Friday, December 23, 2005

THE CULPRIT
The fact is, No One Can See Mardy Collins. Its not an opinion. Its a fact. A fact is a truth. A truth is believed. Mardy Collins isn't quit the truth... but... neither is Paul Pierce. The truth is best described as this man...

Or in my opinion, this man...


The fact is there can be two truths... truth can be an opinion. Sight isn't an opinion, sight is a sense, and no one can see Mardy Collins.

However, this year Mardy has begun to come back in focus. His stats are down across the board. He has looked human and in some cases, dare I say, average! I dare not say, I take that back, he has looked just ok, for Mardy of course. While watching some highlights of my main man #25 I realized there has to be an explanation to this. Since no one can see Mardy C, it cannot be Mardy's fault that his numbers are down, can it? Well, I think not! In fact I have discovered the reason to the statline dip... there is a single culprit and it's his brand that was actually eluded to already in this post... LADIES AND GENTLEMAN THE REASON BEHIND MARDY'S LACK OF PRODUCTION THIS SEASON ISN'T YOUR IMPROVED VISION, NOR IS IT A PHILANTHROPY PROJECT BY MISTER COLLINS FOR THE REST OF THE NCAA BASKETBALL PLAYERS... THE REASON IS....

Thats right. Jumpman. Not Michael Jordan the player. Michael Jordan the CEO. Not the Jordan series of sneakers. The creative team surrounding the dub-zero's. (See the sneaker atop the post)

Mardy has worn the black and red dub-zero's in every game he has played this season and this needs to stop. NOW! Mardy! Someone is out to sabotage you! The sneakers are bringing you down! Please, for the love of god go back to the days of the cherry and white team shoe... I know you want people to be able to see you and your a nice guy who doesn't want to hurt defenders feelings, and coaches, and staff but MARDY... we need you! And in order for Mardy to be Mardy I'm gonna have to respectfully ask that you stop wearing the cursed dub-zero's...

Its Christmas Mardy! Grant every Owl fans wish and drop 40 on Villanova wearing the Temple team Nikes. It will save us, it will save you! I leave you with a picture of the old days, fists in the air... peep the feet, and say no more.

Got All of North Philly Asking "Hows He Still So Good?"
Temple beats the 'Cocks (No Homo)
"As far as bouncin back... Wayne's like Ben Wallace on a rebound..."
In the NBA they say that everybody makes a run. Well Temple chose an opportune time to make their run last night in a home game against South Carolina. A 15-4 push that began around the six minute mark of the ballgame gave the Owls a much needed 63-50 win over South Carolina @ the LIA center. The Owls were sparked by Wayne Marshall's return and although his stat line wasn't that impressive Big Wayne was changing shots and keeping balls alive while giving Temple a much needed inside presence.
Although he was hampered by foul trouble Wayne was still able to impact the ballgame which was turned into another breakout game for senior Antwayne Robinson. 'Twizzy lived up to Chaney's billing that he was "One of the best shooters we've ever had" last night pacing the Owls with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Antwayne cannot create his own shot but why is that important when he moves so well without the ball? I think its fair to say that he is the seasons biggest surprise and is quickly turning into everyone's favorite (And certainly most consistent) Owl.
Even though South Carolina hung close up until the door was shut by that late Temple run I never felt like the game was anything but Temple's to lose. USC had a hard time getting good shots and being an undersized team they weren't able to exploit the Owls inability in the middle. However they were a scrappy bunch and had won 6 of 8 going into the game so all in all its a nice win.
Mardy Collins fought off another abysmal performance with a few nice moves and easy buckets in the second half to finish with 15 points. One series of plays saw Mardy get a nice look from Mark for an easy layup, he then followed up a Tyndale steal for a dunk and got a steal of his own which he finished with two hands. 11 of his 15 came in the second half. Not to sound like a hater but my man Mardy C is gonna need to start knocking down some free throws if he wants that draft stock to rise. My man was one of four from the line last night. Yo MC, why not even your body up with the basket before you shoot? You seem to be off to the right or left of the rim each time you miss. Square those shoulders baby!
"MC... and ya don't stop"
Temple showed some fire last night in the win. Simon Gratz product Mark Tyndale was billed as a hothead coming into college but he has played with class thus far in almost every game I have seen him in. If a player is on the ground I have seen Mark extend a hand or pat a guy on the ass (No Homo) after a foul. Last night I saw some of that fire I had heard about but it was channeled in an excellent manner. After a big rebound Mark ran down the court and was setting a low screen for the shooter. As he did this he was screaming in the face of Bryce Sheldon of USC. Theres nothing wrong with that and it was nice for Mark to let Mr. Sheldon know he can't jump with him. Say no more. I see you Big Mark.
"Hope you brough an extra clip... it's young uzi"
Rick Brunson was at the game last night and I had a chance to talk with him for a second as he made his rounds. Nice guy, great player. Also refreshing to see a man come back and show love to his old team and neighborhood. Rick was definitely getting a lot of love from the North Philly old heads in the building. Shout outs to Fred Burton aka 38 Don't Hate for the introduction. Get well soon Mark, the Sonics need the backcourt help.
Also... shoutout to the Temple Women who were aided by the play of one Fatima Maddux who gave them 8 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. This was Fatima's second game with the Owl's after transferring last year from New Mexico. We see you out there.
Candance Dupree is the female Chris Bosh. Early.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Time for some new interns…

