Bibby Offshore has signed a contract with the oil firm TAQA for subsea construction works in the Eider field, located 184km north-east of Shetland, UK.With offshore operations to be completed this summer, the six month contract will see Bibby Offshore adopt a multi-vessel approach, utilizing its subsea support and construction vessel Olympic Ares, and its diving support vessel, Bibby Polaris, the UK-based offshore services company said.The project comprises the connection of the existing Otter Production pipeline to the existing Eider Oil Export pipeline, and connection of the existing Tern-Eider water injection pipeline to the existing Otter water injection pipeline using subsea bypass spools.Bibby Offshore will provide spool piece metrology, barrier testing, removal of existing production and water injection spools and pre-commissioning support. The team will also manage procurement, fabrication and installation of new bypass spools.Barry Macleod, UKCS managing director at Bibby Offshore said: “Our multi-vessel approach enabled the project team to tailor our capabilities to TAQA’s requirements, which plays a key role in demonstrating our ability to successfully deliver a variety of workscopes.“We have supported TAQA’s operations previously and are delighted to have been selected to continue and strengthen this relationship throughout 2017.”
A fire broke out on board Panama-flagged bulk carrier MV Ever Judger while the 2014-built vessel was in Balikpapan waters, a seaport city on the east coast of the island of Borneo, on March 31.The Indonesian Ministry of Transport said that it had managed to contain the fire on board the 82,000 dwt ship and prevent it from spreading.As informed, there were no casualties in the incident and the 20 members of the Malaysia-bound ship had been evacuated from the vessel.The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.Kebakaran di Teluk Perairan Balikpapan, korban 3 orang. 2 orang dari kapal kelotok meninggal dunia dibawa ke RS KanujosoAn. – Iman. N– Wahyu Gusti A.1 orang kru mv ever judger An. Sun Song Bo mengalami luka bakar dan dirawat RS ibnu sina pic.twitter.com/YLYkR4CLLP— Juniansyah (@Damkar_Smr) March 31, 2018Oil spillSeparately, the ministry added it was tackling an oil spill in the Semayang port. The oil spill was discovered on the same day in the vicinity of the port’s Jetty 2, and the oil slick spread about 300 meters radius from the port.However, the cause of the spill was not known at the time and it was not confirmed that the two incidents were related.A fire was also reported in the waters stricken by the oil spill and according to the Jakarta Post, two fishermen were killed in the incident.Images released on social media confirm that two people died as a consequence of the fire, while one crew member of the bulker is said to be hospitalized after receiving severe burns.The ministry said it was coordinating activities with PT Pertamina and PT Pelindo IV and other relevant agencies on curbing the oil spill.PT Pertamina, which has a refinery unit in the area, informed that in cooperation with Chevron Indonesia it managed to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading. Furthermore, the company denied it was the source of the spill as divers determined there were no leaks at its pipelines or terminal facilities.What is more, based on the analysis of the samples of oil taken from the spill on two different locations, it has been found that the spilled substance was not crude oil but marine fuel oil, Pertamina said.Kebakaran di Perairan Balikpapan pic.twitter.com/8tKgZXU3eS— Juniansyah (@Damkar_Smr) March 31, 2018World Maritime News Staff; Image and Video Courtesy: twitter/Juniansyah
Connie L. Westerfeld, age 79 of Batesville, died Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at her home. Born May 8, 1940 in Batesville, she is the daughter of Ilene (Nee: Schene) and Leslie Parmer.Connie was an avid reader who enjoyed science fiction, was obsessed with British television shows, loved going to the casino and shopping, especially for jewelry and colored bottles. She had the best sense of humor and delighted in making people smile with her wittiness and her own gibberish language. She had a fun-loving personality and liked spending time with her neighbors at RomWeber Flats and dearly loved being with her family. The grandkids affectionately called her E-ma.She is survived her daughter Vanessa Zins of Batesville; sons Scot Schuler of Dallas, Texas, Jeff Schuler of Woodbury, Tennessee, Mike Herring of Southaven, Mississippi; sisters Donna Tice of Canyon Country, California, Kindra Hampton of Edwards, California, Lisa Parmer of Batesville; brothers Dale Parmer of Batesville, Thomas Parmer of Indianapolis; seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by husbands George Schuler II, Billy Westerfeld; daughter Kindra Schuler; son George Schuler III and sister Patricia Hart.Visitation is Monday, October 28th, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Weigel Funeral Home. Funeral services follow at 7 p.m. with Rev. Bob Weakley officiating O.F.M. officiating. Connie wishes were to be cremated following services. Memorials may be made to the funeral home to help with expenses.
