Hidden Gems in the 2015 NBA Draft

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Championship caliber teams are never built overnight as the NBA Finals tips off tonight. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the luxury of a superstar in LeBron James, but it is the “role players” who must contribute in order to bring home that Championship Trophy.

Will Matthew Dellavedova come up clutch?

Matthew Dellavedova went undrafted out of Saint Mary’s College of California , yet he plays a prominent part at guard for the Cavaliers. Dellavedova is not a household name around the league, but his contributions on defense and behind the arc make him an essential member on the squad. 

Additionally, Golden States’ Draymond Green might be the difference-maker in the series as he will be the primary defender on James. People forget that Green was a second round pick in 2012 after playing four years at Michigan State for Tom Izzo who preaches defense.

Behind the “Splash Brothers” in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Green is the most important member on the squad. His leadership on the court is invaluable, while also instilling a toughness that showcases his heart and hustle.

Green was robbed by not being  named the NBA’s defensive player of the year

Identifying these types of players are difficult, especially in the NBA Draft where everything is based on potential or athleticism. Countless players go through the process every year waiting to hear whether or not their name will be called.

Statistics are not on the players’ side as it reveals that only 1.3% of college athletes make the jump from the collegiate level to the pros. This can be beneficial for some players as it places a chip on their shoulder, in addition to proving everyone wrong.

In three short weeks the 2015 NBA Draft will be underway and the Philadelphia 76ers currently hold five second round picks. GM Sam Hinkie believes in the “process,” which consists of dumping anyone of high salary cap and rebuilding through the draft.

Coach Brown came from San Antonio with a skill-set in player development, but has struggled considering that Hinkie has traded away young players such as Michael Carter-Williams or K.J. McDaniels before they can develop.

Listed below are a pair of players to keep your eye on come draft night. These are possible diamonds in the ruff.

1) Jordan Mickey, PF/C, LSU

Jordan Mickey is a player to keep your eye on

The Sixers need another big man like a hole in the head, but Hinkie covets big men. If there’s one thing I’ve learned… it is that you can’t teach size.

Mickey adds additional depth to the front-court, in case injuries were to occur to Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiid. He’s another shot-blocker around the rim who can run.

Provides a quick breather or if someone were to get into foul trouble. Could work his way into the lineup with the right work ethic. Interested to see how the chemistry between Mickey and Dario Šarić would pan out the following year.

Brown can work with the 20 year old, making him another project with high upside. He’s similar to Noel in that he has great length at 6’8″ with over a 7′ wingspan , but needs to add weight and improve his offensive game. Can be a lock-down defender, which makes him attractive to multiple teams at the end of the first round.

Last season: 15.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, & 1.3 APG

2) R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State 

It’s not a secret that the Sixers’ struggled to put the ball in the basket and Hunter falling to No. 35 may be too good to be true.

Hunter’s draft stock has hoovered around late first round according to sources. His shooting ability is an attribute that any team in the league could use, hitting on 29.8% from downtown. His size is an added bonus by being 6’6″ with experience after this run in the NCAA tournament.

If the Sixers take Russell with the third overall pick, the backcourt would be set as both individuals would be able to spread the court with their shooting.

Hunter can be a 3 point shooter that teams must recognize

This would open up options all over the court, especially in pick & roll opportunities. If defenders leave to go help, then Hunter can spot up in the corner.

Don’t assume he will have the ball in his hands to create, since he’s strictly a shooter. The offense should be based on throwing it in the post and kicking it out. 

He’s more of spot-up shooter who can run off screens in order to get open. Expect Noel and Embiid to have some fun if that’s the case.

Every team needs a guy who threatens the opposition with his range. Hunter would be instantly inserted into the starting lineup… Not saying much, but is a great fit. 

Last season: 19.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, & 3.5 APG

Other notable second round draft picks include DeAndre Jordan (08), Kyle Korver (03), Marc Gasol (07), and Manu Ginobili (99).

Is D’Angelo Russell the Answer?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  This Tuesday means election day for most individuals in the Philadelphia area, but for Sixers’ fans it is the date that has been circled all season.

