Saturday, June 30, 2012

Soul edge Tampa Bay

TAMPA – Philadelphia Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw his 11th touchdown of the evening to Donovan Morgan with 14 seconds left that proved to be the winning score in the 83-79 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm (6-9) in front of 9,229 fans at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday night.  The game featured 14 lead changes and three ties,  and tied the Eastern Division champion, Soul (13-3), single-regular season mark for wins in a season.

“This was a true test for our entire team,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “I give Tampa Bay a lot of credit for how they played tonight.  We have been fortunate to not be in the situation of needing to comeback from a two score difference late in a game, but I am pleased how the whole team responded.”

National Guard MVP, Raudabaugh finished by connecting on 24-of-37 passes for team-record 415 yards, team-record 11 touchdowns and one interception.  Leading the receivers were Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Tiger Jones, who had 12 receptions for 204 yards and six touchdowns, while Morgan had nine receptions for 191 receiving yards and four touchdown.  Jeff Hughley added two receptions for 10 yards and 159 kick return yards and Larry Brackins added a 10-yard touchdown.    

Leading the way defensively were Joe Goosby with 7.5 total tackles and a key fumble recovery late in the game.  Rayshaun Kizer added 6.5 total tackles and three pass breakups, while Kent Richardson had 3.5 total tackles and forced fumble.  Dusty Bear and Dustin Barno each added a sack.

The Soul opened the scoring when Raudabaugh found Jones on a 15-yard scoring strike and took a 7-0 lead.  The Storm answered when Terrence Royal plunged into the end zone from a yard out to tie the score at 7-7.  The Soul ended the first quarter scoring with a pair of Jones touchdowns – 45 and 6 yards respectively – to give Philadelphia a 21-7 lead.

Tampa Bay began the second quarter with a couple scores of their own.  The Storm’s Nick Hill scored on a 3-yard rushing play and Perne Phillips’ strip, sack and 10-yard touchdown tied the game at 21-21.  Philadelphia answered when Morgan pulled in a 45-yard touchdown and made the score 28-21.  The Storm responded with a 44 yard connection from Hill to Michael Lindsey and re-tying the score at 28-28.

The two teams exchanged two scores and ended the half with the Soul leading 41-37 after a field goal by Juan Bongarra.

The Storm outscored the Soul 21-14 in the third quarter and took a 58-55 lead into the fourth quarter.

A turning point in the game, when Richardson forced a fumble that was recovered by Goosby early in the fourth quarter, which lead to a Brackins touchdown and gave Philadelphia a 69-65 lead.  The two teams exchanged scores with Tampa Bay’s Joe Hill scoring with 37 seconds left to give the Storm a 79-76 lead.

In the final drive, Raudabaugh found Jones on a 40-yard reception on the first play and set up Morgan’s game-winning score with 14 seconds.  The Soul defense held off two long pass attempts and Kizer knocked away a pass in the endzone as the clock expired.

The Soul will return home a week from Sunday when they host the Spokane Shock at 6 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.  The game will be seen on The Comcast Network (check local listings) Lou Tilley and Tom Goodhines calling the action.

National Guard MVP: Philadelphia’s Dan Raudabaugh
Russell Athletic Offensive POG: Philadelphia’s Tiger Jones
Riddell Defensive POG: Tampa Bay’s Paul Griffen
JLS Ironman: Tampa Bay’s Michael Lindsey
AFL Playmaker:  Philadelphia’s Tiger Jones
Cutters Catch of the Game: Tampa Bay’s Lindsey second quarter touchdown
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Tampa Bay’s Pernell Phillips fumble return for a touchdown.

Sixers draftees: Harkless and Moultrie

Newark, NJ - The  Sixers look like they got a pair of contributors on Thursday, drafting St. John's swingman Maurice Harkless with the 15th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and acquiring the draft rights to Arnett Moultrie, who was the 27th overall pick, from Miami in exchange for the draft rights to Justin Hamilton (45th overall pick) and a protected future first round pick.  
Harkless (6-8, 208) was named Big East Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 45.2% from the floor.  He ranked sixth in the nation in scoring among freshman and second in rebounding.
The freshman started all 32 games for the Red Storm last season, scoring in double-figures 26 times, including seven games with 20-plus points.  Harkless had a career-high 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting vs. Providence and tallied 30 points and 13 rebounds at Duke.  Overall, he recorded 11 double-doubles.
Harkless, who turned 19 last month, is from New York City and spent his senior year of high school at South Kent in Connecticut.  As a senior, he averaged 27.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.1 blocks and 1.6 steals.  Harkless earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 2011 Kobe Bryant Classic held in Philadelphia.

Moultrie (6-11, 249) was named First Team All-SEC after averaging 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists this past season while shooting 54.9% from the floor.  He led the conference in rebounding and ranked tied for 10th in the nation.  Moultrie also shot 78.0% from the line in 2011-12 after shooting 58.7% his first two seasons combined.
The 21-year-old averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds this past season, grabbing 6-plus seven times including a career-high 11 vs. Northwestern State.  Moultrie recorded 18 double-doubles in 30 games.
Moultrie spent his first two seasons at UTEP before transferring to the Bulldogs.  He sat out the entire 2010-11 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.  Moultrie was born in Queens but grew up in Memphis.  He shot over 70% from the floor during his final two seasons of high school.

Philadelphia also traded the draft rights to Tornike Shengelia, who was the 54th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, to Brooklyn in exchange for cash considerations.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Terry Murray speaks on return to Flyers organization

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

Q: After all your time in the NHL, what made this job attractive to you?

“Well, I got a call from Paul Holmgren before the draft.  We made a commitment over the phone to do this.  There wasn’t a lot of stuff coming in from the NHL teams after I got fired in LA.  The phone rings for about four or five days and then it goes silent, and there was nothing up until Homer called me.  I took some time to think about it, and I was thinking back over some of the coaches that I’ve played for, and I remember seeing Pat Quinn coach the Canadian world juniors in Ottawa a few years ago.  He’s a coach that I have a great deal of respect for.  He took a step back and coached junior hockey and did a tremendous job.  He got himself back in the NHL, he ended up in Edmonton after that.  He’s a guy who loves to coach, and that’s what I am.  I’m a hockey coach, I love to coach.  When Paul presented it to me, in the way that he did – coming back to the Flyers in particular was very exciting, and I feel like it’s a great opportunity to work with young players and again, it’s just a wonderful challenge and I’m looking forward to it. 

Q: Have you had a chance to look at the roster or learn anything about the team?

“No, I haven’t looked at any rosters at all.  I don’t know any of the names.  Coaches get moved around sometimes, everybody wants to make the playoffs and there’s reasons why  it doesn’t happen sometimes, with injuries or whatever it might be.  Call-ups have an effect on an American league team, there’s no question about that.  You’re always losing your best players.  I feel very good about it, I’m really excited about the challenge, and the Flyers I know are going to, it always seemed to me anyway, to put good players in their minor league system.  Many years I go back with watching the Phantoms when I was coaching or the assistant coach of the Flyers, and they were always a very competitive team with a lot of prospects.  It’s up to the coaching from there to do their job too.  You’ve got to take these kids and bring them together to a team as quickly as possible, and help them get to the National Hockey League as players.  That’s the thing I feel I can do a good job with.  I feel I build good teams and get the right attitude and right chemistry together, and let them go play the game.”

Q:  Is there an adjustment coming to the AHL level?

“I don’t think there’s a lot of difference there, quite honestly.  Just the last team that I coached in LA, going back four years ago, that was a team that was very very young.    The youngest team in the NHL… a lot of guys coming in their first year of pro hockey.  There’s guys that I coached that put the Stanley Cup over their head this year that had their first goal, their first save, their first pass, their first hit in the NHL, and some guys had their first time in pro hockey.  I’ve been through it.  I’ve been through it with many teams and young players, and I don’t think the approach changes at all with players in the American Hockey League.  I’ve been to the American Hockey League myself and I coached in Baltimore, Washington’s farm team.  It’s a process, attention to the detail and helping these young guys come out and play instinctively and play the game the right way, and build up as a team.”

Q: Do you have any ties to Adirondack?

“Adirondack came I believe from Kansas City maybe in 1979?  I was playing with the Maine Mariners at that time, that was the Flyers farm team.  So I remember when the team came into the league.  I do remember going to Adirondack and playing as a player, but I have no other ties to the area and no other ties to any teams that have been through there.  Bryan was the GM of Adirondack, Barry Melrose was the coach, and I know they had a nice run together.  I’m looking forward to doing the same thing with Paul Holmgen – have a good run, get deep into the playoffs and have great success with the young players.”

