Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Roster hopefuls prepare for 76ers' Vegas Summer League slate

The Sixers brought in 14 players that are expected to be on their roster for the start of the Las Vegas Summer League, starting July 11-21 and will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Roster hopefuls prepare for 76ers' Vegas Summer League slate

The 76ers´ Jordan McRae. (Matt Slocum/AP)
The 76ers' Jordan McRae. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Sixers brought in 14 players that are expected to be on their roster for the start of the Las Vegas Summer League, starting July 11-21 and will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. 

Jordan McRae, the 58th pick in the 2014 Draft, had positive things to say about Nerlens Noel after his debut in a Sixers uniform after being out for a year with a knee injury, though he was one of the only rookies drafted by the club that wasn’t in Orlando.

“I’ve tried to watch them, but we’ve been here a lot but from what I’ve heard they’re doing well,” McRae said on Tuesday afternoon from the practice floor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I’ve seen more of Nerlens in the first game, but I played against him in college and when he got hurt, I expected him to come back better than he was before. In college he was all dunks, but now, to be able to see him finish with the left off the glass, make some hook shots and do some up-and-under moves, it’s a good sign for the 76ers.”

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La Salle’s Duren trying to fit in at Sixers camp

One of La Salle’s winningest guards since the era of Lionel Simmons in the late 80’s, Tyreek Duren, was invited to the Sixers Las Vegas Summer League roster.

Even in the Explorers' poor 2013-14 campaign, Duren was a bright spot in the backcourt for head coach Dr. John Giannini, a controlled offensive force. But at the end of his solid season, Duren didn’t know who’d be calling him after he went undrafted.

“I mean I was ecstatic to get the call,” Duren said. “First, I didn’t even know if I would be getting invited. Just to get that call from your home team, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to know that you are going to be representing the team that you’ve been watching.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Philly native scored 15.2 points and grabbed 3.4 rebounds while dishing 3.5 assists per game at La Salle last season. Duren also shot a career-high 40.8 percent from three-point range and cut down his turnovers per game from previous seasons.

And for the Sixers in a small time-frame to show one’s skills, like Summer League games, Duren said he’s just trying to do what’s necessary to get noticed by franchises. 

“I’m just trying to stick out,” Duren said. “Whether it’s on defense or offense, I’m just trying to make sure I’m out there doing something that the coaches notice me. For me, I think the main thing is defense. I have to try to make sure I’m pressuring my man, disrupting the ball and getting into passing lanes.” 

But even during the big grind and huge opportunity that’s presented itself for Duren, he still had time to joke about the differences between the Explorers and the Sixers.

“Practices are going good. My body is taking a toll a little bit,” Duren laughed. “I’m not used to practices being as intense as they’ve been. These are a lot worse [than La Salle’s], the practices are a bit longer and you don’t get too many breaks. It’s a lot different.”

Cincinnati’s Kilpatrick not worried about age

One of the best players in the country, at least when it comes to how the hardware stacked up at the end of the college basketball season, didn’t hear his name get called on draft night.

Sean Kilpatrick, a consensus Second-Team All American and First team All-American Athletic Conference at Cincinnati this past season, had too many knocks on his game as far as teams were concerned.

Kilpatrick, 24, was too old compared to players with more upside. His 6-foot-4 frame was too small for the NBA level. And he wasn’t very efficient with the Bearcats, though he was their only scoring option plenty of times last season.

But none of that is an issue for Kilpatrick. He’s just looking to make the most of his time in Summer League with the Sixers.

“It’s another chip on my shoulder,” Kilpatrick said Tuesday. “Being able to come out here and compete with these guys and knowing that the situation I was in was a difficult situation, doesn’t stop the grind. You have to continue to keep coming out here and continue to keep working and get better everyday.” 

Kilpatrick, who has been compared to Jodie Meeks and Wes Matthews, dropped 20.6 points per game and shot 84.5 percent from the free throw line. He’s proved to be a deadly scorer in one of the country’s best conferences, but his inconsistencies always brought up concerns.

The 210-pounder from Yonkers, New York, said that it’s his age that makes him a better prospect than other players. Though, it shouldn’t be too much of a concern to anyone.

“I have to continue to keep being me. The age ain’t nothing but a number,” Kilpatrick said. “The real thing with me, at 24 years old, I’m more mature than the average guy that has the ‘upside.’ I don’t pay attention to any of the critics or what they say. I just continue to come in here and get better.” 

He added: “I have a lot of doubters, but I have to continue to keep playing the game and proving them wrong, like I’ve been doing all my life. Nothing is going to change. I’m going to continue to keep getting better.”

More notes:

· Delaware’s Devon Saddler is making the move from two-guard to point guard while playing with the club for the Summer League in Las Vegas. He said he used to come to Sixers games during his time with the Blue Hens.

· McRae, the Sixers' 58th pick, said he, just like Saddler, likes the style of play the Sixers have been using. He said that “uptempo” style is why he “picked Tennessee for college.”

· Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin and Adonis Thomas, who was on a 10-day contract with the Sixers last season, both weren’t present for the second day of practices, Sixers PR told the Daily News.

· Former Temple player Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson said he learned a lot overseas in Luxembourg for the last year, but would make “pasta” and find “chicken dings” and other things to eat while he was there.

Get the full Sixerville experience at PhillyDailyNews.com.

About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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