The future hangs in the balance for several teams

Ping-pong balls will determine the NBA landscape for years to come as the lottery is crucial for teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and even the highly decorated Los Angeles Lakers.

Luckily, the Cleveland Cavaliers are denied the first overall pick this year as LeBron James returned home to be the hero once again.

For the Sixers sake, they are hoping that Nerlens Noel brings them good fortune as he will be representing the squad on lottery night in New York City.The future hangs in the balance as 76ers General Manager Sam Hinkie has made the NBA draft the focal point of the rebuilding process.

Right now the Sixers have the best odds to land the third overall pick with a 15.56 percent chance, while the Timberwolves and Knicks are ahead of them.

Pay special attention as there are restrictions in regards to several of the picks, in addition to a plethora of second round picks that Hinkie can stash away.

The Lakers pick is top-five protected, which seriously hurts their odds at obtaining the pick this year. It is more likely the benefits of the Michael Carter-Williams trade will occur in 2016. Miami’s selection is top-10 protected and unless some miracle occurs the Sixers will have to wait another year for this pick as well. Lastly, the Oklahoma Thunder pick is already locked-up at No. 14 and Philadelphia will yet again wait til next season.

Basically the Sixers will be left with their own pick, but there is talent at the top of this 2015 draft class.

Is there a better fit for the Philadelphia Sixers than D’Angelo Russell? The Ohio State product can be the guard coach Brown has been seeking as Russell can do it all.

Is D’Angelo Russell the best fit for the Sixers ?

The 6’5″ silky smooth guard will be the first back-court player taken off the board, especially in a guard driven league. Stopping Russell from potentially being the top pick are a pair of franchise changing centers in Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns.

In desperate need of a guard, Russell seems like the perfect match for the Sixers. Fans would instantly fall in love with his ability to get buckets.

During his one season at Ohio State, Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 boards, and 5 assists for the Buckeyes in a tough Big 10 conference. 

The combo guard has unbelievable vision on the court, in addition to his leadership as a floor general. An additional bonus is Russell’s length at the guard position as it causes havoc for the opposition by being able to get his hands into the passing lanes. This could be a match-up nightmare as his versatility can help out on both ends of the court.

Russell can be the play-maker the crowd can get behind as he will find Joel Embiid and Noel for open looks. 

Between these pair of big-men, there is a highly probability that the offense will run through pick-and-rolls. Noel will have the luxury of diving to the hoop, while I imagine Embiid will spot-up for his jumper. Spacing is essential, considering the offensive troubles the team had this season. Russell will be in complete control, while enjoying the twin towers controlling the paint.

Would you rather have the guard or big men?

Granted, the roster is still a work in progress. There were a few nice surprises this season, including Robert Covington who averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. The small forward’s ability to stretch the floor has landed him a roster position as he shot 37.4% from downtown. It is crucial to have another threat from the outside, especially on kick-outs from the paint.

The backcourt of Russell and Tony Wroten would be an interesting combination as the two players are extremely young. Wroten only played in 30 games last season, but showed vast improvement with 16.9 points and 5 assists per game. This would allow Russell to bounce between the point and shooting guard, since Wroten could show him the ropes and see where he feels most comfortable. 

Transitioning to the NBA game can be difficult, but nobody is expecting the Sixers to contend next season. There will be growing pains.

Russell can be a fan favorite who can draw a crowd in Philadelphia at the age of 19! 

Taking Russell makes all the sense in the world, but it will all depend on Hinkie and the ping-pong balls. 

Be sure to tune into the NBA lottery on Tuesday night. 

MN’s Chris Kirsch Journey to the Show

David DiPasqua, Jr., Monday, February 9th, 2015

Marple Newtown alum Chris Kirsch took full advantage of his opportunities during his senior year of high school in 2010, showcasing his talents on the mound and at the plate.

The southpaw became a force to be reckoned with in the Central League, dominating the opposition while attracting scouts’ attention at the collegiate and professional level.

One specific game that remains with Kirsch today was the showdown with Conestoga, delivering a phenomenal performance where he belted a home run and shutdown the Pioneers’ on the mound to propel the Tigers to a 12-2 victory.