Gus Poyet has echoed the sentiments of one of his Sunderland predecessors by conceding his club have to work overtime to attract top-quality players to the north-east. Former Black Cats boss Roy Keane launched an infamous tirade in August 2007 in which he blasted “weak and soft” stars who “don’t want to come [to Sunderland] because their wife wants to go shopping in London.” The mild-mannered Poyet did not go quite that far but he did acknowledge that geographical issues will make the job of luring improvements to the Stadium of Light in January all the more difficult. Poyet said: “When you give certain types of players the option of going to London or the north-east in the same conditions, 99 from 100 will choose London and that’s the reality. “We have to be a step ahead – we have to do things better than those clubs in the south or in other countries in a nice place with different weather. “We need to do something that will convince them to come to the north. On top of that it is even more difficult in January because clubs don’t want to lose their best players, so everything needs to come together.” Poyet has seen his side’s prospects improve after a gruelling week which saw combative draws against Chelsea and Liverpool which sandwiched a 4-1 home thrashing by a Sergio Aguero-inspired Manchester City. Victory over West Ham on Saturday would give the Black Cats a major boost ahead of their festive fixture programme and could convince Poyet to stay the course with his current squad for the remainder of the season. Poyet added: “When a player of more than decent quality becomes available there are too many people who want him. It’s not going to be easy but it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality and if it’s not quality then it’s going to be no-one.” Press Association
Solomon Golomb, a professor of electrical engineering and mathematics who died May 1 at the age of 83, will be remembered for his groundbreaking work in communications theory.“I found Sol to be a man of high character and integrity. He was certainly a wonderful father and husband. … Sol was very humble, and a very kind person,” said William Lindsey, a professor of electrical engineering. “On the mathematical side, he was likened to a Gauss or a Pascal or a Euler.”After receiving his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University, Golomb worked as the deputy chief of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab’s Telecommunications Research Section before joining USC’s faculty in 1963. In his 53 years as a professor, Golomb established USC as a leading institution for communications research. He was a member of the “Magnificent Seven,” a group of the top communications researchers at the University who founded the USC Communications Sciences Institute.“He got recruited to USC, and he helped recruit a number of other people who were working at JPL and other areas as well, and there was this core faculty working on communications theory in the early ‘60s who made enormous advances,” said Todd Brun, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science. “At this point, there are only three left, so it’s kind of the passing of an era.”Among his many contributions to the fields of communications and cryptography, Golomb defined polyominoes, the basis for the game Tetris, and developed techniques for analyzing shift register sequences. This research is integral to the function of cellphones and the internet today. He spoke several languages, including Hebrew and French, and was known for inventing mathematical games, including a variant of checkers called “cheskers.”Robert Scholtz, a professor of electrical engineering, described Golomb’s mental acuity and diverse research interests.“His mind never stopped working. I would suspect that he got three or four hours of sleep at night. He was always thinking about various kinds of problems — not just mathematical problems, though that was his specialty,” Scholtz said. “He spoke many languages, he was very interested in religion and history, and he had an almost-encyclopedic knowledge of everything in those areas.”For his work in digital communications, Golomb was awarded the Franklin Institute’s 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering. He was also presented with the National Medal of Science in 2013 from President Barack Obama. He served as president of the Faculty Senate and the vice provost for research. These contributions helped him earn the Presidential Medallion, USC’s highest honor for faculty members.Beyond his own research, Golomb also advanced the department through recruitment. He recruited many researchers to USC’s electrical engineering faculty, including Lindsey and Lloyd Welch, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering. He also served as a mentor to Andrew Viterbi, later the namesake of the Viterbi School of Engineering, while working as his supervisor at JPL, a connection that forged a lifelong bond.Brun spoke about the leadership and guidance Golomb demonstrated toward his colleagues and students.“He was one of the most brilliant people I ever met. I think that was the impression of most people who knew him,” Brun said. “But Sol was also a mentor. I wouldn’t be here without him, so I’m very grateful to him. He was a very kind man, looked after his students and his colleagues, did a lot of service to USC, and that’s important too. It’s not just being the smartest guy in the room, but what you use that for and how you treat other people. And he was very high up there in that area as well.”George Bekey, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering, recalled one memory that for him that to him summed up Golomb’s remarkable intellect and insight.“I was walking with Dr. Golomb on the way to the faculty center one day, and for a good ten minutes, he was really quiet, he didn’t say a thing. Eventually, he turned and smiled, and I said, ‘So what are you thinking about?’. He said, ‘Oh, I was solving a mathematical problem in my head. That was Golomb,” Bekey said.He is survived by his wife, Bodil, and his daughters, Astrid and Beatrice.