Q: What are your thoughts from coming from a major NHL market like LA to coming to one of the smaller AHL markets?

“It’s a hockey team.  You’re trying to put together a team that’s going to win.  You want to make the playoffs, you want to win the championship.  That doesn’t change from a major market out in LA, from Philadelphia, to Adirondack.  Once you get in the building, you get in your office, you turn on the video machine, you’re reviewing the game on tape, you’re preparing for your meetings, you’re getting on the ice.  The ice is 200 x 85.  It’s the same as it is in any NHL rink.  That’s your focus.  That’s the way it is, and that’s the focus that has to be brought every day, you’re getting ready to win the game tonight, and if you move through that game you want to get ready for the next game.  And that does not change, whether you have a veteran hockey club that’s got players that have been in the NHL for 15 years, or you have a bunch of young players in the AHL.  The purpose is the same.  You want to become a team as fast as possible, you want to have success, you want to win, you want to make the playoffs.  That’s what I’m looking forward to.  That’s the challenge that’s exciting for a coach, and I’m really excited to get to Adirondack to meet the people up there and see what the facility is, and I hope to do that fairly soon here in the month of July.”

Q: Were you surprised to come back to the Flyers again?

“I was surprised.  When Paul and I first talked about this by phone and he threw it out there, I said wow, this is really catching me off guard.  It’s something I had not thought about.  But at the end of the day, I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.  The Flyers are a great organization.  I was there as a player, as a head coach, assistant coach, I’ve got a lot of friends that are still in the organization.  Paul and I played together, Bobby Clarke and I played together.  It’s a team that wants to win.  They want to do things right every year.  That’s what a coach wants.  You want to be able to win, and you want to have the ability to win through stuff that the team can give you.  Players, they want to give your team the right place to stay on the road, the right way of travel, the right way of doing things.  It’s all about doing things the proper way, and the Flyers have always, from the time that I first went to the Flyers in my first training camp which I think was back in 1975, right through till today – they do things right, and that’s always a very intriguing and very exciting team to work for.” 

Q: Have you talked about assistant coaches?

“There’s no one new in the mix.  Paul and I did briefly touch on that and we have not talked about it more than briefly so I do need to just firm everything up there, but nothing will change on the assistant’s side of it as of I’m speaking to you right now.  Kjell [Samuelsson] and I have a great relationship, we worked together with the Flyers.  Riley [Cote]’s I know a very competitive guy and he’s done a great job over the past couple of years.  I don’t anticipate anything changing with that.” 

Q: How do you see Ian Laperriere fitting in with his new role?

“He’s a player I have a great deal of respect for, going back to my time of coaching and scouting in the league and being an assistant coach.  He’s one of the most competitive players that you could possibly face in any given night, and I have a lot of respect for the kind of game that he showed game-in and game-out.  I know that he’s very intense, he’s going to work very hard, he has a great deal of experience in the game, and he’s going to do a tremendous job with his developmental role with these young players.  I would assume that he and I would have a pretty good relationship that we’re going to develop over this coming year, with phone calls and him coming to Adirondack to watch and be a part of it.  I welcome his opinion.  I have a lot of respect for his opinion, how he played and what he saw as a pro, and we’ll work together very, very well to get this accelerated and get these young players into the National Hockey League.”

Flyers release schedule for Trial on the Isle

Wednesday, July 11 has been selected as the day for the Flyers' annual "Trial on the Isle," a day of events in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The full schedule is below, per the team release on Friday afternoon.

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

9:00 - 11:00 (96TH STREET BEACH) Flyers Prospects train and physically challenged by America’s Finest US Servicemen

CAST YOUR VOTE AND GET A PRIZE! Local merchants show their support w/ decorated store fronts! Which is your favorite?

Theme: The Orange and Black Salute the Red, White and Blue! Pick up ballots at the Chamber of Commerce – 2nd and 96th Streets, Return completed Ballot at same location!

Hooked on Hockey Clinic! Free,compliments of the Philadelphia Flyers!

Autograph Session with the Flyers Prospects - $10 donation for a team photo and admittance into session


Hooked on Hockey Clinic! Free, compliments of the Philadelphia Flyers!

4:00 – 5:30 (80TH STREET BALL FIELD)
Flyers Prospects vs. Stone Harbor Stars Charity Softball Game Lou Nolan, Steve Coates, emcees Free! Donations gladly accepted. Raffles and Auctions!

Barbecue Dinner with the Flyers Prospects at Yacht Club followed by screening of “Broad Street Bullies” HBO special.

Reservations recommended! $35.00 adults, $25.00 children; limited seating - Tickets available at Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Stone Harbor Yacht Club and Stone Harbor Municipal Building; $45.00 adults, $35.00 children at the door.

Laperriere officially joins Flyers front office

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have named Ian Laperriere to the post of Director of Player Development, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

“We are pleased to add Ian to our staff as Director of Player Development,” Holmgren said.  “Ian will work closely with all of our young prospects in the system from skill development to fitness to nutrition. We feel that Ian’s experiences and enthusiasm for life and the game of hockey make him the perfect man for this important role.”

“It’s a job that suits me well,” Laperriere said.  “It’s one of those jobs that you need a relationship with the young guys and you need to have some experience, and I think I have both.  I’ve always been able to relate well with anybody, from 18 year old kids to 40-year-old veterans – it’s always been one of my strengths, so I’m going to use that with these young guys.  I’ll do the best I can to help all our prospects be successful.  It’s a challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Laperriere, 38, recently announced his retirement following a career that saw him play 1,083 games over 16 NHL seasons.  He signed with the Flyers as a free agent prior to the 2009-10 season and appeared in all 82 games that year, as well as 13 playoff games as the club went to the Stanley Cup Final.

Laperriere missed the last two seasons due to the aftereffects of an injury suffered in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, but has remained active within the organization working with the club’s prospects and doing television analysis on Comcast SportsNet.  Following the 2010-11 season, Laperriere won the Bill Masterton Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

Murray returns to organization as new Phantoms head coach

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have named Terry Murray the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

“We feel very fortunate to be able to bring Terry back to the Flyers organization as head coach of the Phantoms,” Holmgren said.  “Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, is an excellent teacher and a strong believer in the development process of young players.”

“I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to the Flyers organization and I’m really looking forward to the challenge that’s out there of coaching the Phantoms,” Murray said.  “The youth playing down in the American Hockey League is a real important part of the organization.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting back into the playoffs and helping these young players develop and become NHL players as quickly as possible.”

Murray, 61, returns to the Flyers organization for his third tour of duty as a coach.  He most recently worked in the Los Angeles Kings organization, where he was the head coach from the start of the 2008-09 season through December 2011.  Prior to joining the Kings, Murray was an assistant coach for four seasons from 2003-2008, working first under Ken Hitchcock and later under John Stevens.

Murray was the head coach of the Flyers for three seasons from 1994 through 1997, leading the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final.  He posted a record of 118-64-30 in 212 games behind the bench in Philadelphia.

In addition to his time with the Kings and Flyers, Murray has also served as the head coach of the Florida Panthers (1998-2001) and the Washington Capitals (1989-1994).  He has coached 1,012 NHL games during his career, posting a record of 499-383-89-41 for a points percentage of .557.  He has led his club to a playoff appearance in 10 of his 15 seasons as an NHL head coach.

Murray began his coaching career in 1983 as an assistant with the Capitals.  After five seasons in that role, he earned his first head coaching job with Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Baltimore Skipjacks.  He coached the club for 125 games over parts of two seasons from 1988-1990 before being promoted to the Capitals head job halfway through the 1989-90 season.  

As a player, Murray appeared in 302 NHL games over parts of eight seasons from 1972 to 1982.  He played 115 games for the Flyers and also saw action with the California Golden Seals, Detroit Red Wings, and the Capitals.  He also recorded 196 points in 363 AHL games during his playing career. 

Lillard crashes the NBA Draft party, Sixers get Harkless, Moultrie

By John McMullen

Newark, NJ - Outsiders are rarely welcomed into the VIP Room at the local nightclub.

That's the partitioned off area typically enclosed by fixed walls along with a
velvet rope and only the rich and famous need apply.

Coming into the 2012 NBA Draft there was a chance that 30 percent of the first
round would feature players from either Kentucky or North Carolina, two
traditional powerhouses and the very definition of the privileged in the world
of college basketball. In fact, you could call those two programs the one
percent of college hoops.

The equivalent of a VIP Room at a television event is the "green room" and
the NBA annually invites a number of the top prospects to sit in its special
area set aside for them, along with their families and agents.

