2002, he coached at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa. At each school, every player he has coached has graduated. “I don’t think you ever start out to do anything like that,” Foster said. “It just sort of happened.” Many student-athletes perform a delicate balancing act when it comes to studies and sports. Foster said he understands the difficulties students face, but his past experiences have shaped the standard he holds for his players. After his enlistment in the Army, which included a tour in Vietnam, Foster attended junior college before enrolling at Temple University in Philadelphia. While at Temple, he coached boys and girls basketball at a high school in Wyncote, Pa. In 1978, the Temple undergraduate was named women’s coach at nearby St. Joseph’s University. “For the last two years I was coaching college players while pursuing my degree at Temple,” Foster said. That’s not all he was doing. On top of being a full-time student and an NCAA coach, Foster ran a group home for neglected boys while also bartending. It all totaled for an 80-hour workweek. “I never quite understood the difficulty in managing your schedule,” he said. Foster’s message of hard work on the court and in the classroom is evident in his former student-athletes. “There was not ‘athlete’ in the word — you were a student first,” said Emily Beth Howe, a former Buckeye who played under Foster. Howe graduated OSU in 2005 with a business degree before attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where she earned her master’s in sports management. She now works in sales at the OSU athletic department and said she still remembers what Foster expected from his players. “He didn’t care if you scored two points or 20 points,” Howe said. “The importance was academics.” Even when a player transferred from the team, Foster said he kept tabs on their progress. The scholarships Foster has given student-athletes afforded some an opportunity to attend college when they otherwise might not have. That opportunity creates a positive ripple effect for the coming generations, Foster said. “Now their children are getting ready for college,” Foster said. “And if they hadn’t been given the opportunity, the next generation probably wouldn’t be in the position they’re in.” In an era where some student-athletes are blinded by short-term success, rather than long-term goals, Foster has a message. “The more you discipline yourself now, the more opportunity for success you’re going to have later,” he said. Although the younger generation might forget in five minutes, that message might be a thought worth tweeting about. Ohio
After 77 years, Jesse Owens, the former Ohio State track star and the man who thumbed his nose at Adolf Hitler and the idea of “Aryan Dominance” at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by winning four gold medals, has been supplanted in OSU outdoor long jumping lore. Redshirt senior Michael Hartfield set the new OSU record on March 29 at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, with a personal-best jump of 8.15 meters (26-9.00), edging Owens’ mark of 8.13 meters (26-8.25) set in 1936. “That accomplishment was the biggest one I’ve done,” Hartfield said. “To break a legend’s record, he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time … and it’s been really awesome to put it all together my senior year and break that record which has been my goal since I got here.” Hartfield has been one of the most decorated athletes in OSU track history, garnering three second team All-American honors in the long jump, five All-Big Ten selections for the long and triple jumps and earning the titles of 2011 Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and the 2011 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Great Lakes Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. On Wednesday, Hartfield was also named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week, his second time earning the honor this season and the fourth time in his career. His performance at the Jim Click Shootout Saturday, where he earned first-place with a mark of 8.10 meters (26-7.00) in the long jump and first-place in the triple jump with a 15.84 meters (51-11.75) mark, garnered him the honor. But even with all of the accolades and breaking Owens’ record, Hartfield said he isn’t done just yet. “I’m going to keep pushing for another record, try and push a world record,” Hartfield said. “You never know, I just gotta keep working hard and keep pushing the limits and see where it takes you.” The current long jump world record is 8.95 meters, set by Mike Powell from the U.S. in 1991. His jumps coach, Brian Brillon, said when he first met Hartfield, he saw potential for him to break Owens’ record. “When I first met him and we first did some drills, Mike just had that ‘it’ factor,” Brillon said. “And you know when you see ‘it.’ Each year he’s been progressing, and he’s one of those guys determined to get better. He’s a blessing to coach.” Hartfield is already looking ahead to the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Track Championships, which are set to be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on May 10. He said he has a goal to win a conference title as a senior on the Buckeyes’ home track. “I want to help the team toward a Big Ten Championship, that’s still the goal,” Hartfield said. “Let’s try and get a championship … let’s just keep pushing to get better, that’s basically the team goal always.” Brillon said Hartfield’s work ethic doesn’t just inspire the team, but also his coaches. Brillon said Hartfield’s leadership might be his biggest asset. “I think (Mike’s) helped all of us get better,” Brillon said. “He’s helped me be a better coach, he’s helped the other athletes be better just having him on the team, and he brings an atmosphere of competitiveness and excellence.” Hartfield’s jumping career won’t end once he removes the Scarlet and Gray track suit. Hartfield said his personal goals stretch far beyond the confines of the aptly named Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “I plan to go on the pro circuit and to try and make the world team,” Hartfield said. “Everyone wants to be an Olympian, that’s the peak. I want to make the Olympic team and say I’m an Olympian.” Hartfield and OSU’s next home meet is the Jesse Owens Track Classic, which is scheduled to begin April 19 at 4 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
