FOOTBALL: Three make verbal commitments
Al Golden isn’t in the business of wasting time. The ambitious football coach wants to recruit players who will be expected to turn around Temple’s struggling program.
The first-year coach, who inherited a team that went 0-11 last season, just took three steps toward attaining that goal.
Golden received three verbal commitments last week from players who will arrive for the 2007 season, according to reports in the Philadelphia Daily News. All three hold skill positions.
The Daily News reported last week that the players are running backs Kitt Anderson, of Neshaminy High in Langhorne, Pa., and Corwin Acker, from Blake High in Silver Spring, Md., and Chester Stewart, a quarterback out of DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md.
Temple football representatives have said they will not comment on any players or potential recruits until February, when the official signing period begins.
At 5-10 and 180 pounds, Anderson said he has received recruiting attention from Michigan State, Maryland and Virginia.
Last season at Neshaminy, Anderson had 71 carries for 547 yards. He found the end zone 10 times, as well. He was mostly a second option out of the backfield for the Redskins.
Anderson has also played the defensive back position, where he split time in 2005. Golden told Anderson he doesn’t plan to use the combo player on defense. The coach told him he was recruited for offense and his experience – though limited – at returning kickoffs and punts.
Taken recently on a tour of Temple’s campus with Golden, Anderson said he was most impressed with the aura surrounding Golden and his staff.
“I spoke to the whole coaching staff. Just by the way they talk, I can tell that they’re winners,” Anderson said. “They know how to win. They want to win.
“[Golden] is a winner. Look at what he’s done in the offseason. He’s so busy. He knows what he’s doing when he does something. I’m [so] excited with how he’s working in the offseason that I can’t wait to see what he can do during the regular season.”
In being recruited, Anderson was constantly reminded by Golden of the coach’s plan for Temple. Golden has said he wants to construct one of the greatest turnarounds in NCAA history at Temple. Anderson likes the idea of being a part of Temple’s potential transition into greatness.
“The fact that I’m going to come in here and help a struggling program is good. I want to play,” Anderson said. “He told me about [his plan], and I think that’s important for every player to know before coming here.”
Fellow running back Acker has the offensive output and build to rival Anderson’s. The 5-10, 185-pound rusher recorded 420 yards and seven touchdowns on 86 carries last season at Blake High.
While those might initially look like modest numbers, Acker accounted for seven of Blake’s 12 offensive touchdowns last season.
His breakout game – a 31-rush, 214-yard, three-touchdown performance on Sept. 16 – helped Blake to its only win of 2005.
It was reported that he was being recruited by North Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland, among others.
Stewart, at 6-3 and 193 pounds, primarily served as a backup quarterback at DeMatha. Michigan State, Syracuse and Wisconsin were reportedly seeking the services of the 6-3, 193-pound signal caller.
In 2005, Stewart was 4-for-4 on passing attempts for 150 yards and two touchdowns. DeMatha is coming off an 11-1 season in 2005 in which Stewart played behind a senior quarterback.
BASEBALL: Asjes in command on Cape Cod
Arshwin Asjes has heard the stories. He knows a bit of the history and lore surrounding the Cape Cod Baseball League.
The flame-throwing right-hander also knows an opportunity like playing in the prestigious Cape League doesn’t come around all that often. So he’s opted to soak it in, no matter what capacity he has to play in.
Asjes, the most reliable starting pitcher for Temple last spring, is pitching out of the bullpen for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape League.
Just being on a roster in the Cape League is an accomplishment not too many college players can brag about. Asjes started and continues to play for Harwich under temporary player status, meaning he had to play his way into a spot on the team.
“There’s only so much you can do on the field. After that, it’s out of your hands,” Asjes said in preparation for a game Thursday night.
The Cape League draws scores of scouts from professional baseball teams every summer. It’s also known for creating pressure-packed situations for Cape Leaguers, most of whom are freshmen or sophomores.
Not for Asjes, though. The rising junior’s numbers don’t show any anxiety, at least. Through Wednesday, the 6-3, 215-pound Asjes had allowed only two hits in eight innings.
In a game last week, Asjes combined with two relievers to throw seven innings of no-hit ball in helping Harwich to a late-inning comeback win.
Asjes, a Curacao native, has struck out 10 batters in three appearances, putting him among the league leaders in that category.
The Cape League, in its 120th year, has been long considered the most prestigious summer baseball league for college players. Former Cape Leaguers made up 18.8 percent of Major League Baseball in 2005.
But Asjes has warded off any feelings of worry or uneasiness when around scouts.
Sure, he wants to leave a mark on MLB representatives who come out to his games. But playing baseball at the next level is not at the forefront of his mind. After all, Asjes is a former draft pick of the Cleveland Indians.
“That doesn’t bother me,” Asjes said. “It can’t. You have to play your best no matter who’s watching. You can’t play for what people are saying in an office about you.”
In his first season at Temple, Asjes led the Owls with 13 starts while striking out 55 batters in 74 innings. He also held a scoreless-inning streak from Feb. 24 to March 31 that reached 26 innings.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Dupree, Staley share struggles
Candice Dupree’s days in a Temple uniform are over, but that doesn’t mean the all-American forward has stopped learning from her former coach from North Broad Street.
Dupree, who plays with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, has emerged as a leader for the expansion team. That’s not a far cry from the on-court play of the Houston Comets’ Staley, who has said that this will be her 11th and final season in the league.
Staley, who was recently named to the WNBA’s All-Decade Team, has tallied nearly six points and four assists per game for the second-place Comets, who held a 10-6 record through Thursday.
Staley’s numbers have diminished since her first years in the league when she was a four-time all-star, but she remains grouped with the league’s all-time leaders in steals and assists.
In terms of wins and losses, Dupree has not followed the lead of her former coach. The Sky have lost 13 straight since winning their season opener. In their only head-to-head match-up Staley’s Comets beat Dupree’s Sky, 71-60. Dupree scored seven points off the bench while her mentor had four points.
As a rookie, Dupree is playing just over 30 minutes per game. Through Wednesday’s games, the Tampa native has averaged 12.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and one block per game, all team highs.
But the link between Staley and Dupree extends much further than their first season together in the WNBA.
While at Temple, Dupree brought the Owls into the national spotlight, leading the Owls to three straight NCAA Tournaments. She became the first Staley recruit-turned-all-American, too.
In April, Dupree became the first Owl ever selected in the WNBA Draft when Chicago drafted the 6-2 forward-center with the sixth overall pick.
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at email@example.com.