Fintech loan disbursement slows amid pandemic

first_imgHe explained that the loan process was now tougher for new applications and that it was an inevitable consequence of an industry that targeted underserved and unbanked users, or the so-called “bottom of the pyramid”, whose loans would inevitably incur more risks.Financial Services Authority (OJK) data show that loan disbursement from fintech P2P lending has slowed in recent months.The growth of loan disbursement was only 3.12 percent year-on-year (yoy) in May to a total of Rp 109.18 trillion (US$7.59 billion) from Rp 106.06 trillion as of April. During the same period last year, loan channeling grew 10.87 percent annually to Rp 41.03 trillion. At the same time, bank loan disbursement grew just 3.04 percent yoy in May, much slower than 5.73 percent in April, as the coronavirus battered the real sector. Topics : Indonesian financial technology (fintech) peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have recorded slowing growth in loan disbursement as the economic impact of the pandemic pushes start-ups to be more careful in channeling their credit.Indonesian Fintech Lenders Association (AFPI) deputy chairman Sunu Widyatmoko acknowledged that several customers faced difficulty in accessing loans as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded.“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused several platforms to decrease new loan disbursement,” he said during a webinar held by the AFPI on Monday.center_img The pandemic has disrupted business activity as social restrictions implemented to curb the virus spread have forced offices, shops and factories to close. The government now expects the economy to grow just 1 percent this year or even contract 0.4 percent from a growth of 5.02 percent recorded in 2019.However, Sunu said, not every lender was hitting the brakes when it came to lending, as different lenders had their own risk preferences.  Despite the slowdown in overall loan disbursement growth, the AFPI reported a positive gain among loan channeling to productive sectors, especially health sectors, with small and medium enterprises offering medical supplies and equipment benefiting from the trend. Sectors related to food distribution, agriculture products, packaged meals, as well as the telecommunications sector are projected to continue to grow, AFPI managing director Kuseryansyah said in a written statement published following the webinar. Amid the growth trend, the OJK warns customers of illegal P2P lending platforms that mushroom during the pandemic.The authority’s investment alert task force has blocked 694 illegal platforms so far this year, bringing the total number of such platforms blocked to 2,591 between 2018 and 2020. In June alone, 105 illegal platforms were identified by the task force.“Borrow from a fintech P2P lending firm that has already been registered with the OJK,” the task force’s chairman Tongam Lumban Tobing said during the webinar. As of June 11, as many as 160 fintech P2P lending platforms were registered with the OJK, 33 of which already have business permits while the rest have been certified as legal fintech platforms. The public was at risk if they borrowed from the illegal platforms, as they normally exploited users’ private data, requiring users to give access to unnecessary databases, he added. They often give unclear interest rates and loan tenure while not providing a traceable office address and have a questionable management framework. “We actively carry out a cyber patrol with the Communications and Information Ministry on a daily basis,” OJK fintech regulation, licensing and supervision director Munawar Kasan said.The authority also collaborates with the central bank, banks and tech giant Google to suppress the spread of unaccountable lending platforms.The AFPI, on the other hand, has established a Fintech Data Center (FDC) in an effort to minimize fraud within the industry. Aside from that, its members are bound to a code of conduct and code of ethics to prevent abuse in handling consumers’ data, with those breaching the codes of conduct subject to sanctions.last_img read more

