Doug Collins has done a masterful job as head coach of the 76ers. He's taken essentially the same roster Eddie Jordan had last season and turned a hopeless and rudderless 27-55 team into 41 win (and counting) team with a bright future.
How has he done it? Well, Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg has an outstanding feature on Collins which provides some unique insight into how Collins has righted the 76ers wayward ship. The most amazing part of his amazing story is the revelation that Collins has an unbelievable memory.
"There are benefits to being a human DVR. The 59-year-old Collins has not asked his video coordinator, Monte Shubik, for a copy of a 76ers game all season. At a recent staff meeting one assistant coach mentioned a loss to the Hawks in which Philly guard Lou Williams missed a dunk, triggering an Atlanta rally. "There was 5:14 on the clock," Collins said matter-of-factly, then recited every play that occurred the rest of the game.
"I don't know why I'm still skeptical," Shubik says, but he was. And so, in the middle of the meeting, Shubik started watching that Hawks-Sixers game on his laptop.
Sure enough, there was 5:14 left when Philadelphia's defensive possession started. The rest happened exactly the way Collins said. The game had been played almost four months earlier."
The guy has a videographic memory. He can recall almost any play from the thousands of games he's played in, watched, coached, or announced. He still remembers sequences from his high school playing days.
The story touches on how Collins has evolved from his early coaching days with the Bulls and Pistons into the player hugging man of patience we see pacing the sideline here in Philly. It's a fantastic read and makes you appreciate the stability Collins has brought to the Sixers franchise.
PITTSBURGH --- Utility infielder Andres Blanco suffered a fractured left index finger in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
Blanco was injured when Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco slid into his hand during a play at third base. Blanco was making his second straight start at third in place of Maikel Franco, who was out with a sore left wrist after being hit by a pitch Friday from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Franco took over at third for Blanco, who hit a solo home run off Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon in the first inning. Blanco is hitting .271 with four homers in 75 games this season.
Meanwhile, catcher Cameron Rupp was not in the lineup after being hit in the left ear flap of his batting helmet on Saturday by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Carlos Ruiz started behind the plate.
Rupp passed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol both Saturday and Sunday.
"If you get hit in the head, you probably want to take a little bit more precaution than if it was another part of your body,” Rupp said.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Mike Piazza has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft with the 1,390th pick, ahead of only five other players, Piazza is the lowest-drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame. He made it in on his fourth try.
Piazza played 16 years with five teams and hit 427 home runs, including a major-league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times.
Perhaps even more impressive, Piazza had six seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .300 batting average. All other catchers in baseball history combined have posted nine such seasons.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Ken Griffey Jr. has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Griffey, the first No. 1 draft pick to be selected for enshrinement, played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball's so-called Steroids Era.
A 13-time All-Star selection and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs.
Griffey also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.
In the 1995 ALDS, he became just the second player in major league history to hit five home runs in a postseason series.