Former Owls reunite to form Broad Street Birds

Former Temple Men’s Basketball players will be participating in The Basketball Tournament in July.

Former guard Quinton Rose talks it over with former coach Aaron McKie during a timeout. COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When Philadelphia sports trainer Tony Paris first suggested putting together a Temple-themed team for The Basketball Tournament last summer, former Temple guard Shizz Alston Jr. didn’t think it would work out. 

Temple already had several former players on the Big 5-themed team in the annual five-on-five basketball tournament, so Alston Jr. brushed off the thought at first, not knowing how many players he could recruit.

However, a few months later, Paris asked the same question again. This time, Alston Jr. thought about giving it a shot because the idea of playing with his former teammates on national television again was too great to pass up. From there, the idea took off, and Alston Jr. did everything he could to fill out a roster.

“January, [Paris] really started pushing it like, ‘Bro, we gotta get this team,’” Alston Jr. said. “So I just hit up some of the guys that I was cool with.”

Thus, the Broad Street Birds were born. Many of the players Alston Jr. reached out to were members of the last Temple team to make it to the NCAA Tournament in 2019. Having played with many of these players for multiple years and even working out with some during the summer, Alston Jr. felt it was an easy choice to recruit them.

The Tournament starts at the end of July, and the Broad Street Birds will be playing the Beale Street Boys, Memphis’ alumni team, in the Wichita Regional on July 20. The team will have a training session in Philadelphia prior to the opening round, but many players have already started working out on their own.

Other than Alston Jr., the roster includes players from the 2019 team like Quinton Rose, who played for the Owls from 2016-20 and is now playing in the NBA G League, big men JP Moorman and Damion Moore and wing De’Vondre Perry. 

For most players, TBT will be the first time playing with their former Temple teammates since their 81-70 loss to Belmont in the First Four of the 2019 March Madness tournament. While many of them have been playing overseas or in the G League, the bond they once created while playing together still remains.

The players’ familiarity with each other will allow the team to run a smoother offense, Alston Jr. said. 

“That definitely gives us an advantage as we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Alston Jr. said. “Everybody will show their talent as well, but we probably will try to run some of the stuff to show our chemistry.” 

When the team started looking for a coach, the list started and ended with the person who came up with the idea in the first place: Paris. 

Paris views himself as a father figure and role model to the players, as he’s known most of them since they were teenagers. He hosts summertime pickup games for local players, helps create highlight videos to showcase their skills and works out with many of the players, like Alston Jr, Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis, in the offseason.

Paris’ love for Temple Basketball and a deep connection with the players inspired him to put together the team; his knowledge of their game made him the perfect fit.

“I just want to see these guys blossom,” Paris said. “Their success is my reward and that’s why I do this. Not for money.”

Scootie Randall, who played for Temple from 2008-13 and in the same Japanese league as Alston Jr. for a season, will also join the team as an assistant coach.

When he first agreed to join the squad, Randall contemplated a player-coach position but ultimately decided on assistant coach due to knee injuries and a need for rest before starting his next season in Japan.

Almost a decade older than most of the team, Randall has taken a leadership role and hopes to help the younger players gain experience on the court by setting up practices with pro players and sharing advice he’s gained through the years.

“You either adapt or get left behind,” Randall said. “I want to get my guys in the mix and try to stay up with the younger generation and talk to them and have a great connection with them.”

Having never thought they’d have the chance to play together again, they want to make the most of the opportunity while playing on national television.

“On a personal level, it’s deeper,” Alston Jr. said. “The brothers are back together again.”

Although this is the first year, the hope is to continue the team and make it a tradition in the future, Alston Jr. said.

“I’m looking at it to be an every year thing,” Alston Jr. said. “Future years, I think we’ll have more alumni participation.”

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