Temple's Obi Enechionyia withdrawing from NBA draft, will return for senior year

Temple's Obi Enechionyia withdrawing from NBA draft, will return for senior year

It's only May, but it sounds like Fran Dunphy's Temple Owls just got a big boost for next season.

Star forward Obi Enechionyia will pull his name out of the upcoming NBA draft and will return to North Broad Street for his senior season.

CBSSports' Jon Rothstein first broke word of Enechionyia's decision Monday morning.

The 6-foot-10 Enechionyia was the Owls' leading rebounder last season with 5.8 boards per game. He was also second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.1 points per game. He dropped a season-high 26 points on rival St. Joe's during a 78-72 win on Hawk Hill in November.

Enechionyia can be a matchup problem for opponents with his length and his ability to stretch the floor. He shot 41 percent from field last season and 39 percent from three-point range. He will undoubtedly be the Owls' top frontcourt option this coming year.

But his mentorship and experience will be a big factor this season for the Owls, who will have to lean on underclassmen such as guards Shizz Alston, Alani Moore and Quinton Rose to pick up more of the scoring slack. Enechionyia, guard Josh Brown and role player Mike Robbins are the only remaining Owls who played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Iowa. The 16-16 Owls did not advance to a postseason tournament last season.

Enechionyia declared for the draft in late March, but did not hire an agent, leaving him eligible to withdraw from the draft. He did not receive an invite to the recent NBA combine, but did have a private workout with the Boston Celtics in recent days.

The deadline for players without agents to withdraw from the draft is this Wednesday.

Roman Quinn narrows focus to staying healthy, improving at Triple A

Roman Quinn narrows focus to staying healthy, improving at Triple A

Odubel Herrera has center field locked down and it's going to be tough for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin to take scorching-hot Aaron Altherr out of the lineup.

But there's still another spot in the outfield. And with Howie Kendrick injured and Michael Saunders not exactly lighting it up, many eyes have turned toward Lehigh Valley and Phillies prospect Roman Quinn, who had a September cup of coffee with the Phils last season.

While the majors are obviously on his mind, Quinn, who turns 24 this coming Sunday, has his focus narrowed on getting better at Lehigh Valley first.

"I really don't think about it," Quinn said of a return to Philadelphia during an interview with CSNPhilly's Marshall Harris on Monday. "I think about perfecting my craft. Going out there and playing hard. Making the adjustments to be a good ballplayer.

"I would say that I play pretty good defense. I like the competition, the grind. I like baseball and the adjustments that come along with it."

The speedster is playing for the first time in Triple A Lehigh Valley this season as he was in Double A Reading for the majority of 2016 before he was called up to the Phils for 15 games.

In those 15 games, Quinn batted .263 with four doubles, six RBIs and five stolen bases.

"It was everything I dreamed of and more," Quinn said of his time in Philadelphia last season. "I enjoyed my experience up there and it was a great experience. I had a lot of veteran guys up there help me out. I enjoyed it. I'm trying to get back there now."

Quinn has gotten off to an OK start with the IronPigs this season. In 28 games, he's hitting .257 with five doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. He also has seven stolen bases.

But his strikeout numbers are glaring. He's struck out 33 times in 105 at-bats.

"I'm not concerned at all," Quinn said of his strikeout numbers. "I'm just trying to make my adjustments on a newer level. There's pretty good pitching here. Good catchers, veteran catchers behind the plate here.

"Striking out, it's part of the game. And I'm a switch hitter, so it's just part of it."

Another part of Quinn's focus has been trying to stay healthy. And that's been easier said than done.

Throughout his career, Quinn has been anchored by injuries: a fractured wrist, a torn Achilles, a torn quad, a concussion, a hip flexor and a strained oblique.

"My No. 1 thing is to stay healthy," Quinn said. "Get a whole season of at-bats. That's been my main goal all year.

"My biggest thing is to stay healthy. Stay healthy and stay consistent. Once I stay on the field and get a full season of at-bats, it'll be worth it."

Another stroke of 'bad luck' for Phillies, another loss to Nationals

Another stroke of 'bad luck' for Phillies, another loss to Nationals

BOX SCORE

Pete Mackanin entered the media room at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night, sat down, put his hands down on the table in front of him and took a deep breath.
 
“You know, when things aren’t going your way, they just – everything seems to happen,” he said. “It snowballs.”
 