ICYMI: S&P: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget Bill

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Budget News,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, S&P issued a warning that Pennsylvania’s fiscal challenges remain and the Republican legislature must act responsibly to balance Pennsylvania’s budget. In their release, S&P said:“Despite six months of deliberations, Pennsylvania’s budget deliberations continue, leaving it uncertain whether legislators will act to close the state’s budget gap… The $30.3 billion budget passed by both the house and senate is, in our view, structurally unbalanced and does not include pension reforms negotiated in the previously agreed-upon budget framework. As proposed, the budget had a $500 million budget gap for fiscal 2016 and left a $2 billion budget gap for fiscal 2017… As the state’s longest running budget impasse persists, the question of lawmakers’ political willingness to address fiscal challenges remains.”You can read S&P’s full release below:Bulletin: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget BillCHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) Dec. 29, 2015 — Despite six months of deliberations, Pennsylvania’s budget deliberations continue, leaving it uncertain whether legislators will act to close the state’s budget gap or address its long-term pension liabilities. Our AA-/Stable general obligation (GO) rating on the Pennsylvania is still unchanged despite the political gridlock because of the state’s demonstrated willingness to honor its debt obligations. We are also waiting to see how further deliberations play out as legislators have still to determine a revenue package for fiscal 2016.On Dec. 29, 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he would line-item veto the legislature’s budget while providing emergency funding to public schools and social service providers. The $30.3 billion budget passed by both the house and senate is, in our view, structurally unbalanced and does not include pension reforms negotiated in the previously agreed-upon budget framework. As proposed, the budget had a $500 million budget gap for fiscal 2016 and left a $2 billion budget gap for fiscal 2017. While we have previously stated that we could consider a negative rating action or outlook if the state fails to address its budgetary imbalance or reverses course on addressing its pension liabilities, we are waiting for further developments on a corresponding revenue package and to better understand whether a pension reform will be part of a final budget.The release of emergency aid to schools will help relieve Pennsylvania schools’ cash flow pressures, but we have not reinstated our rating on the Pennsylvania state credit enhancement program because we still consider state aid payments to be unreliable given the state’s chronic failure to pass an on-time budget (see “Standard & Poor’s Analysis Of Credit Enhancement Programs Is More Than A Mechanical Exercise,” published Dec. 14, 2015). We previously viewed the hold-up of state funding as motivation for lawmakers to pass a budget. The emergency school funding measures gives more time for the budget deliberations to continue.As the state’s longest running budget impasse persists, the question of lawmakers’ political willingness to address fiscal challenges remains. Past protracted debates have not always resulted in balanced budgets. A lack of reforms in the current budget year could add to the growing revenue and expenditure misalignment and increased pension funding pressures in fiscal 2017. For the next fiscal year, the governor has discussed a personal income tax increase, coupled with a new severance tax, which were rejected by legislators this fall. It is possible that future revenue enhancements and pension reforms could face politically contentious negotiations yet again given that both sides were far apart on the issues not addressed in the current budget. While we have not changed our rating based on the state’s political gridlock, continued structural imbalance or lack of progress in funding its pensions could result in a rating action. We have determined, based solely on the developments described herein, that no rating actions are currently warranted. Only a rating committee may determine a rating action and, as these developments were not viewed as material to the ratings, neither they nor this report were reviewed by a rating committee.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: December 30, 2015center_img ICYMI: S&P: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget Billlast_img read more

Governor Wolf Launches Tour to Make College More Affordable

first_img February 12, 2020 Education,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Governor Tom Wolf visited Lock Haven University today to launch a tour of the 14 state-owned universities and discuss his proposal to help thousands of low- and middle-class students afford their dream of a college education.The governor is proposing the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, a historic $204 million need-based scholarship that will close the gap after a student’s Pell Grant and other state grants to enroll in a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) university.“The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program fills the gap after other aid programs so thousands of students can afford a college degree without crushing debt,” said Governor Wolf. “This scholarship would help students get a college degree and spend less time paying off student loans and more time building a career in Pennsylvania.”The Nellie Bly Scholarship is a last-dollar-in program. To be eligible, students must enroll full-time in a PASSHE undergraduate program and qualify for a federal subsidized student loan. Students must commit to live in Pennsylvania after graduation for the same number of years they received the scholarship. If a student leaves the state early, they must repay the money. The program will be funded by repurposing revenues from the Horse Racing Development Fund annually.“This is an investment in the future of our students and incentivizes them to stay in Pennsylvania after graduation,” said Governor Wolf. “With less college debt, graduates can buy a car and a home, start a family and save for retirement. The program also strengthens our public university system and creates a talented labor force that Pennsylvania needs to thrive.”“The strength of Pennsylvania’s economy and the vibrancy of its communities depend so much on students who graduate with career-oriented, affordable degrees,” said PASSHE Chancellor Daniel Greenstein. “This program represents Gov. Tom Wolf’s commitment to our students and to maintaining public higher education as the engine of social mobility and economic development that it’s meant to be.”“Access to a degree leads to life changing opportunities for our students that positions them for work in an ever-evolving economy, moves them into the middle class and beyond and builds stronger communities. But for too many of them the cost is beyond their reach,” said Lock Haven University President Robert M. Pignatello. “Governor Wolf’s Nellie Bly Scholarship Program recognizes this and makes a valuable investment in them and the future economic vitality of the commonwealth.”The scholarship is named in honor of Nellie Bly, an Armstrong County native born in 1864. Bly attended the Indiana Normal School, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but left due to the cost. Bly became a pioneering journalist who helped to force reforms to the mental health care system in the early 20th century.Nearly a century later, higher education remains too expensive for many low-income and middle-class families. The student loan debt for Pennsylvania residents is $68 billion, among the highest in the nation, averaging over $37,000 per student.In addition to the $204 million for the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, the governor’s budget invests in higher education with $12.9 million to support PASSHE’s system redesign and a $60 million increase for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, which serves more than 130,000 students and will increase the maximum award to $4,700.The Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth with 95,000 students. In addition to Lock Haven University, the system includes Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Governor Wolf Launches Tour to Make College More Affordablelast_img read more

