In Fords in Four, we ask an alumnus four questions; he shares insights and stories. In this blog post, Austin Krell ’15 details his path to becoming a beat writer for the Philadelphia 76ers and shares predictions for their season. Krell contributes Sixers content for USA Today Sports Media Group’s NBA websites, daily coverage for The Painted Lines, and hosts the podcast The Feed to Embiid. He is active on twitter, sharing real time insights on everything Sixers.
What is your favorite memory from your time at The Haverford School?
My favorite memory is being a part of the basketball program during my high school years. I think that locker room dynamic, that environment, and those relationships stayed with me more than I anticipated at the time. That experience probably led me down the path I’m taking now.
Please describe a defining moment in your career.
I think the defining moment is more than just a singular event. Rather, it’s the collection of mistakes I’ve made up to this point. I have no formal training in journalism and it wasn’t the path I traveled with my college education. So I jumped right into a very competitive, very volatile industry as a raw talent. Of course, you’re going to make mistakes with that background information. I’ve made plenty and I’ll make more, I’m sure. But the defining moments aren’t the mistakes I made. Rather, it’s the reaction to those mistakes. Instead of being discouraged when I messed up, I learned, grew, and kept pushing forward. I also used those moments to teach younger writers and media personalities so that I can help them avoid similar errors along the way. In any walk of life, it’s hard to know success without failure.
What advice do you have for other alums on how to make the most of their Haverford education?
This is something that I wish had been imparted upon me when I was younger, but I’m glad I realized it before it was too late. Everyone’s background is different, and therefore personal motivations aren’t always going to be shared. In many cases, you won’t enjoy your life if you’re not doing what you love to do. Think about it — 5 work days per week, 2 weekend days. You start thinking about Monday and the week ahead on Sunday afternoon if you don’t like what you do. If you don’t like what you do, you’ll probably want to clock in, get your work done, and clock out exactly when your shift ends. So, you’ll put in just enough time to meet the minimum. The implication there is that you won’t grow and get better. You won’t climb the ladder. So if you find an intense passion in something, pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it, don’t let anyone talk down that passion as if it’s just a hobby. Pursue it, find avenues to start as young as possible, find schools that have pipelines to that industry. If you love it, you’ll never feel like you’re working, you won’t clock out at the buzzer on your shift. You’ll happily put in the extra effort because you love it, and you’ll become great at it.
I remember when I first started in this business, I was working out at my apartment complex my senior year of college. I had already landed a job for after graduation — in the field of my education, too. I saw an ad on Twitter to apply for a position as a blogger focusing on the Sixers, and thought I’d give it a shot and pursue a long-standing interest. It turned into an intense passion. The rest is history.
Rapid fire, what are your predictions for the following questions, as of Feb 13, 2022?
Will Joel Embiid win 2021-22 MVP?
If I had a vote, Joel Embiid would certainly be my choice for MVP. I’ve discovered that those individual accolades are largely decided months in advance because of narratives perpetuated by national media. They’ll talk certain players up in the middle of the season and the attention will float guys to the top. That isn’t to say that they don’t deserve it. But, the narratives around Joel Embiid — sometimes accurate — have really changed this season. He’s blossomed into a phenomenal leader, he’s grown his game beyond expectations in the span of one offseason, and he’s carried his team to a favorable record despite not having its second star all season.
Will Tyrese Maxey win the Most Improved Player award this season?
Maxey won’t win Most Improved Player because there’s a significant precedent for first-time All-Stars getting that award. Memphis’ Ja Morant should win it. But Maxey has taken gargantuan leaps in his second season. For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into the stats. But, there is significant historical precedent of young players being very good at the same things that Maxey is great at from the jump, and becoming stars.
In what place in the Eastern Conference will the 76ers finish the regular season?
The Sixers are certainly hanging around at the top of the East. They’re only 2.5 games back of the 1-seed, and the newly-acquired James Harden hasn’t even stepped on the court yet. I’ll say they’re better than the 5-seed (where they are now), but probabilities suggest that too many things would have to break perfectly for them to get the 1-seed. I’ll split the difference and say the 3-seed.
Will the 76ers make it past the second round of the playoffs?
It’s funny, you ask me that two weeks ago, and I would say there’s no chance. One blockbuster trade puts them right back in the thick of things. The 1 through 5 in the East, which doesn’t even include the high-octane (when fully available) Brooklyn Nets, are all bunched together. I certainly think they can. But, time will tell. It sounds clichéd, but having seen some of this team’s playoff demises over the last few years, the second round may be a bigger hump for them than getting to the finals or winning the title.