Kirsch’s senior year at MN was one to remember. Image is courtesy of Chris Kirsch’s Facebook page.

Kirsch emphasized the importance Coach Balk played in his development. “Without him I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. He guided me through my senior season.”

Once his high school career concluded, Kirsch was fortunate enough to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 13th round, officially selected 387th overall.

Even though he decided not to sign the contract with Pittsburgh, Kirsch holds this experience as a cherished memory as it was his introduction to the major league draft.

Instead Kirsch headed to Lackawanna, a junior college located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

During his first season with the Falcons, it was made clear that he had much to learn at the next level. 

The lefty elected to stay in school for one more season and pass up being drafted once again. This time it was the St. Louis Cardinals who selected him in the 21st round (650th overall). 

Originally this was not the plan coming out of high school. Kirsch pointed out that he “went in there with a mindset, I’m there for a year and I’m out.” Later he came to the realization that he needed more than one year to mature and learn the ins and outs. 

Heading into his sophomore campaign, expectations were high for both Kirsch and his team. Their goal was set on the World Series.

Staying the extra season proved to be a wise decision as both goals were achieved in the 2012 season.

Kirsch tore up the league, earning the Region’s Player of the Year while also obtaining First Team honors. The statistics speak for themselves, as the Lackawanna website showcases Kirsch’s success, finishing with a 10-1 record, 107 strikeouts in 75 innings, and a minuscule 1.92 ERA.

Other than Kirsch’s individual success, the Falcons’ reached their goal of attending the NJCAA Division II World Series.

He views both as accomplishments because it was the first time in school history that the team made it that far in the postseason.

From this point, it was down between going professional or attending Virginia Commonwealth University to prolong his collegiate career. 

Kirsch’s two year stint at Lackawanna allowed him to develop.  Image is courtesy of Chris Kirsch’s Facebook page.

Being selected in a third consecutive draft, Kirsch elected to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays who took him in the 14th round, winding up 452nd overall.

Coach Pensak played a significant role in his development over the two years as well, recalling how “he instilled a work ethic in me and gave me that drive I carry with me now.”

This was the moment where Kirsch realized he was ready to play pro ball. 

Collegiate athletics were now in the rear view mirror, it was time to go be a professional. 

Continuing to learn the game and adapt is a major concept that has allowed Kirsch to improve his game as a starting pitcher in the farm system. Back at Marple Newtown he was the pitcher with a big arm that threw past batters, consistently hitting between 86-88 miles per hour on the radar.

There was a learning curve, but over time Kirsch adjusted and now has a variety of different pitches in his arsenal.

Throwing heat is simply not enough for the big southpaw, so in addition to a fastball that ranges from 90-95 on the gun he has incorporated a split change-up, a slider, and a curve to keep hitters off-balance.

Injuries are a part of the game too, as he looked to bounce back after rookie ball and hip surgery in order to “put it all together.” 

One of the most challenging responsibilities of being an athlete is the lifestyle and pressure that comes along with the profession. 

This lifestyle shapes the persona of a player with diets, workouts, and baseball workouts that occur on a daily basis.

For the most part, baseball season ends in the middle of September for players. There is a three or four week layoff that provides these athletes with time to relax, before returning back to the grind for the next season.

“The most challenging thing I have to deal with is the pressure of the game. There’s so much mentally that goes in a player’s head that no fan knows, unless they are out there with you playing the game. When you are on that that mound, you control the game and you are responsible for what happens. But through my career so far, I have been able to deal with it just fine,” Kirsch remarked. 

Kirsch heads to spring training in the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization. Image is courtesy of Chris Kirsch’s Facebook page.

There are plenty of advantages to playing the game as well, “traveling the world playing the game you love.” Being able to see countless venues is certainly something to remember, witnessing different atmospheres around the country.

His personal favorite was Bowling Green, Kentucky where he recently played last season compared to his least preferred location in Beloit, Wisconsin due to the minimal amount of things to do or see.

The Marple Newtown grad reflects on his unique experiences.

