Bruiser Flint is Tired of Your Elitism, Will Let You Hear About It

Bruiser Flint is Tired of Your Elitism, Will Let You Hear About It

Meet Bruiser Flint. He screams like a mad man, says whatever he wants and is somehow the only coach in the country who is allowed to stand anywhere from 15-20 feet on the floor as the game is in progress. 
Throughout Flint's 10-year run at Drexel, the Dragons have been rising in stature when it comes to comparisons with some of their City 6 counterparts, but have always played the role of the outcast. 
Philadelphia is generally about the Big 5, "oh, and Drexel, too!" when local fans are feeling generous or inclusive. We're certainly not above criticism ourselves here at TheLevel for being focused on the the Owls, 'Cats, Hawks, Explorers and Quakers to the detriment of the Dragons.
And so, with (16-5) Drexel, winner of 14 of its last 15 after a disappointing 2-4 start, looking once more like the favorite to win the CAA, here's Brusier Flint to question the established order:

"I think we’re the best team in Philly," Flint said after Drexel won its eighth straight game. "I think we can beat anybody in the city, and I’m not just saying that. I think we can do it. 

"And honestly? If you ask them guys? I think without hesitation they’ll say (the same thing). I think we can beat all those teams. I think we’ve proven it. When we have good teams, we can beat teams in the city. I think that’s been proven."

Unfortunately for Flint and Dragons, Drexel lost its only intra-city matchup this year to the Saint Joseph's Hawks back in November. Though, as Reuben Frank is correct to point out in his recap of the team's 68-46 win over Georgia State last evening, "the Dragons were banged up early in the year and still finding their way."
Roob goes on to point out that over the last five seasons, Drexel is actually 9-5 against the Big 5. That's the kind of record to make Flint offer this argument to reporters on Wednesday:

"I get the whole Drexel-Philly thing," said Flint, the former St. Joe’s star now in his 11th year at Drexel. "We’ve always got to make everybody believe, because nobody thinks we should be as good as the other teams in the city. 

"I get that. But I get (mad) because I don’t think people have been watching. Because our conference is just as good as the Atlantic 10. And in order for us to be a good team in the (Colonial Athletic Association), then we should be able to beat the other teams in the city.

"And that’s the thing that probably (ticks) me off more than anything else. OK? How can you look at us and say they were picked to win their conference, and they’re doing well, and they’re (considered inferior to) teams that are picked in the middle of the pack in their conference. So that’s the thing for me. What are you looking at?

"And we haven’t just started. We’ve actually been pretty good against the city teams the last five or six years against them. But you know. It’s just fuel for the fire a little bit. I like that. And I respect all the Philly schools. You know that. they’ve got great coaches, got great players, but I get it."

Consider this the last article we write discussing Drexel as anything less than equal to its City 6 rivals. We like Bruiser Flint too much (and, frankly, are too scared of him) to want to make him angry.
>>>Flint Says Drexel City's Best After 8th Straight Win [CSNPhilly]

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Another new feeling for the rebuilding Sixers: The bad loss with no excuse. For at least one and possibly multiple seasons, there was no real such thing as an inexcusable L, because they were so never the favorite going into any game that their excuse could almost always be "the other team was better." But four wins and one transcendent player into this season, the Ballers actually do need an excuse for dropping a home game against a subpar team by double digits. And if they had one last night in their 105-88 loss to the Orlando Magic, they weren't telling the rest of us.

Really, this game couldn't have been teed up much better for Philly: We were home, well-rested after Wednesday's weird-ass cancellation, against a 7-12 team we nearly beat early in the season, who were on the second night of a back-to-back after ceding a tough one to the Grizzlies -- and we had Joel Embiid for up to 28 minutes. If this one was to be a laugher by early in the fourth quarter, you'd almost have to assume that it'd been the Sixers who put it to bed early. 

