Big 5 to Take on Gotham? Hakim Warrick Has Even Better Idea?!

Big 5 to Take on Gotham? Hakim Warrick Has Even Better Idea?!

Inquirer staff writer Joseph DiStefano is reporting that the Big 5 Men's and Women's basketball conference is currently in negotiations to stage a Philadelphia versus New York college basketball tournament in the Fall of 2012.

DiStefano mentions Fordham, Columbia, Manhattan, Iona and one other unnamed NYC school as the leading candidates to take on our very own La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph's, Temple and Villanova. Just brainstorming who else could be involved, the St. John's Red Storm would round out the NY Five rather nicely.

When asked to explain his motivations, Tom Muldoon, the gentleman leading the effort, offered the following:

"It's a great time for that. Who is better today? The Yanks or the Phils? Who is better, the Eagles or the Giants? You've got these rivalries of quality."

We feel pretty confident answering all of those questions, especially that Giants inquiry, but we'd love to see this thing played out nonetheless.

Potential logistics for the proposed tournament, plus Hakim Warrick's own idea for a "Philly versus..." exhibition after the jump....

In the article, Muldoon claims the Wells Fargo Center is already an interested party and that a "fat TV contract" with an ABC or NBC is perfectly achievable. If that sounds like some big talk, fret not; the board backing Muldoon's effort is a veritable who's who of individuals across the Philadelphia sports and business landscape. Per DiStefano:

"The board leading Muldoon's effort includes Phillies boss David Montgomery, representing Penn; Citizens Bank CEO Dan Fitzpatrick, a La Salle alum; David Resnick, a donor for the sports program at Temple; Villanova donor Bob Melchionni; and investor John J. Griffin, a St. Joe's booster. Others prominent in sports and business are involved as well."

We should also mention that if Wells Fargo really is interested, that could go a long way towards securing a deal with NBC, a fortunate consequence of the network's recent merger with Comcast.

Anyway, jumping gears just a bit, but still staying on basketball, Philadelphia native and current Phoenix Sun Hakim Warrick has been generating some buzz of his own.

Thanks to the massive success of the recent Goodman League games in which some of the NBA's finest decided to go all kinds of happy-go-jacky on each other, Warrick is hoping to stage a Philadelphia vs. Washington D.C. exhibition inside the Palestra. Thank god they put in the new video boards.

This from Dave Zangaro over at

"[The potential Philadelphia roster could include Tyreke Evans, Jameer Nelson, Richard Hamilton, Kyle Lowry, John Salmons, Wayne Ellington, Gerald Henderson, Ronald Murray, Markieff and Marcus Morris and Sixers guard Lou Williams, who strangely enough would be the only non-Philly guy on the team."

I really don't know which I'm more excited for, the potential to see something totally bats--t freaking absurd go down so I can join one of these in-the-middle-of-the-game-on-the-floor celebratory mosh pits:

..or the possibility of hearing this music again:

Joel Embiid ends preseason on impressive note, has Sixers excited

Joel Embiid ends preseason on impressive note, has Sixers excited

MIAMI — It’s a cautious optimism to be sure — there can be no other type for the Sixers right now given their history of injuries — but you can tell the team is starting to get excited about Joel Embiid.

In Friday’s 113-110 exhibition finale win over the Miami Heat (see game story), Embiid scored 18 points in 18 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

The 7-0 center, who missed his first two NBA seasons because of foot surgeries, made 8 of 16 shots and 2 of 2 on free throws, adding a game-high nine rebounds.

“I’ve always felt like I’m a complete player — that’s what I do,” Embiid said. “I’m starting to get easy points.

“I just got better every game [in the preseason], defensively, offensively.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said he is still learning how to best use Embiid.

Brown added that the rust is apparent in Embiid’s game. But …

“He is as self-taught as any player I’ve ever been around,” Brown said. “He grew up in Cameroon and hasn’t played a lot (because of injuries). But he studies, he looks at stuff. He pays attention. He’s instinctively curious.

