A new campaign is being launched to warn of the dangers of fans using flares and smoke bombs after it was revealed children as young as eight have been used as ‘mules’ to smuggle pyrotechnic devices into football grounds. “This campaign clearly sets out the dangers of flares and smoke bombs. I want to see the courts taking this problem seriously and dealing in the strongest way possible with fans who still illegally smuggle pyrotechnics into football grounds.” Nine people have been injured or burned by fireworks thrown at grounds in England in the last 18 months. Last month a Manchester United fan who set off a smoke bomb during Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge, against West Brom, was given a suspended two-month jail term and banned from any football grounds for three years. In February, two Chelsea fans were jailed for 28 days and given six-year football banning orders for taking smoke bombs into the Liberty Stadium for a match versus Swansea. Fans will be reminded that fireworks are illegal at matches, carrying the risk of possible jail sentences, and warned of the dangers – last season a 15-year-old boy suffered lung damage from a smoke bomb thrown at Wigan, while in February a 14-year-old boy was killed by a flare thrown by fans during a South American Libertadores Cup match in Bolivia. The Premier League said in a statement: “A disturbing element of increased pyrotechnics has been the involvement of children. “It is not uncommon for ‘mules’ to bring the pyrotechnics into a ground on behalf of others, and in one incident at a Premier League match last season a child aged around eight was observed aiding those involved in pyrotechnic use. “The child came into the ground with pyrotechnics in his rucksack and was then seen passing them to members of an adult group who let them off inside the ground.” New research has found that one third of fans have been affected by pyrotechnics, 87 per cent believe they are dangerous and 78 per cent say they want more action taken against users. Fireworks have always been viewed as a European phenomenon but they have become a growing problem in English football with eight incidents in the 2010/11 season, 72 in 2011/12 and so far this season 96 incidents. Policing minister Damian Green said: “Football fans might see images of football grounds in other parts of Europe full of smoke and light caused by pyrotechnic devices and think that they create a good atmosphere – but they do not. “Flares are very dangerous and can cause severe injuries. We are very lucky that no one has been seriously injured or killed by a flare here for a long time. The campaign by the Premier League, Football League and the FA comes after a growth in the number of incidents – including a linesman being struck by a firework at Aston Villa in October. Concerns have intensified after CCTV at one Premier League ground caught a young boy handing out fireworks to adults from his rucksack. Press Association
While the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team was robbed of a potential deep NCAA Tournament run in the 2019-2020 season, over the 21st century the Badgers have enjoyed a lot of success in March.Over the last 20 years, the Badgers have been among the NCAA’s most consistent programs. With an incredible 483 wins, nine Sweet Sixteen appearances and two trips to the Final Four since the 2000-2001 season, fans have been treated to great team success year after year.So, I constructed an eight-man rotation of Wisconsin’s best players since the turn of the century.Men’s Basketball: Could Badgers really have captured 2020 national title?In a strange, unofficial end to the 2020 Wisconsin men’s basketball season, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index christened the Badgers as Read…Starters — Point Guard: Devin HarrisYears Played: 2001-2004Career Statistics: 14.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.1 APGAccolades: 2003-2004 All-Big Ten, 2003-2004 Big Ten Player of the Year, three NCAA Tournament appearancesBefore a solid 15-year NBA career, Harris was a standout for the Badgers and an intricate part of Wisconsin’s incredible run during the Bo Ryan era. Following Head Coach Dick Bennett’s abrupt retirement during the 2000-2001 season, not much was expected in Ryan’s first year at the helm. Led by Harris, the new-look Badgers surprised many by winning a share of their first Big Ten title since the 1946-1947 season. Harris averaged a stoic 12.3 points per game, providing scoring and excellent three-point shooting. By his junior year, Harris dominated the Big Ten, scoring 19.5 points per game and ultimately winning the conference’s player of the year award. Harris could score in a variety of ways and tortured defenders in the pick-and-roll, making him a great lead guard for the Badgers’ All-21st Century team.Shooting Guard: Jordan TaylorYears Played: 2008-2012Career Statistics: 11.3 PPG 3 RPG, 3.4 APGAccolades: 2x All-Big Ten (2011-12), Second Team All-America (2011), four NCAA Tournament appearancesThough both Taylor and Harris were point guards at UW, playing a lineup with both provides a combination of strong shooting and tough defense. Over the course of his career Taylor maximized possessions, leading the country his junior year in assist to turnover ratio (3.91). Taylor also excelled when the pressure was at its highest, as his back-breaking jump shots with the shot clock winding down became a staple during his tenure at Wisconsin. Taylor played both ends of the floor, receiving a Big Ten All-Defensive team selection in 2011. Taylor’s consistency and ability to take care of the basketball rounds out a strong Badger backcourt.Men’s Basketball: Badgers declared NCAA National Champions in ESPN simulationThe Badgers have done it, they have pulled off one of the greatest turnarounds in college basketball history. The Big Read…Small Forward: Alando TuckerYears Played: 2002-2007Career Statistics: 16.