This season, the consensus No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, was given the
special treatment along with his teammate at Kentucky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The Tar Heels' Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson were also there
along with players from other college basketball factories like Kansas (Thomas
Robinson), Florida (Bradley Beal), Syracuse (Dion Waiters), UConn (Andre
Drummond and Jeremy Lamb), Washington (Terrence Ross), Wisconsin (Meyers
Leonard) and Duke (Austin Rivers).

Sticking out like a sore thumb among all that talent from the marquee schools
was one of the 99 percent, point guard Damian Lillard of Weber State.

No Lillard didn't win a contest while drinking Sprite or wearing adidas, he
crashed the party with talent the NBA simply could not ignore.

The Oakland native first burst onto the scene at the NBA Scouting Combine
in Chicago where ESPN's Chad Ford proclaimed him the star of the annual get

Since the combine, Lillard's stock continued to rise, so much so that he
became a lock to go among the first 14 picks with some expecting Portland to
pounce at No. 6.

Despite having options available like Barnes and Drummond, the Trail Blazers
pulled the trigger and Lillard became the first player taken out of Weber
State since Willard Sojourner was selected 20th overall by the Bulls in 1972.

"I would be lying if I said I expected to be here last year," Lillard said.
"But I'm honored, man, just to be drafted that high coming from where I come
from, the school that I come from. I'm just so thankful to be in this

Lillard, 21, finished his four-year career at Weber State with averages of
18.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.25 steals. He spent most of his
last two years in the Big Sky Conference scoring and placed second in the
nation last season with 24.6 points per game.

Despite that offensive acumen Lillard's size and ball-handling skills have NBA
scouts projecting him at the point.

"He's a scoring point guard who can get inside, and he's improved his three-
point shooting," NBA scouting director Ryan Blake said. "He's a great free
throw shooter; he's versatile as a scorer; he uses the pick-and-roll well; and
he can finish in traffic."

Virtually all of the criticism hounding Lillard hinges on two things, the
level of competition he faced at the college level and the fact he will arrive
in the NBA with little conventional point guard experience. That didn't
dissuade Blake, however.

"When you have someone with good size, good strength, good speed and you have
someone who can shoot the ball and play defense, that's just a great package,"
he said.

Lillard himself took on the lack of competition issue, pointing to a few
current NBA stars that have already made the jump and excelled.

"It doesn't bother me," the Blazers new quarterback said of the criticism.
"You've got a guy like George Hill (who played at IUPUI) that's having a lot
of success in the league and he played at the same level I played at. Same
size, similar skill set.

"Steve Nash played at Santa Clara. There are a lot of mid-major guys -- Norris
Cole -- in the league and they are showing the level of competition really
isn't a big deal."

Cole certainly showed an upside in Miami during his rookie season but you want
more than potential out of the sixth pick in the draft. Meanwhile, as good as
Hill has been at times in both San Antonio and Indiana, he still hasn't proven
himself as a full-time starter.

Maybe the two MVPs Nash has collected is a bit much to hope for but a few All-
Star appearances are not.

Lillard heads to Rip City as Neil Olshey's first draft choice with the team as
the new general manager attempts to inject some life into a franchise ravaged
by injuries. Brandon Roy and Greg Oden are both distant memories after injury
plagued stays in the Pacific Northwest while All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is
recovering from season-ending hip surgery.

Lillard will be the face of a nucleus which includes Aldridge as well as
emerging wingman Nicolas Batum and the team's other first round pick, Leonard,
who was selected at No. 11.

"We're really happy with the way this year's draft unfolded for us," said
Olshey. "We had the opportunity to acquire the best two players at their
position who will help us move the needle and fit nicely into our emerging
roster. Now we quickly shift gears to be very aggressive in free agency."

Unhook the velvet rope Portland, a VIP is on his way.


1. - New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Power Forward (6-10, 220)
- Maybe the biggest no-brainer since the Cavs took LeBron in 2003. The
Hornets truly won the lottery, cashing in on a 13.7 percent chance to move
up from the fourth spot to land Davis, a player who is regarded as the only
can't miss prospect in this year's draft.

"I'm excited about having the chance to work with Anthony," said Hornets coach
Monty Williams. "We have added an incredibly talented, athletic big man with
great length who is also a proven winner. In getting to know him, he's also a
high-character kid and someone I look forward to helping develop further."

The "Unibrow" will enter the NBA as an elite defender and shot blocker who
still has a long way to go offensively. He has the athleticism and skills,
however, since he spent most of his youth playing on the perimeter before a
massive growth spurt in high school.

"A great feeling, great experience," Davis said after being drafted, "I've
wanted this all my life, so it's finally here. To be drafted No. 1 overall
means a lot to me. I just can't wait to get down there and start to play."

2 - Charlotte Bobcats -  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Small Forward
(6-7, 215) - It turned out to be back-to-back Wildcats, the first time in NBA
Draft history players from the same team were picked 1-2. Gilchrist, who
attended the same New Jersey High School (St. Patrick) which produced last
year's top pick, Kyrie Irving, as well as Al Harrington and Samuel Dalembert
plays with exceptional heart and energy. MKG is a strong, athletic wing player
who possesses a high basketball IQ and projects as a lockdown defender at the
NBA level. He's not and never will be an elite scorer, however.

"I just want to play for the Charlotte Bobcats," Gilchrist said. "That's what
I want to do right now."

3.- Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal (Florida), Shooting Guard (6-4, 210) -
Cleveland was desperately trying to trade up to pair Beal with Kyrie Irving.
Instead the Wizards get to pencil him in next to John Wall. Beal, a smooth
shooter who also can get to the rim, looks like a perfect compliment to Wall
and should solidly the backcourt in the nation's capital for years to come.

"Whatever coach wants me to do and whatever role he puts me in, I'm willing to
do whatever it takes to win," said Beal, who was celebrating his 19th
birthday."I'm not going to come in and just try to force the issue. I'm going
to try to come in and try to feel things out and get to know the vets a little

4. - Cleveland Cavaliers - Dion Waiters (Syracuse), Shooting Guard (6-5, 215)
- The Cavs missed out on Beal and likely threw out their backs reaching for
Waiters, the sixth man at Syracuse. Waiters had pulled out of a number of pre-
draft interviews after getting a "promise" from a certain team believed to be
the Raptors at No. 8. His stock continued to rise but this is way too early
for a guy who played just 24 minutes a night at the college level.

"We knew we needed to add scoring and more playmaking and we were able to do
that with Dion," said Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant. "He's an
aggressive, athletic, explosive player that is a great fit for our team."

5. - Sacramento Kings -  - Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Power Forward (6-8, 240)
- The Kings luck out getting the safest player outside of Davis in this draft.
Robinson is the rare college player who will arrive in the pros with an NBA-
ready body. He doesn't have the height teams covet these days, but the
wingspan is there and the Kansas product is a high-energy, low-risk player who
brings a lunch pail mentality to the dance.

"I really didn't know where I was going to end up but it's a bit of a
surprise," Robinson said of being taken by the Kings. "I didn't work out for
Sacramento at all, I probably talked to them once. But I'm here so I'm
meant to be here."

6.- Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard (Weber State), Point Guard (6-2,
195) - Even with Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond on the board, the Blazers
didn't waiver and took the Weber State product. Although a scorer in college,
NBA scouts think Lillard's skill set is tailor-made for running the pick-and-
roll, a necessity in today's NBA.

7. - Golden State Warriors - Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Small Forward
(6-8, 220) - The Warriors get the athletic, small forward they were so
desperate for, although it's an offensive-minded one. Barnes is a good spot-up
jump shooter who could excel in the often-forgotten- about mid-range game and
flash out to the 3-point line for Mark Jackson.

"I always had a lot of respect for him when he was an analyst," Barnes said of
his new coach. "I got a chance to talk with him a bit in Chicago (at the
scouring combine) a little bit, just talking basketball. And it was a great to
see how much a player's coach he is."

8. - Toronto Raptors -  Terrence Ross (Washington), Shooting Guard (6-6, 200)
- It's pretty clear Toronto wanted a wing player and took the best one
remaining on the board. An excellent shooter, Ross has great size and
athleticism for the wing. He shoots the ball confidently and has great
mechanics on his jumper with range out to the 3-point line.

"It's going to be fun," Ross said of playing with DeMar DeRozan and new center
Jonas Valanciunas, the team's first round pick from a year ago. "DeMar is
going to help me a lot. He's the best they have. Having another rookie
(Valanciunas) will help me and help him at the same time."