OSU redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov winds up to kick the ball during a game against Akron Sept. 24 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 3-1Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternIn the span of six days, the Ohio State men’s soccer team went from being undefeated to holding a losing record.The Buckeyes’ (2-3-3, 1-1-0) loss to Dayton (4-3-1) on Saturday was their third in a row. OSU was unable to muster much of an offensive threat throughout the contest, falling 1-0.The two teams were each held scoreless for much of the afternoon.It was not until late in the 83rd minute that the Flyers broke through with a goal. Junior forward Amass Amankona dribbled through the box and passed it to his left to redshirt-junior forward Ryan Peterson. Peterson then put it past OSU redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov for his second goal of the year.OSU only managed two shots on goal in the game, one in each half. Dayton managed six shots on goal, with Ivanov saving five of them.OSU did manage to outshoot the Flyers 11-10 overall, despite failing to put nine of them on target.OSU’s best opportunity came during the 15th minute when sophomore forward Danny Jensen got the first half’s lone shot on goal for OSU. However, he was unable to put it home and the game remained scoreless.On top of dropping their last three games, things could only become more difficult over the next two weeks for the Buckeyes.Three of their next four games are scheduled to come against schools ranked in the top 20. Their next two games are against No. 9 Louisville and No. 16 Michigan State, before getting a potential breather against winless Oakland.The Buckeyes are set to look to end the losing streak at Louisville in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday. That game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. OSU’s matchup with the Spartans is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) dribbles past defenders in the second quarter against Michigan State on Jan. 27 at the Schottenstein Center. The Buckeyes beat the Spartans 78-62. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Assistant Sports DirectorOn Jan. 15, the No. 18 Ohio State women’s basketball team sat atop the Big Ten with no conference losses and winning margins of at least seven points in every game. But a little more than two weeks later, the season’s outlook has drastically shifted. The Buckeyes dropped three games in a row — to Michigan, Maryland and Iowa — and fell to fourth in the conference. Ohio State (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) bounced back with a 78-62 home win against Michigan State on Saturday and will search for its second straight win when it plays Penn State (13-9, 4-5 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center.Projected StartersOhio State:G — Asia Doss — Senior, 5-foot-7, 9.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.4 apgG — Kelsey Mitchell — Senior, 5-foot-8, 24.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.3 apgG — Linnae Harper — Redshirt senior, 5-foot-8, 15.6 ppg, 9 rpg, 2.4 apgG — Sierra Calhoun — Redshirt junior, 6-foot, 12 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1 apgF — Stephanie Mavunga — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-3, 15.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 0.7 apgPenn State: G — Teniya Page — Junior, 5-foot-7, 18.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.8 apgG — Amari Carter — Redshirt sophomore, 5-foot-8, 14.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.6 apgG — Siyeh Frazier — Sophomore, 5-foot-9, 7.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.9 apgG — Jaida Travascio-Green — Sophomore, 6-foot-2, 12.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.7 apgF — De’Janae Boykin — Redshirt sophomore, 6-foot-2, 7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.7 apgScouting Penn StateA middle-of-the-road Big Ten team, the Nittany Lions fell to Purdue 88-73 on the road Sunday afternoon, ending their three-game win streak. In that game, the Boilermakers took advantage of Penn State’s defense, one of its most glaring flaws. Purdue hit 73.5 percent of its shots and went 5-for-8 from 3-point range. This season, the Nittany Lions have allowed opponents to shoot 41.6 percent from the field, hird-worst in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes — who have the highest-scoring trio of players in the nation in forward Stephanie Mavunga (15.4 points per game) and guards Kelsey Mitchell (24.8 points per game) and Linnae Harper (15.6 points per game) — are primed to take advantage of Penn State’s lacking defense. They shoot 44.6 percent from the field, the fourth-best in the conference, despite taking more 3-pointers than any other team in the Big Ten.However, Penn State’s offense also has struggled, hitting 40.1 percent of its shots, the second-lowest average in the conference. It averages just 12.3 assists per game, which also ranks second-worst in the Big Ten.But the Nittany Lions have a prolific scorer in junior guard Teniya Page. She dropped 32 points in last season’s matchup between the two teams in what Ohio State redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman called a “career game.”