QuoteStart: Pence vs Punx, Nowak on Califf, Suter Suitors, Bulls on Sixers' Parade, TU and PSU Recruiting Classes

QuoteStart: Pence vs Punx, Nowak on Califf, Suter Suitors, Bulls on Sixers' Parade, TU and PSU Recruiting Classes

The morning's news in key quotations...

Hunter Pence upon his arrival in Clearwater: "First day in Clearwater, this place is beautiful!" [@HunterPence3]

Punxsutawney Phil: "Six more weeks of 'winter.' "

Advantage, Mr. Pence. Much more below...

Union manager Peter Nowak on Danny Califf resuming club captaincy: “I think it’s a natural thing right now that Danny Califf will take over as captain,” Nowak told the media after the team’s open training session at YSC Sports. “He was [next in line] behind Faryd when Faryd went down [with a broken finger on Sept. 3], and Danny took over as captain. So we’re not going to change anything with that.” [Kevin Kinkead, PhiladelphiaUnion.com]
 
Temple head football coach Steve Addazio on a highly acclaimed recruiting class: “We are a big-time Division I football program in the Northeast, so we’re gonna go compete with the big guys,” Addazio said. “As we grow, we’ll go toe-to-toe with them more.” [Dave Zeitlin, CSNPhilly]

Tom Lemming, recruiting analyst for CBS Sports, on Penn State's recruiting class: What they’re trying to do now,” Lemming added, “is keep their head above water. Given the circumstances, they did a great job,” said Brian Dohn, recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “But the circumstances were near-impossible, to be honest.” [Gordie Jones, CSNPhilly]

Nashville Predators GM David Poile on contract negotiations with pending
free agent defenseman Ryan Suter: “It’s just ongoing, it’s the same
situation,” Poile said. “Everything is being said the way you want a
player to say it and the way you want a negotiation to go, except for
the final commitment. It’s almost like we’re having a good time
together, but we haven’t decided to get married yet.” [The Tennesseean]

Andy Reid on counting on the Eagles' offense to carry the team early in 2011: "I think the best thing I could tell you on that is I knew there were a lot of moving parts on defense," Reid said. "I understood that. I thought it would take some time. How much time, you don't know that, but you felt like it would take some time to get everybody working and pulling the rope in the same direction. On the offensive side, really everybody was coming back. We did have a new line coach [Howard Mudd] and a new scheme there, but it wasn't that dramatic, so I anticipated the offense carrying the defense, allowing the defense to grow. That didn't happen." [Rich Hofmann, Daily News]

Derrick Rose on the Sixers, who spanked the Bulls last night: “They’re a good defensive team, making it hard, being scrappy. They’ve got a lot of athletic people on their team. They’re a good team,” said Rose. “They’ve got a lot of athletic people on their team, especially their wings. Andre [Iguodala] came out and played great for them tonight, just playing aggressive and everybody else fed off of him. [CSNChicago]

Get Ya on Yer Way
BRB gonna be practicin my 'seater' move…

RIP Don Cornelius

Watch Ben Simmons rainbow kick his way into your hearts

052716_okafor_noel_slide.jpg

Watch Ben Simmons rainbow kick his way into your hearts

Lately, you've heard and read a lot about potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and how he could be a Sixer soon. And you're going to hear and read a ton more about potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and how he could be a Sixer soon for the next three weeks and change.

But who cares about hearing and reading about him when we can actually watch him do some cool stuff instead?

Simmons posted the following video to his Twitter and Instagram accounts earlier on Sunday.

A lovely little strike on the pitch right past the keeper, something, something, Wayne Rooney, Leo Messi, Ronaldo's abs. That's the extent of my soccer knowledge. Though a guy who told me he knows some about soccer (I'll take his word for it) said that move is called a "rainbow kick." That sounds good. Let's go with that.

Simmons even tagged Messi in the Instagram vid. No response yet, though.

I like to think I know a little more about basketball than I do about soccer, so that swish after the rainbow kick was pretty nice.

I'm not sure how foot-eye coordination translates to NBA success. But seeing as how traveling doesn't really exist in the NBA anyway, maybe Simmonds can get away with it.

Oh, wait, I've got an idea: Imagine he and Jo-Jo, who likes himself some futbol, kicking it up the court then finishing it off with the rainbow-kick alley oop.