Check out this photo mistake by the Philadelphia Weekly:

And now for today's Philadelphia Weekly Do media minutiae: There's a correction in today's Inquirer that, at face value, seems pretty banal:

A photo of Temple basketball player Keith Butler was misidentified in Sunday's editions.
Now, a quick perusal of Sunday's paper will find no mention of Keith Butler (top center). But it will show his photo -- next to a story about Antywane Robinson, who Temple Coach John Chaney calls the "one of the great shooters that we've ever had here."

So, obviously, the paper accidentally ran Butler's photo. (An analysis couldn't determine if the guy in the photo was Butler or not, but it's safe to say it was.... Trust me... it is)

No big deal. Except that, well, Butler left the team after last season and is now sitting out the season after transferring to DePaul. So, you know, it's easier to find a photo of a guy who left the team than with one who's currently on it. I suppose that makes sense.

Taken from:
Return of the Mack...
"Listen Wayne, I'm gonna need you to keep your ass outta foul trouble tonight. Or there will be hell to pay! You hear me! Keith is gone, the team is yours now! SONOFABITCH!"

Coach Chaney let the good word out last night... Big Wayne is back and will play this evening against South Carolina.

Judging from the cloudy reports around what was actually wrong with him its tough to say what kind of a contribution he will have. If his situation was indeed similar to that of Eddy Curry's it could be an ill-afforded long road to recovery but... I think anything he can do will help the Owl's at this point. I am most interested in seeing the rotation now that Wayne, Sergio, and Anthony can all play the five combined with how this affects the wing play of the TU guards.

I hope this move opens up the floor for my main man Mardy C. Collins will be looking to get the ball low to Marshall 'cause he knows by doing so he will open the floor up for himself. Rusty or not Wayne still has the ability to step out and knock down some shots, use the up and under for some EZ hoops and hit his free throws when he gets to the stripe.

I'm excited about this development and although this wont be Wayne being all Wayne can be its a step in the right direction for a group desperate for a win against the gamecocks...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The spirit of Charles Barkley watches from the rafters as the real Charles Barkley mocks from the sidelines...
"Either Auburn is that good, or Temple is that bad... What do you think Kenny?"
If Auburn had managed to convince Sir Charles to suit up once again for the Tigers I may have let this slide... However he was at ringside to witness the knockout.

As the loss to Auburn resonates I am still unable to accept what happened but I am now willing to admit that it did happen and that what took place on the my television wasn’t a punishment from the Lords of Rebound.


"YOUSONOFABITCH!"


I refuse to recap the game. For those that demand a recap let me first say that my viewing of the game was halted due to the 4 overtimes played by La Salle and Central Connecticut that caused me to miss the first half of play. By the time the buzzer sounded and CSN switched over to the Owls the score read 45-23. The first words out of the announcers mouth was something along the lines of… “What on earth has gotten into Mardy Collins? He is totally off his game so far today.” Just what I was looking to hear. Truth.

