Jay Wright will discuss his decision to retire as Villanova coach during a 10 a.m. news conference today, answering many of the questions fans might have. But there is one compelling and interesting reason that speaks to the core of Wright’s formula for success.
The future of college basketball — in the era of the transfer portal, of name, image, and likeness (NIL), of alumni and boosters pooling money to form collectives to pay athletes endorsement dollars for sponsorships and public appearances — promised to jeopardize the smooth efficiency of Wright’s proven formula. Instead, he chose to leave on top.
— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the former second-round draft pick, wasn’t on the field enough to catch many passes last season. He’d seen his role diminish and was primarily used for blocking and on special teams. Heading into next season, his role will change some more as beat writer Jeff McLane reports Arcega-Whiteside is making the transition to tight end.
Another Eagles receiver who has some versatility is the newly signed Devon Allen, and we don’t mean special teams even though he’s expected to compete for time as a return man. Allen is so good as a hurdler that he’s been in the Olympics, and on Saturday, he’ll be competing in the Penn Relays.
The Eagles are also looking for players who are perhaps immovable. They have a number of options in the draft to choose from at defensive tackle, and EJ Smith has a look at who might be a good fit for the team. The good DTs seem to come out of Georgia.
The Phillies are 13 games into their season, or 8% of their schedule. That’s something like early second quarter of Week 2 in the NFL. So there’s no room for panic with a 5-8 start … right? Of course not, but there is an expectation — and a level of pressure — that comes with having a payroll that cleared the $230 million luxury-tax threshold. Scott Lauber offers some observations of the Phillies as they enter their second homestead of the season.
Going to the game today? Citizens Bank Park has loosened its restrictive bag policy after fan backlash.
Next: The Phillies open a seven-game homestand at 7:05 p.m. Friday against the Brewers. Ranger Suárez will start against Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta (NBCSP).
Off the Dribble
The 76ers’ commanding 3-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors — and will try to complete a sweep Saturday — in their first-round NBA playoff series has been attributed to the play of Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and James Harden. But it could just as easily be credited to the quiet contributions of Tobias Harris.
Harris, who sometimes fades to black and fails to serve as the Sixers’ third star, is in the midst of a strong postseason performance. He’s played stifling defense against Raptors star Pascal Siakam and key contributor Gary Trent Jr. And he’s grown more comfortable as a stand-still shooter, knocking down 58.8% from the floor and 63.6% from three-point distance. Coach Doc Rivers said it best, calling Harris the “the unsung hero.”
The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell dives deeper into what he’s brought to the table through three games.
Next: The Sixers will play the Raptors at 2 p.m. Saturday with a chance to closeout the series and complete their first sweep since 1991.
On the Fly
With defenseman Kevin Connauton (lower body) injured against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday and out of the lineup indefinitely, the Flyers recalled 23-year-old Linus Högberg under emergency conditions. Högberg made his NHL debut on Thursday against the Montréal Canadiens. call-up makes him the sixth Phantoms player to have his NHL debut this season, joining forward Max Willman, forward Linus Sandin, goalie Felix Sandström, forward Isaac Ratcliffe, and forward Hayden Hodgson. Nine players have made their NHL debuts with the Flyers in 2021-22, including college players Bobby Brink, Noah Cates, and Ronnie Attard.
With their latest win, the Flyers dodged the possibility of an infamous record.
Next: The Flyers play host to the Penguins at 4 p.m. Sunday (TNT).
“But who wants to watch women’s sport?”
Well, in Europe, when the Women’s Champions League is in full swing, it’s a full stadium at the Camp Nou. Not just for the classic rivalry with Real Madrid, either. Barcelona, the current defending champions, play Wolfsburg in the next leg and that match is sold out as well.
Jonathan Tannenwald has all the information on that and other top soccer matches to watch this weekend.
Worth a look
Lion ready to roar: No less than Penn State coach James Franklin has said he expects Nick Tarburton to have a big year.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Jeff McLane, Jonathan Tannenwald, EJ Smith, Mike Sielski, Scott Lauber, Bridget Hyland, Olivia Reiner, Keith Pompey, Gina Mizell, Giana Han and Joe Juliano.