Nick Selbe is a senior majoring in communication. His column, “Inside the 20s,” runs Tuesdays. To comment on this story or to tell Nick that “In the Nick of Time” would be a better column name, visit dailytrojan.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tomorrow marks one of the single most hectic days on the sports calendar — National Signing Day. If a petition does not yet exist to make this day a national holiday in the United States, then we’ve failed as a society. If the United States’ 21st century obsession with reality television is any indication, then giving the people this day off from their responsibilities would make ESPN’s round-the-clock coverage of signing day the top-rated television program of the year.Signing day is made for TV and has everything you would ever want in a reality show — drama, betrayal, suspense, you name it — mixed with the fervor of the nation’s most popular sport. Put some cameras, microphones and a few hats in front of a prized recruit and just watch the madness unfold.There will be the usual diva-like behavior from dozens of prospects who are deemed “blue chip” or “can’t miss” — many of whom will amount to very little in their college careers. But that doesn’t mean their announcements aren’t worth watching — never underestimate the showmanship of a high school senior. Nor will it prevent analysts from determining NSD winners and losers months before any of the players ever play a snap of college football.Though watching the commitments come in for your favorite school is exciting and tantalizing, the bottom line is that it’s just way too early to tell whether or not a recruiting class will be successful. Take a look at USC’s past few classes to see just how misguided the early reactions were at the time.In 2010, former head coach Lane Kiffin’s first season, the Trojans’ class ranked No. 7 in the nation, according to ESPN. Five of USC’s top-10 commits that season were wide receiver Markeith Ambles, running back D.J. Morgan, wide receiver Kyle Prater, quarterback Jesse Scroggins and running back Dillon Baxter. All but one from that group transferred out of the school, and Morgan has yet to make a meaningful impact in his career.In 2011, USC brought in the No. 4 class in the country, headlined by top-ranked wide receiver George Farmer and top-ranked offensive guard Cyrus Hobbi. Neither have seen regular playing time for the Trojans. The same can be said for two of USC’s other top-five commits (according to ESPN) — quarterback Max Wittek (who announced his intent to transfer last week) and wide receiver Victor Blackwell.It’s still a little too soon to judge the 2012 and 2013 classes, as those players just completed their freshman and sophomore seasons. The standout from 2012 is sophomore defensive end Leonard Williams, who was an All-American last season and seems destined to be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Sophomore wide receiver Nelson Agholor looks like a star in the making, and sophomore cornerback Kevon Seymour, as well as sophomore offensive lineman Max Tuerk, were starters last season. Unheralded transfers such as senior Morgan Breslin and redshirt junior Josh Shaw ended up being key contributors right away, giving this class a good boost.Many of the top players from the 2013 class seized their opportunities last season. Freshman safety Su’a Cravens has been a starter from day one and tied for second on the team with four interceptions. Many of his classmates also made an impact right away. Wide receiver Darreus Rogers is USC’s second-leading receiver returning next season, and running backs Justin Davis and Ty Isaac showed tons of promise in USC’s crowded yet talented backfield.Which leads me to my point — that it’s silly to get overly excited or disappointed by whatever will happen tomorrow. Players who generate celebration amongst a fanbase will end up not panning out. Others who are ranked at the bottom of the list will become stars who lead the team in a season or two.Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard of the 2010 class were both listed as three-star recruits by Scout.com and didn’t have defined positions. Both became three-year starters and earned all-conference honors, and Pullard will have a chance to add to that impressive resume’ next year in his fifth and final season.Redshirt junior Quarterback Cody Kessler was also a three-star recruit and considered USC’s “other” quarterback in the Class of 2011 behind the much more highly touted Wittek. Three years later, Kessler has a firm grasp on the starting job after leading the team to a gutsy 10-win season and throwing for nearly 3,000 yards, while Wittek is on his way to transferring to another program.Yes, Marqise Lee was ranked in the ESPN Top 150 rankings, but most projected him as a defensive back, and much more attention was given to Lee’s high school teammate Farmer. Lee ended up on the offensive side of the ball and became one of the best receivers in conference history.USC’s 2014 class currently ranks No. 34 in the nation, and right now that means just about nothing. Neither Oregon nor Stanford has had a single top-10 class in the last five years. The ability to cultivate an 18-year-old’s raw talent and put them in the best position to succeed is far more important than racking up the most star ratings.So when keeping up to speed on all the happenings of NSD tomorrow, tune in for the pageantry and angry responses from spurned fans on Twitter rather than the class rankings, because, as you’ll find out once the 2014 season kicks off, the true impact from the most recent NSD is a couple of years away from truly being felt.