Slovakia’s second-pillar pension system faces another exodus

first_imgNearly 145,000 had monthly pensionable earnings of less than €1,000, while some 60% were aged 41 years or more.However, Richter expressed surprise that more than 4,000 people with no tax or assessment base had opted in, despite the government’s advising against it.The opt-outs have reduced the number of second-pillar members to around 1.4m.Meanwhile, the six second-pillar fund management companies will have to transfer €541.7m, out of accumulated assets of around €6.4bn at the end of the opt-out window, to the Social Insurance Agency (SIA), which runs Slovakia’s first pillar.The monies will be used to offset the SIA’s deficit.Miroslav Kotov, head of the investment department at Allianz-Slovenska DSS, said: “The opt-out window came as a government reaction to the levels of the first annuities offered in January 2015.”“The combined pensions from the first and second pillars were in most cases lower compared with the potential pension from only the first pillar. This was probably the main driver.”Kotov added that the clients who left were not persuaded otherwise by issues such as the first pillar’s requiring constant subsidies from the state budget, or Slovakia’s highly unfavourable demographic prospects.According to the European Commission’s 2015 Ageing Report, Slovakia’s economic old-age dependency ratio, the inactive population aged 65 and over as a percentage of 15 to 64-year-old employed workers, is projected to rise from 32% in 2015 to 93% by 2060.This is the highest ratio in the EU.Over this period, the population is projected to fall from 5.4m to 4.6m, and the working age population from 3.8m to 2.4m, while the share of over 65 year olds rises from 14.2% to 35.2%.The SIA itself actively promoted opt-outs.Its communications recommended that the second pillar was only beneficial for those who would accumulate at least 25 years of savings, and who earned more than 1.25 times the average wage.It advised the less well paid, those with irregular income and those aged 45 years and over to leave.The Association of Pension Funds Management Companies (ADSS), the trade body for the companies managing second-pillar funds, disputed some of the SIA materials, including the claim real average returns between early 2005 and 2015 were negative.Unlike Poland, where new membership of its reformed second pillar is now restricted, until the next window in 2016, to new labour market entrants, anyone under age 35 in Slovakia can sign up at any time.This includes former fund members, although they would have to start their savings from scratch.According to the National Bank of Slovakia, the sector’s regulator, second-pillar membership increased by more than 17,000 in 2014. Slovakia’s beleaguered second-pillar pension system has undergone yet another sizeable shrinkage following the latest reopening, the fourth since 2008, between 15 March and 15 June.According to labour minister Ján Richter, the number of people opting out totalled 158,310, while 19,288 opted in.This is significantly higher than the 90,000-odd who left in the previous reopening, in 2013.Of those leaving, 32% had not been paying in, for reasons such as unemployment, disability or working abroad.last_img read more