Yeah, that's the good stuff.

Sixers to host 6 more prospects for pre-draft workouts Monday

052716_okafor_noel_slide.jpg

Sixers to host 6 more prospects for pre-draft workouts Monday

After attending private, agency-run pre-draft workouts, the Sixers will host six players Monday at their practice facility for more workouts.

Joel Bolomboy, James Webb III, Tim Quarterman, Brannen Greene, Danuel House and Isaiah Taylor are all members of the third group of prospects to participate in team-run workouts in Philadelphia.

Bolomboy, a power forward, averaged 17.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks his senior season at Weber State.

Quarterman entered the draft following his junior year at LSU, where he played with Ben Simmons. The point guard averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last year in Baton Rouge.

Webb, a forward, left Boise State following his sophomore year. He averaged 15.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season.

Greene declared for the draft after his junior year at Kansas. The guard averaged 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 49.2 percent from three last season for the Jayhawks.

House, a guard, transferred from the University of Houston to play his junior and senior seasons at Texas A&M. He posted 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season.

After three seasons at Texas, Taylor, a point guard, declared for the draft. He averaged 15.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists this past season while helping the Longhorns reach the NCAA Tournament.

The Sixers hold the first, 24th and 26th picks in the draft, which takes place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Simmering issue: Pete Mackanin says he will continue to trim Ryan Howard's playing time

ap_841901862648.jpg

Simmering issue: Pete Mackanin says he will continue to trim Ryan Howard's playing time

CHICAGO – The Ryan Howard drama continues to simmer.
 
Howard’s dwindling production has led to dwindling playing time. He did not start against a right-handed pitcher for the second time in eight days on Sunday (see game recap).
 
After the game, manager Pete Mackanin addressed the uncomfortable situation and said he would continue to trim Howard’s playing time against right-handers because he wants to look at Tommy Joseph, who has 10 hits, including three homers and a double, in his first 35 big-league at-bats.
 
“We brought Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him,” Mackanin said. “I can’t let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he’s going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing. I don’t know when the next time we’re going to face a left-handed pitcher is, but I’m going to use (Joseph) a little bit more often than I did Ruf.”
 
Since the end of last July, Howard has gone from being a full-time player to a platoon guy, facing just righties. Now, he’s migrating toward more of a reserve role.
 
Taking away playing time from a club icon – Howard is a former NL MVP and World Series champion -- is not easy, but Mackanin has little choice. Howard is hitting .154 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats over 44 games. He has struck out in 33 percent of his plate appearances. Howard’s average for the month of May is .097 (6 for 62) and he has 25 strikeouts. He recently used the word “brutal” to describe how the month of May has been going.
 
Mackanin was asked about Howard’s mindset in relation to losing playing time.
 
“I don’t know how he feels,” Mackanin said. “I’m sure we’ll talk to him and we’ll go from there. The important thing is that we brought Joseph up here to get a look at him, and as I said, if he sits on the bench for a week or 10 days and we don’t get a look at him, what’s the point of bringing him up?”
 
Howard started Saturday against Cubs’ righty Kyle Hendricks and went hitless.
 
After Sunday's game, Howard was asked if he was surprised to see he was not in the lineup.
 
“I guess, yeah,” he said. “But I don’t make the lineup. The manager makes the lineup. I just show up. If I’m in there, I’m in there, if I’m not, I’m not."
 
Howard said he was unaware of Mackanin’s intention to sit him more against righties.
 
“I haven’t heard anything about sitting more against righties,” he said. “I haven’t been called into the office and talked to about it, so you guys apparently have breaking news before I do.”
 
Howard's status in the lineup and with the team has been an issue for almost two years. Before the 2015 season, former general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. admitted it would be best if Howard moved on. The Phillies tried to trade him last year, but there was no interest. 

Howard is in the final year of a five-year, $125 million contract that did not kick in until after he suffered a devastating Achilles tendon rupture on his final swing of the 2011 season.
 
He is still owed more that $26 million in salary for 2016 and an option year buyout for 2017.

Howard isn't walking away from that kind of money.

Would the team release him to solve this uncomfortable situation? Or will it ride out the final four months of the season and the contract with Howard as a part-time player?

Time will tell.