The Black Women in Sport Foundation’s 2012 Next Step Women of Color Mini-Forum, hosted at Temple University by the Department of Athletics and the College of Education and supported in part by the NCAA, will be held on April 18 at Ritter Hall, Room 211, located at 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The mini-forum is a professional development and preparation program to increase the portion of women of color collegiate head coaches and athletic administrators at 4-year NCAA institutions. The mini-forum is an interactive and networking opportunity to discuss and explore strategies to recruit, inspire, educate and retain women of color in the intercollegiate coaching and athletic administration positions with practicing professionals.
The moderator will be Nikki Franke, Temple’s head fencing coach. The panelists will be Marilyn Stephens, Cheyney University, head women’s basketball coach; Margaret Ottley, West Chester University, associate professor of sport psychology; Amanda Janney, Temple head women’s field hockey coach; Lynsey Grace, Community College of Philadelphia athletic coordinator and Kari-Lei Maddox, Delaware State University assistant lacrosse coach.
Philadelphia 2012 Unsigned Senior Basketball Shootout
There will be an opportunity for all high school senior basketball players who haven’t signed a letter of intent to showcase their talent at the Philadelphia 2012 Unsigned Senior Basketball Shootout. The games will be played at Imhotep Charter, 21st and Godfrey Avenue, on Sunday, April 15. The games will take place at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. For more information on this event, go to runhouse.net.
Phoenix Club announces college players of the year
The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia will recognize the college player of the year, presented to Philadelphia area basketball players (male and female) who have excelled in college during the year. The male award will be given in the name of Wali Jones and the female award will be given in the name of Marilyn Stephens. Both players are products of the Public League. Jones was a great player at Overbrook High and Villanova. Stephens was a star at Simon Gratz and Temple.
This year’s winners are Ramone Moore, Temple, and Gloria Brown (University of Texas – El Paso). The Phoenix Award presentation will be held in June at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Big 5 awards
The Philadelphia Big 5 head coaches and media have announced their college basketball awards.
Player of the Year – Zack Rosen, Penn
Most Improved Player – Earl Pettis, La Salle
Rookie of the Year – Jerrell Wright, La Salle
Coach of the Year – Fran Dunphy, Temple
Scholar-Athlete – Zack Rosen, Penn
Team of the Year – Temple
Best Free Throw Percentage – Maalik Wayns, Villanova
Leading Scorer – Zack Rosen, Penn
First team: Zack Rosen, Penn; Ramone Moore, Temple; Maalik Wayns, Villanova; Khalif Wyatt, Temple; Langston Galloway, Saint Joseph’s.
Second team: Tyreek Duren, La Salle; Earl Pettis, La Salle; Carl Jones, Saint Joseph’s; Ramone Galloway, La Salle; C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph’s, Juan Fernandez, Temple.
Shey Peddy Big 5 women’s basketball player of the year
For a second consecutive year, Temple basketball standout Shey Peddy has earned Big 5 Player of the Year honors. Peddy will receive this honor at the annual Big 5 Women’s Basketball banquet on April 25 at Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill.
The only entity that could outshine Wilt Chamberlain the athlete is Wilt Chamberlain the man.
The athlete is known for the seminal 100-point game on March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks, and for setting 128 professional basketball records — 98 of which are still standing.
But the man is known for much more than grabbing more than 50 rebounds in a game versus Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics; Chamberlain’s mark truly lies in his philanthropy, as he donated his time, money and celebrity status to dozens of charities throughout his life.
And it’s in the spirit of that life that The Wilton Norman Chamberlain Postal Stamp Committee held a luncheon in his honor Friday at the District Square Plaza. The gathering was also designed to bring more attention to the committee’s drive to have the United States Postal Service issue a stamp honoring the “Big Dipper.”
City basketball icons Billy Cunningham and John Chaney served as co-hosts for the luncheon, which included a virtual parade of friends and peers who knew Wilt — his sister, Selina Chamberlain-Gross, gave he invocation.
“There were eighty to a hundred charities Wilt was dedicated to,” Cunningham said. “There were so many parts of Wilt. He certainly left this world a better place than he found it.”
