St. Joe's Pat Carroll shoots way to Big 5 HOF

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St. Joe's Pat Carroll shoots way to Big 5 HOF

Pat Carroll was introduced Monday night at the Palestra as Saint Joseph's all-time three-point record holder.

Almost immediately, he had to correct the evening's emcee, Harry Donahue.

As Carroll told everyone, the record for made threes by a Hawk isn't his anymore. It belongs to some kid he's been coaching and mentoring the last four years.

Here's one thing no one will ever be able to take away from him:

Carroll was inducted to the Big 5 Hall of Fame Monday night, alongside Penn's Michael Jordan, La Salle's Crista Ricketts and long-time sportswriter Dick "Hoops" Weiss.

"The Big 5 is the most unique, legendary organization in college basketball," Carroll said, before thanking those who voted him to the hall for "waiving defense" as a requirement.

Carroll, 31, has retired from basketball and now works in the pharmaceutical industry for Merck. He and his wife, Amanda, are expecting their third child in July.

"They're going to outnumber us," he said. "We might have to go to zone defense. Man-to-man's not going to cut it."

That's how much time has passed since St. Joe's perfect regular season and run to the Elite Eight in 2004, Carroll's junior year.

It's one thing to be a great shooter; it's another to be a great shooter on a team with Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. Those three probably would have gotten to the Final Four, too -- if Carroll hadn't cut his fingernails before the Oklahoma State game. If you're a Saint Joe's fan and don't get the reference, you probably don't want to click here to find out.

But 10 years later, Carroll and his former head coach, Phil Martelli, are able to laugh at the fingernail quip, even as Carroll calls the game "the most heartbreaking loss" of his career.

"A lot of us kind of went our separate ways after college," he said, referring to his teammates from the '04 team. "But recently, we're all in contact now. Jameer, Delonte -- who was just inducted into the St Joe's Hall of Fame -- there's about 10 of us on a group text. Jameer, Delonte, John Bryant, Dwayne Jones. Basically 10 players from that team and a lot of funny texts going back and forth.

"It's good to keep in touch."

Carroll has found himself revisiting that 2004 season often over the last few months. The Wichita State Shockers completed an undefeated regular season of their own this year before being eliminated by Kentucky in the Round of 32.

"I felt happy for [Wichita]," he said. "I actually spoke with a couple reporters from Kansas that would look at the similarities. It brought back so many memories. … For any team, no matter who you are, to go through an undefeated season is incredible. But at a non-BCS school, it's once in a lifetime."

Back on Hawk Hill, St. Joe's made it back to the NCAAs this season for only the second time since that famed run.

And back on Hawk Hill is exactly where Carroll finds himself. He's a graduate student studying organizational development and leadership -- and serving as an informal shooting coach for one specific player.

"As soon as I got there, I reached out to him," said St. Joe's senior Langston Galloway. "Pat's a great guy. I reached out to him because I wanted to get my shot better. … We'd do some drills that he used to do and showed me a few things."

And then he broke Carroll's records?

"And then I broke his records," he answered.

On Jan. 25 in a 77-62 win over Richmond, Galloway made the 295th three-pointer of his career, one more than Carroll's 294. The new record stands at 343. After No. 295, Galloway sent Carroll a text.

"I told him he set the bar high," Galloway said.

A little less than a month later, on Feb. 22, Galloway went 10 of 15 from behind the arc, setting a new St. Joe's single-game record for threes and breaking another mark that used to belong to Carroll, who once made nine.

"There's probably not a better kid on or off the court," Carroll said. "I'm just happy for him -- obviously not for breaking my records -- but there's not a better kid that you would wish to do that."

Everything came full circle Monday night, with Carroll going into the Big 5 hall as Galloway was recognized as the Big 5's leading scorer. The latter even found out he's been invited to play in this week's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament -- a hotbed for NBA scouts.

"This is definitely special," Galloway said. "Pat's always going to be my friend and he's just like family. We're always going to talk no matter where we're at. He's always going to be just like a brother."