“In the past five years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about the game of baseball and I will continue too as I go. The whole journey through minor league baseball has been a dream come true. Playing baseball for a living comes along with so many different life lessons that most people never get to experience.”

Whether it is his ritual of arriving two hours early to the stadium before game time or off-season training, Kirsch stressed the importance of working hard and never giving up on a dream.

Through everything he has faced in his life, Chris’ biggest fans are his parents. At every level he has played, his parents have traveled to various stadiums and showed their support to help him succeed.

Currently, Chris Kirsch is preparing for spring training in the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization after completing last season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class A) in Kentucky.

The future appears to be bright for the 23-year-old native from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

Jahlil Okafor is a Must for Sixers

David DiPasqua, Jr., Sunday, January 25th, 2015

In a year revolved around rebuilding and second round draft picks, the Philadelphia 76ers are in need of a “superstar” player. The NBA today is currently surrounded by talented players, such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry.

For the Sixers, the upcoming NBA Draft lottery is going to determine how the future of basketball in Philadelphia will unfold. Freshman phenom, Jahlil Okafor is a can’t miss project who will most likely be selected as the first overall pick in the draft. Do you know the last time the Sixers had the first overall pick? Well, it was in 1996 when the Philadelphia 76ers took Allen Iverson out of Georgetown University (Safe to say that panned out). 

In a league dominated by talented guards, the recipe for success remains in the paint with skilled big-men. When was the last time the Sixers had a true center… Mutombo? (Finger wag…No-No-No) 

Okafor is a must for the Sixers’ franchise to turn around

Okafor can be the next skilled post player that can control the paint, alongside Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. His ability to hit the open man is uncanny, spreading the floor for a team that desperately needs help in that department. Watching his games for Duke, Okafor’s size and skill-set showcases a “NBA Ready” candidate.

He easily palms the ball without any issues , in addition to a variety of low post moves in his arsenal. There are rarely any mistakes with him, which makes coach Krzyzewski very happy. One scary thought is that he is still growing into his body, gaining experience with every game he participates in for Duke.

The majority of my planning assumes that Embiid will be healthy for training camp next season. Embiid’s style of play can help spread the floor, since his game is more finesse. His jump shot can compliment Okafor in the post, allowing him to work down low. Embiid is better facing the bucket, compared to Okafor who is a back to the basket type of player. Noel on the other hand needs to improve his offensive skill-set, but his defensive presence is already starting to make a presence. Everyone on the roster can help each other grow, learning together in Brown’s system.

Defensively, the three players of Okafor (6’11”), Noel (6’11”), and Embiid (7′) would be a nightmare for opponents. The size and athleticism forces the opposition to be able to shoot from the outside. Realistically, the trio would not see the floor at the same time. 

Adding Okafor to this young nucleus can make an impact in the Eastern Conference (L-R: Embiid, Noel, MCW)

The combination of Okafor and Embiid would start, allowing Noel to be the sixth man in case of foul trouble. Depth plays a significant role in a long 82 game season, especially for big men.

The race for Okafor has begun, since the New York Knicks have altered their plans by trading away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. After the all-star break, it will be a race to the finish between a handful of teams with aspirations to select the Duke product.

The average age of the Sixers is currently 23.5 years old, which is skewed due to Jason Richardson (34) still being on the roster even though he has barely played in the past two seasons.

For coach Brown, Okafor could be the key ingredient in turning this franchise around. There has been a learning curve for both the players and coaching staff, but one player can be the difference in the NBA.

In addition to Okafor, the Sixers are in desperate need of perimeter shooting. As previously mentioned, Okafor has tremendous vision to find open players, especially coming out of double-teams. Acquiring shooters should be on the to-do list.

Looking ahead to the 2015 Free Agent class, here are five names that the Sixers should take a look at acquiring with about $20 million dollars in salary cap space. 

