Sunday, July 5, 2015

All-City All-Decade Teams: Temple and La Salle

After taking your nominations throughout last week, it's now time to put together the results. Over the next three days, I'll be posting my picks for all-decade teams for each of the City Six schools.

All-City All-Decade Teams: Temple and La Salle

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After taking your nominations throughout last week, it's now time to put together the results. Over the next three days, I'll be posting my picks for all-decade teams for each of the City Six schools.

Today's teams are Temple and La Salle. Tomorrow will be Villanova and St. Joseph's, and Wednesday will be Penn and Drexel.

On Thursday, I'll post a series of polls asking you all to pick your player of the decade from each school. From that we will put together the all-decade all-city team.

In general, I've tried to stick to three-guard, two-forward lineups. I may end up going with four guards at some point, but it wouldn't be the first time we've seen that around here.

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I'm sure you all will have plenty to say about my choices, so feel free to fire away in the comments. So here we go...

Temple

Mardy Collins, guard: It's easy enough to pick an all-decade team for the Owls, but picking one player to be the point guard is a lot harder. I give the ball to Collins, who was arguably John Chaney's last true superstar. At the very least, he was the last chapter in the book of guards who Chaney groomed for the big stage, such as Aaron McKie, Eddie Jones and Mark Macon. Collins was first-team all-Big 5 in 2005 and 2006.

Lynn Greer, guard: I only got to Philadelphia in 2002, but I already knew about Greer. Although I never got to see him in person, I knew he was a great scorer and an even better leader, having been the catalyst for Temple's run to the Elite Eight in 2001. He was first-team all-Big 5 that year and in 2002, and he's still revered on North Broad Street.

David Hawkins, guard: By the program's high standards, Temple was not at its best during the peak of Hawkins' career. The Washington, D.C., native was a bright spot, though. He shot 40 percent from the field for his career, averaging 16.4 points per game. But there was only so much he could do, especially when facing a St. Joe's team that had Jameer Nelson and Delonte West in their primes.

Dionte Christmas, forward: Even though he never won an NCAA Tournament game in his college career, Christmas was still the kind of game-breaking scorer that any coach would dream of having. Yes, he had a few cold streaks - and a maddening tendency to disappear in the NCAA Tournament - but he averaged 20 points per game as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was first-team all-Big 5 in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Lavoy Allen, center: It's hard to think of Lavoy Allen and not think of how much more he could be. Yet part of that is because we know how good he has been. He is going to leave Temple as the program's all-time leading rebounder, as a serious post defender, and as a capable scorer from inside and outside the point. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds last season, and was an easy choice for first-team all-Big 5. Will he take that next step between now and March?


La Salle

Darnell Harris, guard: Although he didn't play in the frontcourt, Harris was the bridge between the Steven Smith and Rodney Green eras. He was a leader on the floor for the Explorers and had a great set of cornrows to go with his sweet perimeter stroke. Harris finished his career with a career three-point percentage of 39.4. He was first-team all-Big 5 in 2008.

Rodney Green, guard: He did everything for the Explorers, not just because he could but because at times he had to. Green averaged 15.6 points, five rebounds and 3.2 assists per game over his four-year career, and played at least 30 games in all of those seasons. He was first-team all-Big 5 in 2009 and 2010.

Rasual Butler, guard: This one doesn't require much explanation. Butler's four-year total of 2,135 points is the fourth-highest in La Salle history, trailing only Lionel Simmons, Michael Brooks and Tom Gola. That's serious company to be keeping. He was first-team all-Big 5 in 2001 and 2002, and is now in the ninth season of what has been a very succesful NBA career.

Steven Smith, forward: It takes something special to be first-team all-Big 5 three times. Smith was that kind of a talent, winning the honor in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He averaged 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, including 20 points per game in both his junior and senior seasons. Every once in a while, I still wonder what would have happened had the 76ers signed him to a contract.

Aaric Murray, center: It's tough to put a current sophomore on this list, but we've all seen Murray's talent over the last two years and his potential is clear. John Giannini's recruitment of Murray to 20th and Olney was a game-changer for the Explorers, and there's a real chance that Murray will lead La Salle back to the NCAA Tournament by the time he graduates.

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Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

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