Facebook Twitter Google+ From the moment the ball was kicked off at Jeffrey Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania, Syracuse was berated with Penn State attacks in a 4-0 loss. The Nittany Lions rang off three shots in the opening 10 minutes, including Kristin Schnurr drilling the crossbar in the ninth minute. Less than nine minutes later, the home team had nearly tripled its shot total. After nearly a half-hour of dominance, PSU broke through. Forward Kerry Abello slid the ball to midfielder Shea Moyer, who, from the top of the penalty area, notched the ball into the bottom-left corner to put Penn State (4-2) ahead in the 24th minute, prompting the start of a rout over Syracuse (3-3) on Thursday night. The Orange was outshot 23-2 in the loss. Immediately following the goal, SU head coach Phil Wheddon made his first of four first-half substitutions, replacing defender Kate Donovan with Victoria Hill. In the opening 45 minutes, the Orange committed two fouls and faced 14 shots.The Nittany Lions tacked on another goal moments before halftime, as Schnurr beat Harris from close range to double the home team’s lead and record her second goal of the season. Four minutes into the second half, Penn State buried the Orange’s hopes even further.Charlotte Williams, who assisted Schnurr’s first-half goal, pinned the ball into the top-left corner of the goal from beyond the penalty area. Less than seven minutes later, Abello headed home PSU’s fourth goal of the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAbello’s goal was the Nittany Lions’ second time beating SU goalie Lysianne Proulx, who replaced Harris to open the second half. This season, Proulx has conceded one goal every 36-and-a-half minutes while Harris has allowed one goal per 61-and-a-half minutes. After back-to-back games in which Wheddon has substituted Proulx in for Harris at halftime, the two goalkeepers remain engaged in a battle for the starting role.Hill and Sydney Brackett registered SU’s only two shots of the game, both of which landed on target.Wheddon made one change from the Orange’s 1-0 win against Northeastern on Sunday, inserting Brackett back into the lineup in place of Steph deLaforcade.After starting the first four games of the season, Brackett was used as a substitute for just the second time in her SU career Sunday at Northeastern. The junior assisted Georgia Allen’s game-winning goal in the 83rd minute against the Huskies, possibly sparking her return to the starting 11.The Orange will round out its road trip on Sunday when it faces Colgate at Beyer-Small ’76 Field. Published on September 6, 2018 at 9:24 pm Contact David: email@example.com Comments
An elated Quadri believes the rating would afford him another opportunity to continue to work harder.“I am so happy with the ranking particularly with my qualification for the ITTF World Cup in France. Again, this ranking has shown that I should not relax but continue to work harder because remaining on top is one difficult task for any athlete. “I must redouble my efforts in training and continue to compete in major competitions across the globe. I will not be carried away by this rating but be humbled by this feat and remain focused in order to maintain my status in the global rating,” he promised.Hear him on what it has been like taking part in an ITTF championship without a coach and how many times he has participated in championships without a coach.“I must admit that it has not been easy but I am getting used to it. It is painful because, with a coach behind you, he can see what you are not seeing while playing and I know this most times gives my opponent an edge over me. I won the 2017 Polish Open without a coach but for me, if I have the means (funding) I can get a coach because it is quite expensive in Europe to get a coach. You have to pay the coach, pay for his boarding and all these are too much for me to bear. But getting the opportunity to play at ITTF tournament with the support I have been getting from my sponsor – Baba Ijebu Bet and other means have helped me to improve tremendously. It is quite true that I need a coach but I cannot afford it for now,” Quadri said.Quadri in his own little way has been supporting a lot of junior players in Nigeria with equipment which he said is key to them. “I may not be making noise about it but I know a lot of people are aware of my support to Nigerian players at home. I have also assisted some of them to secure contracts with clubs in Europe and this for me is my own contribution to the sport,” he noted.Quadri was not initially a table tennis player; he actually began his sporting adventure in athletics. “I was into athletics particularly sprint event at Adeyemi Secondary School in Oyo town, South-west of Nigeria. It was while running that I was invited to play table tennis by Mr. Abolarin in the late 1990s and that was how my romance with table tennis started. Ping pong enticing and exciting because players are less prone to injury and being the fastest sports in the world, it has continued to gain global attention. I love the sport with every passion in me and this makes me to always give my best in training. It is an individual sport that encourages hard work because it is what you put that you get,” the Oyo State-born ping ponger said.His biggest win so far was winning the Polish Open in 2017 as he is the first African to win an ITTF tournament outside the continent. Other big wins were when he made it to the quarterfinal of the ITTF World Cup in 2014 and Rio Olympic Games in 2016.Asked how he finances himself to competitions, Quadri said: “I got support from my major sponsor –Joola, as well as the salary I earn from my club – Sporting. Recently, I got an endorsement from a Nigerian betting firm – Premier Lotto which signed me for three years. Sponsors are very vital to me because they help me to attend more competitions and get the needed equipment to compete at the top level. The little fund I get from sponsorship help to focus on the game rather than thinking of financing myself to competitions.”The Nigeria No 1 table tennis player is conscious of his status as a role model to upcoming sportsmen and women and would therefore not want to live a life that would portend a negative influence on them.