9. - Detroit Pistons - Andre Drummond (Connecticut), Center (6-11, 270)
- The Pistons knew they would be in a nice spot to find a defensive big man to
team up with the ascending Greg Monroe. They thought it would be John Henson
but Drummond fell and Joe Dumars jumped.

"He's a player with good size and physical tools and we look forward to seeing
him grow within our organization," Dumars said.

Drummond is probably the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this year's draft.
The physical gifts are certainly there with the big man, who has the size,
power and athleticism to excel, especially as a defender, That said Drummond
is not even close offensively and his motor has been questioned.

"I know we'll build a great team chemistry right away," Drummond said.
"(Detroit) is a great organization and the fans are great up there. I just
can't wait to be a part of that team."

10. - New Orleans Hornets - Austin Rivers (Duke), Combo Guard (6-4, 203) -
After going big with Davis, it was time to get a legitimate point guard in
NOLA and the Hornets went with Doc Rivers' kid, 29 years after Doc himself
went in the second round.

"This is who we wanted (at number 10)," Hornets GM Dell Demps said. "We were
impressed by him during his workout and we're excited to bring Austin to New

Austin, a nice-sized combo guard, figures to fit into the rotation very early.
Most scouts aren't sure he's a point guard, however, and he must improve as a

"This is an amazing opportunity," Rivers said. "Coach Monty Williams is a
great coach. Anthony is coming. They have a great city. I'm looking forward
to going there and working hard."

11. - Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard (Illinois), Center (7-foot, 245)
- The Blazers needed to add more size and a solid defensive presence after
getting Lillard and Leonard is an athletic big who needs to add a little

"Obviously with Portland they have LaMarcus at the 4 and I'm going to have to
come in and prove myself first and foremost," Leonard said. "But knowing that
I have an opportunity in front of me to quite possibly start or just even be a
factor is a great feeling."

12. - Houston Rockets - Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut), Shooting Guard (6-5,
190) - The Rockets got this pick from Milwaukee in the Samuel Dalembert
trade. Lamb projects as perhaps the best pure scorer in the draft and could be
a nice replacement for Kevin Martin, who is on the trading block.

"I can stretch the floor," Lamb said when asked about his game "You know I can
add scoring and also contribute on the defensive end."

13. - Phoenix Suns - Kendall Marshall (North Carolina), Point Guard
(6-4, 197) -  This may signal the end of the Steve Nash-era in the desert.
Marshall projects is the  best natural point guard in this year's draft since
Lillard was more of a scorer in the Big Sky. A natural floor leader who
understands how to control the flow of a game, UNC coach Roy Williams called
him the best passer he's ever coached.

"We are ecstatic," said Suns general manager Lance Blanks. "Looking at our
board and who was there at the 13th pick, that was the guy we were targeting
all along. Kendall represents where we are as an organization. Don't read too
far into this as far as free agency-he represents everything we want to be
about, as a player and as a person. He's a winner."

14. - Milwaukee Bucks - John Henson (North Carolina), Power Forward (6-10,
220) -  Carolina's Henson is a slight guy with a major league defensive
presence who needs to add polish to his is offensive game. There is no
question that he needs to add strength also, but he can destroy half-court
sets with a 7-foot-4 wingspan.

"You want to find ways to get on the court whether it's you're defense or shot
blocking. I'm in good hands (with coach Scott Skiles)," Henson said. "I'm
excited to get this started and get to Milwaukee."

15. - Philadelphia 76ers - Maurice Harkless (St. John's), Small Forward (6-8,
220) - You can never have enough small forwards in Philly evidently but this
was a prudent move for a team which could have made a big mistake by assuming
Tyler Zeller was the answer in the middle. Harkless has great size for the 3
and a big upside as a scorer.

"I showed teams how hard I work and how hard I compete," Harkless said. "A lot
of teams didn't think I could shoot the ball and I showed the teams I could
shoot the ball really well. I think I just left a good impression on

16.- Houston Rockets - Royce White (Iowa State), Combo Forward (6-8, 250) -
White could be a steal at least offensively. He's a lottery-level, unique
talent who loves to drive and dish but needs time to develop his defensive
game at the next level.

17. - Dallas Mavericks (picking for the Cleveland Cavaliers) - Tyler Zeller
(North Carolina), Center (7-foot, 240) - The Cavs traded No. 24 and two early
second round picks for Zeller, a legitimate center who moves well for his
size, and swingman Kelenna Azubuike. Zeller needs to add strength so he can
hold up on the blocks at the defensive end. Getting the UNC big man, however,
should enable Anderson Varejao to play more minutes at power forward, his
natural position.

"We needed another big man that can shoot, rebound, defend and get up and down
the court with our style of play," Grant said. "We were able to do that with
Tyler and we feel he is also a great fit for our team."

18. - Houston Rockets - Terrence Jones (Kentucky), Combo Forward (6-8, 245) -
Jones is a powerfully built combo forward who took a back seat to Davis and
Kidd- Gilchrist on an ultra-talented Kentucky team. He is a nice option here.
Despite his size,Jones relies too much on the jumper and should consider
attacking the basket a bit more. He looks like a power forward and plays like
a small forward.

19. - Orlando Magic - Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure), Power Forward -
(6-9, 225) - The best Bonnie since Bob Lanier. Nicholson should gain major
minutes early thanks to a high basketball IQ and solid athleticism.

"We are excited to have Andrew (Nicholson) join our Orlando Magic family,"
said general manager Rob Hennigan. "We feel he embodies the types of values
that will put him in a position to achieve success here.  He's a humble, high
character player, who's committed to working hard and playing within a team
concept. We are intrigued by his cerebral, instinctual approach to the game."

20. - Denver Nuggets -  Evan Fournier (France), Swingman (6-6, 190) - The
first international goes a little higher than most expected but Fournier is a
very crafty player who might give Denver an interesting scoring option from
the wing.

"I'm a slasher, kind of like (Manu) Ginobili," Fournier said when talking
about his game. "I can charge to the basket and finish around the rim. I think
that's my biggest strength."

21. - Boston Celtics - Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Power Forward (6-8,
260) - You could see this shaping up. A smart organization taking a smart
player who fell due to a balky back. It's certainly worth rolling the dice
here. A lottery level talent, the risk-reward ratio is off the charts with
Sullinger at 21.

22. - Boston Celtics - Fab Melo (Syracuse), Center (7-foot, 255) - Boston
hasn't had a legitimate center since shipping Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma
City and Melo could be the answer, projecting as a Perkins-type player,
limited offensively but solid as a defender.

23. - Atlanta Hawks - John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), Combo Guard (6-4, 212) - The
best pure shooter in the draft, Jenkins may not have the athleticism to be
much more than a specialist at the NBA level.

"John can really shoot, plays hard and is a competitive kid," said Hawks
general manager Danny Ferry. "Having a guy out there who can space the floor
for our core group will make everything function better when he's on the

"We're very happy John was available at number 23, and we were able to get
him," added Hawks head coach Larry Drew. "He can really come off screens, and
needs just a little bit of daylight to get his shot off. He has terrific
range, and when you play against guys like that who can shoot the ball, it
just gives you another weapon."

24. - Cleveland Cavaliers (drafting for Dallas) - Jared Cunningham (Oregon
State) Combo Guard (6-4, 190) - With Jason Kidd and Jason Terry both
unrestricted free agents, Dallas got a little security here with
Cunningham, a slasher who can give the Mavs minutes at either guard position.
The jumper must improve, however.

25. - Memphis Grizzlies - Tony Wroten Jr.(Washington), Point Guard (6-6, 203)
- A left-handed, athletic point guard with imposing size. Wroten needs to
improve his decision making and jump shot to succeed at the NBA level. There
have been a lot of comparisons to Rajon Rondo because of Wroten's freaky
athleticism but that's a stretch.

26. - Indiana Pacers -  Miles Plumlee (Duke), Power Forward (6-11, 250) - An
athletic big man with incredible leaping ability, Plumlee doesn't have great
basketball instincts and likely projects as a 15- to 20-minute backup.

27. - Miami Heat (drafting for Philadelphia) - Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi
State), Power Forward (6-10, 235) - The Sixers gave up the 45th pick (LSU
center Justin Hamilton) and a protected future first round pick to move back
into the first round and get Moultrie, a solid move since Elton Brand is on
his last legs and could be amnestied. Moultrie is a well-rounded big body who
could help early in his career.

28. - Oklahoma City Thunder - Perry Jones (Baylor), Power Forward (6-10, 240)
- The rich get richer here. Early on Jones was considered a possible No. 1
overall pick, so the skills are certainly there, but he never produced
consistently at Baylor and a knee problem scared off a number of teams. He's
more than worth a flyer here for a team that can afford to wait a bit.