“She’s incredibly quick,” said Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff. “Really crafty with the ball. She can shoot from the perimeter. Can also put the ball on the floor and drive it. Just all-around a great player.”Penn State needs her to repeat last year’s performance to have a chance in the game, since it does not have the advantage in many areas of the court. Page will needhelp from redshirt sophomore guard Amari Carter, who averages 14.8 points per game. Carter is tied for first in the Big Ten with 2.7 steals per game, but Ohio State ranks first in the conference in turnover margin.Redshirt sophomore forward De’Janae Boykin pulls down 8.9 rebounds per game, but Penn State holds the second-worst rebounding margin in the Big Ten (-2.2). Ohio State believes it still has a “target on our back”The Buckeyes entered the season with extremely high expectations. They were voted the top team in the Big Ten by both the media and coaches, earned a top-10 preseason spot in the Associated Press preseason poll, and Mitchell was named preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.Ohio State still ranks 18th in the nation — and will likely be a top-four seed in the Big Ten tournament with a chance to be a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament — but it has not fulfilled the sky-high expectations, especially recently. But despite the three-game skid, the Buckeyes still believe they have a “target” on their back.“I think so, just with the success we’ve had in recent years,” McGuff said. “I think we definitely have it. That’s part of the responsibility of being at Ohio State.”That success has placed Ohio State in the top three in the Big Ten the past two seasons. The Buckeyes currently sit fourth in the conference, but they play a group of middling teams the remainder of the season and have a chance to run the table.Waterman believes her team’s Big Ten success since McGuff was hired outweighs the recent struggles.“I think that just being at Ohio State, you have that [target],” Waterman said. “We’ve been pretty successful in the past, pretty successful this year. People want to do well against us, they want to beat us. When we hit that losing streaking streak and we feel like they’ve hit that target, we’ve just got to rebuild and just stay focused.”Penn State has played inconsistently against the conference’s best teams. It has not beaten a team with less than four losses in the Big Ten, though it nearly knocked off No. 11 Maryland Dec. 31, but lost 69-65. The Hawkeyes, Wolverines and Terrapins showed Ohio State’s target can be hit. But this season, the Nittany Lions have been unable to beat teams as well-regarded as the Buckeyes.
Ohio State guard Keyshawn Woods (32) takes on members of UNC Pembroke’s defense during the second half of the game on Nov. 1. Ohio State won 81-63. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorThere are plenty of questions left to be answered about the Ohio State men’s basketball team.Many of them could be answered from the Buckeyes’ season opener, facing a Cincinnati team that finished last year 31-5, earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and finishing No. 2 in the country with 57.5 points allowed.“They are tough and tough minded and physical and aggressive,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “Got a lot of respect for him and their program and their players and the way those guys compete. So, we got our hands full, and, I guess you could say it was by design to start with a game like this to kind of tip off the season, but looking forward to it, and need to be ready.”Projected StartersCincinnatiC — Nysier Brooks — Sophomore, 2.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.2 apgG — Cane Broome — Senior, 7.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.8 apgG — Jarron Cumberland — Junior, 11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apgF — Tre Scott — Redshirt junior, 3.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.9 apgG — Keith Williams —Sophomore, 3.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.4 apgOhio StateG — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 12.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.9 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 0.0 apgF — Kyle Young — Sophomore, 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.2 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 2.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.1 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 10.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.1 apgStats are from the 2017-18 seasonThe Buckeyes come into the new season searching for a new area of production after losing Big Ten Player of the Year, Keita Bates-Diop, to the NBA Draft.Ohio State prepared for the loss of Bates-Diop, as well as Jae’Sean Tate, throughout the offseason. But now, after the transfer of junior forward Micah Potter on Monday, the team loses another key piece of depth heading into its matchup with the Bearcats.Redshirt senior guard Keyshawn Woods said the team just has to move forward.“Everybody found out yesterday before practice, so we didn’t know anything. Coach told us before practice, we were all pretty shocked,” Woods said. “We still got a job to do. We still pretty much focused on Cincinnati at the end of the day.”Cincinnati also lost major scorers from its top-ranked team a season ago. After the departure of Jacob Evans, Gary Clark and Kyle Washington, three of the team’s top four scorers, Holtmann said he still expects to see the same team that dominated defensively last year because of Bearcats’ head coach, Mick Cronin.