I watched the second half with a heavy heart. No one got it going and a mediocre Auburn team put a beat down on Temple that those guys should remember for long after the horn sounded. Coach Chaney had this to say after the loss:

"JESUSCHRIST MARDY!"

“Our players feed off of scoring and that is the tragedy of our team. When they are not making baskets, they are not playing basketball.”

As crazy as Coach Chaney can be with some of his post game comments he was right on point this time. This is a group of guys that feel they can really stroke the ball when the reality of it is they just can’t. With the exception of Dustin, I would list every other Temple player as a mediocre at best three point shooter but they continue to jack long ball after long ball. When the shots go clank it becomes very tough to watch. Even when the shots are falling I often wonder when the hot hands will begin to draw cold… Look no further then the big win against Alabama. Great game, solid win, but without that amazing first half from downtown I wonder if they would have had enough to stay in the game?

My point is this. We are the Temple Owls. We are a grind it out, hand in the face, chest to chest team that will never become an overpowering offensive weapon. We need good shots to win and we need to limit opponent’s good shots to stay in the game. I know the game of basketball is making a transition back to the high scoring days and if we had the weapons to get into that kind of fight I would be with it but we would be bringing a knife to a gun fight, paint gun to a shootout with real gats and so forth.

Let’s strap up and return to the days where 50 points was an opponent’s goal against Temple. Any game we try to match a team bucket for bucket not only are we playing into their hand but that’s a hand outside of a few games in the A-10 that will most likely be a loser….

On Thursday we got the Gamecocks at the Liacorous Center. This will not be a pushover. South Carolina knows our scheme and will be prepared to do battle. This is a must win game for Temple and we will finally see if as far as bouncing back… they are like Dwight Howard on a rebound.

Monday, December 19, 2005

:-(

"Don't call me early, cause I'm late..."


There will be no post for the game against Auburn because the game against Auburn never happened… IT NEVER HAPPENED… instead enjoy this picture of Drunken Keith Butler. Who BTW would have been a nice addition off the bench in the game that didn't happen on Sunday...

On another note the Mardy Collins draft status fire sale continues on Chad Ford’s “Big Board” breakdown of the Top 100 prospects for the 2006 draft. Mardy has slipped down to #26 this week and has enjoyed positions as high as #11. Yikes!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where have you gone Keith Butler?

"Call me Aaron Burr, the way I'm droppin Hamiltons"

It might have been his impressive stature and above average leaping ability. It might have been his true seven foot status. Could it have been the recruiting battle that erupted between Cincinnati and Temple over Butler’s services? Perhaps it was a collection of things that were emphasized by his calm demeanor on the court and “I don’t give a fuck” presence in the paint. Of course by “I don’t give a fuck” I am not referring to the look on Samuel Dalembert’s face after he throws an adherent elbow or hurls a small guard to the floor on their way to the basket. I mean this in the literal sense of “I don’t give a fuck if you want me to hustle, rebound or block shots….”
Through his years with the Owls Butler never amounted to much. In all the games I saw him play only two standout. A home game against South Carolina in 2004 and last seasons win over Villanova at the Palestra. In both games Butler had a double double and the Owls looked like a totally different team with a presence in the post.
Keith was a disappointment without a doubt. He stayed getting mo’fouls called on him and always had a short leash with Coach Chaney. While his best attribute was his shot blocking he rarely was in good position to make great defensive plays and as a result appeared frustrated on the floor.
In Keith’s defense he wasn’t given many touches and the Temple offense is so horrendous how can you blame a big man for being frustrated? Do you think when Keith was spending his recruiting trip with Dave Hawkins the coaching staff sat him down and painted this picture?:
“Look Keith, we really want you here at Temple. We expect a lot of you as a player so we plan to consistently ignore you on the block, expect you to set hard screens without ever getting touches and keep that fire burning deep within your belly. Oh yea, you also have to wakeup at 4:45 each morning, listen to Coach Chaney bitch for four years and reside in North Philadelphia .Sound good?”
My guess is no. I don’t want to make excuses for Keith but the point of my ramblings is that Keith would be helping the Owls this season. I have written time and time again that I am an advocate of the smaller lineup for Temple and so far this season it has been working but Keith coming off the bench to provide some support in the paint would be a good look.
I also didn’t think it was fair when Mark Tyndale called out Keith this summer after his departure to DePaul. (For those of you who don’t know Keith transferred this past summer to DePaul University. He will sit out this season and play his final season of eligibility next year) In an article by Andy Katz of ESPN Mark referred to Keith as a “cancer” and implied the team will be much better off without him.

