A Brief and Scattered Interview With Evan Turner: Settling the Backstreet Boys vs. N Sync Debate

A Brief and Scattered Interview With Evan Turner: Settling the Backstreet Boys vs. N Sync Debate

I got the chance to talk with Evan Turner for a few minutes last Friday
after the team's win against the Golden State Warriors. There was so
much to talk with the Sixers' second-year swingman about, from the
pressures of being the #2 overall pick, to his seemingly tumultuous
relationship with second-year coach Doug Collins, to his up-and-down
play over the course of the NBA season. Evan is perhaps the team's most
enigmatic player, and I hoped that getting to talk with the man would
help shed light on some of the burning questions Sixers fans have had
about our promising Sophomore since he was drafted in 2010.

Instead, though, I mostly talked with him about hip-hop and '90s
TRL. Oh well—can't win 'em all, and I heartily enjoyed my time spent
with the Extraterrestrial just the same.

Andrew: How much fun did you have playing in the [Rising Stars] game?

Evan Turner: It was cool. It was dope. We had fun. We won, that was even better.

Were you slighted that they kind of picked you towards the end there, in the draft?

I don't really pay attention to that stuff.

Which of the guys there did you have the most fun playing with?

[Indiana's] Paul George is always a good guy. I enjoy watching him play, great person.

Seems like you and [Sacramento center] DeMarcus [Cousins] had a little bit of chemistry there.

Yeah, you know, he runs the court, makes himself available, and when he's that type of threat, it's easy to pass to him.

What's the biggest difference in the team between this season and the last season, you think?

I just think we're just maturing. You know, we're learning to
close out games and everything, we're not blowing leads and stuff, I
think that's the key to our success.

What's the biggest difference for you personally?

Nothin'. Just one more year experience, and that's pretty much it.

Well, does it feel easier? Does it feel better?

It's cool. You know, we're winning, so everything's cool. That's pretty much all you can really take from it.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like on a team where maybe
there weren't so many guys that are playing the same sort of position as
you are?

It'd be different, but at the same time, wondering
and wishing and all that stuff doesn't matter. You still gotta face
reality and the real world, so…let's focus on trying to better myself
every day, and keep getting better and that's it. Develop.

It seems like you guys are a close bunch of guys. Was it hard for you when Marreese [Speights] got traded?

Yeah,
we actually liked Marreese, you know? But it's better for him, [The
Grizzlies'] situation with him, he's been playing well and stuff. But
you know, Mo is a great guy and a great person, and just having him
around was key.

I see you guys on Twitter a lot—I saw that you and Spence over the summer were having an argument between who was better, the Backstreet Boys or N Sync. Care to stick up for your guys a little bit?

Yeah, the Backstreet Boys? They just made album after album. Hits, you know. 'N Sync only had…what was it…it wasn't Celebrity, it was No Strings Attached. Which was amazing from front to back. And then Celebrity was just overrated. And then Backstreet Boys, they been going hard with Millennium, you know, Black and Blue and all that stuff, so they been on top for a while. They still make music today! They're like a white Boyz II Men.

Were you a big TRL fan back in the day?

Yeah, that
was crazy! Carson Daly and stuff? That was back when pop music was
crazy, you know what I'm saying? You had Christina, Britney, 98 Degrees,
all those people. Tom Green, at one time he went #1, with the Bum Bum
Song? That stuff was dope!

Have you seen any of those TRL specials they've had on [VH1] these days?

Naw, I haven't. I never, ever really watch TV.

It seems like you're more into rap now. If you had to choose last year between [Drake's] Take Care, [Jay-Z and Kanye West's] Watch the Throne and [Lil Wayne's] Carter IV, what would your choice be?

That's rough, man. Those are all three great rappers and great albums. It all depends on what you want, man. Take Care
was cool. You know, Drizzy's a great guy, and he raps about stuff you
can relate to, but Jay-Z and Kanye did their thing, you know what I'm
saying? It's hard to decide between those two.

Who are you listening to now?

I listen to everybody,
man. I listen to old school. I still pop in old school Jay, old school
Em, I listen to Common, Big Sean, Drake…

Do you take a side in the Common/Drake feud?

