Wesby’s return sparks Owls

ALEX WESBY SR. F 6-6, 190 The third-year senior graduated from Ben Franklin High School at Broad and Spring Garden in 1998. Wesby came up Broad Street and has been a force on defense for

ALEX WESBY SR. F 6-6, 190
The third-year senior graduated from Ben Franklin High School at Broad and Spring Garden in 1998. Wesby came up Broad Street and has been a force on defense for the Owls.

Even when his hot shooting skills go cold, Wesby is able to make an impact on defense.

He is second on the team behind Kevin Lyde in defensive rebounds and total rebounds. Wesby has battled through a wrist injury and the death of his mother this season.

18 69-193 .358
35-112 .312
22-37 .595 195 10.8

23 80 103
assists turnovers A:Tratio
17 18 0.9

2000-01: 37 GP, led team in 3-point shot attempts (228), second leading rebounder (202, 5.5 rpg, fifth-highest scorer (10.1 ppg)

1999-00: 23 GP, 7.6 minutes per game, 3.4 ppg.

1998-99: Did not play under NCAA guidelines.

HS: 19.3 ppg, 13.0 rpg and four blocks per game as a senior in Ben Franklin’s Public League title run. Had 22 rebounds in championship game. Named to Inquirer and Daily News All-Public and All-City first teams…Participated in track and field for two years…1997 Public League high jump champion…honor roll student all four years at Ben Franklin.

When Alex Wesby went down with a wrist injury on Jan. 12 against Rhode Island, Temple’s season took a turn for the worst.

But with Wesby back in the lineup, the Owls’ chances have improved in a wide-open Atlantic 10.

“We’re not as panic stricken as we were with too many young guys on the floor,” coach John Chaney said. “I think we’re back where I’d like to see us and moving in the right direction at this stage. I’d just like to see more of it.”

When the team needs a pickup defensively or even offensively, it seems to always turn to Wesby, a 6-foot-7-inch senior wing forward. When the team needed its first win of the year, the Owls turned to him. He responded with 21 points, a career-high, in a win over Charlotte. He followed that performance with a shooting show against Penn State, scoring 20 points and going 4-for-6 from behind the arc.

Off the court, Wesby has dealt with the passing of his mother, Ella Mae, and the recent wrist ailment.

The Owls were 2-4 in the six games Wesby missed.

That included a four game losing streak to the likes of hot shooting St. Bonaventure, a bad U-Mass team, Richmond and N.C.State. In those games, the team lacked the defensive intensity that Wesby brings to the floor.

And then he returned, and all seemed well.

His first game back was a huge match up with rival Saint Joseph’s. He didn’t score, but Temple’s defense looked much improved, forcing the Hawks into 14 turnovers. Wesby had two steals in the 82-72 win.

In the next two wins, Wesby contributed back-to-back double-doubles. Wesby has obtained career highs in points in a game (21), rebounds in a game (11), assists (7) and steals (6) this season.

Along with defense, Wesby has brought needed rebounding help down low for 6-foot-9-inch center Kevin Lyde. Wesby is second on the team, averaging 5.7 boards a game. He has collected a total of 39 rebounds in his first four games back. Wesby is also tied for second in steals, with 39.

Temple now has the starting lineup that Chaney envisioned at the beginning of the season, one that knows Chaney’s defense and how to play it.

“I’m looking at progress from day to day, game to game, right now, so I can feel better,” he said. “They can feel better also, but I want to feel better about coaching a team, about the instrument that I brought to this team years ago, and that’s being a defensive team, a team that always is noted for defense. And at this time of year we’re always a great team on defense. And that’s where we’re not right now, not to my satisfaction.”

Things can only improve with Wesby’s return.

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