Fran Dunphy Discusses Eating Cake with Alonzo Lewis on the Last Day of the Man's Life

Fran Dunphy Discusses Eating Cake with Alonzo Lewis on the Last Day of the Man's Life

Following his team's 80-79 win over the La Salle Explorers on Wednesday night, La Salle graduate and Temple coach Fran Dunphy entered the media room and conducted a fairly routine press conference (save for his second argument of the year as to why "the carry" should be allowed in basketball).

After he exited, but before La Salle coach John Giannini sat down to address reporters, Dunphy re-entered the room, called all to attention, and paid tribute to the life of Big 5 Hall of Famer Alonzo Lewis.

Lewis, 77, scored 1,137 points in his career at La Salle and helped lead the Explorers to the 1955 NCAA Final, where they ultimately lost to Bill Russell's San Francisco. Lewis would go on to coach a number of local schools, most notably Chester High and Cheyney University.

He was killed tragically on Tuesday evening after being hit by a car while attempting to cross Henry Ave. He was on his way to Philadelphia University to watch the Catholic League Girls' semifinal between Archbishop Carroll and Neumann-Goretti.

Audio and text of Fran Dunphy's postgame comments on Alonzo Lewis and (as one would expect) words from John Chaney below...

"I go the Big 5 Hall of Fame yesterday, and I was thrilled to be there. One of my players, Matt Maloney, Mark Jackson, one of the Temple greats, Kelly Greenberg,  who I coached with at Penn for a long period of time, so I'm hobnobbing. I'm having the time of my life just because I know most of the room. I'm just having a tremendous time. And I get to eat my meal late. And I get back, I'm in the back of the room, and I sit down beside Alonzo Lewis.

"And I spent an hour with Alonzo Lewis yesterday afternoon. And, last night, the man lost his life in a tragic car accident. And I got the chance to be with that guy. A great La Salle player and a guy I admire so much as a human being. How many he kids that he helped along the way.

"When I got that phone call this morning. I've got to tell you, my heart was broken, for a lot of different reasons. And even if I hadn't been with him for that period of time, my heart still would have been broken. But to sit next to him...

"There was a piece of chocolate cake, and he said, I can't eat this. I would love to eat this, but I can't. But I'm going to bring it to my daughter, and she'll enjoy it. And it just, it blew my mind. I couldn't...and I need to tell that story, because of what I feel about Alonzo Lewis and the quality and the character and the integrity that the man lived his life.

"I'm just so proud to have known him. To be honest with you, I was proud to sit there with him, so much, yesterday afternoon. So, I apologize, go on, but I loved the guy and I feel so bad. Thanks."

Listen to the audio here:

Former Temple coach John Chaney, a lifelong friend of Lewis, was quoted in the Daily News, reminiscing about how he and Lewis used to kid each other about who owed the other milk from when they used to play one-one-one. Allegedly, they played for milk, rather than sodas (as Chaney wanted), because, according to Chaney, Lewis was a health nut.

Said Chaney: "He was a great basketball player, one of our great players...He will be somebody that, every time I look over my right or left shoulder, I'll always think that he'll be there."

RIP, Alonzo Lewis.

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.