1. Jimmy Butler (Restricted)

  • Tough and physical shooting guard, who is only 25 years old
  • Shooting about 35% from behind the arc
  • Significant upgrade to help Michael Carter-Williams’ development
  • Won’t have to force shots, currently averaging 20.5 PPG this season
  • My strategy: Out bid the Bulls, due to their cap restrictions

2. Danny Green (Unrestricted)

  • Shooting 40% from downtown
  • Helps stretch the floor
  • Championship mentality
  • Strategy: Possible Brown connection to lure him away

3. Draymond Green (Restricted)

  • Defensive presence
  • Improves roster, with a high IQ
  • Golden State will have to let someone go

4. Kawhi Leonard (Restricted)

  • Most likely won’t happen
  • Provides a face of the franchise, along with a winning attitude
  • Hope there is a Brown connection
  • Strategy: Outrageously outbid teams to acquire the young star

5. Wesley Matthews (Unrestricted)

  • 16.5 PPG for the Trail Blazers
  • Sharpshooter, 40% from 3pt range
  • Possible to acquire for the right price

76ers Mock Draft

David DiPasqua, Jr., Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The NBA draft is the event that the Sixers and their fans have been waiting for all season. Rebuilding a franchise is never an easy task, but GM Sam Hinkie has shown that he wants to build through the draft. Hinkie’s decision to draft Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th overall pick was the steal of the draft. Nerlens Noel is finally healthy after sitting out the entire season from his torn ACL.

Now for the 2014 NBA draft

With a total of 6 picks in this draft, expect the Sixers to be listening to offers throughout the night. Provided below are if the Sixers stay at the picks they have, which I highly doubt will happen.

Picks: 3, 10, 32, 39, 47, 52, 54

No. 3: Joel Embiid, Kansas 

If the Sixers do NOT trade up for Wiggins, then they will stay where they are.

There are 3 franchise players in this draft, so the Sixers will take whoever falls to them. This may not be the most popular pick, due to his variety of injuries after the whole Bynum fiasco. Embiid is a project, but his upside is remarkable being a true 7 footer. He has the size, speed, and athleticism to make him a standout with a young core of players. His potential is something Hinkie covets, which is why he should consider sitting Embiid out for the season to get healthy (Similar to Noel).  Brown can teach both Embiid and Noel how to play together, creating a big man combination that could potentially be the best in the league. This pick is for the future, since the Sixers are not in win now mode.

No. 10: Zach LaVine, UCLA 

With Embiid being selected at 3, it’s time to give MCW some firepower from the outside. Most likely, the best player with the most upside might be their approach. LaVine is a combo guard who matches Brown’s run and gun style. His athletic ability is off the charts, especially when in transition. Could be an interesting piece that plays alongside Williams. Still has much to learn, but is a lottery pick with his potential. Doug McDermott or Nik Stauskas are viable options who can shoot the ball, but LaVine seems like the type of player Hinkie would go after.

Alternative: Julius Randle, Kentucky

Rumors have indicated that Julius Randle has been slipping due to his recent foot surgery. Why not select Randle if he falls to 10? You can never have enough big men in the NBA, especially when the Sixers need to add depth. Thad Young can help Randle adapt to the NBA by only being a left-handed player.  If Randle slips to 10, the Sixers should not hesitate to select him.

The 2nd Round

The second round should be based off of who is the best available player that could make an impact off of the bench, has experience, and played at a big time program.

The second round is extremely tricky, but these are the types of players who can turn around a franchise. I fully expect the Sixers to trade back into the first round for a player like Cleanthony Early or Adreian Payne. Both are experienced players who graduated from their universities.

No. 32: Markel Brown, Oklahoma State 

Shooting guard who can put the ball in the net, while also having freakish athleticism.

No. 39: DeAndre Daniels, UConn

Major contributor that helped UConn win the National Championship. Daniels has a nice shot from the outside and could be a match-up problem.

No. 47: CJ Fair, Syracuse 

Fair would reunite with Williams who played at Syracuse.

No. 52: Russ Smith, Louisville 

Talented scorer with championship experience that matches the up-tempo style that Brown desires.

No. 54: Patric Young, Florida 

Obtain some toughness and size at the end of the draft. Young could be a rotation player that immediately helps out.

