Embiid DOMINATES, BEN LEAVES EARLY, SIXERS WIN

Early in the 3rd quarter Ben Simmons walked off the court with what appeared to be a left leg injury. Headed into the locker room, followed by 76ers GM Elton Brand, it looked kind of scary there for a minute. After a few scary minutes, and an announcement that he would not return, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that there was no swelling and no pain in his left knee, and all early indications are good signs.

However, when asked post-game Brett said he did not know and he is very curious to hear what the news is, with hope that an update will come at some point. Regardless of what the diagnosis is, I could see them sitting Ben, if non-serious, for a few games just in case.

As far as the game went, honestly it was fairly uneventful. The woeful Wizards hung around and made the game -nteresting, even taking a 4 point lead at times. But ultimately the 76ers prevailed on the back of another dominating performance by Joel Embiid. The superstar center tallied 30 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Stats per NBA.com

Outside of Joel, I was most impressed with Shake Milton, who again had a solid game. 3 for 5 from three for 14 points is a solid game for the second-year guard, but for me, I was much more impressed with the 4 assists to 0 turnovers. Once Simmons had to leave the game, Shake was the ball handler down the stretch, combined with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris led the way for the Sixers to come away with a win.

Joel Embiid’s return to the play has been nothing short of dominant. Clearly the big man did not come to play around, and he is making an imprint on the game, looking like he has return to form of the dominant force we all remember him being. Throughout the season it had seemed like something was off with Joel, saying he wasn’t having fun, and at times not really the force he could be in games. That has all changed in the bubble, the slimmed-down 7’2″ big man is not playing around in the bubble averaging 32.7 points per game in 32.7 minutes per game. The Sixers are looking to get the big man to a point of playing upwards to 38 minutes per game come playoff time if Ben is healthy, Joel is dominating for 80% of the game, and Tobias continues to play well, this team may scare some people heading into the playoffs.

There are still a ton of questions surrounding the team, Simmons knee being a major one now along with coaching and defense has been less than comforting. The team has 5 more games before the playoffs start to figure it out, the team currently in the 6 seed, 1 game back of the Indiana Pacers who hold the tiebreaker. If the season were to end today they would take on the Boston Celtics in round 1. But it doesn’t and the Sixers could technically climb up the standings if they continue to win games.

The next game is Friday, August 7 vs Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic. It will be shown on NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus and TNT.

Just a quick thought: One thing to look forward going forward is who will be in the playoff rotation. Brett Brown said prior to the restart he was going to use 10 guys in the seeding games, and downsize to 9 come playoffs.

  • Joel Embiid
  • Shake Milton
  • Ben Simmons (if healthy)
  • Josh Richardson
  • Tobias Harris
  • Matisse Thybulle
  • Furkan Korkmaz
  • Al Horford
  • Glenn Robinson III
  • Alec Burks

Burks who has been used as a combo guard and a point guard hasn’t missed a 3 in a game yet shooting 3 for 3, 1 for 1, and 2 for 2 respectively. I haven’t been overall impressed with his passing ability, or lack thereof, he has a skill set that could be useful come useful in the playoffs. The ability to put the ball on the ground and get his own shot, and if he continues to shoot well, although on limited attempts, from three he really would make a case for playoff minutes. With Ben possibly missing some time going forward, Burks will have an opportunity to play much more. Just something to keep an eye on in these next 5 games.

ALSO BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED THE NEXT DAY OR TWO!! Our great 76ers writing staff at Last Out Media will be collaborating together to give you our Sixer player power ranking so far in the bubble! It’s going to be a can’t miss.

IF YOU SMELL WHAT THE XFL IS COOKING?

Want to know who the new owner of the XFL is? IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO….

Obvious it is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Announced today, the former Miami Hurricanes football player, and entertainment phenomenon, The Rock and an investment partner purchased the league for 15 million dollars.

“With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

– Dwayne The Rock Johnson

There is no timetable set for the league to return, and the deal isn’t finalized, but if all go correct the deal could be done by August 21.

The league has a new owner after shutting down and going bankrupt, essentially because of Covid-19, but can The Rock elevate the league to be competitive with the NFL. I don’t know, but I’m here to find out that’s for sure.

Photo Cred TMZ

THE MF’N 76ERS ARE BACK TONIGHT

OK, check this out, because i’m feeling such a way because the 76ers are back tonight, I have decided to have some fun. So I might write like talk, i’m prob gonna curse, so hide ya kids.The way I see it is, we’ve been through some sh*t these last few months, all of us. This sh*t sucks. I’m not gonna re-list everything, that’s not what this is about. Tomorrow night we get our Philadelphia 76ers back. Live in action playing a meaningful game. Legit Sh*t. It’s like lunch on a Friday, just have to grind a few more hours in to get to the fun part. Maybe some of us partake in an activity that is otherwise frowned upon at lunch during the workday. I don’t know. Who knows at this point.