“I am conscious of the kind of impact I can have on the lives of a lot of people across the world. So for me, I ensure I remain positive and a good ambassador of my country wherever I found myself. Even off the table, I relate with some of them and share my life experience with them because I did not get to where I am today by just dreaming about it but by the Grace of God. I worked hard to get here. You must also believe in yourself and these are some of the qualities I am hoping that people can pick from me,” he noted.Quadri, however, craved that the Sports Ministry should give all sports the needed attention, saying that, “attention given to football is detrimental to other sports in Nigeria. If some of us in other sports get 10 per cent support of what football is getting, I believe Nigeria will be among the best sporting nations in the world. Also, attention will also be given to youth development because without support to the juniors we cannot produce champions in future. Sports can create an immediate job for people particularly when there are regular competitions while the athletes will also benefit. Without sports, I don’t think I will be where I am today because sports has taken me far and wide and I have made name for myself and my country. There are many Aruna Quadri out there, but what they need is the right support.” Meanwhile, Omar Assar of Egypt still maintained the record as the first African player to be ranked in top 16 in the world but the inactivity of the Egyptian in the last two months may have caused his fortune in the world rating to plummet.Assar who will not be part of the 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open dropped from 21 to 23 in the latest ranking.Also, the new leader on the ITTF World Tour Standings; China’s Xu Xin is the player to make the most significant progress on the Men’s World Rankings issued for August 2018.He climbs three positions to No.5 to replace Germany’s Timo Boll who drops one position to No.3, being behind compatriot – Fan Zhendong who continues to lead the list.One place lower for Timo Boll, it is the same for China’s Lin Gaoyuan who drops to No.4 and Germany’s OVTCHAROV Dimitrij who now appears at No.5.Conversely, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto progresses from No.8 to No.6 and is now ahead of China’s Ma Long and Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu; each is one rung down the ladder lower than in July.In the women’s rating, finalists at the recent 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open in Geelong, with Liu Shiwen beating Ding Ning in all Chinese final, both make notable progress on the Women’s World Rankings for August.Former occupants of the top spot, Liu Shiwen climbs four places to No.2, being one behind colleague, Zhu Yuling who continues to head the list; Ding Ning makes an even greater move. Previously at No.17, she is now in the No.7 spot.Likewise, women’s singles number one seed for 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open, Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut advances from No.59 to No.39, DPR Korea’s Kim Song I from No.55 to No.45, Japan’s Minami Ando from No.74 to No.46 and Singapore’s Zeng Jian from No.60 to No.50.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Aruna Quadri’s has continued to set new records since breaking into global limelight in 2014 when he was named the first player from Africa to win the prestigious world table tennis player of the year. Outside the table, the Oyo State-born athlete emboldies humility but when in action, he roars and this, most times, sends fear into his opponents. His diligence at close-door has made him defeat some of the finest players in the world and this has continued to endear him to the hearts of many followers of table tennis globally. Despite being dwarfed to the ranking by Egypt’s Omar Assar, Qaudri never gave up and his hard work paid off recently when he overtook the Egyptian as the highest ranked African in the world, rated 18th. Kunle Adewale examines the rising profile of the Portugal-based starAruna Quadri became the first Nigerian and the second African to make the top18 rating in the monthly ranking of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), after rising from 20 to 18 in the August rating released last weekend by the world table tennis ruling body.The fortune of Quadri in the monthly ranking improved following his performance at the Australian Open where he made it to the last 16 of the men’s singles. And with this rating, the Oyo State-born athlete continues to halter his own record as the only Nigerian to achieve top 18 rating in the world.