"I just wanted the opportunity to play in the NBA," Jones said. "It didn't
really matter where I was picked. I just wanted the chance to play with
somebody and I'm more than happy to play with Kevin Durant. He's my favorite

29. - Chicago Bulls - Marquis Teague (Kentucky), Point Guard (6-2, 190) -
With Derrick Rose recovering from a torn ACL getting a point guard like
Teague, the brother of Atlanta's Jeff Teague, was a prudent move by Chicago.
He will eventually be a  nice 10- to 15-minute option to run things as
Rose's caddy.

30. - Golden State Warriors - Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt), Center/Power Forward
(6-11, 265) - Ezeli is a big powerful guy still learning the game. He didn't
start playing organized basketball until 2007 and needs to learn how to use
his body more effectively


-Davis is only the second player from Kentucky selected with the top overall
pick, joining Wall from 2010. He's the third SEC player taken No.1, after Wall
and Shaquille O'Neal (1992).

-This was the second time in franchise history the Hornets made the number one
selection. In 1991, the then-Charlotte Hornets used the top overall choice to
select UNLV's Larry Johnson, who went on to capture 1991-92 Rookie of the Year
honors. A year later, the Hornets had the second overall pick and selected
Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning. The only other time the franchise selected in
the top three was 1999 when UCLA's Baron Davis was nabbed with the third
overall pick.

-As least one son of a former NBA player has been selected in the last 11 NBA
Drafts: Mike Dunleavy (2002), Luke Walton (2003), Jackson Vroman (2004), Sean
May (2005), Ronnie Brewer (2006), Al Horford (2007), Patrick Ewing Jr. (2008),
Stephen Curry, Gerald Henderson and Austin Daye (2009), Ed Davis (2010), Klay
Thompson and Nolan Smith (2011) and Austin Rivers (2012).

-This year marks the first time two schools have had four players selected in
the first round, Kentucky (Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones and Teague) and North
Carolina (Barnes, Marshall, Henson and Zeller).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Phillies DFA Qualls

The Phillies have made a plethora of roster moves in their beleaguered bullpen, selecting the contracts of right-hander Brian Sanches and left-hander Jeremy Horst from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while optioning Joe Savery to Lehigh Valley and designating right-hander Chad Qualls for assignment.

Sanches, 33, is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in three appearances with the Phillies this season.  For Lehigh Valley, he has posted a 3-1 record with a 2.28 ERA with five walks and 29 strikeouts in 21 games.  In 192 major league appearances, Sanches is 13-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 232.2 innings.

Horst has gone 2-1 with two saves and a 2.11 ERA in 26 games with the IronPigs this season.  Since April 28, Horst has posted a 1.61 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 27.1 innings for Lehigh Valley.  The 26-year-old made 12 relief appearances with the Cincinnati Reds last season, posting a 2.93 ERA in 15.1 innings.

Savery is 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in 17 games for the Phillies in 2012.  After posting a 3.06 ERA in his first 14 appearances with Philadelphia this season, he has allowed nine earned runs in his last 5.1 innings (15.19 ERA).

Qualls, 33, has gone 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 35 games for the Phillies this year.  He began the season with six straight scoreless appearances, but has posted a 5.68 ERA with a .333 average against over his last 29 games.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Phillies activate Utley

Second baseman Chase Utley was activated from the 15-day disabled list today, the Phillies announced. To make room for Utley on the 25-man roster, infielder Michael Martinez was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Utley, 33, began the 2012 season on the disabled list with bilateral chondromalacia. He appeared in nine games with single-A Clearwater as part of a rehabilitation assignment, batting .156 in 32 at-bats with one home run, five RBI, three walks and three runs scored.  He completed his rehab assignment last night with Lehigh Valley where he went 2-for-5 with a home run, RBI and run scored, playing all nine innings at second base.

Last season, Utley hit .259 with 21 doubles, 11 HR, 44 RBI and 54 runs scored in 103 games. With Utley in the lineup last season, the Phillies averaged 4.84 runs per game in which he appeared (499 R/103 G), compared to 3.6 runs a game in which he didn’t appear (214 R/59 G).
Martinez, 29, was batting .133 with a home run and four RBI in 16 games for the Phillies this year.

Union move on in U.S. Open Cup

Chester, Pa. - The  Philadelphia Union defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders, 5-2, in Tuesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at PPL Park. Harrisburg cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 with two early second-half goals, but the Union pulled away late to advance to the semifinals.

The Union move on to face Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park on July 11, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The club is now two wins away from its first ever U.S. Open Cup title and is the first Pennsylvania-based team to reach the semifinals since United German Hungarians in 1993.

Freddy Adu netted the first goal of the game in the sixth minute on a penalty kick after Harrisburg’s Stephen Basso handled a Lionard Pajoy cross in the box. Basso was also hurt on the play, leaving the game with Union 2012 supplemental draft pick Tom Brandt coming on in his place.

Three minutes later, Philadelphia took advantage of another defensive mistake when Dustin Bixler’s header fell in the path of a streaking Jack McInerney, whose finish put the Union up by a pair of goals.

In the 29th minute, the Union extended the margin to 3-0 as Pajoy collected a well-placed cross from left back Gabriel Farfan and finished easily.

But even after looking completely overwhelmed in the first half, Harrisburg stormed back. In the 52nd and 54th minutes, Brian Ombiji and Morgan Langley scored back-to-back goals, with forward Yann Ekra assisting on both.

Langley, who played for Philly at the end of the 2011 season, was one of three ex-Union players on the field for Tuesday’s game. The others were Brandt and J.T. Noone, who was on the Union roster throughout their expansion season in 2010.

The Union served up a convincing response, however, when—for the second straight game—substitute Antoine Hoppenot drew a foul in the box and Pajoy buried the penalty. The red-hot rookie also scored the game-winner against D.C. United in the Union’s last US Open Cup win.

Another second-half substitute, Gabriel Gomez, completed the scoring with an 81st-minute chip over Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble. Gomez was making his first appearance since May 19, when he was hurt in Philly’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.

Before continuing their US Open Cup run, the Union face back-to-back road matches against Houston on Saturday and the LA Galaxy on July 4.

Union sign D Bakary Soumare

Chester, Pa. – Philadelphia Union have signed former Major League Soccer Defender of the Year finalist Bakary Soumare.

Originally drafted by the Chicago Fire in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, Soumare comes to the Union from French side US Boulogne.  The center back will be eligible to play for the Union in Saturday’s game against the Houston Dynamo.  Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.

The Union made a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, giving the Union the top spot in the MLS allocation ranking and Vancouver’s Second Round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.  In exchange, the Union parted with their first-round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the club’s 12th position in the league’s allocation ranking, as well as allocation money.   Per league and club policy, the amount of allocation money was not disclosed.

A 2008 MLS Defender of the Year finalist, Soumare excelled as a central defender for the Chicago Fire in 2008 and 2009 after originally being drafted out of the University of Virginia as a defensive midfielder. He played in 63 games for the Fire, earning the club’s Defender of the Year title in 2008, a spot in the MLS Best IX and helped the squad to the Western Conference Finals.  In 2009, he was named to the MLS All-Star team, replacing Brian Ching.

In August of 2009, Soumare was transferred to French First Division side Boulogne.  The 6-foot-4 native of Mali became a regular for Boulogne, appearing in 65 games and occasionally serving as captain.  In January of 2012, he was loaned to German club Karlsruher SC, where he made seven appearances.

Soumare has been capped by Mali 13 times since deciding to play for his native country in 2008.  He has played in a string of World Cup qualifying matches and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Philadelphia 76ers 2012 Draft Preview

By John McMullen

Philadelphia sports plenty of youth and depth in the backcourt, but needs help up front since center Spencer Hawes is an unrestricted free agent, and veteran power forward Elton Brand is on his last legs and a candidate for amnesty.

The Sixers brought in North Carolina teammates Tyler Zeller and John Henson, Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie, Baylor's Perry Jones III, St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson and Kentucky's Terrence Jones over the weekend, foreshadowing their thinking. The team will also be looking at Illinois big man Meyers Leonard on Tuesday.

Zeller and Henson as well as Leonard will likely both be gone by the time the Sixers pick at No. 15 but the others, along with Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, could be available.

The Sixers should absolutely roll the dice on Jones, a boom or bust type who is a top five talent with an enormous upside but Moultrie is considered the safer selection.