But 10 9 8 76ers are f***ing back. The NBA is back, the Celtics lost and Tatum shot 2 for 100. 1 2 3 4 Sixers are f***ing back. And I’m all in, f**k it. do you understand the sh*t I’ve had to do to entertain myself, I waged a war on a radio host and station, like they would actually care, just to help me get through these last few weeks. Again we’re back and we are shooting for the moon. Let’s F****NG go!

So for fun i decided to go back and find some of the best and bangin’ plays from the 3 scrimmage games, and I dropped them in an article. My goal is to do a Top 10 in no particular order, but honestly I’M not sure how much that is going to happen right now. It may be 10, it may be 2, or it may be 23 I don’t know, you know about as much as i do as of right now! so here goes (video cred 76ers):

Alec Burks making it look easy
NORVELL NO NO
THE PRINCE SHAKE CONNECTION
THE SHAKE PRINCE CONNECTION!
DIME DROPPER
GRIII DID HIM DIRTY
IF YOU DON’T KNOW NOW YOU KNOW
PUT HIM IN A BODY BAG MATTISSE
PACE!!!!!

I was planning on going through the games and making the videos myself, but I am at a camp ground for the day, and my hot spot isn’t strong enough to do it, plus the 76ers media staff is way better than me. Don’t worry I’ll be heading home for the game, baby has to sleep at home so I took baby duty for the night! All this being said, let’s get F**KING FIRED THE F**K UP, enjoy the game, get this W, and let’s make a run!

76ers Played their Last Preseason Game

July 28, 2020, what is a normal world would have been just another Tuesday. But it wasn’t because it’s 2020 and nothing is normal. The NBA finished up all it’s pre-season games last night, including the Sixers, who lost, to the Mavericks in overtime, in a game that doesn’t matter. It’s in July! There was nothing normal about last night’s game, except maybe that Joel didn’t play due to an injury (lol it’s just a joke relax he is fine). However, sitting on my deck watching Tobias Harris trade buckets with Luka Donicic in the third quarter of a pre-season game in July, I couldn’t shake the feeling of how out of wack everything is. Including the 76ers starters last night.

It felt from the jump to being a game with very little energy for the 76ers, In their defense, it is the final preseason game. Dallas didn’t miss in the first have, but out of half time they came out with some pace (this should be a trigger word, I have a feeling we will hear it a lot more in Orlando), Tobias took over the scoring load, and the Sixers bench players crawled back into it to force overtime, where they eventually lost.

Now that that is out of the way (I really don’t care about the actual game) let’s run down some quick key points:

  • Outside of Tobias, the bench played better than the starters.
  • Tobias Harris was cooking, getting Buckets (Ralph Rosa Voice)
  • Pace (trigger) was much better after half time, it did help that the Mavs started missing
  • Matisse Thybulle was an absolute menace
  • Despite finishing the 29.7 percent from 3 their 3 point shooting wasn’t bad for most the game
    • Matisse 40%
    • Horford 40%
    • Tobias 50%
    • Shake 50%
    • Richardson 33%
  • Furkan Korkmaz continues to struggle, only shot 16% from 3, and maybe something to keep an eye on

Postgame Brett was asked about how he felt overall after the 3 scrimmage games. He is what he had to say:

We play pretty good defense when we have our core players in the game. I think the first three periods of each of our games, I like what I’m seeing with our defense. I think that trying to uncover who are going to be some of those wing players that come in and assume major type of roles when the regular season comes around; I feel like we learned a little bit more in that capacity. Now we’ve just got to try to get Glenn [Robinson III], Joel [Embiid] and Raul [Neto] back on track. And those guys have played heavy minutes tonight, whatever it is now [11 o’clock] tonight, we hope to get them a good recovery session tomorrow. 

Tobias Harris when asked about Joel Embiid absence and how he feels after the scrimmages with the new starting lineup:

I think, obviously, coming into this new starting lineup, the biggest thing is our conditioning. So I thought that we came into Orlando with a good base of conditioning and being able to get out and run. Obviously, we’re going to continue to feel one another’s game out there, but I think the pace and the flow has been good. It would have been great to have Joel [Embiid] playing, but health is our number one goal. To get him right and to get him ready for when we open up. That’s on the horizon. But, I’m pretty satisfied with where we’re at right now, as we’ll continue to grow and get better. The biggest thing for us as a team is our vibe and how we approach game-to-game. And how we really try to build our chemistry throughout this time. (did you get triggered? see it? you’ll see it and hear it a lot more this season)

Coming out of the three scrimmages, I am pleasantly surprised. Outside of the first half of last night’s game the Starting unit played really well, even when they didn’t have Joel. The defense was good, Matisse and Ben are a defensive nightmare for the opposing team, and the pace (!). It seems like the emergence of Shake Milton has allowed Brett Brown to open up the playbook a little bit, picking up the pace (!), and getting easy high percentage shots. The first two games the 76ers were able to basically get anything they wanted at any time, the third and final preseason game not so much. Depending on what team shows up when the regular season begins will determine how far the 76ers can go. I’m leaning towards the team in the first two games.