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.6 APGAccolades: 2x All-Big Ten (2005-2006, 2006-2007), 2006-2007 Big Ten Player of the Year, four NCAA Tournament appearancesOne of the most explosive players in Badger history, Tucker was a high-riser that terrorized Big Ten defenses each night. Tucker was a workhorse and averaged over 19 points per game in both his junior and senior seasons. During the 2006-2007 season, Tucker’s team was among the nation’s best, finishing second in the Big Ten to eventual National Runner-up, The Ohio State University. Tucker’s athleticism and ability to slash to the basket make him a tremendous fit in the lineup.Power Forward: Jon LeuerYears Played: 2007-2011Career Statistics: 11.2 PPG 4.5 RPG 1.1 APGAccolades: 2011 All-Big Ten, four NCAA Tournament appearancesDuring his four-year career at Wisconsin, Leuer was a big man that could stretch out the floor with his three-point shooting. Leuer excelled in the pick-and-pop, taking advantage of the pressure Taylor would put on defenses that resulted in wide-open perimeter jump shots. A career 36.8% three-point shooter, Leuer’s ability to extend the defense would open up driving lanes for Tucker, earning him a spot in the starting five.Men’s Basketball: Badgers stage comeback to beat Indiana, win share of Big Ten regular season titleThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (21-10, 14-6 Big Ten) clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular Read…Center: Frank KaminskyYears Played: 2011-2015Career Statistics: 10.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG 1.1 APGAccolades: 2x All-Big Ten (2013-2014, 2014-2015), 2014-2015 Big Ten Player of the Year, 2014-2015 Wooden Award, 2014-2015 Naismith Player of the Year, four NCAA Tournament appearances (2x Final Four)Labeled by many as the best player in Wisconsin men’s basketball history, “Frank the Tank” was an unstoppable offensive force his junior and senior year for the Badgers. Kaminsky led the Badgers to back-to-back Final Fours, hurting defenses inside with his patented spin move and silky perimeter jumper. In his senior season, Kaminsky led the Badgers to a 36-4 record, averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. For his play, Kaminsky was awarded the 2014-2015 Naismith Player of the Year, awarded to the nation’s top player. Though Kaminsky’s team fell just short of a National Championship, he will always be remembered as one of college basketball’s all-time greats.Men’s Basketball: Senior send-off for Brevin PritzlWith the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s season coming to an abrupt end due to the coronavirus, Badger fans Read…Bench —Small Forward: Sam DekkerYears Played: 2012-2015Career Statistics: 12.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG 1.2 APGAccolades: 1x Big Ten All-Freshman team, three NCAA Tournament Appearances (2x Final Four)Arguably the most sought-after recruit in Badger history, Dekker enjoyed a solid career, averaging 12.1 points per game over his three-years. Dekker came into his own during the 2015 NCAA tournament, exploding for 23 points in the Sweet Sixteen against North Carolina. Dekker followed his impressive performance two days later with a career-high 27 points against Arizona, which clinched Wisconsin’s second consecutive Final Four appearance. One of the most talented Badgers to come through Madison and an excellent sixth man for the All-21st Century team.Power Forward/Center: Ethan HappYears Played: 2015-2019Career Statistics: 15.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG 3.0 APGAccolades: 3x All-Big Ten (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019), 2x Big Ten All-Defensive team (2016-2017, 2017-2018), three NCAA Tournament appearancesFor four years, Happ punished opposing defenders with his array of post moves or by forcing double-teams and finding the open man. Happ was the centerpiece of Wisconsin’s offense, and his passing and scoring abilities earn him a spot on the team.Men’s Basketball: Brad Davison’s recent success is sign of things to comeIn the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s disappointing 18-point Feb. 5 loss at the hands of archrival Minnesota, there Read…Point Guard/Shooting Guard: Bronson KoenigYears Played: 2013-2017Career Statistics: 9.9 PPG 2.0 RPG 2.0 APGAccolades: 2017 Big Ten All-Tournament team, four NCAA Tournament Appearances, (2x Final Four)A prolific shooter off the bench, Koenig could create his shot in any situation. Known for his game-winning fallaway three-pointer against Xavier in the NCAA Tournament, Koenig was a sharpshooter that provides this team depth at the guard position.Without a doubt, this rotation would be a nightmare for opposing teams. All eight players had a major impact at Wisconsin and are well-deserving of being recognized as one of Wisconsin’s best.