Instead, the Sixers slumped horribly from the field in the first quarter, missing bunny after bunny and plenty of open jumpers, as they dug themselves a hole they were never quite able to climb out of. Philly kept it manageable and D.J. Augustin and Nik Vucevic caught fire for Orlando in the third quarter, and the game was suddenly in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot territory before we could even process what was happening. 

Of course, you can't blame Embiid for this one. Though JoJo was a little out of sorts defensively on this one -- and personally, I really wish he'd stop trapping five feet outside the arc, it may cause panic in the Magic's ball-handlers but it really seems to compromise our own half-court D -- he still finished with a resounding 25-10-4 with three triples, and for the first time in his young career, 0 turnovers. (I coulda swore I saw at least one, but so says the box score, anyway.) Just another game for the Process, though the Sixers (for some reason) needed him to be immaculate last night, and he was merely phenomenal. 

Less phenomenal were the rest of the Sixers' shooters. Our bench in particular was absolutely putrid, going a combined 0-12 from three, with Nik Stauskas's streak of consecutive games with a three snapped at 15 after his scoreless, 0-6 performance. (Five assists for Sauce, at least.) Jahlil posted a dominant stat line of 16 and 13 (on 8-10 shooting) but was again hapless on defense, ending a team-worst -19 for the night. And Dario Saric's slumping continued with a 1-5 shooting outing with no rebounds or assists, likely his worst game of the season. 

It was a surprisingly listless effort from a team that should have looked much sharper, and the most positive non-Joel-related thing to be said about it is that it's (sort of) nice to finally have expectations high enough to have them let down. It'll be a lot harder for Philly to let down tonight against the Celtics, without JoJo, against a pretty good and mostly healthy Boston team. But that's five losses in a row already for the improving Sixers, and it'd be nice to cut off that streak soon, before it starts threatening double digits -- we could certainly do with being done with those for the forseeable future.

No longer feeling like a rookie, Wendell Smallwood more comfortable as lead back

No longer feeling like a rookie, Wendell Smallwood more comfortable as lead back

As the Eagles prepared to face the Green Bay Packers last week, rookie Wendell Smallwood readied himself for a big role.
 
Then he got just nine carries. 
 
It wasn’t that those carries went elsewhere, it was that the Eagles got away from the run game early in the 27-13 loss to the Packers despite being down one score for most of the game. Ultimately, he had half of the team’s carries. 
 
On Friday, head coach Doug Pederson said the disparity in play-calling didn’t have anything to do with having Smallwood as the lead back instead of Ryan Mathews. 
 
“Not really,” Pederson said. “Again, that's something – when I go back ask evaluate after the game – it's something I have to consider more of: Did I run the ball enough or throw the ball enough or not enough or did I do it too much, one way or the other. 
But no, that did not dispel anything, run or pass.”
 
For the second straight week, Mathews is out with an MCL sprain, which means Smallwood is preparing for a bigger role in the offense again. That could also mean his second career start in as many weeks. 
 
Having gone through this process last week has made this week even easier. 
 
“I think I'm very comfortable, more than I was last week,” Smallwood said. “I kind of knew I was going to have a lead role, kind of thinking about a lot, how to play better and take on the load that I was probably going to get. So this week, I think it was kind of natural for me, not really worrying about it.”
 
Smallwood, who was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, has 66 carries for 290 yards and one touchdown this season. Smallwood's average of 4.4 yards per attempt is sixth in the league among rookie with at least 60 carries this season. He also has the most rushing yards of any Eagles rookie since Bryce Brown in 2012. 
 
While the Eagles would probably have preferred to use Mathews more this season, the veteran has played just 53 more snaps than Smallwood. 
 
Does Smallwood even feel like a rookie anymore? 
 
“Nah, definitely not, definitely not,” he said with a smile. “Probably after Week 3 I stopped feeling like a rookie. And guys tell me all the time, 'we need you to play, we don't need you to be a rookie right now.' So kind of forced not to be a rookie.”