Chaney, in his own unique way, paid homage to perhaps the greatest basketball player this city has ever produced by blurting out, “Wilt owes me money!” Once the laughter died down, though, Chaney grew serious when he talked about the impact Wilt had, not only on the basketball court, but in virtually every other aspect of life as well.
“Wilt is one of the greatest philanthropists … the city is not aware of his great philanthropy,” Chaney said. “Wilt was a person who had a vision, and I was impressed by how he was able to think so many years ahead. Wilt was someone very special.”
Chaney and others spoke of the good works done by the Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund, which has granted scholarships to deserving students throughout the years.
Essence White, an engineering major at Smith University, is one of the students assisted by the fund, and sent a note of gratitude. “I give great thanks to the Wilt Chamberlain Foundation for helping me,” the note read in part. “I hope to one day give back to the youths the same way the foundation gave to me.”
One would think Chamberlain is deserving of a stamp on the sheer strength of his community involvement and giveback nature alone. Factor in Wilt’s mastery of the game of basketball, and he should be considered a shoo-in.
“He was a special guy who did special things,” said current Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy, who has Temple’s basketball team nationally ranked for he first time since Chaney stalked the sidelines. “He was just way too great a man for me to say anything important about.”
Fran, like many of Wilt’s peers and teammates, recalled how truly unstoppable Wilt was on the court.
Chamberlain was born on August 21, 1936, and once the graceful seven-footer took up basketball, he immediately put his school — Overbrook High School — and then his college — Kansas State — on the basketball map.
After leaving KSU, Chamberlain joined the Globetrotters before joining the National Association of Basketball’s Philadelphia Warriors, and it’s here that more casual fans pick up on Chamberlain’s career. Chamberlain went on to play in the league for 14 years, and remains the only professional basketball player to have his jersey number retired by every team he played for.
Chamberlain was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, and in 1996, was named as one of the 50 greatest players of all time.
Chamberlain’s still-standing records may indeed never be broken. Only Kobe Bryant’s 81 points scored in a game comes close to Chamberlain’s 100; that same year, Chamberlain had a 50-point scoring average. He also has a record 55 rebounds in a game against Russell and the Celtics, and 1959, Chamberlain was Rookie of the Year, league MVP and MVP of the NBA All-Star Game.
Wilt also sponsored an all-women’s track team, “Wilt’s Wonder Women,” which counted Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Florence Griffith-Joyner as members.
“Nobody was bigger than Wilt,” said former Harlem Globetrotter Carl Green, who would play pick-up ball in New York City with Wilt, at the height of the Philly vs. new York basketball rivalry. “I’m older than Wilt, but the things he taught me; and his family treated me like family.”
Former Knick and Los Angeles’ Laker Tom Hoover drew laughter when he recalled that Chamberlain was once going to fight Muhammad Ali. “I told Wilt, you can make this fight happen, and we can make some money, but Ali is going to kick your ass,” Hoover recalled. “Just like you and I have played basketball all our lives, Ali has been boxing all of his.” Luckily, Hoover and others were able to talk Chamberlain out of it.
“We developed a friendship over the years … he was a humanitarian, he helped everybody,” Hoover said. “The big fella — he was a beautiful person.”
Sill, everything rotated back to that magical night 50 years ago.
Harvey Pollack, the Philadelphia 76ers’ longtime director of statistical information was the one who gave Chamberlain the piece of paper with “100” scribbled on it. Chamberlain is holding that sheet of paper aloft in one of his more famous pictures. Pollack was busy with a number of jobs during the game.
“There never was a greater player than Wilt,” Pollack said, noting that Chamberlain would have had even more records had the league tracked blocked shots and that, as a center, he once led the league in assists. “He played 50 years ago, but most of his records still stand.”
Many politicians voiced their legislative support, then talk turned to making Chamberlain’s appearance on a postage stamp a reality. U.S. Rep. Robert Brady recalled being a kid in the Overbrook Park section of the city, with “passing the ball to Wilt Chamberlain” was his greatest athletic moment as a young man. Brady stated that last year he introduced House Bill 71, which calls for the postal service to issue the stamp.
State Representative Ronald G. Waters also presented citations to the stamp committee and Chamberlain’s family.