Players under contract: G: Jrue Holiday; F/G: Andre Iguodala; G/F: Evan Turner; C/F: Nikola Vucevic; F: Thaddeus Young

Free Agents: C/F: Lavoy Allen (restricted); C: Tony Battie; F: Craig Brackins; F: Elton Brand (early termination option); C: Spencer Hawes; G: Jodie Meeks; (restricted); G: Xavier Silas (restricted); G: Lou Williams (early termination option); F/G: Sam Young (restricted)

Recent Draft History:
2011: Nikola Vucevic (16), Lavoy Allen (50)
2010: Evan Turner (2)
2009: Jrue Holiday (17)
2008: Marreese Speights (16)
2007: Thaddeus Young (12), Daequan Cook (21), Petteri Koponen (30), Kyrylo
Fesenko (38)

Draft picks: 1st round (15th overall), 2nd round (45th overall, 54th overall)

Temple's Brown & McManus Named to CFPA Preseason Watch Lists

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (6/25/12) – The College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) have named two Temple football players to its 2012 preseason Watch Lists.

Senior RB Matt Brown (Baltimore, Md.) has been named to the All-Purpose Trophy Watch List.  In addition to the backfield, the 5-5 Owl handles TU’s kickoff and punt returns.

Senior PK/P Brandon McManus (Hatfield, Pa.) is listed on two watch lists, for placekicker and at specialist.

CFPA honors players at each position weekly throughout the season. The official 2012 annual awards announcement is slated for January 9, 2013.

Brown played in all 13 games last season with three starts at running back. He finished second in team rushing with 916 yards and six touchdowns on 155 carries.  The team’s top kickoff returner, he had 703 yards and a TD on 28 returns. At punt returner, he led TU with 182 yards on 18 returns on the season.

Temple’s placekicker for three seasons, McManus took over punting duties in 2011. In 13 games, McManus was second in team scoring with 98 points. He led the MAC with a perfect 50-of-50 in PATs.  McManus punted 46 times for 2,105 yards. Fifteen of those 46 landed inside the 20, while 16 were longer than 50 yards. McManus earned national specialist honors seven times during the season.

Under the guidance of second-year head coach Steve Addazio, this season’s squad returns 35 lettermen, including nine starters.

Temple opens the 2012 season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

Soul shuts off Power

PHILADELPHIA (June 24, 2012) – The Eastern Division Champion, Philadelphia Soul (12-3), led by  record-breaking performances from quarterback Dan Raudabaugh and defensive lineman Bryan Robinson, shut down the Pittsburgh Power, 69-34, in front of 9,760 fans at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.

Raudabaugh tallied his 94th touchdown pass this season, breaking the franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a season (90).  He finished by connecting on 22-of-31 passes for 268 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.  Raudabaugh earned National Guard MVP honors for his performance.

Robinson, who recorded a sack and 1.5 total tackles, recorded his League record-setting seventh blocked kick of the season and earned AFL Playmaker of the Game.

“It was a slow start, but we rallied and got re-focused by the second quarter,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “Defensively, we got a lot of stops early and our offense came together in the second half.  It was the type of team effort that helps us build character as we head toward the playoffs.”

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Tiger Jones, had nine receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns.  Donovan Morgan added six receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Jeff Hughley finished with four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.  Larry Brackins and Greg Ryan also added touchdown catches in the victory.

Defensively, Rayshaun Kizer had two interceptions and 5.0 tackles while Joe Goosby added 8.5 tackles.  Brandon Perkins and T.J. Langley each recorded a sack in the win.

Pittsburgh’s QB Bryan Randall connected 27-of-43 passes for 333 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.  WR Oderick Turner had nine receptions for 116 yards and three touchdowns and Michael Washington had seven receptions for 107 yards.

Turner scored the first touchdown of the game after Chris LeFlore intercepted Raudabaugh’s would-be-touchdown pass to Ross.  Soul responded shortly after when Jones scored a 28-yard touchdown.  After impressive defense from both teams, including Pittsburgh’s interception and two sacks by the Soul, the first quarter ended with the score tied 7-7.

Second quarter scoring began with Randall’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Jackson.  Philadelphia fought back, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to Brackins followed by a 9-yard touchdown run by Morgan.  With less than a minute left in the second quarter, Kizer intercepted Randall’s pass to Moqut Ruffins and ran for 41-yards leaving the Soul just four yards short of a touchdown.  Raudabaugh’s 4-yard pass to Morgan ended the first half with the Soul leading 27-13.

Soul maintained the lead throughout the third quarter with a touchdown by offensive lineman Greg Ryan, a 19-yard touchdown reception by Jones, and a 33-yard over-the-wall touchdown reception by Hughley. Randall’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Turner gave Pittsburgh their only points of the third and it came to an end with Philadelphia leading 48-20.

Soul outscored the Power 21-14 in the fourth quarter, sealing the Philadelphia victory and ending the game with a final score of 69-34.

The Soul will face the Tampa Bay Storm next Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Arena.  The game is scheduled to be broadcast on UStream at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Holmgren talks JVR deal

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

Q: This trade has been rumored for a while – did it just come about today?

“Obviously it was something in the wintertime that Brian and I discussed in theory, and then I think we both decided to just table it. It came up again yesterday and we talked about it. I believe it’s a good trade for both teams. It certainly fills a need for us and I think it fills a need for Brian’s team as well in terms of what they’re looking to do.”

Q: You guys had been rumored to be involved with a couple other big name players – does this shut the door on trades for another winger?

“I don’t think anything shuts the door on anything else we may look to do to improve the hockey team. We tried to improve our defense over the last few days, we looked for ways to try to improve it, and we think we did today. Obviously we gave up a good young winger in James, but we believe we got a good young defenseman, same age, back in Luke. As I said earlier I think it’s a real good trade for both teams.”

Q: Do you think this is a fresh start for JVR?

“Well, I don’t know about that. I think I’ve told you enough about how strongly I feel about James becoming a good player, and I believe he will become a very good player in our league. Unfortunately for us, I think it’s going to be for Toronto now. The guy we got coming back is going to fill needs on our team and is going to be a good young player on our team. So I think it’s a win-win.

Q: What does Luke Schenn bring to the Flyers?

He’s a young guy, he’s a right [handed] shot, he’s a big defenseman that plays physical and gritty, and he can move the puck. To get guys like this you’ve got to be piking high in the draft. It’s an opportunity for us… and obviously James was taken high in the draft too. It’s another reason I believe why it’s a good trade for both teams.

Q: How do you think this might affect Brayden Schenn?
“I don’t know. I know they’re very close, so I’ve got to believe it will be a positive thing for Brayden.”

Q: Have you talked to Luke yet?

“I did speak with Luke … he’d already talked to Brian, so the shock was probably over, but he seemed generally excited about a new chapter in his life.”

Union explode in 4-0 win over Sporting KC

Chester, Pa. -- Behind two goals from Jack McInerney followed by insurance tallies from Lionard Pajoy and Antoine Hoppenot, the Union earned their first points of the John Hackworth era, topping Sporting KC 4-0 Saturday night at PPL Park. McInerney struck on loose balls in the first and 43rd minutes, while Pajoy and Hoppenot added second-half goals to lift Philadelphia to their first league win in over two months.

It was a dream start for the Union, who entered the game averaging an MLS-worst 0.67 goals per game. Moments into the contest, Ray Gaddis whipped a dangerous cross to the far post where a crashing Pajoy had too tight of an angle to finish but managed to keep the ball alive. Pajoy's touch put the ball just a few yards in front of Jimmy Nielsen's goal, and McInerney beat the Kansas City goalkeeper to the ball to bury a shot into the top of the net.

Coming off a midweek game in Seattle, Sporting Kansas City gradually overcame the slow start, ultimately winning the first half possession battle. But despite seeing more of the ball in the opening stanza, Kansas City managed only one shot on goal, a soft header by Kamara that floated into the arms of Zac MacMath. Sporting KC threatened in the 27th minute, but Bunbary's header from a Myers cross sailed over the bar.

Minutes before halftime, McInerney struck again. Freddy Adu put a free kick into the danger area, where a lunging Carlos Valdes deflected the ball on goal. Nielsen made the initial save, but McInerney was there to put in the rebound for a 2-0 advantage.

McInerney, who came off in a 72nd minute substitution, exited the field to a booming ovation from 18,207 strong at PPL Park.

The Union added an insurance goal in the 81st minute on a Pajoy penalty kick. Antoine Hoppenot sprung free, beat his man with a cut back move and drew the foul in the box. Pajoy sent Nielsen diving in the wrong direction and buried his spot kick to put the Union up 3-0.

Hoppenot was rewarded for his efforts with a goal of his own in the 87th minute, when a ball over the top sent the striker in behind the Sporting Kansas City back line. Hoppenot, who missed a previous chip attempt high, lofted the ball over Nielsen for the fourth Union goal and the first of his MLS career.

