Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

By the day, even by the hour, Carter Hart looks and sounds more and more like a professional.

He's worked with a sports psychologist to tackle the mentality of goaltending.

He's noticeably stronger and his dietary habits are impressive.

His hockey résumé is in tip-top condition.

He turns 20 years old in August and will no longer look like a pro in 2018-19.

He will be one — and already with some added preparation.

"I actually just deleted my Twitter the other day because there's no point in all that," Hart said a week and a half ago at Flyers development camp. "You see a lot of news and stuff, and whether it's positive or negative, you just don't want to hear that stuff. For me, I just try to stay away from it and worry about what I'm doing and where I'm at right now."

A wise move by a kid who exudes wisdom, a precociousness that has Flyers fans gaga over his future, which is nearing. The 2016 second-round draft pick seems destined for his first AHL season but will fight for an NHL job come September.

"I want to be a Philadelphia Flyer next year," Hart said. "That's my goal."

At the junior level, he showed he's ready for his next challenge. He set records with the WHL's Everett Silvertips and put up a staggering 1.60 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in 2017-18.

While those numbers are nice and shiny, Hart will be the first to point out the stark difference between junior and pro hockey. 

"In juniors, you have guys that are 16 years old that some of them are just hitting puberty now," Hart said. "In pros, you're dealing with men. So you're going from playing with boys to men, so obviously it's going to be a jump up but I think you just have to adjust and adapt to everything."

If there's a prospect to bank on doing so, it's Hart. The readiness factor goes beyond the numbers with the netminder.

"People that haven't met him and don't work with him day in and day out just see what he does on the ice, but for me, it's that whole maturity and professionalism that he's already completely grasped," Everett general manager Garry Davidson said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in May. "Because there are guys his age that are going to the pro game that are going to have to learn all of those things and some of them will never learn it and will come up short. But he's got that already going for him."

Hart will use it throughout the summer and especially during the fall when he's back in Voorhees, New Jersey, for training camp. He's aware of the situation all around him — from the number of goalies in the club's picture to Flyers fans calling his name.

Aware, but not focused on it.

"I just have to worry about doing my job and going out there and playing and performing," he said. "Coming to camp in September, my job is to just stop the puck. The only thing that really matters is what I think of myself. I can't worry about what the staff thinks, what management thinks, what other people think, what fans think — I just have to worry about what I think as soon as I step out on that ice."

Hart has that down.

And he understands his life will soon be different.

"You're going to be on your own pretty much completely for laundry, eating, groceries," Hart said. "I've talked to a lot of people and that's the biggest transition from junior to pro is not having a billet. I know my billet Parker Fowlds is probably the best there is."

Fowlds won't miss Hart on Twitter.

"He doesn't even know what Twitter is," the goalie said with a laugh.

Perfect.

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Flyers 'see this rise' with Philippe Myers, who can handle the pressure

Flyers 'see this rise' with Philippe Myers, who can handle the pressure

Philippe Myers is no longer a mystery that went untouched in the 2015 draft.

When people watch, they scratch their heads.

How did this kid go undrafted?

He came to the Flyers at 196 pounds. Many didn't know the pronunciation of his first name. He was just a training camp invite.

That has all changed. There are expectations now.

Except, deep down, he's no different.

"I'm the same person that was undrafted," Myers said last week at Flyers development camp. "I try to stay off the social media stuff, try to just focus on myself. It's not a good thing to get too wrapped up in all of that. Just trying to focus on myself and try to get better as a player and try to get stronger in the gym."

So when things didn't go his way to start the 2017-18 season, his first year pro with anticipation among the fan base, Myers didn't panic because he's been there before.

It's almost as if going undrafted paid off.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman, a fluid skater and skilled for his size, turned it right back on after overcoming injuries and a somewhat slow start with the AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Following 14 games over the first two and a half months of the year, Myers appeared in 36 from Dec. 23 to the end of the regular season, putting up three goals, 11 assists and a plus-10 rating. He then punctuated it all with three goals and four assists over 13 postseason games.

"Before Christmas, it was a little disappointing with all the injuries and stuff, but I think I progressed pretty smoothly there after Christmas and in the playoffs," Myers said. "I'm pretty happy with the way that the season went. By all means, I'm not satisfied, but I'm pretty happy, in general, how it went."

Myers had general manager Ron Hextall's eye back in 2015 when the big blueliner went undrafted. He has the GM's attention even more so now, even in July.

"Phil, he just got better and better as the year went on. You saw him at the start of the year and he was a good player. Then as the year went along, you just see this rise. It's what you want," Hextall said. "You want your players to get better the entire year. To Phil’s credit, he did. 

"The playoffs were as good as he played all year. Toward the end of the season, he was a horse for us. He was a very good player. I don't want to say opened our eyes because we expected that from him, but he certainly put himself in a position this year for us to take a look at him."