All player comparisons are courtesy of  http://www.nbadraft.net/2014mock_draft

NFL Free Agency 2014

David DiPasqua, Jr., Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The 2014 NFL season kicked off today, as franchises made signature statements through free agent signings, cuts, or releases. Find out if you agree or disagree with your teams moves or lack thereof.

Highlighted the most prominent moves in FA, but the list below are NOT all the deals that transpired. 


The Philadelphia Eagles have struggled to find anyone who can simply cover or tackle in the secondary, since the departure of Brian Dawkins.

Malcom Jenkins instantly improves Philadelphia’s secondary

Provides experience, leadership, and a new attitude to a secondary that desperately needs it.


They release of Julius Peppers allowed the Bears to bring in Houston.

Replacing Peppers will be difficult, but Houston has a high motor that will get to the quarterback.


The Denver Broncos got a SLAM DUNK in free agency, by picking up Ward and Talib.

Secondary breakdowns plagued the Broncos, but the acquisition of these two players will clean that up.

No doubt that if DeMarcus Ware ends up being the compliment to Von Miller, nothing is stopping them from another Super Bowl appearance.

  • Patriots CB Aqib Talib to Denver for  6-year, $57 million deal
  • T.J. Ward agrees to terms


The Browns upgraded their defense with productive veterans Dansby and Whitner.

Dansby was a tackling machine last season, while Whitner made his presence felt with hard hits in the secondary.

  • Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby reached a 4-year, $24 million deal
  • 49ers S Donte Whitner reached a 4-year, $28 million deal


Robert Griffin receives a reliable option on the outside in Roberts to compliment Pierre Garçon. 

The Gruden era in Washington will take some time, but Roberts provides stability.

  • Cardinals WR Andre Roberts reached on a 4-yr, $16 million deal


Can you say CHA-CHING! The Saints are officially all in this season. 

Byrd was considered the best secondary option on the market, as they let Jenkins go to Philadelphia. 

This deal must leave TE Jimmy Graham with a bad taste in his mouth, since he was unable to reach a long-term deal with the team. 

  • Bills S Jairus Byrd a 6-year, $54 million deal

Byrd cashes in as the Saints aim for Super Bowl


Essentially replaces Ryan Clark on the back end of the Steel Curtain. 

Very talented safety, which can contribute right away. 

  • Panthers S Mike Mitchell a 5-year, $25 million deal. 


Huge blow for the New York Giants as Joseph closed running lanes and generated a pass rush.

Joseph is very young at the age of 25, durable, and full of potential. Vikings received a talented player.

  • Giants DT Linval Joseph a 5-year, $31.5 million deal


Reunited with coach Harbaugh from his Stanford days. 

Great talent that provides the 49ers with another great lineup in the trenches.

  • Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin traded to the 49ers

Players to Watch

LB DeMarcus Ware: The Cowboys were atrocious on defense last year. Releasing Ware doesn’t help. 

After being released by the Dallas Cowboys, there are several suitors for the future HOF player. Denver has jumped out as the front runner, which is bad news for every other team in the NFL.

Ware instantly improves any defense


DE Jared Allen: Potential landing spots are Chicago Bears or Seattle Seahawks. All depends on whether Allen wants winning or a paycheck.

DE Julius Peppers: See the Bucs make a run at Peppers, reuniting him with coach Lovie Smith.

DL Jason Hatcher: Seattle Seahawks is where Hatcher is visiting. Hatcher would be another standout on that front 4 rotation.

RB Darren Sproles: New England needs a RB that can help Tom Brady. Sproles would be perfect in passing game with dump downs/ screens.

Eagles Draft Talk

David DiPasqua, Jr., Saturday, January 25th, 2014

After an incredible first season under Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia Eagles head into NFL draft with a full year under his belt.

This 2014 NFL Draft is extremely deep in particular positions, but the Eagles primary focus should be on defensive help.

The Eagles have possession of the 22nd overall pick in the 1st round, but they do have the option to trade up or down.

Is Calvin Pryor the answer at the safety position?

Two names to keep your eye on for the next few months if they stay put with the 22nd pick:

1) Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville

The secondary needs to be upgraded and Pryor can be that impact player. (Honestly, been missing safeties since Dawkins departed)

Pryor has the size at (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) for the safety position, while being known for his big hits.

