Dunphy lauds camaraderie of Philly coaches

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Coach Fran Dunphy gathers with his Temple players after practice in Dayton, Ohio.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Coach Fran Dunphy gathers with his Temple players after practice in Dayton, Ohio.
Posted: March 22, 2013

DAYTON, Ohio - After his team's stirring victory Wednesday over Boise State, La Salle coach John Giannini remarked that "there's no better feeling in life than making other people happy."

He was talking about the joy La Salle fans must have felt after the team's first NCAA Tournament win in 23 years. One of those supporters, Temple coach Fran Dunphy, stepped to the very same podium, in fact the very same seat, less than 12 hours later.

Dunphy, a La Salle alum, is in Dayton getting his team ready to play North Carolina State in a second-round game Friday. He tried to explain just how special the college basketball scene is in Philadelphia. Some among the assembled media were from the Philadelphia area. Many were not.

"Do we want to beat each other to death when we play each other?" Dunphy asked rhetorically. "Yeah, we do. But we have tremendous respect, and that respect goes back 60 years. The coaches that were playing and competing and taking care of business back in the '50s are what we are. When you join the Philadelphia group, you don't have a choice of whether or not you're going to like or respect [a City Six opponent]. You do that [because] that's what you're supposed to do. That's how you handle the situation."

Dunphy is in the NCAAs for the sixth time as Temple's head coach, after nine appearances with Penn. He has been a head coach in Philadelphia for 24 years. Phil Martelli has been at Saint Joseph's for 18 years. Jay Wright (Villanova) and Bruiser Flint (Drexel) are in their 12th. Even if these guys occasionally recruit the same players, and maybe even bark at one another from the opposing sideline, they all ride the Broad Street Line together, as it were.

"I think it's become even more galvanized because of the Coaches vs. Cancer program," Dunphy said. "We all try to do something for a greater good. I'm rooting for La Salle. I'm rooting for Villanova. I [was] rooting for St. Joe's the other night when they played St. John's. That's what we do."

Lee update

Temple forward Anthony Lee said he was optimistic about his ability to play in Friday's first-round game against North Carolina State. Lee has been bothered by concussion-like symptoms since taking an elbow to the head against Massachusetts on March 15. He practiced Wednesday and Thursday.

"I've just been taking the medicine that the doctors have given me, and that's definitely helped out a lot," said Lee, a sophomore. "The pain has gone away, so I do feel pretty good."

North Carolina State has a strong athletic front line, led by C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell, so Lee's presence will help.

"We're planning on Anthony playing," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "How much, I don't know. He hasn't played. He hasn't run that much over the last week. So there's a question there."

Dayton charm?

Philadelphia teams are 6-1 in NCAA games played at the University of Dayton Arena, which opened in 1969.

In addition to La Salle's win Wednesday night, Villanova kicked off its championship run by winning two games here in 1985. In 1986, Temple beat Jacksonville in overtime before losing to Danny Manning and Kansas 2 days later.

The most memorable game, though, was in 1981 when St. Joe's stunned top-ranked DePaul in the second round. South Philly native John Smith hit the game-winning layup. One highlight of the wild celebration was youngster Dei Lynam excitedly jumping into the arms of her father, Hawks coach Jim Lynam.

Meanwhile, DePaul star Mark Aguirre sulked out of the arena, flung the game ball across the parking lot and walked the two miles back to the team hotel.

If Temple beats North Carolina State on Friday, the Owls likely will get Indiana, also a No. 1 seed and ranked No. 1 in the country for much of this season.

Tourney talk

N.C. State was picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference in the preseason, but lost five of its first 10 conference games and never was a factor. The Wolfpack made it to the Sweet 16 last year and is a popular pick to give Indiana a game Sunday. Assuming, of course, they take care of Temple . . . Vegas Vic has the Owls as four-point underdogs . . . Fran Dunphy mentioned Saint Louis when asked whether there was an Atlantic 10 team that reminded him of N.C. State. The Billikens were the best team in the A-10, though Temple did win the only meeting (64-54) in January . . . N.C. State has won six of seven against Temple, but the teams haven't played in 10 years.

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