With 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin likely out until February recovering from a torn ACL, Myers is the next in line to join the Flyers' young foundation of defensemen, including Shayne Gostisbehere (25 years old), Ivan Provorov (21), Travis Sanheim (22) and Robert Hagg (23).

Is Myers ready?

"If he had played a whole year, maybe he would be close," Flyers development coach Kjell Samuelsson said last week. "But he was hurt a lot so I think he needs more time in the minors."

While it doesn't seem like there's a spot open yet, anyway, that can change throughout a long regular season. And possessing a coveted right-handed shot only helps Myers' call-up chances for his NHL debut in 2018-19.

"Try to push for a roster spot here in September," Myers said.

Right as the Flyers push their process into a new gear.

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5 Sixers summer league observations: Furkan Korkmaz erupts for 40 points in loss

5 Sixers summer league observations: Furkan Korkmaz erupts for 40 points in loss

Friday night marked the start of summer league for the Sixers, but Furkan Korkmaz looked ready for 2018-19 opening night.

However, he was the only one to thoroughly impress during the team's MGM Resorts NBA Summer League opener in Las Vegas, as the Sixers fell to the Celtics, 95-89, at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Korkmaz went off for a game-high 40 points with Sixers head coach Brett Brown watching in attendance. Still, it wasn't enough as the Sixers suffered costly defensive breakdowns, proving incapable of holding a four-point lead with a little over three minutes left in regulation.

The Celtics closed the game on a 14-4 run to hand the Sixers the loss. The Sixers are back it Saturday when they face the Lakers at 11:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Let's get into five observations from Friday's action:

1. Korkmaz put on a show and certainly looked the part of an NBA player.

The 2016 draft's 26th overall pick went 8 for 14 from three-point range and lived at the charity stripe, going 12 of 15. The 6-foot 7 shooting guard, who also grabbed six rebounds, made a variety of deep and difficult trifectas. 

He drained a step-back three to give the Sixers a 78-75 lead with 5:48 left and sank a similar one at 3:53 to push the advantage to 84-80.

Korkmaz had a craftiness to his game and drew fouls with numerous head fakes. He looked strong on dribble handoffs and going off the bounce, as well.

The native of Turkey turns 21 years old later this month. This performance had to feel good after a Lisfranc injury to his left foot last season limited him to just 24 total games (15 with the Sixers and nine in the G League).

2. Jonah Bolden was active and bouncy, attacking missed shots for athletic rebounds while running the floor well.

The Sixers' 2017 second-round pick totaled six points, six rebounds and a block in 23 minutes. He shot 2 of 6 from the free throw line and 0 for 2 from deep after shooting poorly in those areas during 29 EuroLeague games. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward shot 31.9 percent from three and 51.2 percent from the line last season.

"Coming from UCLA going to my first year professionally was a big difference," Bolden said last month at the Sixers' practice facility. "Coming from the American style of play to the European style was also a big difference — the physicality, the speed of the game kind of slowed down. IQ level was a lot higher. There was an adjustment phase. Once I got through that, it was kind of a smooth ride."

Bolden wants to play for the Sixers in 2018-19. He'll have more summer league time to prove himself and try to convince management the time is now.

3. Zhaire Smith showed flashes but had a mostly quiet night.

The 16th overall pick in the draft last month was a minus-21 in 29 minutes while posting seven points and two assists. The 6-foot-5 guard attempted one three-pointer in which he missed but did not commit a turnover.

During the second quarter, he exhibited his athletic ability when fellow 2018 pick Landry Shamet found him on a cut to the basket for a layup.

Less than a minute later, Smith took a steal the other way and found Shamet in the corner for a three-pointer.

4. Speaking of Shamet, who was taken 26th overall by the Sixers, he did not play in the second half after leaving with a right ankle sprain.

He played some point guard off the bench and hit a pair of three-pointers in 12 minutes before exiting and not returning.

In his final season at Wichita State, the 6-foot-4 guard hit 84 treys and shot it at a 44.2 percent clip from bonus territory. Shamet is hoping he won't be sidelined for long so he can display that skill to the Sixers.

“I was recruited as a two, which people forget about, so I honestly feel confident playing either guard spot,” Shamet said a day after the draft. “And even being a point guard, I don’t have to have the ball in my hands. I understand Ben [Simmons] is a guy that’s good at creating space, having the ball, playmaking. Getting to play with him, he’s going to make my life a lot easier finding me and being a willing passer, making plays. That’s exciting for sure. But I have confidence I can play off the ball, I honestly feel that’s a strength of mine.”

5. Take away Korkmaz's impressive 8-for-14 showing from deep and the Sixers shot 5 for 23 (21.7 percent) behind the arc. They'll need to offer more help to Korkmaz, who single-handedly kept the Sixers in the game and nearly won it for them.

Saint Joseph's product Isaiah Miles was the team's only other double-figure scorer, checking in with 11 points and eight rebounds.

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