Naw, I don't do none of that. I just enjoy the music.

Did you guys give Thad any crap for that blown dunk the other day?

Naw, naw, we didn't…actually I had forgot about that, to tell you the truth.

It looked like 'Dre was really upset about that.

Yeah,
it was a great pass! But hey, you ain't gonna make 'em all, right? I
think Thad finishes a lot, so he can afford to miss one every now and
then. When we're winning!

Any goals personally, for the team, for the rest of the season?

We just wanna win the Atlantic division. I think that's key for the team.

You think you guys got that?

We got a lot more basketball. We just gotta keep worrying about defending home court, and that's it. 

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

When fans came to Philadelphia to see the future of the NFL, they got a glimpse of the Sixers’ future too.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons walked through the draft festivities on Thursday surrounded by fans. 

Embiid posted an Instagram video soaking in a -- you guessed it -- “Trust the Process” chant. Check out that video above.

That night Embiid and Simmons expressed their appreciation for the crowd's enthusiastic reaction.

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Derek Barnett, the former Tennessee defensive end, clad in an all-red, three-piece suit, stared at the landline phone in front of him in the green room at the NFL draft on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  

It wasn't ringing.

Despite his best efforts, the 20-year-old couldn't telepathically get that phone to go off. The Eagles, who he knew had some interest in him after a top-30 visit earlier in the offseason, were on the clock. But still, that landline remained silent.

Then his cell phone rang. And it was a Philly number.

"I just got very excited and I really can't explain it because everything happened so fast," Barnett said just after 11 p.m. Thursday. "But it was like a surreal moment."

When he answered the phone, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was on the other end. Barnett was then passed around from head coach Doug Pederson to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and likely to the Eagles' two-headed personnel czar Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas.

By the time Barnett joined a conference call with reporters an hour and change later, he had already shaken hands with the commissioner, been shuffled through various media obligations and stood in front of thousands of Eagles fans.

So by 11:05 p.m., when he talked over the phone to reporters at the NovaCare Complex, nothing from his wild night had really settled in.

Of all the players who were selected on Thursday night, he was the only one who won't have to leave the city to be with his new team.

"It's very fun," Barnett said. "That means I can get to work quicker."

The humble pass rusher, who broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, is the type of player that exemplifies what the Eagles are looking for, according to Roseman.

"He stands for what we want to be and I think everyone in the city will see what kind of person he is, what kind of player he is," Roseman said. "Unbelievably high character, unbelievable worker and tremendously talented and productive."

Barnett (6-foot-3, 259 pounds) finished his college career with 32 sacks and Douglas praised the young pass-rusher for his ability to finish at the top of his rush.

The Eagles took Barnett because, they say, he was the top-rated player on their board at the time (see story). But the team still has Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry and Chris Long and Marcus Smith.

Where will Barnett figure into the rotation?

"My mindset is to help the team anyway I can," Barnett said. "I know I have to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my team first. Just because I was a first-round pick, that don't mean nothing. I have to work harder now. My plan is to come in, get around those vets, learn from them and hopefully, when the season comes around, I can be able to contribute."

While the Eagles return several pass-rushers from a year ago, the team desperately needs to find a way to sack quarterbacks, especially because Schwartz's entire defense is predicated on getting pressure with the front four and not blitzing.

Barnett is pretty excited to join the group.

"I love it," Barnett said of Schwartz's defense. "That's my style and I feel like I fit it very well and Coach Schwartz said the same thing, too. I think it's going to be a good fit."

While there was certainly some mumbling when the Barnett picked was announced on the Parkway and while plenty of fans on social media weren't thrilled with the selection (see story), the newest Eagle said he felt nothing but love.

And he can't wait to play in front of those fans on Sundays.

"Great fan base," he said. "I've been feeling the love ever since my name got called. And I was a little nervous at first, I didn't know if I was going to get the love or some boos, but I got a great welcoming and I appreciate the fans for doing that, because I had no clue where I was going to end up at."

Now, he knows. And he won't have to go far.