True, TU is off to an improved start this season but I think that should be linked to the improvements of Antwayne and Dustin and not to the departure of Keith. Look, I wasn’t in the locker room but I never heard a thing about him being a problem off the court. He was a waste at times on the court but off the court he seemed like a good guy. Either way I think its bad policy to talk about a guy after he transfers. Mark is a tough kid from a rough area and Simon Gratz high school has a reputation for no nonsense so I see where he is coming from. I’m just saying I think that was a pointless statement and kind of out of character of the program. To call a man a cancer is pretty harsh, I think a bum woulda been more appropriate.
Trouble is afoot... and his name is Chad Ford

Chad Ford writes in his weekly blog about NBA prospects (I would link it but ESPN makes this information insider bullshit so I am gonna post it...)

"He's fallen ... can he get up? Temple's Mardy Collins came into the season ranked as one of the top point guard prospects in the country. Scouts loved his size, versatility and defensive ability. He was considered a legit first-round prospect after his junior season, but opted to return to Temple for his senior year, hoping to move his stock into the lottery.
Things got off to a slow start this summer at the Under 21s, where Collins didn't do anything to really impress scouts. Now Collins is having a shaky senior season. His numbers are down across the board: He's shooting only 37 percent from the field (23 percent from 3-point range) and averaging just 3.3 apg.


If the numbers continue to tumble, not only is the lottery out of the question but Collins could slide right out of the first round."

I can't say I disagree with what Chad is saying. I have faith that Mardy will recover and so will his stats but I don't think Mr. Ford is out of bounds with the questions he raises... I have been saying this from the jump (See the post, No Way Out of the RACk) I can't call it concerning the USA Summer stuff he writes about but that is consistant with what I heard about his performance.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wayne Marshall's Return to the Court... Take It Slow


Before I saw him, I heard about him. “Prep to pro”, “One and done.” Confidence was high on North Broad Street.

Those comments were referring to Temple’s new man in the middle, Wayne Marshall. A product of Martin Luther King high school in Philadelphia Wayne had created quite a buzz for himself amongst the student body at TU. No small task in North Philadelphia where hate is much easier spawned then praise.

Wayne came into Temple as a proposition 48 athlete. This means he had a fair share of trouble qualifying for college and would need to sit out his freshman season to get his grades right. That season he was out of shape and looked rusty with the ball in his hand but still guided his intramural team to a league championship in a fairly competitive recreation league at Temple University.

I watched him play a number of games that season for his team known as, “Wayne and Company” and he appeared uninterested and for the most part, far from dominant.
Not being of the hating nature myself I wanted to buy into the hype. Surely from the wreckage of the Philadelphia public league that is normally barren of big men Coach Chaney had pulled a diamond from the rough. I imagined the possibilities. A big men with good size who demanded a double team drawing in defenders, he was able to look over their outstretched arms and find a swingman spotting up on the arc. No more dribbling the clock down to nothing and hoisting a forced shot, no more undersized centers, and a return to glory for the Owls.

When I first saw Wayne daunting the cherry and white he looked in shape and appeared to have nice range and soft touch. I was impressed. He had a decent knack for the ball and seemed to get up and down the floor efficiently. His go to move was the up and under, time and again he would use it keeping the defender off balance with a series of head fakes.

I think the up and under is one of the most effective moves in basketball. With that said if it’s your only move the scouting report is going to reflect this and it’s going to become harder to execute. This was the case with Wayne in his first season with the Owls. Once the opposing coaches got a read on what he liked to do they were able to shut him down with ease because he wasn’t adjusting to the new looks they gave him.

But, fear not I thought to myself for he is young and with his mouth sucking from Chaney’s bosom he will return a new man with new moves. The one and done talk didn’t come from his mouth, he was simple a victim of the rare North Philadelphia hype machine.

