Amazing Citizens Bank Park Sandcastle

Amazing Citizens Bank Park Sandcastle

Earlier in the week we saw a photo over at Zoo with Roy of an absolutely amazing sandcastle modeled after South Philly's own Citizens Bank Park. We wondered what kind of hardcore Philadelphia sports fan would make such a masterpiece so we emailed the creator, Alex Nakahara, to find out more about his castle on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Not surprisingly, Alex is a University of Pennsylvania alum who majored in mechanical engineering and is now a second year grad student studying aeronautics at MIT. He told us that when he's living in Philly he typically gets to about 10-15 games a year at the ballpark, but probably made it to only five or so this season due to living in Boston. So he's plenty familiar with the intricate details of the Phillies home.

So how long did the Citizens Bank Park sandcastle take to make, we wondered. [more photos below]

"The sandcastle took most of the day to build, so around 6 hours. My brother and dad helped me out with it," Alex said.

From looking at the size and detail of the CBP castle, I had the feeling this was not their first foray into sand sculptures.

the bullpen

"We usually make ancient cities (Roman, Greek, Egyptian) but we've also done the Titanic, the Jefferson Memorial, Minas Tirith (Lord of the Rings), the pyramids and Sphinx, and the Parthenon among other things," he said.

If you look closely at the photos, you'll notice seashells being used for the base paths and some of the chalk lines, but that wasn't the only extra detail in the CBP castle.

"I wanted to get the stands to be recognizable, although some things can't really be done in sand and I was working from memory," Alex told us. "I also tried to get the major landmarks in: the scoreboard porch (the jumbotron proved too challenging), the batters eye in center field, the bullpens, and Chickie and Pete's. I ran out of time to make Ashburn Alley completely, which was disappointing. Other than sand, we used some shells to do the base paths and some driftwood for the foul poles and scoreboard."

Using the remnants of a real crab to represent Chickie's and Pete's was a great touch. Sadly, ocean water doesn't really give that day-old beer smell, so they couldn't make the replica 100% accurate to a South Philly sports viewing experience.

Thanks to Alex for telling us about his amazing castle and ZWR for the find.

Alex's girlfriend Meg rocking her R2C2 shirt

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."