Probation Check Leads To Arrest of Woman, Juvenile

first_imgMETAMORA, Ind. – A routine probation check led to the arrest of a woman and juvenile in Metamora.Probation officers stopped at a home in the 10000 block of State Road 229 in Metamora Thursday evening. Officers say they located what appeared to be marijuana and contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department for further investigation.A search warrant was issued and conducted which led police to finding additional marijuana, paraphernalia and controlled substances, investigators said.33-year-old Nicole Rathburn was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession (Class B misdemeanor), Neglect of a Dependent Child (Level 6 Felony) and Maintaining a Common Nuisance (Level 6 Felony).A juvenile, whose identity has not been released, was arrested and transported to a juvenile detention facility. Deputies say two children were removed from the home by the Division of Family and Children.last_img read more

Di Canio hits back at O’Neill

first_img Di Canio insisted, however, that no argument took place. “It never happened,” he said. “There was a typical meeting, as there was after every game to see the clips and analyse the game. “Maybe there was opinion but this happens in every good family.” Even though his first foray into top-flight management ended in acrimonious fashion, it has not quelled Di Canio’s confidence and he remains hopeful of finding another job in England. “I was too good, my level was too high,” he said of his experience at Sunderland. “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I can’t wait to have another chance with the right people. I feel a better manager than before. “Even if I have requests from around Europe I say no. “There is no space for me in England at the moment but I will wait. “It would be stupid for a chairman not to call me. Even if it’s at a Championship club with a project.” Press Association Di Canio, who led Sunderland to Barclays Premier League survival last season before being sacked after five games of the current campaign, told Sky Sports News on Friday: “I don’t know if he knows the meaning of this word charlatan. Probably I can teach him, even if I am not English. “I respect the opinion of manager Martin O’Neill but the fact that he spoke after six months, not straight away, that proves what kind of level he is. He is not very big. “A charlatan is a manager who spends £40m to be a top 10 club and then sees the club sink into the relegation zone.” Di Canio stood by his claim that the Black Cats players were not in peak condition when he arrived on Wearside. “The fitness levels were pathetic,” he said. “I had players who told me they had cramps from driving the car. “I had three players with injuries in the calf after 20 minutes of a game. Six different players with problems means they were not fit.” Di Canio was dismissed after a 3-0 defeat at West Brom, a result which was reportedly followed a day later by a training ground bust-up with senior players which led them to ask the board to take action. Paolo Di Canio has hit back at Martin O’Neill as the war of words between the former Sunderland managers continued. Di Canio succeeded O’Neill at the Stadium of Light in March and, on his arrival, criticised the fitness levels in the squad. O’Neill took his time to respond but following his appointment as Republic of Ireland boss earlier this week, he dismissed Di Canio’s barbs and labelled the Italian a “managerial charlatan”. last_img read more

Esteban Chaves tops Vuelta a Espana general classification after stage six win

first_img Following up his second-stage triumph on Sunday, Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE) won the 200.3-kilometre sixth stage from Cordoba to Sierra de Cazorla with an attack just over two kilometres from the end. Having passed Great Britain’s Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) at the front, Chaves then held off the challenge of Irishman Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), who both crossed the line five seconds later than him. Colombia’s Esteban Chaves secured another stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday to return to the top of the general classification ahead of Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin. Back in the red jersey, Chaves now leads second-placed Dumoulin by 10 seconds in the overall standings, while Martin has moved above compatriot Nicolas Roche into third place at 33 secs behind Chaves. Both Roche – 36s back overall – and his Team Sky colleague, Britain’s 2015 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, finished Thursday’s stage in a group that were 11 seconds behind Chaves, along with the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. Froome is seventh in the general classification at 55s, with Spaniards Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Valverde (Movistar) sixth at 51 and fifth at 49 respectively. Colombia’s Quintana is ninth at 57s. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Jose Mourinho accepts blame and admits top four may now be beyond Chelsea