For the Union, it was the second straight game shutting down one of the Eastern Conference's most explosive attacks. This time, however, a stalwart defensive performance held for 90 minutes and was accompanied by an offensive explosion.

Philadelphia move to 3-8-2 with 11 points on the season. The club increased their goal total from eight to 12, while Zac MacMath logged his fourth shutout in MLS play. The Union return to action on Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match against the Harrisburg City Islanders at PPL Park.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flyers trade for another Schenn, bid goodbye to JVR

The Philadelphia Flyers remained active following the completion of the second day of the 2012 draft, acquiring defenseman Luke Schenn from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward James van Riemsdyk.

Van Riemsdyk totaled just 11 goals and 24 points in 43 games during an injury- plagued season last year on the heels of leading the club with seven goals in 11 postseason contests in the Spring of 2011.

Over his three-year tenure with the Orange and Black, van Riemsdyk tallied 47 goals and 99 points in 196 regular-season contests, adding 11 scores and 15 points in 39 playoff appearances.

Schenn, the fifth-overall pick of Toronto in the 2008 draft, picked up two goals and 20 assists in 79 games last year for the Leafs. The 22-year-old native of Saskatchewan has 75 points in 310 games for the franchise in the his four-year NHL career.

Luke's younger brother Brayden recorded 12 goals and 18 points in 54 regular- season games for Philly in 2011-12. The 20-year-old notched three goals and nine points over 11 playoff games.

Terry Murray on cusp of return to Flyers organization

With all standing between Terry Murray and a return to the Flyers organization is the right word from Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, it's nearly a lock that Murray will be behind another bench next season.

This time, it is expected to be with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL. The Phantoms have a vacancy created when Joe Paterson was fired shortly after the end of this past season.

Murray had been fired as head coach of the Kings on December 12 after LA started the year 13-12-4 and sported a paltry 2.21 goals-per-game.

The 61-year-old native of Shawville, Quebec previously served the Flyers organization as an assistant coach from 2004-08 before leaving to take the Kings' head coaching position, was a scout from 2001-03, head coach from 1994-97, and suited up as a defenseman with the franchise from 1975-77, 1978-79 and 1980-81.

Despite the good which emerged from Murray's tenure in Philadelphia, he will be best remembered for a misconstrued comment following Game 3 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, where he admitted his club, down 0-3 in the series, was in a "choking situation."

The Flyers dropped Game 4 in Detroit, and Murray was dismissed just seven days later over what then-GM Bob Clarke cited as "an accumulation of problems that could not be resolved."

Aided by the rise to prominence of the "Legion of Doom" comprising Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, Murray compiled a 118-64-30 regular-season record with a 28-18 playoff mark in three seasons here.

New Flyer Laughton talks

Following his selection with the Flyers' 20th overall pick in the draft on Friday night, new member of the organization Scott Laughton talked to local media:

Flyers win top PR award for Eastern Conference

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced on Saturday that the Philadelphia Flyers have won the 2012 Dick Dillman Award, given annually to the team judged to have the best media relations department.

The Dillman Award honors the memory of the late Dick Dillman, who was a highly regarded public relations director for the former Minnesota North Stars.

The Flyers PR department is led by Senior Director of Public Relations Zack Hill. Joe Siville, Manger of Public Relations; Brian Smith, Manager of Broadcasting and Media Services; and Rebecca Goodman, the publicist, also make up the highly respected staff.

The PHWA presents Dillman awards to teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The Nashville Predators have won the award for the Western Conference. The other finalists for the Eastern Conference were the the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes. 

Flyers draft recap Rounds 2-7

Day two of the NHL's entry draft bore more fruit for the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected the following players to complete the event:

Round 2, 45th pick: G Anthony Stolarz. Jackson, NJ 18 years old, Corpus Christi (NAHL)

Round 3, 78th pick: D Shayne Gostisbehere. Margate, FL 18 years old, Union College (ECAC)

Round 4, 111th pick: D Fredric Larsson. Karlstad, Sweden 17 years old, Brynas Jr.

Round 5, 141st pick: D Reece Willcox. Surrey, BC 18 years old, Merritt (BCHL)

Round 7, 201st pick: D Valeri Vasiliev. 18 years old, Spartak (Russian juniors)

Maynard tops Guida in UFC's return to Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY (The Phanatic Magazine) - The always energetic and unorthodox Clay Guida gave lightweight contender Gray Maynard all he could handle Friday but in the end the former Michigan State wrestling star earned a five-round split decision in the main event of UFC's return to the seaside resort at the new Revel Ovation Hall.

Guida frustrated Maynard without with a defensive style, using his vaunted movement skills to keep the favorite off balance. At one point in Round 4 Maynard dropped his hands and verbally challenged Guida to fight and "The Carpenter" responded with three punches that did little damage to Maynard. Guida then went for a takedown but Maynard caught him in a guillotine that nearly ended the fight before Guida escaped by lifting Maynard off the canvas and slamming him.

Two judges scored the bout 48-47 for Maynard with one using the same score for Guida. The Phanatic Magazine scored the bout 48-47 for Maynard.

"I thought Guida was coming to fight. His stuff got old in there," Maynard said. "I wanted to prove to people that I can do it. I came to fight tonight. I thought I won that fight fair and square and it wasn't a question. I want the belt back. I want to fight (Frankie) Edgar."  

UFC President Dana White, however, might have different plans. Late in the Late in the second round, the always controversial White tweeted, "I thought it was impossible for this fight to suck. I WAS WRONG!!!!!!" 

White was upset by Guida's stallling and Maynard's inability to cut off the cage and force the action.

"Thanks, Atlantic City," Maynard said to Jon Anik after the fight. "I know you guys like fighters, Arturo Gatti. I was trying to do the same."

In other bouts televised on FX lightweight Sam Stout earned a unanimous decision over Spencer Fisher, while veteran welterweight Brian Ebersole got the best of T.J. Waldburger, also by unanimous decision.

Fisher, who is taling about retirement, was able to damage Stout's right eye but couldn't handle his takedown game and lost on all three scorecards, 30-27.

Ebersole, meanwhile, started slowly, dropping the first round after nearly getting choked out before rebounding and earning the final two rounds by outstriking his opponent.

"I think ’I've proved I belong in the UFC. The choke in the first round wasn't that deep; I probably went red or purple but I always do," Ebersole said. "He only had one side of my neck and I could breath okay. I felt I took the final two rounds."

The highlight of the undercard saw featherweight Cub Swanson knock out Ross Pearson in the second round. Swanson first connected with a front kick that grazed Pearson followed by two right jabs and the left hook that put him down.

"I felt he didn’t respect my power. I could see I was hurting him in his facial expressions but he kept coming forward," Swanson said. "He’s always done that in fights thought, and he’s very strong, he knocked me off balance even with shots I was blocking. But I could see I was having an affect with my shots and I thought I could take him out."

Also, Ricardo Lamas upset featherweight contender Hatsi Hiroki by outpointing him; Rick Story gassed out in the third but had enough to beat Brock Jardine in a welterweight bout and Steven Siler choked out Joey Gambino in a featherweight encounter.

"I thought I won two to three rounds for sure. I know he got a takedown here and there but I was close to finishing him a bunch of times," Lamas said. "He’s very tough, that arm-in choke I had was in deep and he refused to tap. I had to let up a little because I was burning up my arm. But I knew I’d beaten him."

New Jersey native Nick Catone was dominating his middleweight bout with Chris Camozzi but a nasty cut over Catone's left eye forced referee Dan Miragliotta to stop things in the third round.

"I’m bummed out. I felt I won the first two rounds but he hit that knee and the sweat and blood was going into my eye," Catone said. "I thought the referee may stop it but I wanted to continue. I’m a little bummed out losing like that but my bad for getting a knee to the eye."

The card also featured New Jersey welterweight Dan Miller who choked out Ricardo Funch, Matt Brown KO'd Luis Ramos in another welterweight bout and Ken Stone outpointed Dustin Pague in a bantamweight bout.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sandusky guilty on a majority of counts

Bellefonte, PA - Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was found guilty Friday night on 45 of the 48 counts charging him with sexual abuse against 10 boys over a 15-year period.

The verdict was reached at the end of the second day of jury deliberations and came more than seven months after Sandusky was first arrested in the case that rocked Penn State and cast a pall over the area linked so firmly to the university.

Applause was heard outside the courtroom as word spread of the verdict after court was adjourned shortly after 10 p.m. (et) local time.