Totally Gaming Academy Workshop, 2 MayThree of the leading experts in football trading and statistical odds compilation will be speaking at the Totally Gaming Academy Workshop on Tuesday 2 May, organised in partnership with SBC Events.Sports Betting Academy course leader Jonathan Smith will be leading the interactive, one-day event at Stamford Bridge alongside Ian McHale, Professor of Sports Analytics at Salford University, and Sporting Index Senior Football Trader Anthony Gray.The event is a perfect fit for traders, odds compilers and market makers arriving in London for the Betting on Football conference (3-5 May) at the same venue. The workshop, with six sessions covering the essential skills, models and pricing for football, represents an unofficial ‘Day 0’ for the largest international football betting trade conference.The Totally Gaming Academy Football Odds Compilers Workshop opens at 09:00, with coffee and registration before the opening session about the difficulties of pricing from 10:00. The agenda, which will also include a focus on the pricing of bookings, corners and goalscorers, will finish with a look at the future of football modelling, with attendees asked to consider other methodologies that may impact the future of pricing for the beautiful game.Totally Gaming Academy Director Paul Mills commented: “The opportunity to collaborate with SBC Events for a unique one-day training workshop on football trading, and particularly ahead of their flagship conference at Stamford Bridge, is exciting for the Totally Gaming Academy. The agenda provides comprehensive training on pricing football markets and serves as a perfect fit for the traders, odds compilers and market makers arriving in London for Betting on Football.”Admission to the workshop costs £299, or just £199 if you are purchasing in conjunction with a Betting on Football ticket. The price includes lunch, refreshments and entry for networking drinks and Champions League semi-final action at Frankie’s Sports Bar & Diner from 19:00 until late.Click here to buy your ticket for the Totally Gaming Academy WorkshopFor more information about the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Jonathan Smith, Sportsbook Training Services: Building an in-play football model August 28, 2020 Related Articles Frankie Dettori rides with Sporting Index May 29, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Submit SBC Digital Summit: “Simulation of complex events is normally the best answer” – Jonathan Smith April 27, 2020 Share
Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions LOS ANGELES — He was dressed for a Southern California summer: plaid shirt, baseball cap, black shorts. Instead of his typical choice of expensive designer sneakers, he had settled for a pair of Converse All-Stars.As Kyle Kuzma exited the locker room Sunday night, assistant coach Brian Shaw ribbed Kuzma’s look by warning him not to fall off his skateboard on the way out of Staples Center.The 23-year-old forward looked the part of a carefree kid. But these days, neither of those terms – “carefree” or “kid” – much apply to the Laker who has played 350 more minutes than any of his teammates this season.The Lakers had a vision for the season: a star, LeBron James, surrounded by exciting young talent returning from the previous season. It included Brandon Ingram, the stretchy, do-it all forward; Lonzo Ball, a sharp-eyed passer with defensive intensity; Josh Hart, the gritty wing who had winning experience from college; and Kuzma, the 6-foot-9 fluid scorer who surprised almost everyone as a rookie. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOf the four, Ball and Ingram are done for the season, and Hart might be on the way there dealing with knee tendinitis that has refused to go away. All that’s left is Kuzma, soldiering on in what is already a lost campaign, trying to glean the fringe benefits in these final games.“Those are my guys,” Kuzma said. “We all have great chemistry with each other, we all play well together. It’s kind of just tough.”There should be more to celebrate for Kuzma, who moved into a full-time starting role at the beginning of the season and established that he belonged there. He’s averaged more points (18.7 ppg) and more assists (2.6 apg) this season than last. His 3-point shooting numbers are down (30.5 percent) – perhaps a reflection of how many times he’s adjusted his shooting form this season – but his finishing numbers around the rim are better (65 percent, according to Cleaning the Glass).Kuzma doesn’t see the last nine Lakers games as fruitless time, either. He’s sought to use those minutes as a workshop for his game. He’s noticed that defenders are treating him as a scorer and less as a passer – giving him a lane to become more of a distributor in the absence of Ball, Ingram and other important playmakers on the roster.