“There’s a lot of stuff in his head that he thinks through. His mind is quicker than his feet. At times, his core, his balance and his decision-making are off because his mind is working faster than his body.”

Embiid scored most of his buckets on Friday at close range — a finger roll, a tip-in, a couple of put-back dunks, an alley-oop dunk and a fast-break layup. But he did make a 10-foot jumper and took — but missed — a three-point try.

“He does stuff in a game that makes you step back and say, ‘Wow,’” Brown said. “He will trail and hit a three. He will have a pound, pound drop-step, dunk.

“Like a traditional post, he will turn his face and make a bank shot. He has that up-and-under stuff.

“But he’s raw. His preseason has been highlighted by those few things that you notice, all under the umbrella of, ‘He really has a chance to be very, very good.’"

Brown was asked to summarize the Sixers' 2-5 preseason, and he called it a “completely erratic” exhibition season because of injuries.

“Jahlil [Okafor] hasn’t practiced,” Brown said. “Joel has been steady and incremental. I think we all see that Dario Saric has got a lot to offer. I think the pairing of Joel and Dario was solid.

“We’ve seen Jerami [Grant] have a really good preseason. Richaun Holmes has taken his opportunity to play big minutes. Those type of things come to my mind.”

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out


MIAMI — Jahlil Okafor called it a “tease.”

He was talking about his oh-so-brief 2016-2017 debut, but he could have also been summarizing the Sixers' constant state of taking one step forward and one (injured) leg back.

Okafor, a 6-11 center and the NBA’s third overall pick in the 2015 draft, played 7:32 minutes on Friday and produced four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover. He had been held out in camp previously because of knee soreness.

His return was the good news for the Sixers.

But before Friday’s 113-110 exhibition finale win over the Miami Heat even started (see Instant Replay), the Sixers announced that center/forward Nerlens Noel will have a “minor surgical procedure in the coming days” on his injured left knee (see story).

Sixers center Joel Embiid, who has missed the past two years because of foot surgeries, empathizes with Noel.

“It’s hard,” Embiid said. “Obviously we need Nerlens if we want to win. But that’s basketball. Things happen. You can’t control injuries.

“I feel bad for him because this is the beginning of the season. Everybody wants to play the beginning of the season. But I’m sure he is going to work hard to come back even stronger.”

On the positive side for the Sixers, there was the return of Okafor … even it felt like baby steps for him.

“I started to feel really good,” said Okafor, who had surgery on his right knee in March and experienced soreness on that same knee Sept. 30. “It was kind of like a tease to me because I really got going. I wanted to continue to play, but that’s why I have the medical staff to keep me disciplined.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game that he would keep Okafor to just six to eight minutes, and he was true to his word.

Okafor, who made the only shot he attempted from the floor and was 2 for 4 on free throws, did not play in the second half.

“The scoring piece to my game, that’s like riding a bicycle,” Okafor said. “I know I can score the ball. It was good to get back out there with my teammates and hear them cheer for me on the side.”

Okafor said he tried to convince Brown to let him extend past the script of no more than eight minutes.

“He was like, ‘Have your lawyer call my lawyer,'" Okafor said. “We will talk about the season home opener (on Wednesday night against Oklahoma City), and hopefully I can increase my minutes.”

Okafor said he didn’t want to put a number on how many minutes he thought he could’ve played in his season debut except to say he knew he could play more.

Interestingly, Embiid, who had 18 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes, said he felt Okafor was a bit fatigued.

“I think he was a little bit tired,” Embiid said. “Obviously, he hasn’t played in a while. But just like me, he’s going to dig down. He is a proven scorer. He can do whatever he wants on the court.

“Once he gets back in shape, we as a team are going to be really good.”

Okafor was a minus-5 while he was on the court. But Brown said he was impressed by some of the less-hyped aspects of Okafor’s game.

“I thought he was really good defensively,” Brown said. “He sat in his stance and moved his feet. I thought he did a great job of fronting the post.”

Brown said the Noel injury was almost unfair.

“Clearly, it was a situation in the preseason where he would have played a lot,” Brown said. “The timing is unfortunate.”