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. 

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.