Owls’ 1988 Final Eight team to be honored

Temple’s 1987-88 team that finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll.—PHOTO/TEMPLE

Sunday March 10 will be a big day at Temple’s Liacouras Center. The Owls have a huge Atlantic 10 Conference game with nationally ranked Virginia Commonwealth University at noon, the final home game for the seniors.

It’s also the 25th anniversary of one of Temple’s greatest basketball teams. The school will honor the 1987-88 team that finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll in halftime ceremonies.

It was an outstanding team the featured players Tim Perry, Mark Macon, Howard Evans, Ramon Rivas, Mike Vreeswyk and Duane Causwell. Hall of Fame coach John Chaney was named the National Coach of the Year for leading the team to a school record-tying 32-2 mark. Chaney has some great memories of that team.

“You know one of the great things I always emphasized and this team was the epitome of – discipline,” Chaney said. “They were well disciplined, and perhaps having great teams throughout my life and certainly Cheyney (1978 national championship team) was one, but I had three or four great teams that epitomize discipline.

“Discipline in terms of purpose, discipline in terms of direction, and kept themselves on the track to success from the beginning of the season until the end of the season. Discipline is the highest form of intelligence. We had some great players on that team. I’m looking forward to seeing them at the game.”

The Owls were disciplined. They worked and practiced extremely hard. They were successful, too.

Perry was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Macon, a 6-foot-5 guard, was a freshman and earned second-team Associated Press All-America honors. He came to Temple as a McDonald’s All-American. Evans was one of the best point guards in college basketball. The former West Philadelphia standout had a tremendous performance against Villanova on Feb. 10, 1988. In that game Evans dished a school-record 20 assists, scored 17 points, hit nine of 10 free throws, grabbed six rebounds, had two steals and only one turnover in Temple’s 98-86 victory. He was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 that season.

Rivas, a 6-foot-11, 250-pounder, did a lot of the little things. He set massive picks for Macon and Vreeswyk. He was always near the basket for rebounds and easy putbacks. He played good defense, too.

Vreeswyk was a sensational three-point shooter with great range. The fans at Temple’s McGonigle Hall used to yell “Threeswyk” in recognition of his great outside shooting. Vreeswyk received second-team All Atlantic 10 Conference honors.

Causwell, a 6-foot-11 center, and Perry, a 6-foot-9 power forward, gave the Owls an impressive shotblocking combination. There weren’t many players who would come down the lane against them.

Temple posted some exciting victories over UCLA, Villanova, North Carolina and Georgetown. The Owls won the Big 5 City Series and the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament championships. Temple had an 18-0 record in the A-10 but eventually lost Duke, 63-53, in the NCAA East Region Final.

The other team members were Derrick Brantley, Jerome Dowdell, Shawn Johnson, Tom Katsikis, Darrin Pearsall, Ernest Pollard and Shoun Randolph.

 

Contact Staff Writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or dhunt@phillytrib.com.

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