first_img The loss plunged Chelsea into crisis again and puts Mourinho’s position under further scrutiny, two months to the day since he was subject of the first vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich’s 12-year ownership. Asked if he still has the confidence of the club, Mourinho said: “Yes, I believe.” The Portuguese again insisted he had no “right” to demand transfer activity in January. “The owner and the board are not responsible for the bad moments,” he added. “The responsibility for the bad moment is my responsibility and the players’ responsibility.” Mourinho also appeared to concede defeat in Chelsea’s bid to reach the top four and qualify for the Champions League. “Our objective is to finish top four,” he told Sky Sports. “Before this game it was realistic to think that our quality would take us out of this position, but maybe now we have to think about top six.” He later told the post-match media conference: “Let’s think about winning the next game and forget targets. To fix targets at this moment with our inconsistency is difficult.” The Blues boss thought his side had turned a corner with last Sunday’s goalless draw at Tottenham, only to oversee another woeful display. Mourinho was scathing in his criticism of some of his Chelsea players, although he insisted he was not disappointed with the performance, only the result. “I explain the inconsistency with unlucky details,” Mourinho said. “You cannot have bigger details than one penalty that is not given and one goal offside that decides the game. We are always unlucky in these little details. “But apart from that, inconsistency has also to do with individual inconsistency. “With some players, you don’t know when they are performing really well and when the performances is below level, it’s difficult. “When you get good momentum and good consecutive results, it’s because you have stability in performances. “Stability in performances has a big relation with individual performances and we had today again a couple that you need more, you expect more and they don’t give enough.” Mourinho insisted Chelsea did not need a new striker, despite again starting Costa on the bench, but rued missed opportunities which will not register among the official statistics. “We had enough chances and more than chances we had a lot of half chances and we couldn’t touch the ball, which is disappointing,” Mourinho said. “If you are in the box, you have to attack the ball and touch. These are big chances that we have to score.” Mourinho has often fallen foul of disciplinary regulations this season and has a suspended one-match stadium ban hanging over him, so refused to go further in his comments on the key decisions. “It was a penalty and the goal is offside, but the referee made a mistake and the linesman made another mistake,” Mourinho added. “That’s football.” However, Bournemouth counterpart Howe disagreed with Mourinho’s view of Chelsea’s penalty appeal. “I think Simon’s committed to his slide,” he said. “His arm’s there, it’s not moved towards the ball. I think that would’ve been extremely harsh.” On the magnitude of the win for a club who have flirted with extinction, Howe said: “I think it’s at the very top. “We’ve never been in the Premier League before, so when you come to the champions and beat them, I think it must rank as the best individual result of the club’s history.” It meant even more for the Cherries given the injuries to key personnel this season. “It gives the players some reward for how hard they’ve worked,” Howe added. “It’s only one game but it does give us a huge boost going into the Christmas period.” Jose Mourinho accepted responsibility for Chelsea’s miserable title defence and appeared to write off the prospect of a top-four finish following the Barclays Premier League loss to Bournemouth. The Cherries, promoted after winning the Championship last season, inflicted an eighth league defeat of the campaign on the Blues, with Glenn Murray’s late header securing a 1-0 win which Eddie Howe lauded as the most significant result in the club’s history. Mourinho felt the Blues should have had a penalty prior to that when a Diego Costa cut-back hit Simon Francis on the arm and also believed referee Mike Jones was wrong to allow the goal, which had a hint of offside. Press Associationlast_img read more

ACC releases full basketball schedule for upcoming season

first_img Published on August 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm Contact Phil: | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+ Football season has yet to officially start for Syracuse, but basketball season isn’t too far away, either.The Atlantic Coast Conference released the full men’s basketball schedule Wednesday afternoon for the upcoming season. Here’s what the Orange’s in-conference slate looks like:At Virginia Tech, Jan. 3, noonAt Georgia Tech, Jan. 7, 7 p.m.Florida State, Jan. 11, 8 p.m.Wake Forest, Jan. 13, 8 p.m.At Clemson, Jan. 17, 4 p.m.Boston College, Jan. 20, 7 p.m.Miami, Jan. 24, 4 p.m.At North Carolina, Jan. 26, 7 p.m.Virginia Tech, Feb. 3, 9 p.m.At Pittsburgh, Feb. 7, 4 p.m.At Boston College, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.Duke, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.Louisville, Feb. 18, 7 p.m.Pittsburgh, Feb. 21, noonAt Notre Dame, Feb. 24, 8 p.m.At Duke, Feb. 28, TBDVirginia, March 2, 7 p.m.At N.C. State, March 7, noonBelow are the nonconference meetings Syracuse has on its schedule:Exhibition: Carleton (Canada), Nov. 2, TBDExhibition: Adrian, Nov. 10, TBDCalifornia (2K Classic at Madison Square Garden), Nov. 20, 9 p.m.TBD (2K Classic), Nov. 21, TBDLoyola (Md.), Nov. 25, TBDHoly Cross, Nov. 28, TBDAt Michigan (ACC-Big Ten Challenge), Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.St. John’s, Dec. 6, 5:15 p.m.Louisiana Tech, Dec. 14, 4 p.m.At Villanova (Wells Fargo Center), Dec. 20, TBDColgate, Dec. 22, 7 p.m.Long Beach State, Dec. 28, TBDCornell, Dec. 31, TBDAdvertisementThis is placeholder text Commentslast_img read more

