17 Temple Development of young players is the Owls' key to a Final Four berth

Nov. 19, 2001
Nov. 19, 2001

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Nov. 19, 2001

College Basketball Preview 2001-02

17 Temple Development of young players is the Owls' key to a Final Four berth

If not for his oversized white practice jersey and his baby
face, Lynn Greer could have been mistaken for one of coach John
Chaney's assistants. On a pitch-black October morning in
Philadelphia, when Temple's Liacouras Center was the only thing
humming on North Broad Street at six o'clock., the senior point
guard pulled aside one freshman after another to filter the
screams of the 69-year-old, sandpaper-voiced Chaney into
soft-spoken, clinical instructions.

This is an article from the Nov. 19, 2001 issue Original Layout

"For us to do well, I've got to get these new guys on the same
page as the rest of us," says the 6'1", 175-pound Greer, who will
be joined in the backcourt by sophomore Brian Polk or freshman
Nile Murry. "Coach has already told us that if we're playing in
March the way we're playing now, we might as well forfeit and
watch the games on TV."

Annually playing one of the nation's most treacherous
early-season schedules, Temple finds that its record often
suffers at the start. The Owls lost seven games in a row last
December yet were playing so well by the end of the season that
they nearly reached the Final Four for the first time in
Chaney's 19 years at Temple. (Michigan State beat them in the
NCAA South Regional final.) This season, however, the team will
be hard-pressed to go that far. Even with the dependable Greer
(18.2 points, 5.5 assists per game) and senior center Kevin
Lyde, the nation's leading offensive rebounder (4.5 per game),
Temple's overall inexperience could be problematic.

In addition to Polk and Murry, 6'9" Glen Elliott, a freshman
forward from Jacksonville, is another first-year player who will
be heavily counted on. Though Elliott should add much needed
speed and hustle to the frontcourt, Chaney doesn't expect his
newcomers to have an immediate impact. "In order to improve, our
older guys must get more touches, must shoot more," says Chaney.

Greer--a notorious perfectionist from his days at Engineering
and Science High, where he became the second highest scorer in
the Philadelphia Public League history (1,991 points, behind
Wilt Chamberlain's 2,206)--is ready for the challenge. When his
teammates dispersed after practice, Greer would sneak in an
extra hour in the gym with dad Lynn Sr., who played for the
Scranton Apollos in the old Eastern League from 1973 through
'75. When Greer went 3 for 18 from three-point range in a
three-game stretch last January, he broke the slump with an
intensive week of film study and extra shooting after practice.
In fact his shooting improved to 50% over his next five games,
and he wound up first on the team in scoring, free throw
percentage (.868) and steals (2.0) while leading the nation with
1,465 minutes played, an astonishing 39.6 per game. But Greer
still winces when the conversation turns to how close Temple
came to the Final Four.

"Every player wants to be the one to get Coach his first Final
Four," says Greer. "But the seniors, we want to win for
ourselves, too. It's our last chance."


COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER The dependable Greer, who led the nation in minutes played, will be the driving force for the young but talented Owls.



COMMENT: Coach John Chaney has been vocal critic of NCAA's Prop
48 rules, and low graduation rate may be in part a product of
his championing at-risk students, but it does not speak well for
his program. Otherwise, Owls are well-disciplined--they're too
tired from 6 a.m. practices to get into trouble. Worst bit of
behavior in recent memory was committed by Chaney, who
confronted John Calipari, UMass's coach at the time, in press
room following game in 1994 and threatened to kill him. (Chaney
apologized and made up with Calipari.)




SF Alex Wesby 6'6" Sr. 10.1 ppg[#]
PF Ron Rollerson 6'10" Sr. 4.2 rpg
C Kevin Lyde 6'9" Sr. 8.9 rpg[#]
SG Nile Murry 6'4" Fr. 18.0 ppg*
PG Lynn Greer 6'2" Sr. 18.2 ppg[#]

2000-01 record: 24-13
Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 16
[#]Returning starter
*As high school senior in 1999-2000