Carroll will finish up his graduate degree and then look to potentially return to basketball in some capacity. He's been running youth camps for a few years along with his brother, Matt, formerly of Notre Dame and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Carroll even mused Monday night about a possible future in coaching.

But at least for a little while, if you find yourself at the corner of City Line and 54th, there's a chance you might run into a left-handed, lanky grad student who looks a whole lot like Pat Carroll.

"You're always looking for ways for the players to indicate to you that they made the right choice coming out of high school," Martelli said. "My point has always been that once you decide on St. Joseph's, that's your decision for 40 years.

"And Pat is really living that and showing people that he had a special experience. He's well thought of around campus, above and beyond all the shots that he made, just the way he conducted himself.

"He'll carry the name of a Hawk with him forever."

Hall of Famers
Joining Carroll in the 2014 Hall of Fame class ...

• Michael Jordan was the 1997 Ivy League rookie of the year and the 2000 Ivy League player of the year. A three-time first-team All-Ivy selection, Jordan, along with backcourt running mate Matt Langel, led Penn to back-to-back league titles in 1999 and 2000. He graduated third on the Quakers' all-time scoring list with 1,604 points and second in assists with 469, behind only current Penn head coach Jerome Allen. Jordan is now an assistant coach to Langel at Colgate. "I used to tell him what to do on the court," Jordan said. "Now he's telling me what to do."

• Crista Ricketts was named first-team All-Big 5 in each of her four seasons on Olney Ave. She's second in La Salle history in made free throws (453), third in defensive rebounds (459), third in total points (1,645), and fourth in points per game (15.1). Ricketts played at La Salle from 2003-2007 before exploring the pro game overseas in Spain, Portugal and Austria.

• Dick Weiss is one of just two men to be inducted into both the U.S. football writers Hall of Fame and U.S. basketball writers Hall of Fame. Weiss, a Philadelphia native, worked for the Philadelphia Daily News for over two decades before joining the New York Daily News in 1993. He recently covered his 42nd Final Four.

Award winners
The following coaches and players were also honored Monday night in the Big 5's year-end awards ceremony. One the men's side ...

Team champions: Villanova Wildcats

Player of the year: James Bell, Villanova
Rookie of the year: DeAndre Bembry, St. Joe's
Coach of the year: Jay Wright, Villanova

Most improved player: James Bell, Villanova
Leading scorer: Langston Galloway, St. Joe's
Leading free throw shooter: Dalton Pepper, Temple
Scholar athlete: Jimmy McDonnell, Temple

First-team
James Bell, Villanova
Tyreek Duren, La Salle
Langston Galloway, St. Joe's
Halil Kanacevic, St. Joe's
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova

Second-team
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Will Cummings, Temple
Darrun Hilliard, Villanova
Dalton Pepper, Temple
Ronald Roberts Jr., St. Joe's
Jerrell Wright, La Salle

And for the women …

Team champions: St. Joe's

Player of the year: Alyssa Baron, Penn
Rookie of the year: Sydney Stipanovich, Penn
Coach of the year: Mike McLaughlin, Penn

Most improved player: Sarah Fairbanks, St. Joe's
Leading scorer: Erin Shields, St. Joe's
Leading free throw shooter: Erin Shields, St. Joe's
Scholar athlete: Erin Shields, St. Joe's

First-team
Alyssa Baron, Penn
Natasha Cloud, St. Joe's
Alicia Cropper, La Salle
Devon Kane, Villanova
Erin Shields, St. Joe's

Second-team
Karen Bonenberger, Penn
Caroline Coyer, Villanova
Sarah Fairbanks, St. Joe's
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple
Emily Leer, Villanova

With promise fulfilled, Matt Rhule should stay at Temple

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With promise fulfilled, Matt Rhule should stay at Temple

Matt Rhule made promises to his senior class four years ago — and to the Temple community.

Rhule pledged a championship, and in Year 4, he fulfilled his promise. The Temple Owls are American Athletic Conference champions. The Owls dispatched No. 19 Navy, 34-10, in a game not many pundits would have scripted. Temple easily handled the Midshipmen, a team that entered the game scoring 141 points in its previous two games and scored just 10 against TU.

