Owls to play in Big 5 doubleheader

For the first time since 2004, the Palestra will host a Philadelphia Big 5 doubleheader. On Jan. 20, 2016, Temple will take on La Salle in the first game of the day followed by a match-up between Penn and St. Joseph’s to honor The Big 5’s 60th anniversary.

“The Athletics Directors wanted to do something very special to celebrate this unique achievement,” said Steve Bilsky, Executive Director of The Big 5, in a university-issued statement. “We thought nothing would capture its history better than a competition to be held in the famed Cathedral of Basketball. The fact that we were able to pull it off in a very challenging college basketball scheduling environment is a credit to the AD’s, coaches, and conference commissioners, all of whom displayed tremendous perseverance and flexibility.”

Temple, La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s and Villanova have been squaring off against each other every year since the mid 1950’s.

The Owls defeated Villanova 53-52 the last time a Big 5 doubleheader took place in 2004.

Coach Fran Dunphy has taken part in the rivalry both with the Owls and as the coach at Penn.

“The Big 5 is a special part of the fabric of Philadelphia sports,” Dunphy said in a university-issued statement. “It is held in high regard nationally, and is treasured by Philadelphia college basketball fans locally. We are happy to be taking part in this true Big 5 doubleheader to honor its 60 years of existence.”

The annual match-up between the Owls and the Explorers will take place in the Palestra for the third consecutive season. Temple won last year’s match-up by a score of 58-57.

Morgan to sit early, play spring semester

Senior guard Jesse Morgan has decided to play out his final semester of eligibility in the spring, according to a CBS Sports report Wednesday.

Morgan will miss the Owls’ first 10 games of the 2014-15 season, and will become eligible to play starting on Dec. 18 for Temple’s non-conference matchup at the University of Delaware.

Temple had petitioned for Morgan to receive a full year of eligibility for the 2014-15 season, but the NCAA elected to maintain Morgan’s eligibility for one semester. On the American Athletic Conference media day at the New York Athletic Club last Wednesday, coach Fran Dunphy said the ruling allowed Morgan to choose whether to play out his semester of eligibility in the fall or the spring.

Originally a University of Massachusetts commit, Morgan averaged 13.4 points per game as a junior during the 2012-13 campaign for the Minutemen, before a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament ended his season. He transferred to Temple that summer and petitioned for eligibility for the 2013-14 season, but was denied a waiver by the NCAA.

After he regains eligibility, Morgan will join an experienced Temple backcourt that features senior Will Cummings, junior Quenton DeCosey and junior transfer Devin Coleman, who will play his first season with the team after sitting out in 2013-14, per the NCAA’s transfer policy.

Lee to transfer for final year of eligibility

Redshirt-junior forward Anthony Lee has decided to transfer from Temple.

The news was first reported by Keith Pompey of The Inquirer. Lee reportedly told coach Fran Dunphy of his decision yesterday. Lee has acknowledged his decision to depart on Twitter.

Lee is due to graduate in May with a degree in communications. He can transfer to any university and be eligible to play immediately since he will have already earned his undergraduate degree. He cannot enroll in a graduate program that is also offered at Temple.

He averaged 13.6 points on 49.5 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2013-14. He led the American Athletic Conference in rebounds per game and was tenth in the conference in field goal percentage.

Dunphy highest paid Temple coach

According to public information released by Temple, men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy was the highest paid employee in the athletics department during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

With a salary of $659,600, Dunphy was the fifth highest paid employee at Temple. Former football coach Steve Addazio was the seventh highest paid employee at Temple, with gross earnings of $612,414 during the same 2011-12 fiscal year.

Before Addazio’s arrival, former football coach Al Golden was the highest paid university employee with gross earnings of $898,031 during the 2010-11 fiscal year. Addazio left Temple after the 2012 season for a coaching position at Boston College, while Golden left after the 2010 season for a coaching position at the University of Miami.

Men’s basketball to travel to Europe in August

For the first time in the program’s history, the men’s basketball team is going on a European tour.

The team will leave on Aug. 14, visiting four cities along the way: two in France (Paris and Nice) and two in Italy (Milan and Rome). The Owls will play four games on the trip (the press release didn’t specify where the games would be played, but there will likely be one in each city) and return on Aug. 23.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” coach Fran Dunphy said in the release. “Academically, we plan to educate our student-athletes on the different cultures as well as the history of the cities we are visiting. Basketball-wise, it will give our young squad a chance to form its own chemistry before we begin our first season of competition in the American Athletic Conference. So it is a win-win scenario.”

The trip also allows Temple to get additional practice hours. Normally, teams can only practice for two hours a week in the offseason due to NCAA rules. However, since the Owls will be competing overseas, the team will be granted 10 additional full practices before the trip.

Bond signs scholarship agreement, will play for Owls

Jaylen Bond, a 6 foot 7 forward, has officially signed a scholarship agreement with Temple and will play basketball for the Owls.

Bond will not get on the court for Temple in this upcoming season. He will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA eligibility rules. He has two remaining years of eligibility starting with the 2014-15 season. There were rumors that Bond could be granted a hardship waiver, allowing him to play this season, but they turned out to be unfounded.

“Jaylen is an excellent addition to the Temple Basketball program,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said in a press release. “He is a fine young man from a good family. We are looking forward to tremendous things from him during his Temple career.”

Bond, a former star at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., attended the University of Texas for two years before transferring to Temple. In 13.8 minutes per game as a Longhorn, he averaged 3.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

At Plymouth-Whitemarsh, he finished his career as the second-leading scorer in the Colonials’ history, with 1,608 career points. Bond averaged 19.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game as a senior.

Phil Martelli praises Khalif Wyatt

St. Joseph’s University coach Phil Martelli had some kind words for senior guard Khalif Wyatt following the men’s basketball team’s 70-69 loss on Saturday night.

Martelli called Wyatt courageous, and explained the difference between Wyatt and other players as his willingness to take difficult shots.

Here’s a full transcription of what he said:

“The way that Khalif has grown in their program is a testimony to him and a testimony to Dunph and his staff. He just plays like a lot of you guys play. If you play three-on-three, that’s what he’s doing. He plays a three-on-three game as much as he can. He flails around and deserves a lot of credit for the way that he plays the game. There is a certain talent and he has that talent. He scores the basketball. If I’m looking at both of our teams, the difference is they have a guy that can get 30, we don’t have anybody that can do that, because we don’t have a confidence level and we’re not making shots. He’s a shot maker. The shot the other night against Richmond, that’s almost silly. He shot fakes and goes off one foot and makes a three, tied 61-61. Here’s what people don’t understand about that: It’s courage. He has to live with the fact that he could miss that shot. That’s what shot makers do. They are willing to take the consequences of make or miss.”

-Joey Cranney

Men’s basketball adds two recruits

The men’s basketball team has officially signed two recruits to National Letters of Intent for during the early signing period of the 2013 class, it was announced in a press release Wednesday.

Josh Brown (St. Anthony’s) and Kyle Green (Camden Catholic) become the first two members of Temple’s 2013 recruiting class.

Brown is a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Irvington, N.J. who averaged nine points, five rebounds and four assists last season. He played with UCLA freshman Kyle Anderson under coach Bobby Hurley at St. Anthony’s High School.

Green is a 6-foot-5-inch guard from Woodbury Heights, N.J. who averaged 22.7 points per game last season at Camden Catholic High School.

“We are excited to add these fine young men to the Temple Basketball family,” coach Fran Dunphy said in a statement. “They are both upstanding citizens who come from wonderful families.  We are looking forward to great things from them, both on the court and in the classroom, during their Temple careers.”