2 Owls looking to fill a void Ryan Brooks and Lavoy Allen will have to make up for some of Dionte Christmas' scoring.

Posted: November 10, 2009

The off-season wasn't really an off-season for Temple guard Ryan Brooks, a 6-foot-4 senior from Lower Merion High School whom the Owls are counting on to score and lead.

He was working out regularly with Jerome Allen, the former NBA player and current Penn assistant coach who suited up for the Quakers under Fran Dunphy, now the Temple coach.

"I put a lot of hard work in at the gym, working on every aspect of my game," said Brooks, who was Temple's third-leading scorer last winter with 10.6 points per game. "We'd get to a gym and work for 2 1/2 hours a day. We'd do ballhandling, conditioning, and shooting, and go over game situations so that whatever comes up is not foreign to me."

With the Owls set to visit Delaware on Saturday in their first game of the season, Brooks and his teammates are about to find out what life is like without high-scoring guard Dionte Christmas.

"Certainly, our scoring will be spread around much differently," Dunphy said.

Christmas, who led the Atlantic Ten in scoring in each of his last three

seasons, is one of three rotation players who did not return from a squad that took its second straight conference title. The two others, guard Semaj Inge and center Sergio Olmos, were valued role players as Temple went 22-12 overall and 11-5 in the conference.

Along with Brooks, Temple will be looking to 6-9 forward Lavoy Allen to help offset the departure of the trio. Allen gave the Owls 10.9 points and 9.0 rebounds a game last season.

Also back with experience are guards Juan Fernandez, Ramone Moore, and Luis Guzm┬Łn, and forwards Michael Eric and Craig Williams. Freshmen Khalif Wyatt, a guard from Norristown High, and Rahlir Jefferson, a forward from Chester High, have impressed Dunphy.

"I hope we get better, as we have over the last couple of years, toward the end of the season," Dunphy said. "We hope that will be enough to get us to Atlantic City" for the conference tournament, "and then, hopefully, we'll be as fortunate as we got the last couple of years.

"Hopefully, guys are maturing to the point where they are going to accept their roles, which is a big, big thing in terms of chemistry."

Dunphy, who is Penn's all-time winningest basketball coach, is in his fourth season at Temple. After the Owls finished 12-18 in his first season, they came back with 21 wins in 2007-08 and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first of two straight years.

Dunphy is 55-43 at Temple, and looking to build on that record behind Brooks and Lavoy Allen.

"Ryan Brooks is taking on a full, different role," Dunphy said. "He had the attention given to Christmas, and now he's getting a lot of attention. He has to learn to play that way.

"If Lavoy was a hard worker, we'd be in much better shape than we are. He just kind of gives you what he's got. He's our best basketball player. What we need him to get is 15 points, and 10, 11 rebounds. So we'll see if he can provide that for us."

Both Brooks and Allen said they understood the responsibility they would shoulder this year.

"I'm definitely ready for it," Brooks said. "I knew this time would come, and I've been getting ready for this for a while. I prepared knowing the team was going to expect a lot out of me, and I'm expecting a lot of things out of myself as well.

"I had it in my mind that I would have a bigger role this year, and I'd have to step up to the plate and contribute in a lot of ways."

"The older guys are gone now, so we have to make up for that," Allen said. "I'm going to try to be as aggressive as I can on the offensive end, as well as the defensive end."

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or katum@phillynews.com.

Temple Men's Basketball

Home games are in bold.

Date Opponent Time

Saturday at Delaware Noon

Nov. 17 at Georgetown 4:00

Nov. 21 Siena 7:00

Nov. 24 Ball State 7:30

Nov. 27 x-Virginia Tech 8:30

Nov. 28 St. John's 8:30

Dec. 1 at W. Michigan 7:00

Dec. 5 Penn State 4:00

Dec. 8 at Miami (OH) 7:00

Dec. 13 Villanova 3:00

Dec. 19 at Seton Hall 7:00

Dec. 28 Bowling Green 7:00

Dec. 30 at No. Illinois TBA

Jan. 2 Kansas 5:30

Jan. 6 St. Joseph's 7:00

Jan. 10 at Rhode Island 1:00

Jan. 13 at Penn TBA

Jan. 16 Massachusetts 2:00

Jan. 20 Xavier 7:00

Jan. 23 at Fordham 1:00

Jan. 27 at Charlotte 7:00

Jan. 30 La Salle Noon

Feb. 3 Duquesne 7:00

Feb 6 at Richmond 2:00

Feb. 13 Rhode Island 4:00

Feb. 17 at St. Bonav'tre 7:00

Feb. 20 x-St. Joseph's Noon

Feb. 24 Dayton 7:00

Feb. 28 at La Salle 2:00

Mar. 3 at St. Louis TBA

Mar. 6 G. Washington 2:00

x - at the Palestra

Local College Basketball Preview Week

Monday: Villanova

Today: Temple

Tomorrow: St. Joseph's

Thursday: La Salle

Friday: Penn and Drexel

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