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Notes on Royce White's unofficial Sixers debut from Friday

Notes on Royce White's unofficial Sixers debut from Friday

Hey, the Sixers are 2-1 in the pre-season! A winning record! That doesn't mean anything close to anything, but it's a novel concept for a team whose regular season is surely going to start a losing one, and nearly as surely stay a losing one for the remainder of the year. The Sixers moved back over .500 in this exhibition stretch on Friday with a win over the Celtics at the lovely Bob Carpenter center in Newark, Delaware, where their new D-League affiliate team (the 87ers!) will eventually play its regular season home games.

The Sixer fans that tuned in to the game on Friday night likely did so for one reason that had nothing to do with the team winning or not--the chance to see enigmatic forward Royce White in action for the first time as a Philadelphia 76er (and for many of us, the first time period). The Sixers' new big man, picked up from Houston in an off-season trade, has long been promised to have All-Star-type potential, but fans have never seen it in a pro game, as his anxiety disorder (and accompanying fear of flying) and controversial battle against some NBA health policies have thusfar kept him from playing in the regular season.

Royce White did indeed play for the Sixers on Friday, however, and fans that saw him can now say with relative certainty that it's more than anxiety and machine-raging keeping Royce from stepping in and being an instant Rookie of the Year candidate. His Sixer debut was a heavily flawed one, one that shows how long he has to go to be a productive rotation player in the NBA, but one that did flash a little of the potential we've so long heard about that makes him so enticing as a prospect.

The most pronounced aspect of his debut performance was, of course, the fouling. Royce checked in with about six minutes to go in the first quarter, and by the 3:21 mark, he already had four fouls, picking up his fifth within a minute of checking in again in the third quarter. Some of the calls were kind of ticky-tack, but he's definitely a little careless with his screen setting on offense--he got called for two moving picks in that first quarter, and could have easily been whistled for one or two others--and occasionally too aggressive with his ball-stopping on defense.

Even more alarming than the fouling might have been Royce's shooting. A stretch four White is not, as his two jumper attempts--one open from the free throw-line, one from solidly beyond the arc--both went so long he nearly banked them in, while he also airballed one of his two free throws on the night. Royce's post moves do not seem particularly sophisticated at this point, either, so it might be a little tough for him to find ways to score in the half-court for this team.

The defense was also a little touch-and-go for White. In addition to the surfeit of fouls, Royce also had a little trouble negotiating the pick-and-roll on defense, over-committing on the ball-handler and failing to rotate back to his man, a particular issue when guarding Celtics big Kelly Olynyk, an excellent outside shooter. He does seem to have good hands on D, at least, as he was once able to make up for his poor defensive positioning by getting a hand on a cross-court pass to Olynyk, starting the fast break the other way.

And indeed, it seems like transition will be where White can really excel for this team. An excellent rebounder--White grabbed three in less than ten minutes, one a hard-fought board over Gerald Wallace--White also has the ball-handling skills to go length-of-the-court with it, as he did off a rebound in the first quarter. For someone whose conditioning has oft come in to question, he also looks to be in decently athletic shape, if still a little doughy, as he was able to drive baseline past Olynyk in the third quarter for a resounding dunk.

Ultimately, it was more bad than good with Royce White's debut effort, but it was nothing that we shouldn't have expected, and nothing that can't be improved. In his player profile on White for ESPN, hoops scribe Tom Haberstroh suggested that White should probably hang out in Delaware for the whole season with the 87ers, playing himself back into game shape and learning to cut out his more careless mistakes. That would certainly make sense, though given how little interest the Sixers seem to have in actually winning ballgames this year, it wouldn't be shocking to see them let Royce do the same on the pro squad.

Either way, Royce should certainly be one of the most interesting subplots to follow on the Sixers this year, as he hopefully learns how to play a more fundamental game that allows his considerable talent--which we only really saw a fraction of on Friday night, and will hopefully see further glimpses of tonight against the Nets--to shine through. The most important thing about his game on Friday was that he got on the court at all, and now it's up to Royce and the Sixers' staff to figure out how his presence can actually be a positive for this team.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Malcolm Jenkins not concerned about status of Eagles' banged-up secondary

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Malcolm Jenkins not concerned about status of Eagles' banged-up secondary

It was Oct. 31, 2010 -- Halloween evening in New Orleans. Steelers vs. Saints at the Superdome in a Sunday night national TV game.

