Operation transformation

Lavoy Allen doesn’t know what it’s like to lose.The physically intimidating center helped build a perennial district and state contender at Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Pa. Hoping to do the same at Temple beginning

Lavoy Allen doesn’t know what it’s like to lose.The physically intimidating center helped build a perennial district and state contender at Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Pa. Hoping to do the same at Temple beginning next season, Allen said he hasn’t second-guessed his decision.

“Oh no, definitely not,” said Allen, a McDonald’s All-American. “I hope I can come in next year and help us win some more games and possibly win the [Atlantic Ten Conference] tournament.”

Undaunted by Temple’s five-year absence from the NCAA Tournament, Allen, along with point guard Martavis Kee and power forward Michael Eric, have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Owls next season.

Without a fourth scholarship available, another recruit – guard Ramone Moore – has verbally committed, but remains unsigned. Moore has made it known he wants to be a part of Temple’s transformation. And so have the other three commits, who Temple coach Fran Dunphy said possess the talent to eventually see hefty minutes.

“The three guys who have signed letters of intent are really three guys that can help us,” Dunphy said. “How soon … will be determined by how they make the adjustment to the college game.”

Dunphy said he likes what his first full recruiting class at Temple will have to offer. The seasoned coach will have at his disposal a talented point guard in Kee and two big men in Allen and Eric – both areas of this year’s squad which could benefit from their help.

Allen’s talent in the middle has helped Pennsbury to a 23-4 record and a potentially lengthy run in the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament.

As the Falcons’ leading scorer, rebounder
and shot-blocker, the 6-9, 225-pound Allen has paced the Falcons. He might even have the opportunity to start next season.

“[Dunphy] does tell me that,” Allen said. “I know when I go there next year, they’re not just going to let me start. I have to earn that spot.”

Allen tops Pennsbury in field-goal and free-throw percentage and ranks second on the team in assists.

A three-star recruit, Allen had fielded scholarship offers from Big East schools Villanova, Providence and Rutgers. Pennsbury coach Frank Sciolla said Allen saw something more at Temple.

“He liked a number of things,” Sciolla said. “But the most important thing was that he could come in and immediately be a big contributor. I can’t be presumptuous and say he’ll be a centerpiece for Temple, but he’ll be pretty darn good.”

Eric, who has put up similarly impressive numbers, will accompany Allen in the frontcourt.

At the lesser-known Church Farm High in Paoli, Pa., Eric led the Griffins to a league championship this season. The 6-10 center did so in fashion, posting 24 of his team’s 54 points in the title game.

And what Allen and Eric likely will provide in the paint, Kee will add on the perimeter.Because of his 6-3, 185-pound build, left-handed shot and capable play, Kee has drawn comparisons to former Temple guard Lynn Greer.

Greer, now in the NBA with the Milwaukee
Bucks, led the Owls to their most recent Elite Eight finish, in 2001, and ranks second among Temple’s all-time scoring leaders.

“If [Kee] has the career that Lynn Greer had, we’ll be very, very happy,” Dunphy said.

With high expectations, Kee said current
guard Dionte Christmas and the Owls’ coaching staff has passed along some helpful advice.

“Dionte just says, ‘Stay humble and keep working hard,'” Kee said on visit to Temple a few weeks ago. “I talk to him the most.”After taking in an Owls’ win, Kee said he was impressed with Temple’s guards.

“I like the style they play,” Kee said.

“It’s more of a guard’s team. They have a lot of freedom. Coach Dunphy feels comfortable with his players. It’s something I can come and contribute to.”

Kee, who averages 20 points and nine assists, saw his high school career come to a close Saturday in the Florida State Class 5A quarterfinals. And as for Moore, a 6-4, 185-pound shooting guard, he remains confident he’ll eventually don a cherry and white jersey. At South Philadelphia High, Moore led all city players with a 24.1 scoring average.

A scholarship at Temple might not become available for him until 2008, but, according to Moore’s high school coach, the guard is excited about eventually playing here.

“I was surprised by how adamant he was about Temple,” said South Philadelphia coach George Anderson.Anderson said Moore was influenced by Nate Blackwell, a former Temple standout who hails from Moore’s neighborhood.

“He’s known Nate since he was a little kid. They’re so close, he calls him his cousin,” he said.

According to Anderson, Moore hasn’t made a decision on his future. But he said Moore received promising advice from Dunphy
and his staff.

“They really like Ramone, so they’ve given
him suggestions on which prep schools to attend,” Anderson said. “If he does that, great. But he likes Temple, so I think he’ll fit in there well.”

John Kopp and Christopher A. Vito can be reached at templenewssports@gmail.com.

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