There was an extra buzz at the Liacouras Center with the appearance of Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills during Temple’s 75-56 win over Central Florida on Sunday.
Mills not only sat courtside and was friendly to the many well-wishers, but helped sing the Eagles fight song during a timeout and more importantly, provided an inspirational pregame speech to the Temple players before the game.
Temple scored the game’s first 16 points and the Owls were never seriously threatened.
Maybe Mills can have a second career as a motivational speaker.
“There was good energy from Jalen and his message was a good one, ‘You deserve to be out there and deserve to be playing college basketball and take advantage of it,’ ” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “I was impressed.”
During a halftime interview, Mills said that he told the players, whatever their role was, to do it to the best of the ability.
“There can’t be any selfish guys out there and that is how we won the Super Bowl with the Eagles and I kind of shared that with them,” Mill said. “Celebrate, have fun. This is a game you have been playing since you were a little kid so always have fun because you never know when you get this experience again.”
Mills said life has been hectic but in a great way since the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
“It has been crazy as far as the fans go,” said Mills, who was credited with a team-high nine tackles in the Super Bowl. “They love you 10 times more and as far as the team goes, it brought everybody together and there is nothing better.”
Mills says he took a brief trip to Miami, and is planning another vacation, although the destination isn’t known. But he said pretty soon, he will begin working out for next season.
“I will be starting in two to three weeks and will get after it,” he said.
The Temple players said Mills’ words motivated them tremendously and the results suggest the same. This is the same UCF team that trounced the Owls, 60-39 on Jan. 7 in Orlando.
“It was very inspirational,” senior point guard Josh Brown said. “The message he gave us was really good and I think it helped us to the victory.”
#Eagles CB Jalen Mills helping Temple distribute T-shirts to the crowd during a timeout. Mills spoke to Temple before the game and it obviously helped.
Temple leads UCF 69-46 with 4:27 left pic.twitter.com/rMlCkG9wAY
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) February 25, 2018