Jenkins was consummate teammate with Eagles

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Jenkins was consummate teammate with Eagles

When the Eagles brought him to Philadelphia in 2011, Cullen Jenkins was supposed to be missing link along the defensive interior that would stabilize the run defense, help collapse the pocket and make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable. While Jenkins showed flashes of being just that over his two-year stay with the team, he never quite found that consistent groove the the Eagles were hoping for on the field.

Off the field, you wont find a better human being. With his quiet demeanor, Jenkins treated everyone he encountered -- both in the locker rom and out of it -- with respect. He was one of the few real, stand-up guys who would always appear at his locker and answers endless questions from the media, no matter how bleak the situation.

When I went to his home on Tuesday to interview him after he was released, Jenkins alluded to how his verbal confrontation on the sideline with Andy Reid last preseason was blown out of proportion. He admitted that, even now, the unfortunate incident still bothered him. He’s never wanted to be viewed as a confrontational or disrespectful player.  

With the Eagles committing to a new head coach and going with younger players, the 32-year-old Jenkins knew the writing was on the wall. He made too much money and had to be one of the cap casualties for a franchise looking to free up dollars in order to move in a different direction. Jenkins holds no animosity toward the Eagles organization and wishes his now-former team all the best in the future. He will bounce back with another team, hoping to put himself in a position to reach another Super Bowl before his career ends.

Jenkins leaves the same way he arrived -- with class and dignity. Before we ended our conversation, he told me he feels as responsible as anyone on that 2012 squad for the team's failure. Jenkins didn’t keep up his end of the deal over two years. He had to go, and he knows it.

But that’s Cullen Jenkins for you. He never pointed fingers, never threw a teammate under the bus. He was and always will be the consummate teammate.

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 previous time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a massive 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.