“For me, it means the promise has been fulfilled,” Rhule said. “[Athletics officials] were sitting there with me in the locker after we lost to Fordham our first year. And to bring it full circle, that to me, is almost a relief of a job well done."

It was a battle between one of the nation's top offenses (Navy) and a top-three defensive unit (Temple), and it was the defensive squad that proved too much. Temple's defense, while not as vaunted as the 2015 team in terms of player recognition, lived up to its name.

The Owls entered the game as the third-best defense in the country. Yes, better than No. 2 Ohio State. No, not as good as No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Michigan. No, Temple is not ranked.

There are no Tyler Matakevich, no Tavon Young, and no Matt Ioannidis. Instead, there are redshirt-seniors Haason Reddick and Avery Williams and junior Sean Chandler. Three months after a season-opening 28-13 loss to Army, a loss that may keep the Owls from competing in a New Year's Six bowl game, Rhule's group accomplished what it set out to achieve in camp.

Temple is the American champion. That has a sweet ring to it, doesn't it? It does. As a result, Rhule's name will be connected to bigger (and better) jobs. We've been here before. Hello, 2015. Rhule's name will come up (again) for openings with more allure.

Remember the rumblings about Missouri last season? Rhule is going to be an attractive name again going forward. That's what happens when you bring a football program on the brink of extinction to relevance, a team no one sneezed about to winning a conference championship in the sixth-best conference in the nation, to legitimize a program, to potentially have a stadium built because of the success in your name. There's so much for Temple to lose.

But there's also much to lose for Rhule, too. It's easy to sit back, look at the success Rhule has built on North Broad Street and proclaim he's destined for something bigger, something better. He very well may be, and we'll find out. But staying at Temple is a decision that would benefit both Temple and Rhule.

Let's not forget, Rhule is an Al Golden disciple. We all know the story written about Golden. He revitalized a dying Temple program and gave it purpose before spurning for a bigger (and better) job at Miami. We all knew Golden was destined for a bigger (and better) job, and he got it by working hard and building something out of nothing.

Golden's next endeavor after Temple brought South Beach. Golden was the head coach of the Hurricanes. Yes, the same school that produced NFL players year after year, and a little over a decade ago was competing for national championships.

From North Broad Street and the Mid-American Conference to Miami and the Atlantic Coast Conference, a natural development, a coach at a small program proving his worth to make the jump to a far bigger program and ultimately national glory.

Except the glory never came with Golden. He took over a Miami program in disarray, a program that issued university sanctions for violating rules. Some may say Golden never got a fair shake at Miami, and that may stand true.

But Golden didn't last with the Hurricanes. In five years, Golden compiled a 32-25 record with two bowl appearances — both losses. That's not going to cut it at a power program.

Golden is now coaching tight ends for the Detroit Lions.

"Al is an outstanding coach," Rhule said last season. "Sometimes, you're at the wrong pace at the wrong time, or it's just not a fit. I'm unbelievably grateful for the opportunities Al gave me. I think Temple should be unbelievably grateful for what Al did when he came here. Al put the structure in place."

Rhule served on Golden's coaching staff at Temple from 2006 through 2010, when Golden departed. He then stayed on staff for one season during the underwhelming Steve Addazio era, before departing for the NFL for one season. Then Addazio left for Boston College and the door opened for Rhule's return.

What can Rhule learn from his previous mentors? Just because more money comes calling, or a bigger (and better) job shows up on his caller ID, it doesn't mean it's the right time to jump ship. Four years ago, no one knew what to think of Temple football.

Addazio had just left, and the Owls' future lay in the hands of Rhule, a Penn Stater who became a Temple guy under Golden. A coach who built enough of a résumé to land an NFL gig, yet returned to North Broad for a chance to be The Man.

The Owls are AAC champions. Rhule accomplished much of what he set out for. But there is unfinished business, both for Rhule and Temple program — like a football stadium.

Like more than four years of football relevance.

Rhule needs Temple as much as the Owls need Rhule.

His time to depart will come, but it just doesn't feel right.

Or, at least the Temple community can only hope.

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”