“We have guys who need the ball, and I’m a guy who creates a lot of attention out on the court because of the way I score and shoot the ball,” he said. “I think it’s my job to just continue to develop and become a playmaker, and just grow an all-around game.” But the cast Kuzma is trying to replace is a haunting reminder of what the Lakers hoped the season would be. The franchise imagined some organic growth from their young players, all first-round draft picks from the previous two summers. Kuzma himself said none of the young quartet were certain of how they’d play along with James, but looked forward to big, high-stakes games in front of packed houses – the kind of environments James inspires everywhere he plays.What everyone took for granted was that they’d all get a chance to play together. James has only played 34 games with Ball and Ingram each, and Coach Luke Walton is quick to note that James and Ball haven’t played together since Christmas. The Lakers still have hope that James and Kuzma, who have a plus-2.5 net rating when sharing the floor, can still build a rapport that lasts beyond this season.“With some of the other guys, we haven’t been able to mix them,” Walton said. “So there’s growth that happens with time and experience, and Kuzma’s continuing to get better as a player and continue to work on that type of relationship (with James).”Injuries have been frustrating for the franchise, but also for Kuzma, who has seen his closest friends on the roster forced out of action. It’s worth remembering that when Ball sprained his ankle against the Rockets in January, he had helped ignite a 20-point first quarter from Kuzma to build a huge lead in Houston. Hart’s knee has been fickle for most of the calendar year, and there’s a chance he might not play again this season as he consults with doctors about his best course of action.The scariest moment came earlier this month, when the team learned Ingram had a blood clot in his shoulder – a condition that initially fueled uncertainty about the 21-year-old’s basketball future. Kuzma called it a “freak thing” that was “disheartening,” and even though he was relieved to learn that Ingram is likely headed for a full recovery, it struck him deeply to see Ingram sidelined so suddenly – particularly just as he was playing his best basketball.“You kinda feel for him because of all that he puts into the game,” he said. “I’ve seen how he worked the past two summers just being around the Lakers’ organization, just how bad he really wants to be good.”Kuzma is much the same way. Walton said he’s not worried about Kuzma’s motivation, even without many of the familiar faces in practice. With Ingram, Ball and Hart stuck in rehab or on treatment tables, Kuzma remains diligent about his workouts. Recently after practices and shootarounds, he’s taken up extra 3-point work alongside James.“He loves basketball,” Walton said. “When he’s in there, it doesn’t matter who’s in there: he’s having a good time.”But there have been moments when something is missing, when the sobering reality of the Lakers’ season seems to get in the way of the team’s joy. Kuzma has brought it up several times in the last two months: how he believes the Lakers are at their best when they’re having fun.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs It makes sense, given that last year’s Lakers were young, espoused an easy sort of chemistry and log-jammed their social media accounts with roasts of each other’s dress and tastes. There were lower stakes, and so there was lower pressure.“I mean, of course, it was a little bit more fun,” Kuzma said. “Last year everybody knew it was development: We were way out of the playoffs a long time ago, unlike this year, where (the playoff race) kind of dwelled and dwelled.”A year later, the Lakers are no longer so young or so carefree, and they still aren’t winning the way they want to. In the last nine games, the Lakers have to win four to surpass last year’s 35 wins.But Kuzma gets it: Winning is serious business. Pressure comes with the territory. And if there’s anything he’s learned during this season, it’s that he doesn’t want the pressure to conquer him.“It’s just all about learning from this year, and it’s all about always having fun,” he said. “You can’t worry about high-pressure situations or let the stakes of something take the joy and fun away from you, no matter what circumstance, no matter the situation just always having fun.”