His physical style of play is something that has been missing for quite some time and will be loved by Eagles fans.

The aggressive safety makes his presence felt when he creeps up into the box and stuffs the run.

With that said, he is a consistent tackler who has good form when it comes to one-on-one in the open field.

The lack of competition may hurt Pryor because he played at Louisville, but he proved to be a playmaker.

One thing that frightens me is that he needs to improve his ability to win matchups in man coverage.

Mel Kiper’s analysis of Pryor:

“Pryor is a rising talent with the speed and instincts to cover a ton of ground in coverage, but also the willingness to fly downhill and make tackles at the line of scrimmage. The onetime high school running back (and safety) was pretty dominant as a junior and enters the draft with a lot of momentum in terms of his tape”

The first-team All-AAC performer tallied up 75 tackles, 3 INTS, and 2 forced fumbles.

Will be arguably the top rated safety in this 2014 draft, but anything can happen with the NFL combine.

He’s one player that could possibly skyrocket up draft boards with a great combine.

2)  Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

The primary focus should be on defensive, but the selection of Benjamin will be decided on whether or not the Eagles resign Riley Cooper or Jeremy Maclin.

Benjamin was the primary weapon utilized for the National Champions this past season, who had a great influence on why Jameis Winston won the Heisman.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds, Benjamin could create mismatch problems for secondary’s across the league.

He has an unique combination of size & speed that has the potential to be an elite playmaker in the NFL.

Imagine Benjamin in this explosive offense

His primary role in the offense would be designed for the red zone, especially with his ability to go up and catch the ball at its highest points.

Did you watch the end of the National Championship game? Benjamin grabbed that ball with every inch of his height (Image provided if you missed it)

The statistics speak for themselves, as Benjamin caught 84 balls for 1,506 yards and 19 touchdowns in two seasons.

Plugging Benjamin in Chip Kelly’s offense will provide another deep threat with WR DeSean Jackson and take the pressure off of him.

Benjamin will open gaps in defenses, allowing others like DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, Jason Avant, and LeSean McCoy to have open looks.

MN’s Future is Bright

By: David DiPasqua, Jr., Wednesday, November 7th, 2013

Coach Gionta addressing the team

Coach Gionta addressing the team

After an impressive 35-6 victory over Lower Merion last Saturday, the Marple Newtown Tigers finished their season with a 3-7 (3-6 Central League) record.

“It’s always good to end the season on a win,’ coach Ray Gionta said. “Good way to send the seniors out, a positive day for them and for the rest of the team. For the younger guys, it’s something to build on for next year.’

This core of young players now have a full year of experience under their belt and will look to make noise next year in the Central League.

MN will have the dynamic duo of Abel Hoff and Adrian Sapnas returning in the backfield.

Sapnas led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns, by having 118 carries for 813 yards and 7 TDs.

“Next year, we’ll be a veteran team,’ Sapnas said. Alongside Sapnas next year will be the lightning back, Hoff.

As a sophomore, Hoff rushed 130 times for 611 yards and 5 TDs.

Hoff showed off his versatility as a receiver, posting 11 receptions for 195 yards.

Earlier in the season, Hoff’s personal goal for the remainder of the season was to reach 1,000 or more all-purpose yards.

That goal was met, compiling 1145 all-purpose yards for the 2013 season.

The two seniors who also contributed in this offense were Ross Binder and Brian Rosborough.

Binder rushed 46 times for 221 yards, and 3 TDs, while Rosborough accumulated 224 yards and 1 TD.

The aerial attack was led by QB Tommy Davis, who finished the season with 583 passing yards, 5 TDs, and 3 INTs. 

2013 Seniors

2013 Tiger Seniors 

Davis reflected on the season by stating, “even though we didn’t have the season we wished for, that I still enjoyed playing with all my teammates and glad to be part of this team.”

Nik Rhoads was the main target through the air, as he had 15 receptions for 283 yards, and 1 TD.

Rhoads contributed on defense too with 37 tackles.

