Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger has been spared from the coronavirus so far, even with his Sooners having to… President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies. He gave the charge, yesterday, in Abuja, during a meeting with 36 state governors on the issue of security. According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant […]
Rick Barnes thought he was in the clear early in his bout with COVID-19.
The Tennessee coach should have known better, given his texts with Tom Izzo, his Michigan State counterpart who also went through it. About a week into his quarantine, Barnes lost his appetite and started feeling lethargic.
Just like Izzo said.
“He gave me full warning,” said Barnes, who is 66 and has been a head coach the past 33 years. “He texted me almost every day — just don’t be surprised when this stuff happens. And I would tell you, it probably took me 12 days to where I felt really good.”
Barnes, Izzo and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim are among the coaches 65 and up who have contracted COVID-19, which can be a greater threat the older one is. While many elderly people are isolating at home, college basketball coaches are required to travel, work indoors and be around crowds — all among the most risky behaviors amid a pandemic.
Lon Kruger knows he is taking a chance. Oklahoma’s 68-year-old coach has been spared so far, even with his Sooners having to briefly shut down because of cases within the program.
He said hearing about his colleagues got his attention.
“It’s just a reminder to do what we can to avoid it,” Kruger said. “Not to say that anything’s 100% guaranteed. But the university continuously reminds us to be careful and follow the recommendations. Especially with the masks. It’s a pretty easy thing to do to wear a mask.”
Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said fans wearing masks, washing and sanitizing their hands, and keeping their distance from others when they are away from the arenas will play a key role in protecting coaches — even with attendance at games limited or barred altogether.
“We need to all do our part to lower the spread of the virus in the community,” Monks said. “When it’s going like crazy in the community and there’s a lot of cases, that puts those players and those coaches more at risk.”
C. Vivian Stringer, the 72-year-old coach of the Rutgers women’s basketball program, worries that her daughter who lives with her might be especially vulnerable because she had spinal meningitis at age 2 and still deals with the effects.
“I’m concerned about myself and definitely Nina,” Stringer said. “We’ve got to look out for everyone surrounding us. This is crazy.”
North Carolina coach Roy Williams, 70, said he respects the virus, but he can’t focus on it too much.
“The biggest thing is, if you spend all your time worried about that, you’re not ready to get the job done or not spending your time preparing your team,” he said. “We’ve got to do everything we can and be able to handle the new information, and be able to handle the next new information and be able to handle the next information.”
Adjustments have become the norm. Oklahoma opened the season at home Dec. 3 against UTSA in a game that was supposed to be played the previous week. Players wore masks in warmups. Seats on the bench were separated and spread out over rows rather than one long row. There were just a few socially distanced cheerleaders on hand, next to a small band.
Kruger said it was a different experience.
“You’re always trying to do the right thing, but it’s not normal to be wearing a mask all the time,” he said of being on the bench. “We don’t wear it during timeouts, but when play starts, we’re wearing it.”
Izzo, 65, tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 9 and isolated at his home for 11 days. He said it was hard to be away from the team. Izzo was thankful afterward he got through it.
“While some people who have tested positive have not been affected too much by it, I am here to tell you that this virus is no joke, and everyone must take this seriously,” he said.
Even if all the proper precautions are taken, the risks remain.
“I’m sure a lot of people have gotten COVID without understanding why or it just happened, and we may get it as well,” Kruger said. “But we do everything possible to increase our chances of not getting it.”
AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard, Larry Lage and Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.
Insecurity: Work With Monarchs To Gather Intelligence, Buhari Charges Govs
President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies.
He gave the charge, yesterday, in Abuja, during a meeting with 36 state governors on the issue of security.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, who listened to presentations from the representative of each of the six geo-political zones on their specific security challenges, recalled that in the old order communities identified new comers and passed information to constituted authority.
“The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals.
“Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering.”
Giving an overview of the security situation in each of the zones, the President said his administration had done well in the North-East and South-South, adding that the South-South situation was still worrisome.
“Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations.”
On the issue of banditry and kidnapping reported in each of the geo-political zones, President Buhari said “security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.”
The President explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons and drugs.
“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.”
Buhari gave assurances that the country’s military will continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.
“I am not going to the public to speak about the vehicles and equipment we have ordered. What I can say is that the military received armoured cars and other equipment and they are training the trainers. More of such equipment, including military aircrafts will come in.”
On the issues raised on #EndSARS protest and its hijack by hoodlums to cause mayhem and destroy private and public property, Buhari again gave a strong warning about reoccurrence, saying that no responsible government will allow that to happen.
“We do not stop anyone from demonstrating, but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that?”
Buhari noted that the foreign press coverage of the #EndSARS violence was not balanced, citing specifically the CNN and BBC, for omitting the number of policemen killed, police stations that were razed, and the prisons that were thrown open for inmates to escape.
“I was disgusted by the coverage, which did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened. (They said we are all at fault. We don’t have the sympathy of anyone. We are on our own).”
Buhari said violent demonstrations will no longer be allowed, adding: “democracy does not mean confusion or lack of accountability.”
On the eight-month long strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, the President said lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country.
“Government conceded something. The problem is that they refused to look at the problem of the whole country. The Minister of Labour is working hard at it. It is amazing how ASUU will stay out of classrooms for so long. There’s a need for our elites to understand the challenges facing the country.”
Speaking separately on a national TV programme, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said that at the meeting, yesterday, the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, and his North-East counterparts did not raise the subject of engaging mercenaries to combat Boko Haram terrorists in the region.
Zulum had made six recommendations to the Federal Government to defeat insurgency following the killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno by Boko Haram members, last month.
The recommendations include the engagement of the services of the governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic as well as the services of mercenaries to defeat Boko Haram terrorists.
In view of the rising killings in the country, the Nigeria Governors Forum under the Chairmanship of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State met with the president, yesterday at Aso Villa.
But the presidential spokesman said the Borno State governor and his colleagues from the North-East region, the theatre of Boko Haram heinous activities, did not make any recommendation to the president on the use of mercenaries.
Adesina spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.
He said, “It was quite a fruitful meeting. The governors of the 36 states were invited and near 100 per cent of them turned up. It was across parties.
“After the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, spoke, then, he invited a governor each from the geopolitical zones and give an account of what was happening, security-wise in their zones.”
Adesina said each of the governors spoke on the security challenges peculiar to their regions — North-West (banditry), North-East (Boko Haram), South-West (kidnapping), North-Central (farmers-herders clash), amongst others.
“After that, Mr President responded and they reviewed the accounts together. Where promises were needed to be made, they were made and where explanations were needed to be made, they were equally made,” Adesina stated.
The spokesperson added, “The promise the president made was that more equipment were being procured and that some had come and the need to train our forces on the need to use them.
“He also encouraged the governors to work in close contact with the traditional authorities and local communities because intelligence is a big part of the thing. He encouraged them to work together so that those who sabotage the military by giving information to the other side can be encouraged to give information to the military.”
The president is expected to appear before the National Assembly, tomorrow, in view of the security challenges plaguing the country.
“The National Assembly will determine the format of the forum,” Adesina stated.
Author: Published 14 hours agoon December 9, 2020By The Tide