Zion Williamson giving Pelicans a big boost

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers He is expected to become a better defender, rebounder and shooter; and he’ll likely learn to read the game better. He says that off the court, he’s working on improving his time management.And yet “he’s doing it all pretty darn well right now,” Reddick said.“The experience has been great,” Williamson said. “I missed the first half of the season, to finally get out there and be with my teammates, it’s been great.”That statement – focused not on Williamson himself, or for that matter, on Zion and LeBron – is indicative of the young man that New Orleans is getting to know, Coach Alvin Gentry said.“I keep telling everyone, he’s all about the team,” Gentry said. “He just wants to be part of the guys, he wants to do everything he can to help us win games and it’s never about him.“These things are tough; him having to stand here every day and you guys ask him all these questions about him personally, that’s really not who he is. He wants to talk about our team and how we trying to get better and trying to make a playoff run. Those are the things that are important to him.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersBut not nearly as much was expected of Holiday as is being asked of his 19-year-old teammate, who has done little in his first 12 NBA games to quell the hype surrounding him.The 6-foot-6 power forward missed the first 44 games of the season while recovering from a right knee scope. But entering Tuesday’s game against the Lakers – Mardi Gras back in New Orleans – the explosive, 285-pound phenom had been phenomenal.In his first dozen outings, Williamson averaged 22.8 points on 58.6 percent shooting, to go with 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists and a usage rate of 27 percent. In his first 10 games alone, he became the third player with seven 20-point games and the third rookie in 30 years to score more than 200 points in that span.Most importantly, Williamson’s presence makes New Orleans – which finds itself chasing a Western Conference playoff berth with 24 games remaining following Tuesday’s – better.With him in the lineup, the Pelicans were 7-5 entering Tuesday, averaging 53.2 points in the paint (5.3 more than without him), 16.4 second-chance points (2.4 more) and pulling down 49.4 rebounds (3.5 more). Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed “The kid is going to be special,” James said at the Lakers’ shootaround, not hesitant to share his thoughts on one of the game’s brightest young stars.“He’s super explosive. Super intelligent, as well, out on the floor. Everyone kind of like just recognizes his leaping ability as far as on his dunks, but his second jump when he misses a shot, his ability to pass in transition, he has very infectious energy – you can tell guys like to play with him.”Those guys with front-row seats are similarly impressed, raving – in every city the Pelicans visit – about Williamson’s maturity, his efficiency, his rebounding.“There’s a few players in my career where you feel like you’re watching them or you’re playing with them and you’re like, ‘Man, it’s not his night tonight, it’s not his night,’” Pelicans shooting guard JJ Redick said. “And then you look up, ‘He’s got 27 and eight, and five assists and two blocks. Like what just happened?’”And he’s just scratching the surface, they all say.Related Articlescenter_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs LOS ANGELES — So you want to know what LeBron James means to Zion Williamson?Likely conscious of how much attention any comment he made about James would draw, the New Orleans Pelicans wunderkind politely swatted away that question about the Lakers’ superstar at shootaround ahead of his first meeting with James.“Honestly, can we ask those questions after the game? My main focus right now is just trying to help my team try to get a win,” Williamson said, promising, “After.”Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday can recall feeling anxious before squaring off with his idols for the first time as a pro: “Being from L.A., Kobe (Bryant) is one of them … and Shaq was one of them, I was kind of scared – not even gonna lie,” he said. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img read more