Defensively, A.J. Cunningham was a nightmare for opposing offenses, with 79 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss.

The two big men on the defensive line were Zach Falcone and Markos Katrakazis. Both finished with 43 tackles apiece.

Marcus Weathers finished third on the team with 34 tackles on the season.

Other contributors were Gino Dicamillo with 33 tackles, 1 INT and Noah Turner ‘s 29 tackles, 1 INT. 

2013 Tigers Radio Network broadcast team (L to R) Greg Pecko-Play-by-Play Announcer, Steve Reynolds-Color Commentator, Jim Allsman-Executive Producer, Dave DiPasqua-Statistician & On-air Contributor and Frank Ruffo-Game Clock Operator

Tigers Radio Network broadcast team (L to R) Greg Pecko, Steve Reynolds, Jim Allsman, Dave DiPasqua, and Frank Ruffo

The future looks bright indeed for the Marple Newtown Tigers.

The Tigers Radio Network has provided live broadcasts of every game this season, with the exception of the Lower Merion.

Each game broadcast and statistics can be found here (More Information) 

Thank you for a great season.

Go Tigers!


Malvern Left EA in the Dust

By: David DiPasqua, Jr., Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

It was a beautiful night of Inter-AC league football as the Malvern Prep Friars took on the Episcopal Academy Churchmen.

Malvern Prep’s Troy Gallen stole the show as the Friars went on to win 49-21.

Gallen was certainly the player of the game, rushing 27 times for 365 yards and 5 TDs.


Gallen’s 365 yards and 5 TDs led Malvern past EA

The future Delaware Blue Hen averaged 13.5 yards per rush.

At the half, the game was tied up at 14 apiece.

All momentum shifted in the second half as Gallen’s first carry went 59 yards for a TD.

His other bursts to the end zone came from 32, 40, and 70 yards out.

Malvern was able to control the line of scrimmage the entire night and allowed Gallen to make plays.

The Friars finished with 440 total yards on the night (405 rushing/ 35 passing)

Matt Brown contributed with 4 carries for 46 yards and 1 TD.

The Episcopal Academy was led by QB Ryan Whayland, who finished 15-for-29, 237 yards, 2 TDS, and 3 INTs.

Whayland’s aerial attack accounted for most of the Churchmen’s yardage (Finished with 289 total)

Turnovers were the key factor in how the game turned out.

As the night progressed, a gloomy fog took the field in the 4th quarter.

Malvern Vs. EA 11/2/2013

Next Week: Malvern vs. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy / EA vs. Haverford School

Game Audio from Malvern at The Episcopal Academy on Friday, 11-2-2013 (More Information)

Matt Chandik’s Article of the Game (More Information)

Gallen’s Highlight Film (More Information)

The Passing Attack of Davis & Rhoads

By: David DiPasqua, Jr., Saturday, October 26th, 2013

The Springfield Cougars surged past the Marple Newtown Tigers by a final score of 26-14.

The aerial attack was in full gear, as the Tigers were unsuccessful running the football.

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Davis finished 7-17 for 193 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 INT

The senior Davis began the game with a 79 yard touchdown pass to Nik Rhoads.

As the game progressed, the Tigers were unsuccessful in holding the 7-0 lead.

Davis finished the game 7-17 for 193 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

The main playmaker was Rhoads at wide receiver with 4 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown.

On the ground, Adrian Sapnas led the way with 15 rushes for 39 yards and 1 touchdown.

Defensively, A.J. Cunningham showcased why he is a player to watch.

Cunningham finished with 18 tackles, as he was flying all over the field in pursuit of the football.

Other contributors were Gino Dicamillo, Nick Volpi, and Markos Katrakazis.

Dicamillo ended up with 8 tackles, as Volpi and Katrakazis finished with 7 tackles apiece.

The Tigers conclude their season on the road, traveling to Lower Merion on Saturday, November 2nd.

The Tigers Radio Network will be providing updates of the game through social media,.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 PM. Be sure to follow updates of the last game of the season.

Game Audio from Marple Newtown at Springfield on Friday, 10-25-2013 (More Information)