“We will get this done,” said Waters. “Because it’s well deserved, and the right thing to do.”
Those on the postal stamp committee sounded optimistic that something can be done, and soon. The committee has been at work for roughly three years now, and hope for the issuance of the stamp in the next year or two.
“We have been on this journey for a while,” said stamp committee chairman Roger C. Bogle. “And I can say we are under consideration for the stamp.”
Committee member Michael Bruton spelled it out further.
“I believe we’re on track,” Bruton said, noting that people can also sign the petition online. “And it’s important to hear from influential people. Brady and several others have written letters, including former governor Ed Rendell and NBA Commissioner David Stern. We feel that should help.”
Legendary sports writer and postal stamp committee co-chairman Donald Hunt agreed.
“The key word here is ‘deserved,’ not just for his game but for the man he was,” Hunt said, while mentioning that the committee has amassed roughly 55,000 signatures so far. “It’s our hope that we can get something done, sooner rather than later.”
The pressure is on the Temple Owls.
As Philadelphia’s lone representative in the 2012 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, often referred to as March Madness, it’s up to Temple to beat the odds and win it all for a collegiate, basketball-crazed region. Temple, the regular-season Atlantic 10 champion, defied some prognosticators by being seeded fifth in the Midwest Regional. The Owls were upended in the first round of the A-10 tournament by the University of Massachusetts. No question being ranked No. 21 helped the Owls claim both the high seed and the at-large berth.
Temple (24-7) will play the winner of Wednesday’s first round game in Dayton between California (24-9) and South Florida (20-13) in the second round Friday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
The region has enjoyed NCAA tournament success, but there hasn’t been an NCAA national basketball championship celebrated in the city of Philadelphia since1985 when Villanova surprised defending champion Georgetown to end the reign of Hoya Paranoia. Villanova, when it presents itself, claims to be a representative of the City of Brotherly Love. Perhaps that explains why the parade had a short route and wasn’t widely attended.
Historically speaking, city and regional teams haven’t had the best of luck in the tournament. Temple has made 29 NCAA tourney appearances. The Owls are 32-29 with two Final Four appearances. The last “city” team to make it to the coveted Final Four was the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. The Tony Price-led Quakers were humbled by Magic Johnson and Michigan State, 101-67, in the semifinals, and lost to a talented DePaul team that featured Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings, 96-93, in the consolation final.
That was the Final Four, which also featured Larry Bird’s Indiana State team, created the March Madness phenomenon.
There was hope that Philly would have two city teams in this year’s tournament but Drexel (27-6) failed to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship and an automatic NCAA tourney bid. The NCAA tournament committee snubbed the Dragons, who had won 19 straight before falling to Virginia Commonwealth University, 59-56, in the CAA tourney final. In the end, Drexel’s RPI rating and strength of schedule did not impress the committee.
Drexel will now play the University of Central Florida (22-10) in the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday March 14. The Knights finished third in Conference USA.
The Drexel-UCF winner will play the winner of the St. Joseph’s–Northern Iowa contest. The Hawks (20-13) are making their first postseason appearance since 2008 and were beaten in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament by eventual champion St. Bonaventure, 71-68. Northern Iowa is 19-13.
La Salle University (21-12) will play host to the University of Minnesota (19-14). The Gophers have won two NIT titles, in 1993 and 1998. Minnesota vacated its 1998 crown.
Penn didn’t make the NCAA or NIT but the Quakers (19-11) will play host to Quinnipiac University (18-13) in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational tourney Wednesday.
Temple has talent to win a few games, but making it past the first weekend of NCAA tournament play will be difficult. The Owls are making their fifth consecutive NCAA tourney appearance. Temple coach Fran Dunphy saw his 11-game tournament losing streak snapped last year when the Owls beat Penn State. Dunphy’s losing streak dated back to his days at Penn. He undoubtedly will be feeling pressured not to be bounced by a lower-seeded team.
College teams dream of doing the dance in March.
The Owls don’t have to dream. They know how to dance.
All they have to do is not stumble.
Khalif Wyatt has always been a big shot maker. Wyatt came to Temple with that ability three years ago. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior put on a show tallying a game-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting including 3-for-5 from three point range to help Temple post a major upset over Duke (ranked No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 Associated Press) before a soldout crowd of 20,420 at Wells Fargo Center and a national television audience.