Sandusky denied the charges that he systematically groomed victims through his Second Mile charity.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly called Sandusky "a serial child predator" who "has been held accountable for his crimes" while defense attorney Joe Amendola said the verdict didn't prove his client was sick or guilty, saying there were a lot of innocent people in jail around the country.

Bail has been revoked and the 68-year-old has been remanded into custody at the Centre County Sheriff's Office.

Late on Friday, the university issued a statement regarding the verdict.

"Today Penn State learned that a verdict was reached in the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gerald Sandusky. Mr. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of the 48 charges filed against him.

The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing.

The Board of Trustees and current administration maintain a steadfast commitment to pursuing the truth regarding Mr. Sandusky’s actions. While we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse—both in our community and beyond.

The University is committed to ensuring that our campuses are safe for children and to being a constructive participant in building greater awareness of child sexual abuse and the practical steps that can be undertaken to prevent, report and respond to such abuse.

The University has already established a confidential counseling process for victims of Mr. Sandusky’s conduct, and that process remains open. While counseling is critical, some victims have sought and continue to seek a direct dialogue with the University to discuss the University's responsibility for Mr. Sandusky's actions

Now that the jury has spoken, the University wants to continue that dialogue and do its part to help victims continue their path forward. To that end, the University plans to invite victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse to participate in a program to facilitate the resolution of claims against the University arising out of Mr. Sandusky's conduct.

The purpose of the program is simple – the University wants to provide a forum where the University can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the University. Counsel to the University plan to reach out to counsel to the victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse in the near future with additional details."

Flyers select Laughton in first round

With the 20th pick in the first round of Friday's NHL draft, the Philadelphia Flyers surprised many by taking forward Scott Laughton from Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren made the selection amidst steady, vociferous booing from the clearly partisal Pittsburgh crowd, which arose as soon as Philadelphia was named the next team to make a selection.

"We really like Scott. I've seen him play a couple of times and he kind of reminds me a little bit of Mike Richards, a little bit of Adam Henrique; he's a good, solid, hard-nosed two-way player," Holmgren said after the pick.

Laughton, who turned 18 on May 30, completed his second season in Canadian juniors with 21 goals, 53 points and 101 penalty minutes in 64 regular-season games. He added five points (2G, 3A) in six playoff contests for the Generals.

A defensive-oriented center, Laughton finished fifth in overall points, sixth in goals and third in penalty minutes as Oshawa, which finished third in the East Division, lost in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

Over his three years in Ontario-based hockey programs, the 6-foot, 170-pounder from the Toronto suburbs has totaled 33 goals and 76 points with 163 PIMs in 129 games.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (6/22/12) – Celebrate Temple Football Night at with the Philadelphia Soul on Sunday, June 24.
Featuring Temple alumnus QB Adam DiMichele (2006-08), the Soul host the Pittsburgh Power at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center.
In addition to the exciting arena football game, fans can meet Temple Spirit Squad members and Hooter the Owl at the game.  Plus, sign up on the concourse for a chance to win awesome Temple Football "experience" packages. 

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Edberg-Olson Football Expansion Project.  Tickets start as low as $28.  To order, or for more information on special VIP and Field Zone Packages at the Soul game, call 215-253-4900, ext. 3 or order online at

Temple opens the 2012 season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

Union will host U.S. Open Cup Seminfinals game

CHICAGO – The Philadelphia Union have won the bid to host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Seminfinals at PPL Park, U.S. Soccer announced today. 

A Union victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night will pit the club against the winner of the Sporting Kansas City/Dayton Lions match-up in the semifinals on either July 10th or 11th at 7:30 p.m. 

“Winning the bid to host the semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is very important to us,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz.  “We are definitely not looking past Harrisburg but if we advance, we wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to play at home in front of our fans.  Home field advantage is very important in our quest to win our first ever trophy and secure a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League Tournament.”

The remaining eight-team field consists of five MLS (Division I) teams – three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders FC, Chivas USA, the Philadelphia Union, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City. The other three organizations represent USL PRO (Division III) – the Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions and Harrisburg City Islanders, which are shooting for their third straight win against an MLS side when they visit the in-state Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Union season ticket holders have one last chance to purchase tickets to the Quarterfinals game against Harrisburg and get FREE tickets to the US Open Cup Semi-finals at PPL Park.

Eagles sell out single-game season tickets

The Eagles have announced that they  sold out all of their single-game tickets for the upcoming 2012 season.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that Eagles fans show for their team every day," Eagles President Don Smolenski said. "The fact that our team gets to play in front of sell-out crowds is a testament to Philadelphia’s passion for the Eagles. We thank those fans for their dedication and we are just as excited as they are for the start of the 2012 season.”

Eagles bring in DT on the heels of Atogwe signing

The Eagles have signed rookie free agent DT Tevita Finau and waived DE Maurice Fountain with an injury settlement.

As a senior at Utah, Finau (6-4, 283) logged 37 tackles and three sacks in 2011. He played a huge role in their Sun Bowl win against Georgia Tech, recording a career-high 10 tackles. The Kahuku, HI, native was recognized as the 2008 regional co-defensive player of the year at Phoenix College after posting 53 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. The 26-year-old Finau was a three-year recipient of first-team, all-state honors in football and basketball at Kahuku High School.

The moves come on the heels of the Eagles signing veteran safety O.J. Atogwe to a one-year deal earlier in the week. To make room on the 90-man roster for Atogwe, the team released LS Matt Camilli

Atogwe (5-foot-11, 205) has amassed 520 tackles, 25 interceptions, 5.5 sacks and 19 forced fumbles in his seven-year NFL career. Since entering the league as a 3rd round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams in 2005, Atogwe’s interception total ranks eighth in the NFL and third among all safeties, including an NFC-best eight in 2007.

After spending his first six seasons as a member of the Rams (2005-10), Atogwe joined the Washington Redskins in 2011, and played in 13 games, recording 66 tackles and three interceptions. A native of Windsor, Ontario, the 30-year-old Atogwe played collegiately at Stanford and also ran track while majoring in biological sciences.

“O.J. will bring us veteran, quality depth at the safety position,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “We feel good about the young safeties we have on our roster, but our goal is to have the most competition possible at all of our positions as we head into training camp. O.J.’s presence will help to enhance that for the safety group. He is an accomplished player in this league and we’re happy to have him.”

The Eagles also made a pair of front office moves naming Greg Gabriel as a senior college scout and Roger Pollard as a NFL scout.

Gabriel, a 29-year NFL scouting veteran, was most recently with the Chicago Bears as the team’s director of college scouting from 2001-2010. In his previous position, Gabriel played a key role in crafting the Bears draft plans as well as evaluating college players. Prior to his nine-year tenure with Chicago, Gabriel spent 16 years in the New York Giants scouting department, beginning in 1985. He contributed to teams that won two Super Bowls and three NFC Championship games with the Giants, where he worked his way up from an area scout to the club’s director of player development. Gabriel broke into scouting as a part-time scout with Buffalo in 1981. A three-year starting running back for Canisius College, the Buffalo, NY native contributed to the popular website National Football Post following his tenure with the Bears.

Pollard joins the Eagles personnel department after serving as a college scout for the Miami Dolphins from 2003-08. With Miami, Pollard evaluated talent in the Northeast area with BLESTO responsibilities. Prior to his work with the Dolphins, Pollard coached at the collegiate level in various roles. He was the head coach at Dean College from 1996-98 and was also an assistant coach for 12 seasons with stops at Columbia (2000-02), Jacksonville (1999-00), Brown (1991-94), and Hofstra (1989-91). Pollard worked on the set of ESPN’s “The NFL Matchup Show” before coming to Philadelphia. He also assisted in coordinating the operations of NFL Europe in 2003.

NHL draft coming to Philadelphia in 2014

After a tour through the beautiful landscapes of Northern Jersey next June, the NHL Entry Draft will find a home in Philadelphia in 2014.

The National Hockey League made the announcement hours before the draft was set to begin in Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center.

"We are truly excited to host the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft at the Wells Fargo Center," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. "This is further testament that Philadelphia truly is a hockey town. We just hosted a wonderful Winter Classic last season and, in addition to hosting the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, we soon will be preparing to also host the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four at Wells Fargo Center. What a thrill for not just hockey fans in our region, but for the entire City of Philadelphia. We would like to thank the NHL for selecting Philadelphia as the host city for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft."

It will mark the first time in draft history the event will be held in the Quaker City. It will be the cap to the Flyers' 47th year of existence.

Montreal has the distinction of hosting the draft the most times in league annals, doing so every year from 1963-84, 1986, 1988, 1992 and 2009.