The 76ers will begin the start of the continued regular 2020 season, this Saturday, Aug 1 when they take on the Indiana Pacers at 7 pm Eastern, live in NBC Sports Philadelphia. (Because that sentence is something that we all thought we would read one day right? Nothing makes sense anymore, but at least we have hoops back).

Stay tuned the next day or so, I plan on posting a top 10 or so plays from the 76ers scrimmages in Orlando.

Camden County College Athletics make History

As you come over the Walt Whitman, from Philadelphia to New Jersey, heading down route 42 shore-bound, you’ll drive right through a little area called Camden County. In the middle of Camden County, there is a small junior college that’s doing big things athletically. And the man in charge of those big things is Athletic Director, Bill Banks.

If you don’t know about Bill, you’d think he was just another AD working too many hours just so his student-athletes and his school get the recognition they deserve. From ordering new gear and equipment, or setting up scrimmage games, Banks is always willing to do what it takes to make sure that the athletes he gets to come to Camden County College have everything they need to succeed. You’ll even find Bill in on a Saturday morning, prepping a soccer field, or the baseball field making sure the lines are just right. You may even see him on the lawn mower cutting the athletic fields so they are ideal for a game.

But what you may not know is Bill Banks was once a really good college basketball player that, just like some of his athletes, made his start at Camden County College. Bill was a 3 point sharpshooter, from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, New Jersey. He made the best of his time playing junior college ball and was able to move on to play at Rutgers University-Camden to finish his 4-year collegiate career.  While at Camden CC he averaged 15.2 points per game over 2 years while shooting 43% from the three. He finished his 2 year career at Rutgers averaging 13.4 points per game while shooting 41.9% from three, both statistics surpassing the great Gene Mergenthal of Highland High School (haha sorry Gene!). Over his 4 year career Banks scored 1,580 career points.

Since his playing days, Banks has steadily risen the ranks at Camden County College. He earned an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Camden County College in 2007 and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Rutgers University – Camden in 2009  and started working at CCC in their Facilities Department in 2010. Building positive relationships, mixed with hard work, Bill eventually was hired as the Director of Athletics in December 2014. Since being the AD, teams have flourished at Camden County College, including this past fall where they achieved a 3rd place national finish in men’s soccer, 8th place finishes in men’s cross country, 4th place finishes in women’s cross country and 4th place finishes in women’s tennis. These achievements catapulted Camden County College into the national spotlight where they were granted a 3rd place national finish in the 2020 Daktronics Cup Award for championship success for the non-scholarship 2-year college division, the highest-ever placement in the history of the school.

I am lucky enough to be a former teammate, and a friend of Bill we were able to sit down, through his busy schedule and talk about his work at Camden County College and what it means to win this type of honor.

Bill, first up congratulations. This is a hell of an honor, highest one ever for the school. First off it has to feel good to accomplish all that you had right? How does it feel to accomplish this huge honor?

Rob, this is an accomplishment that is just amazing and something that couldn’t have been accomplished without the support and dedication of our Coaches, Student-Athletes, and Staff. When I became the Director of Athletics back in December of 2014 it was a goal set forth to make Camden CC Athletics a National Powerhouse across the board not in just one or two sports. Over my years as the Director we have always been in the Top 15 in the Nation for Championship success with this past year being our highest at #3.

What does this award mean to the college?

 This accomplishment means a lot to the College. It shows we have a thriving Athletic Department that competes at the highest level year in and year out. It also is another way to showcase what the College has to offer. You can receive a great education from high level faculty while saving money. In addition, from athletic perspective many students in High School may be late bloomers or need the ability to showcase and develop and we can give you that chance. We have had many student-athletes go on to play at the scholarship level and one of our former baseball players LT Struble went on to get drafted  a few years ago by the NY Mets.

What’s your favorite part of going from athlete to AD at the same school?

 I would have to say that my favorite part of that transition is the fact that I played here and walked these hallways. I was in our current student-athletes shoes before and can understand some of the things that they deal with on a daily bases. It gives me a chance to give back and mentor them, which is something I wish I had back when I played. Winning is great but seeing our student-athletes succeed, graduate, move on and grow as individuals is so rewarding.