“I know this was a big stage,” Wyatt said. “Everybody knows Duke is one of the most historic programs, if not the most historic program [in college basketball]. As a basketball player, if you don’t get excited to play at the Wells Fargo in front of all those people and against Duke, I mean you don’t need to play basketball. As a basketball player, I’m just excited that it was a good opportunity in front of me, and I wanted to take advantage of it.”
Wyatt had a lot of preparation for games of this magnitude. During his scholastic days at Norristown, he led his school to the PIAA Class AAAA District title as a senior. As a junior, he guided Norristown to a 33-2 record before losing to Chester High in the PIAA state championship game. Wyatt lost that game to the Clippers, which had Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who is now his Temple teammate. By the way, Hollis-Jefferson played pretty well in the huge victory over the Blue Devils. He had 17 points and six rebounds. Wyatt credits Owls head coach Fran Dunphy for getting the team ready to battle Duke.
“Coach Dunph had us well prepared,” Wyatt said. “The guys stuck together. Rahlir is probably my best friend on the team. He really stepped up today. It’s just great to see him play that well. I’m just as happy for him as he is for me.”
Wyatt is playing with a lot of confidence. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game. Wyatt plays in one of the most talented backcourts in college basketball. He plays with 6-foot-4 senior Ramone Moore (16.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.8 apg) and 6-foot-4 senior Juan Fernandez (12.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.2 apg). The Owls’ backcourt has a lot of experience, giving them a major advantage over most teams. In college basketball now, the game is controlled with the play from the guards. Temple has that on its team.
Wyatt has gradually developed into a terrific player over his college career. He started to receive a lot of attention last season. He averaged 10.1 points a game coming off the bench. His efforts as a reserve earned him the honors of Atlantic 10 Conference Sixth Man of the Year.
“It seems like I’ve been going through steps every year,” Wyatt said. “My freshman year I didn’t play at all. My sophomore year I started off slow and made my way up to sixth man and finishing games helping the team win. Now, this year I’m keyed on. Plus, Ramone and Juan trust me. They trust me with the ball. The main thing is Coach Dunph trusts me. He and the staff are just trying to win.”
The last time Temple defeated Duke was January 26, 1996. Wednesday was a great evening for basketball in the city with Temple, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Penn, Drexel and the Philadelphia 76ers all winning. Temple will open Atlantic 10 Conference, playing at the Liacouras Center against Dayton on Saturday, January 7, at 4 p.m.
Temple’s basketball team has received some great play from a number of players this season. And one of them is Anthony Lee, the Owls’ 6-foot-9, 210-pound freshman forward, who has given Temple some consistent play around the basket.
Fran Dunphy, Owls head coach, has been very pleased with Lee’s contributions. Dunphy has been pleased with the way Lee has stepped up for a good part of the season when 6-foot-11 forward Micheal Eric was sidelined for eight weeks, missing 13 games with a knee injury.
“I’m very impressed with him,” Dunphy said. “Obviously, we got Mike back. But Anthony has done a really great job of stemming the tide for us.”
Lee has done that with his hustle, rebounding and putbacks. He’s averaging 6.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. He certainly gained a lot of attention with his play in Temple’s big upset over nationally ranked Duke last month. In that game, he had 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
He had nine points and a career high five blocks in a win over La Salle. Lee has also performed extremely well this season despite missing all of last year after having surgery to repair a herniated disk.
“I was kind of concerned when I got the injury last year,” Lee said. “I was wondering if I would lose any explosiveness or would I lose my jumping ability. But this year I’ve been able to fulfill my role with this team. I’ve been able to step up for Mike and give them rebounding and blocking shots. I’m just trying to keep our team stable. Now, he’s back and I’m playing a regular role.”
Lee played a lot of basketball in Iowa last summer in preparation for this season. He grew up near Columbia, Md., right outside of Baltimore, where he spent most of his career playing for Eustis High School. Then, he moved to Florida where he was a star at West Oak Academy averaging 23.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a game. His family recently moved to Davenport, Iowa.