That’s one way of putting a five-game losing streak and losses in eight of your last nine games.
 
The snowball of losing continued to roll downhill and pick up steam Saturday night, as the Phillies once again fell to the visiting Washington Nationals, this one a 6-2 decision (see Instant Replay).
 
Over the last five games, the Phils have been outscored by a 28-15 margin. In eight losses over the last nine days, they’ve been outscored by a 44-26 margin.
 
But through Mackanin’s eyes, that’s all been triggered by something.
 
“We’ve hit into a lot of bad luck I think over the last few days,” Mackanin said. “It seems like when you’re going good, it snowballs. And vice versa. When it’s going bad it snowballs. You just have to keep fighting your way through it and get back on track.”
 
The latest stroke of “bad luck” wound up as the beginning of the end for Saturday’s starter, Vince Velasquez.
 
Velasquez, who pitched into the seventh for just the second time this season, was having a solid outing, keeping the Phillies, down 2-1 at the time, in the game with seven strikeouts through five innings. His only blemish up to that point was a two-run shot to the scorching hot Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth inning.
 
After Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy reached with singles in the sixth, Zimmerman stepped to the plate and scorched a liner toward Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders.
 
Saunders lost the ball in the lights above, allowing it to go over his head and roll all the way to the wall. Werth scored to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.
 
“That ball was directly in the lights,” Mackanin said. “[Saunders] has been playing super defense for us. What a shame that was. That led to something.”
 
Third baseman Anthony Rendon stepped into the batter’s box next and promptly clobbered a Velasquez offering into the seats in left for a three-run shot that gave the Nationals a 6-1 lead.
 
Game. Set. Match.
 
“The ball to Rendon was a little bit inside. But when you execute a pitch like that and they do damage with it, you’ve got to tip your cap off to them,” said Velasquez, who was anchored with the loss.

Velasquez fell to 2-3 while his ERA shot up to 5.94 after allowing six earned runs.
 
Counting the two-run moonshot he gave up to Zimmerman, Velasquez has now given up eight homers in six starts this season. Fifteen of the 22 runs he’s given up so far this year have come via the long ball.
 
“Coming into the game, I was attacking the guys all the way through and had a lot of conviction with my fastball,” Velasquez said. “Just silly mistakes – why I decided to throw those pitches. I kind of kicked myself in the butt for it.
 
“I’ve got to do a better job of pitch selection. They’re well-located. But early in the game like that, especially to Zimmerman, I was attacking him all the way through. Why I decided to change it up, I don’t know. Again, it’s just you live and learn.”
 
The Phillies, meanwhile, had major issues stringing anything together against Washington starter A.J. Cole, who was making his season debut.
 
The Phils mustered eight hits, but getting thrown out on the basepaths three times didn’t help the cause. Maikel Franco was called for batter’s interference on a steal attempt in the first. Tommy Joseph failed to attempt to stretch a single into a double in the second. And Saunders was caught stealing on an ill-timed hit and run in the fourth when Freddy Galvis whiffed on a pitch in the dirt.
 
“I wanted to try and get our running game going there and I hit and ran and Freddy didn’t make contact,” Mackanin said. “I’m trying to instill some confidence and a spark in us by doing something and it didn’t work
 
“When you’re in a good streak, you can squeeze or hit and run. Anything you want, it always seems to work. When you’re in a bad streak, you try to get something going and it doesn’t seem to work.”
 
All of the losses over this stretch have come to fierce competition in the Dodgers, Cubs and Nats. All three of those teams have serious World Series thoughts and one has a set of rings to show for last year’s title effort.
 
Still, a lack of results is a lack of results no matter the competition.
 
“It sucks, but that’s all part of it,” said Cameron Rupp, who accounted for the Phils’ offense Saturday with an RBI single in the second and a solo homer in the seventh.
 
“[Washington] is hot over there. They’re good hitters. They’ve got veteran hitters that don’t miss if you want to say mistakes, even though they weren’t. They were quality pitches right where we wanted them to go.
 
“It’s one of those things where you can make the right pitches and get beat. … It’s just part of the game.”
 
So Sunday brings another shot at the Nats, the top dog in the NL East. What’s Mackanin’s plan to finally shake the voodoo spell of bad luck he feels has bogged his team down during this stretch?
 
“I’m looking at the positives,” he said. ”We’ve just got to keep battling and get through this little lull and get through this period and get back to the form we were in when we won six in a row.”