What’s next for CC athletics? Maybe a National Championship?

Hmm….. good question. The sky’s the limits and we will just keep trying to improve the student-athlete experience every year. As far as National Championships, I can see a few in the near future, we had an individual National Champ a few years ago for Men’s Wrestling with Dymere Rappa…. Our Men’s Soccer program has come close playing for the National Championship a few years ago and always finishes top 4 in the Nation, Our Women’s Tennis Program has been on a role finishing top 5 every year as well. You also can’t count out our other Sports like Men’s Basketball, Baseball, Cross Country, Outdoor Track and Field as well. Plus we have been improving our Women’s soccer program, Women’s Basketball, Wrestling, Softball and Golf.

Is there anything you want to say to current or even future athletes that may have an interest in playing for Camden county college?

 My best advice to current and future student-athletes would be two things. 1) Junior College Athletics is highly competitive and you need to think about life after sports and college, which means your debt… you have an opportunity to get an Associate’s degree and take many of your general education classes for pennies on the dollar compared to 4 year schools while having a chance to develop and grow academically and athletically. When you go to a community college and transfer to a 4 year school and graduate from that 4 year school you get the same degree as the person that went there all 4 years. The difference is you saved probably half of what that student paid. Also, being at a community college and saving money helps when a student decides to change their major because of the cost savings. 2) You’re a student-athlete and being a student comes first….. handle your business in the classroom, be on top of your work and stay ahead. College Coaches look for kids who can do both and stay academically eligible. The other piece to this would be understanding a course syllabus and how your being graded and don’t procrastinate with your work and take advantage of your resources…. tutoring programs at college and teachers office hours. Build a relationship with your teachers and show them your there to get a degree!

Now let’s have a little fun, if you had to can you still fill in for some minutes on the ccc basketball team? Hypothetically.

 LOL… If I had eligibility I think I could still contribute, I don’t know if I have the endurance like I had before but I can still shoot and my Basketball IQ has grown and I wish I understood the game back when I played like I do now.

Who wins 1 versus 1 you or Gene?

As far as 1 v 1 against Gene hands down I got him now…. Sorry Gene your knees are shot. The game plan let Gene Shoot and wear his legs down.

What is your favorite memory of playing college sports? (Stockton lol?)

 That’s a tough one. I would have to say scoring my 1,000th , 1,500th career points and maybe my 100th career 3 pointer in 2 years at Rutgers-Camden (Thanks Josh Askew since you assisted each of those milestones). But honestly, playing against Stockton University was always a highlight of my career especially pre game conversations with Legendary Coach Gary Matthews of Stockton. Always told me I wouldn’t score double figures against them lol, made me work that much harder to try and hit double digits in the first half.

Best teammate you ever had? Me, Tim, or other?

This maybe your toughest question since I have had the experience of playing with some great teammates from College Games to Rec Leagues to pick up games. I had the opportunity of playing with or working out with Professional players. But I would say honestly I have to go with my cousin Tim Skroski since the pick and roll game was unstoppable and I never had to say anything just make eye contact. My other favorite would be Matt Sosna who played at Weidner College.I played in many leagues with Matt and he was a big man who ran the floor, shoots the 3 well, did all the little things and seriously has one of the highest basketball IQ’s I have ever seen. But at Camden CC I would have to say Chad Green, he was one of the best defensive players I have ever played with and had a motor that was unmatched. At Rutgers-Camden I played with some good guys in my cousin Tim and Josh Askew but honestly one of the most underrated guys who I loved playing with was our 6’2” center Antoine Miller who understood the game so well and I could always count on him catching the ball in the post, controlling it, let the game come to him and always found me open from the post for a wide open 3. Miller played hard and smart and was always a double double guy!

What’s next for bill banks?

What’s Next? Honestly, I try to take each day as it comes and do my best to lay out a blue print for the future that is fluid. But honestly I have 2 paths I would like to go. If I stay in athletics I would like to continue to build Camden CC Athletics into the National Powerhouse it is and at some point make a move to the NCAA level. But since I have been in this position as Director of Athletics I have found a passion for working with students. I can seriously see myself working in another capacity at a college or High School: Recruitment, Advising, Counseling, Student Life and Activities. I take great pride in seeing the growth and development of the students I work with. Seeing them succeed and move on is what I cherish most, winning and success is great but knowing you laid the foundation for someone to be success in life is the key.

The Daktronics Cup award is calculated after each sports session of the school year, and based on placements in Nationally ranked tournaments. Camden County College has never placed first in its history, but because of the school’s athletes, coaches, trainers, and athletic director Bill Banks, the man behind the scene, the school was able to make history. This is just the beginning of what the school can accomplish with Bill running its athletic department, and just the beginning of a long list of awards Bill is going to win.