Reaching Out To Christmas

Ed Stefanski, ever mindful of the value he places on his local ties, reached out late Thursday night to Temple's Dionte Christmas, inviting him to join the Orlando summer league team the 76ers will be sharing with the New Jersey Nets.

Christmas, who had been projected as a second-round selection during Thursday night's NBA draft, went unclaimed. He is likely to have multiple summer league and European offers. The Sixers leave July 2 for Orlando; Stefanski is awaiting a decision whether Christmas will join first-round draft choice Jrue Holiday and second-year big man Marreese Speights on the summer roster.

''He's a great kid, he's local,'' said Stefanski, the Sixers' president/general manager. ''Now, he has to prove it all over again.''

The 6-5 Christmas is the first player in Atlantic 10 history to lead the conference in scoring in three successive seasons; he finished his career with 2,043 points, the fourth Owl to surpass 2,000. He set school records for career three-pointers with 319 and for one season, with 107 as a senior.

If there was anything that kept him from being drafted, it might be his reputation as a volume shooter as opposed to a guy who could come off an NBA bench and provide instant offense. On the other hand, he is known for having a quick release and an ability to catch and shoot off screens.