“I played a lot in Iowa,” he said. “My family lives out there now. I’m originally from Maryland. Then, I moved to Florida. Now, my family has moved to Iowa. I was just working out. I didn’t want to do too much with my back. I came back about 215 (pounds). My weight has been fluctuating. But I’ve been able to get my jumping ability back for the season.”
Temple took notice of Lee’s basketball skills during his scholastic career at West Oak Academy. The Owls big man was recruited by several Division I programs. However, he had some knowledge of the Temple basketball program.
“I knew about Temple since I lived in Maryland,” he said. “We used to come up to Philadelphia a lot. So, when I moved to Florida I already knew about the Temple tradition and the coach (Fran Dunphy). It wasn’t a hard decision. I had a lot of good schools looking at me, but since I love the city and the atmosphere, it was pretty much a done deal.”
Temple (16-5 overall, 5-2 A-0) will visit Rhode Island (5-18 overall, 2-6 A-10) on Saturday, February 4 in an Atlantic 10 Conference matchup. The contest will be on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. The Owls have a five game winning streak and Lee has been a big part of the team’s success.
Fran Dunphy, Temple’s head basketball coach, has been watching the Philadelphia 76ers-Chicago Bulls playoff series very closely. Dunphy has been watching one of his former players, Lavoy Allen, receive a great deal of playing time for the Sixers in the postseason.
Allen, former Temple standout, put on quite a show tallying 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench to help the Sixers defeat the Bulls, 109-92 on Tuesday, evening the playoff series at 1-1. The 6-foot-9 power forward is just a rookie, but played like a season veteran in the second game. Allen is preparing for Game 3 of the series, which will be played at Wells Fargo Center on Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m. Dunphy has been very pleased with Allen’s performance.
“We’re so happy for him,” Dunphy said. “We’re so proud of him. He has had a very good rookie year. I think everybody is really happy for he and his family. We’re lucky to have him be in this situation.”
Allen was the Sixers second round pick last year. He has averaged 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game this season. He came to the Sixers with some great credentials. The ex-Pennsbury High star led the Owls to four NCAA tournament appearances. He was twice selected All-Atlantic 10 Conference first-team. He received all-conference honors for his defensive skills on three occasions. As a junior, he became the first Temple player to average a double-double since Ollie Johnson did it in 1970–71. He also eclipsed John Baum as Temple’s all-time leading rebounder. Dunphy knew Allen would be a good fit for the Sixers.
“I had every confidence that he would continue to be a better basketball player each and every time he got a chance to be out there,” Dunphy said. “He’s a very intelligent basketball player and one who knows his role. I’ve seen him a couple times live and many, many times on TV and a number of times when Doug (Collins, Sixers head coach) has let me come to practice. I’ve seen him a lot. I think he’s making good progress.”
In this series, Allen has to battle some outstanding players up front such as 6-foot-9 Carlos Boozer, 6-foot-11 Joakim Noah and 6-foot-9 Taj Gibson from the Bulls. The Sixers need him for defense and rebounding, but also scoring.
“Rebounding and defense has always been consistent for him,” Dunphy said. “Now, he’s really coming into his own on how to get shots and making shots. How to get them is as important as making them. I think he gets himself in good position. He knows how to fade and get to a spot that’s open and his teammates are finding him. I think that’s a great tribute to Coach Collins and his staff.”
Dunphy will be in front of his television set for Game 3 to see Allen play in another big playoff game.
“I’ll be watching,” Dunphy said. “We’re actually in a charity event at the Palestra on Friday. It starts about 7:30 p.m., but after that is over I’m going to get the DVD out and watch him. It’s going to be great to see him.”
Scootie Randall has played in some big games at Temple. Randall, Owls senior guard, just finished playing in a huge game against No. 6 ranked Kansas, which Temple lost by an eyelash 69-62 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. on Sunday.
The game was on national television and received a great deal of media attention. But what should get a lot of exposure is Randall earning his bachelor of arts degree in sociology. He successfully completed his coursework following the fall semester.
For Randall, this is a significant accomplishment. The former All-Public and All-City standout from Communications Tech now joins teammates T.J. DiLeo and Jake O’Brien who have undergraduate degrees.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Randall, who had eight points and nine rebounds against Kansas. “It’s been a struggle, but being here under Coach (Fran) Dunphy, he came from Penn so he’s real big on education. We had every resource that we possibly can to help us out. It’s been a long fight. It’s been a long five years. But I’m happy I got it done.”