“I think they’re the same,” Holtmann said. “I think Mick is probably a little bit like I am, you know, curious about some of his new guys that have increased roles, and kind of wondering how they’re gonna step in the new roles. But the way they play, their mindset, their approach, it’s the same.”Cumberland is the top scorer and top rebounder remaining from the Bearcats. The junior guard shot 40.9 percent from the field and averaged more than a steal per game last season.Three true freshman join a team that was upset by Nevada in the second round of the tournament last season: guard Logan Johnson, and forwards Prince Gilliam Toyambi and Laquill Hardnett.Johnson was the only one of the three to earn points in the team’s final exhibition against McGill, tallying six points and four assists in 17 minutes.Sophomore forward Kyle Young said he expects a difficult matchup to start the season, something made even harder with the in-state rivalry involved.“Very tough team, I think it’s gonna be a grind, all 40 minutes,” Young said. “With it being two in-state schools, like it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a good rival game for sure, so we’re just looking forward to it, season opener, and we’ll go from there.”It’ll be seen just what this Ohio State team is going to look like with the departure of its top-tier talent, and added question marks to the big men that the Buckeyes still have.Holtmann said he is excited to see what his team brings come game time.“Really anxious, and I think they’re anxious too,” Holtmann said. “I look at this as, this is a difficult opener, we also have a difficult stretch here of games, so I think for us we’re just focused on let’s find a way to take what we learned from tomorrow and get better, and hopefully that helps us as we move forward.”Ohio State travels to play Cincinnati to open its regular season. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m on Wednesday.Edited at 5:18 p.m. to change to the correct tip-off time
A British woman has claimed she was kidnapped as a teenager and held captive for 13 years by a sadistic paedophile who sold the babies she had from him raping her.Anna Ruston said she was befriended by an Asian taxi driver in the Midlands who lured her to his home before imprisoning her for more than a decade.Held in a locked bedroom, she alleged she was raped almost every night, eventually escaping after she concocted a plan with a visiting health worker. Kevin Hyland, the independent anti-slavery commissionerCredit:AFP I barely held any of my babies, I did not get the chance to be a mother to themAnna Ruston But her alleged attacker remains unpunished as she has never felt strong enough to give evidence that could help bring him to justiceMs Ruston – not her real name – has written a book as part of therapy for her experiences, Secret Slave, published on Thursday. Her claims are impossible to verify.In it, she explained how she was imprisoned when she was just 15 after meeting the man, named Malik, at a taxi rank where she worked, according to the Daily Mirror.Rejected by her parents growing up, she was befriended by Malik and in 1987 invited to the home he shared with his brothers, their wives, children and his mother to “meet his family for tea”.Malik asked her to stay the night – before, she said, storming into her room and branding her a “filthy white s**g” whom he would “make his own”. Ms Ruston said he violently raped and abused her – a pattern he would repeat for the next 13 years, eventually allowing his brothers to visit her and prostituting her out to other men.She said: “I can still see that bedroom, the corner where I would rock in pain. Although after a while I stopped feeling pain, I think my body shut down.”And I can smell it – the can I used as a toilet, the garlic he reeked of. I got to the point where I didn’t know what life was.”Ms Huston described how she clung on to sanity by talking to her late grandmother – and by looking at a small photo of her first boyfriend, Jamie, she hid under a floorboard.Over the years she became pregnant and had four babies, but each was sold by Malik soon after birth, she claimed.She said: “I barely held any of my babies, I did not get the chance to be a mother to them.”Ms Ruston said she tried to escape but became terrified after she was badly beaten for daring to make the attempt, and repeatedly tried to kill herself.She said she would have eventually succeeded had it not been for a health visitor who helped her escape while the family were distracted.Finally free, she claimed she was again shunned by her mother – who never tried to find her while she was missing – but found happiness with Jamie, who had been in the Army, going on to have four children together.For years she told him she had moved away after being in hospital with anorexia, only telling him the truth last year.Ms Ruston said: “He went away for a day, I thought I had lost him, that he would judge me. But he came back and just hugged me.”In cases of modern-day slavery, police should not always need a victim’s evidence to take action, according to Kevin Hyland, the independent anti-slavery commissioner.He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It doesn’t always need a victim to give evidence. Sometimes there’s ways of collating evidence without a victim.”That’s why I’ve been saying continuously and in my annual report to Parliament this year, saying this is serious organised crime and policing needs to use the same techniques, the same level of resources, like it does for other serious and organised crime.” 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.