The date was April 5, 2001.
It was a day that would live in Temple Basketball infamy.
The day center Kevin Lyde would crush the dreams of Owls fans in order to reach his own.
Or so we thought.
Instead Lyde reneged on his entry into the 2001 NBA draft and is back for his final season as a Temple Owl.
“It was a wild summer,” Lyde said. “At first I didn’t know which way was up, then it all dawned on me that Temple was the place for me to finish my college career.”
A winning finish is exactly what Kevin Lyde and senior point guard Lynn Greer intend to obtain.
“We want this to be the year,” Greer said. “Every year we have taken steps and each year we have gotten deeper. This year I want to win it all for the team, and of course, Coach Chaney.”
So expectations are high with this Temple team. But are they for the coach?
|7 Games to Watch
Dec. 1 Penn State – Temple rolled over the Nittany Lions in the NCAA tournament last season. Jerry Dunn, who coached Lynn Greer over the summer, looks to come into the Liacouras Center for revenge… Dec. 5 at Duke – Remember when Duke crushed Temple at the First Union Center last year? You probably don’t, most fans have tried to forget about that horrible lost. Remember it in December when Temple travels to play the Dukies… Dec. 8 Villanova at the Palestra – the storied home of Philadelphia Big 5 basketball is the place for Temple’s first city-series game of the year… Dec. 20 Memphis – DuJuan Wagner, the top recruit out of high school last year from over the river in Camden, comes home with hopes of lighting up the place. He scored 100 points in a game last year, let’s see what Chaney’s matchup zone does to the flashy guar0… Feb. 2 Saint Joseph’s – You can’t abbreviate “St.” anymore, because the Hawks are trying to clean up their image. Come to see if Temple can knock that smug attitude back to Hawk Hill… Feb. 16 UMass – No more anti-Bruiser Flint cheers? Aww. That’s OK, anti-Steve Lappas cheers are a lot easier… Mar. 3 Saint Joseph’s at the Palestra – Two years ago, the Hawks knocked Temple out of a No. 1 seed in the tournament with a memorable win at the old gym This year, it could be Temple knocking the Hawks out of a No. 1 seed.
Of course not, but that’s John Chaney for you.
“We are going to get our butts kicked in January,” Chaney said. “Without the services of David Hawkins and Alex Wesby we are in deep trouble. Lynn can play 40 minutes, but what happens when he gets in foul trouble? After him we have nothing but kids.”
Hawkins is academically ineligible in the first semester. Wesby is suffering from a nagging hamstring injury, but will play.
The kids who Chaney was speaking of are three freshmen and one sophomore in the books, but one freshman on the court.
All of them are raw, but making progress during practice.
Glen Elliot and Hawley Smith are both forwards from the same high school, Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Fla.
Other newcomers to the mix include guards Nile Murray and Brian Polk.
Rounding out this year’s squad is a duo of returnees and one senior guard, who was a walk-on last year.
Greg Jefferson looks to improve upon his excellent play down the stretch and into the tournament last season. His outlook for the season is to help the team in anyway possible.
“I am looking to make any kind of contribution I can,” Jefferson said. “Wherever and whenever coach wants me to play, I will. I think I can make a difference to this team.”
Rounding out the middle is Ron Rollerson. “Big Ron” as he is affectionately known, has lost 30 pounds in the off-season. He is down to a slim, trim 305 pounds.
For a month or so last year, Rollerson thought he was going to be the starting center. But now that Lyde is back, he can revert to his normal role of filling in at power forward or center. Rollerson is expected to start at power forward.
The roster is completed by the addition of senior transfer guard Jay Jameson. Jameson was a walk-on last season and is not expected to play many minutes, but he is a good defensive player, helping Murray and Polk in practice.
Overall the squad is deeper than in past years. The shooters are better on this squad than any Temple team in recent memory. Defensively, having new players come into a complicated Chaney system is a hard task to accomplish.
But this squad begins and ends with Lynn Greer and Kevin Lyde.
If either of these players go down, the Owls are in a whole lot of trouble.