Randall, a 6-foot- 6, 225-pound senior, is the Owls’ second leading scorer (12.5 ppg) and leading rebounder (7.5 rpg). He’s a big reason why the Owls (10-3) are one of the top college basketball teams in the country. Randall has succeeded on and off the court. Dunphy, Temple head coach, is very impressed with his recent achievement.
“It means a lot to the program,” Dunphy said. “It means a lot to him and his family. I think it makes a great statement to what Temple’s mission is. We run the gamut from honor students to some at risk students that are given opportunities at Temple. Here’s another case where Temple gave Scootie an opportunity and he’s absolutely met the challenge. He was up to the task. It also says a lot about Temple. It’s a great nurturing environment and a great mentoring environment. It put its arms around Scootie a couple years back. It’s been a great team process.”
In the past four years, Temple has had six players complete their undergraduate work while still playing for the Owls. In addition to DiLeo (’11) and O’Brien (a 2011 graduate from Boston University), Randall joins former Temple star Micheal Eric (’11), Dutch Gaitley (2010–11 team, a 2009 graduate of Monmouth) and Luis Guzman (’09) as Temple players who also earned degrees while still having eligibility left.
Randall plans to attend graduation exercises in May. Temple will play at Xavier on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m.
College sports on North Broad Street just got a little bit better. Actually, they got a lot better. Temple University has joined the Big East Conference. The Owls will play football in 2012 in the Big East. In 2013–14, Temple will have all of its intercollegiate athletic programs in conference play. That’s huge.
The Big East is a solid football conference. The Owls will compete with Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati next season. The league has a great television contract, which means Temple will receive tremendous exposure as well as large revenues from the TV deal. Temple will have a chance to compete in a BCS bowl, too.
The Owls’ football program, which has improved in leaps and bounds since 2005 as a member of the Mid-American Conference, should really benefit in terms of local recruiting with this move to the Big East. Temple has a much stronger program than it did when the Owls competed in the Big East as a football only member from 1991 to 2004. But this is a different Temple football team now.
It’s a program that has played in two bowl games over the last three years. Al Golden, who is now the head coach at the University of Miami, put together the foundation. Steve Addazio, Owls current head coach, has placed his stamp on the program. They have sent a number of players to the NFL. Football is certainly at another level.
In terms of basketball, Temple has been a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference for basketball and other sports since 1982–83. The Owls have the sixth winningest program in NCAA history. The Temple men’s basketball program is one of the most storied and successful in college basketball. Two of the school’s former coaches, Harry Litwack and John Chaney, are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Current coach Fran Dunphy is one of the most knowledgeable and respected coaches in the country. He has led the Owls to three A-10 championships in the last 4 years. Temple is at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this weekend for conference tournament play.
Speaking of postseason basketball tournaments, the Big East has one of the best in the nation. The conference plays its games in Madison Square Garden on national television. It’s one of the most well-attended and watched tournaments each year.
This move should make for a very competitive atmosphere in the city. Temple will compete directly with its Big 5 rival Villanova for recruiting and attention. The Wildcats are longtime members of the Big East. The City Series has always been very competitive between these two schools. The matchup between these two schools could get even bigger.
Right now, the focus will be on football. The quality of play at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon should be really impressive. The fans will get a good taste of Big East in the fall.
Lavoy Allen didn’t waste any time on Sunday leaving Madison Square Garden in New York City after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the New York Knicks to get back to Philly. Allen, Sixers rookie power forward, got to town and made his way down North Broad Street to Temple’s Liacouras Center where his former Owl teammates were waiting to find out who they’d play in the NCAA tournament.
Well, now everybody knows Temple (24-7) will face South Florida (21-13) on Friday night, March 16 at 9:50 p.m. from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. South Florida spanked California on Wednesday night in the play in contest. As a result, they will battle the Owls in the big dance. The Sixers will play the Miami Heat on Friday night at 7 p.m. The game should be over in time for Allen to watch Temple play on TNT.