It was nearly seven years ago, but Malcolm Jenkins remembers it clearly.

Because this week reminds him of that week.

Because that night the Saints played with six defensive backs. And on Wednesday, the Eagles practiced with six defensive backs.

With cornerback Ronald Darby out indefinitely with an ankle injury and safeties Corey Graham and Rodney McLeod and corner/safety Jaylen Watkins all out of practice with hamstring injuries, the only other defensive backs healthy enough to practice Wednesday -- four days before the Eagles' home opener vs. the Giants -- were cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Dexter McDougle and Patrick Robinson and safety Chris Maragos.

Just like seven years ago on Halloween.

"At one point we had myself and Usama Young playing corner, Pierson Prioleau was the dime, who played the nickel, we had Roman Harper, Darren Sharper … and the only active corner we had was Leigh Torrance," Jenkins recalled. "And he got a concussion at some point in that game.

"And we won (20-10). We actually played really well in the back end. So it’s one of those things. It’s a mindset. You can either let it distract you, let it slow you down, or you can prepare to win, and we’ve decided that whoever’s out there, we’re going to prepare to win.

"If we need to adjust, we’ll adjust. Obviously we feel that our D-line is one of those things that can equalize some of the depth that we have. If not, we’ll adjust as we go on."

Darby got hurt against the Redskins. The Eagles lost Watkins and McLeod in the second quarter in Kansas City Sunday. Graham also got hurt against the Chiefs but was able to finish.

Even though none of them practiced yesterday, it doesn't mean none of them will play Sunday. Graham in particular seems likely to see action.

But this is certainly as thin as the Eagles have been in the secondary in years. And remember, Maragos is essentially a special teamer -- he has one defensive snap the last two years. And McDougle has never played a snap in an Eagles uniform.

“We’re a little thin right now, but we have few backup plans in case somebody else gets hurt," Jenkins said. "We’ll have to get creative. But as of right now we’re game-planning with everything we’ve got, not changing anything. We’ll move forward and see what happens.

“We’ve got options. A lot of us are very, very versatile. (Special teamer) Chris Maragos is a safety, somebody who can slide in. We can put Kamu (Grugier-Hill, linebacker) back there or we can change the defense and put one of our corners there and move some guys in and out of the slot. Dex McDougle we can put in the slot or move Patrick. "

The biggest weapon the Eagles' secondary has is the defensive line.

The Eagles have eight sacks in their first two games, third-most in the league and most by an NFC team, and seventh-most in franchise history after two games.

“It’s going to come down to the play of our D-line," Jenkins said. "They’re definitely going to need to help us in that regard so we don’t have guys out there trying to cover some really good receivers for a long a long amount of time with a really good quarterback.

"But there’s some things we’re going to have to do in the secondary, especially covering early, giving our D-line some time to be disruptive and be able to get so many skill players on the ground."

Jenkins was asked several times at his locker Wednesday about the threadbare secondary, but he genuinely doesn't seem concerned.

At all.

“I’m not," he said. "I’m getting ready to play the Giants at home and I’ve got nothing in my mind but winning.

“We prepare, man. As a group, I’d be surprised if anybody we put out there flinched at all. Just the way we prepare, the way we challenge each other, we’ve got full confidence by the time we get to Sunday in whoever's out there.

“It might be a mindset. Honestly, we’ve got places we want to go, places we think we should be, and no matter who we got or what stands in our way, we’re going to get there.

"I can assure one thing - that we’ll go out and compete on Sunday. That’s the biggest thing. Whoever we put out there is going to play hard, they’re going to prepare hard throughout the week, and we’ll be ready to play. Will it be perfect? It’s never perfect. But we’re going to play hard and we have faith in the guys we’re putting out there."

Assuming the 22-year-old Mills and 23-year-old Douglas start at cornerback, it will be the youngest starting cornerback duo in franchise history.

In 2004, the Eagles started two 23-year-old corners -- Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood -- in one game, Week 14 against the Cowboys. And in Week 1 of this season, they also started two 23-year-olds -- Darby and Mills.

“Everybody’s out to prove something," Jenkins said. "Jalen has probably the most confidence in our room, out of any of the guys, and I think that’s what makes him the player that he is. Rasul also is a guy that has a lot of confidence in his ability and his preparation and plays with a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove.

"That’s all I ask for, guys like that next to me. If we have that attitude, no matter who we play against, we’ll go out and compete."