Then I hear news that Wayne is suffering from dizzy spells that are commonly caused by heart problems. Immediately I think of Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, Eddy Curry and Jason Collier. Of course with news like that you have concerns for the player’s long-term health but as an Owl’s fan I also have a concern for the middle of the paint.

But now it appears that Wayne is once again practicing at full speed with the team. Now I am not saying this as anything other then pure speculation but isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that a player with a long history of academic trouble is all of the sudden poised to make a comeback after the new grades are in for the fall semester and eligibility is renewed? If Wayne had himself a bad summer session and failed a few classes perhaps that was enough to keep his heart beat a bit of balance… and perhaps not.

Truthfully it doesn’t matter, not to me at least. I believe being good at basketball is just like being good at math or English it’s just a less accepted form of intelligence… However, it warrants mentioning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ring The Alarm... Alabama's Dying!


I had to hold my breath in fear that the student body wouldn’t storm the floor after the big win on Saturday evening in Philadelphia.

An enthused and crowded student section pounded on the chairs and chanted in support of their Owls as Mardy and company took down the Crimson Tide for Temple’s first win against a ranked opponent in a long while.

Temple came out of the gate with something to prove knocking down trey after trey to put the pressure on ‘Bama in a hurry. However, Alabama wasn’t shook and they hit a number of long balls of their own to keep things close.


Temple had another balanced box score that saw the man they call the “X-Factor” lead the way with 20 points. Dustin came out of the gates on fire like the Hot Boys knocking down four threes in the first half. He loves to pull up for the elbow three balls and he was hitting almost everything he saw in the first half. Antwayne chipped in 17 but more importantly had 11 boards. Mardy added 15 and Mark rounded out the double figure scoring with 10.



The Owls put up 68 points which is high by Temple standards but the defense and board work was the difference in the win. I already mentioned ‘Twayne’s work but Dustin’s 9 rebounds are nothing to sneer at. He also had the play of the game with a huge blocked dunk attempt that was quickly passed out to Mark who found Antwayne in the corner for three. He also added three steals to fill up the box score in a big way.


Can’t say enough about the difference in the swagger of the Temple team when they have another guy clicking the way Dustin was on Saturday. I was impressed not only in the three point shooting which has always been a strength but also in his ability to recognize when it was time to go to the hoop in the second half. In a game like this where Temple actually shoots well enough to really space the floor and a couple guys get hot you have to take advantage of spacing by taking the ball to the basket. Mardy does this on occasion as does Mark but it was nice to see Dustin recognize that the defense was sagging his way and make them pay by going hard to the hole.

I am a little puzzled by Mardy’s lack of production this season and I am not simple talking points. Against Alabama he scored 15 but only grabbed 3 rebounds and had no steals, usually his bread and butter category. He also was charged with an uncharacteristic two turnovers but when compared to his 7 dimes that is acceptable. Its possible this is all a result of teams making him the focal point of their defensive attack and having an increased awareness of his presence on the floor in guarding from takeaways but its worth noting. However I’m sure Mardy would argue that with the defense keying on him it’s allowing his teammates to get some open looks at the basket and the Owls are winning. Say No More.


The Liacorous center was rocking like the good old days. The game was televised on ESPN2 and the student section was as loud as I have heard it. Whoever is leading that group of kids is doing his or her thing but I did feel that the overrated chant was in poor taste and WAY to early. Come on! There were like 15 minutes left and this is Temple! You know that offense can catch a case at any time and shut down its operation. However, all is forgiven cause this is a good win.
Much respect to Steve Gengler who allowed me to use some of his original shots from the game. You can check out his site here: http://www.xanga.com/iisteve99. Hopefully he isn’t one of those wild men who was chanting overrated but even if he is, all is forgiven!


Looking ahead Temple has Auburn @ their place and then the Gamecocks back home in Philly. These are going to be two tests for the Owls as both these clubs know how to play and are familiar with the match up zone. Last season the boys stumbled against both clubs in games I feel were very winnable. Its going to be a true test for Temple of not only their basketball ability but their mental and maturity as a squad. I also think if they can string together these two wins they will be making a push at the Top 25… It’s early but I feel good.