“I wanted to come down and show some support,” Allen said. “I have a lot of good friends on the team. I’m really proud of them. They’ve done a lot of good things this year. They have a lot to brag about.”
Allen knows a little something about playing in the NCAA tournament. He made four tournament appearances during his Temple career. The three-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference standout from Pennsbury High played with some great players like Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and Khalif Wyatt, big stars on this year’s team. Despite an early loss in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament to Massachusetts, Temple was able to garner a No. 5 seed in the NCAA field. Allen feels the Owls have a chance to make a good run in the tourney.
“There are a lot of good teams in the tournament this year,” Allen said. “I think they’ll go far. I think just because they’re a five and other teams are 12, that doesn’t mean anything because anyone can beat anyone. It’s going to be tough, but they should go far.”
The NCAA tournament is an exciting time for the Sixers. Elton Brand played his college basketball at Duke. Evan Turner was a big star at Ohio State. Jodie Meeks was a standout for the University of Kentucky. The players like to follow their schools even though they have a very busy NBA schedule.
“I’m going to be following them,” Allen said. “I’m going to fill out a bracket. I think they’ll do well. Coach (Fran) Dunphy has the team prepared for the tournament. Those guys have been around on the team for a while. I think they should do well. They’ve worked hard to get in this position. They earned it. I’m just really proud of them.”
Micheal Eric knows the Temple Owls will be playing in the NCAA tournament. Eric, Temple’s 6-foot-11, 240-pound center, knows the Owls will be playing Friday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. He just doesn’t know which team the Owls will be playing until after the play in game that features California and South Florida.
Temple will play the winner of that game. The California-South Florida contest will be played on Wednesday, March 14 in Dayton, Ohio at 9 p.m. Eric will have his eyes on both teams.
“This time around we’re going to watch film as a group together,” Eric said. “We’re all going to be watching film. We’re going to watch the teams play. We’re going to scout them like we scout any other game.”
Eric certainly wants to put last week’s disappointing loss to the University of Massachusetts behind him. UMass eliminated Temple, 77-71, in the Atlantic 10 Conference quarterfinals in Atlantic City. Some people thought the Owls (24-7, 13-3), regular season champions of the A-10, would fall in the seeding. But they managed to get a fifth seed in the Midwest region. Eric feels Temple will concentrate on the task at hand and be well prepared for the big dance.
“That loss was very bad,” Eric said. “We took it hard. I think we’ll be ready when we get down to Tennessee. We’re going to stay focused and stay together like Coach (Fran) Dunphy was saying. If we can stay together like we did all year long when guys were hurt, we have a shot at making some good news in the tournament.”
Eric averaged 9.1 points and 8.8 rebounds a game this season. He’s a key player for the Owls around the basket. They’re going to need his ability to rebound, score and block shots in order to advance in the tournament. Temple has been a tournament team over the years. It’s been a while since they have really made a big impact in the NCAA tourney. Nevertheless, Eric believes the Owls can’t afford to look past anybody at this stage of the season.
“I think we have to be together,” Eric said. “We have to take one game at a time. We want to try to see what we do in each game. We want to try to make some noise in this tournament. This is my last year. It’s my last tournament in my college career. Everything comes into play. I have to go out and give it my best. I want to give them the best that I got in this tournament.”
Eric has played some good basketball for the Owls throughout his career. He came to North Broad Street from Church Farm School where he was an all-league standout his junior and senior seasons. Eric has improved his game each season. He played most of his career with Lavoy Allen, a rookie with the Philadelphia 76ers. Allen stopped by to wish the Owls well on Selection Sunday after the Sixers defeated the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden earlier that day.
“That shows a lot of character of Lavoy,” Eric said. “It shows how great of a person he is. He came to support us. I really appreciate that. It shows that he’s grown and mature enough to come down here after a game in New York. That’s pretty good. I really appreciate him doing that.”
Eric is anticipating some additional support on Friday when the Owls tip off against either California or South Florida. There’s a good possibility that his family may come out to see him play in the tournament.
“My brother and his wife and his kids will hopefully come out there,” he said. “I’ll be lucky to have those guys out there to support us. That would definitely be exciting. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be an experience that I’ll have to cherish.”