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Sleeping with the Enemy: Casual Q&A with 'The Owl's Nest'

Continuing the esteemed tradition of Casual Q&A sessions with our enemies, Casual Hoya has joined forces with The Owl's Nest to provide you with some insight into tomorrow's opponent.  Below you can find The Nest's responses to our hard-hitting questions about those pesky birds, as well as our replies to his inquiries about our Hoyas.  Enjoy.

CH:  Is former Owl great Mark Macon insane for trying to clean up the mess that former Gtown assistant Kevin Broadus left at Binghamton?

I don't think so. Mark Macon was a great player, and has been a great mentor as a coach. With these issues being resolved, Mark has the opportunity to makes things positive and form a new mold and image of this program (similar to what Temple football has had to do). I think Mark is in a great position to make a name for himself as a coach now, rather than the All-American player he used to be. It won't hurt to try.

Former Hoya player and coach, Craig Esherick and Temple’s current coach, Fran Dunphy are white coaches following legendary black coaches yet even Esherick’s impressive mustache (nearly identical to Dunphy’s) was unable to save his job – what have Dunphy’s biggest challenges been in rebuilding this program and will he be able to turn the corner?

The main challenge that Coach Dunphy has had to deal with is probably the level of talent he acquires in his recruiting classes. With all due respect to the Ivy League, Temple's athletic quality is plenty higher than what Fran Dunphy was getting with Penn. So far though, Coach has been able to implement the remaining players from Coach Chaney (ex. Dionte Christmas, Mark Tyndale, Ryan Brooks) with the newer guys he has brought in (Lavoy Allen, Juan Fernandez). It's somewhat obvious that Dunphy has done a tremendous job with what Coach Chaney left too, since 2 of Dunphy's 3 seasons so far have resulted in Atlantic 10 Championships and NCAA Tournament Appearances.

Did Coach Dunphy keep the 6 am practices? Has he challenged any opposing coaches to fistfights?

I'm not exactly sure about the 6 AM practices. I wouldn't think so though. That seemed to be a 'John Chaney' type of thing. As for fighting, Dunphy doesn't exactly come off as the mean and passionate type of heart Coach Chaney had. JC had no problem getting on the cases of the UMasses and Dukes who definitely had favored calls.

What are Temple’s strengths and weaknesses?  How does Temple's perimeter game stack up? Who are the top shooters? Rebounders?     

Strength: Experience. Even after losing 3 of last year's starters, the majority of the players on this team has a taste of success, and have in some way contributed to that. Lavoy Allen and Ryan Brooks, two of Temple's leading scorers, have stepped up the past two years to make up for lost pieces. Each year, there have been several players that have made impressive strides to only make the team better than the previous year.

Weakness: Go-to-guy. 2007 it was Mark Tyndale. 2008 it was Dionte Christmas (If you shut down Christmas, you most likely shut down Temple' offense). Now that both of these players have left, the two highest averages for scoring are just 10 points a game. It is a necessity that Temple consistently has guys that play huge roles in games, especially against a team like Georgetown. There will honestly be no "gimmies" or guarantees this year until players decide to take the helm.

The perimeter game has taken a hit with the graduation of Dionte Christmas. He lived by the 3 ball during his tenure at Temple. The top shooters on this team would be senior Ryan Brooks and sophomore Ramone Moore. The top guy, ironically, beyond the arc is 6'10" forward Craig Williams. When he's on, he's on. Juan Fernandez can shoot the ball from time to time, but he likes to make Steve Nash-like moves, and score the ball in the paint.

Down low, Lavoy Allen is Temple's main threat. With center Sergio Olmos graduating, he now holds most of the rebounding duties. Sophomore Micheal Eric has made strides to possibly be Temple's next center (he's 6'11", the tallest on the team).
What can Georgetown expect out of this year’s Temple squad?

Georgetown should expect a much faster pace game. Temple's overall starting five is much quicker going down the floor compared to last year, and doesn't necessarily slow up to set anyone up for a shot. At the same time, the Owls manage to protect the ball well in doing so (fast breaks). Temple's scoring has primarily comes from mid range jump shots and layups. Juan Fernandez will truly confuse you when handling the ball. He's elusive and makes tricky passes.

Defensively, the Owls have switched back and fourth through man to man, and that signature 2-3 zone. Ryan Brooks and Ramone Moore have quick hands, and can poke the ball out to generate a fast break. Brooks and senior guard Luis Guzman would most likely cover the opposing teams' playmaker. Down low, Micheal Eric and Lavoy Allen are extremely athletic on the defensive side of the ball. They have great windspans and length that allow them to get a number of blocked shots and quick rebounds.
After being waived by the 76ers in camp, Temple legend Dionte Christmas was recently arrested on firearms charges.  Prior to Christmas, I believe the last Owl to even sniff the NBA was Mardy Collins, famously loved by Isiah Thomas and consequently hated by the entire city of New York.  First question:  What was it like to celebrate Christmas at Temple?  Second: Do you see anyone on Temple's roster having professional talent?  And speaking of talent, how are Temple's cheerleaders?
What you might not have realized is that the charges were dropped due to the fact that the firearm was not his. The car and gun belonged to current Sixer and former Florida Gator Mareese Speights, and Dionte was merely charged with driving without a license.

Dionte Christmas was a great basketball player and an even better human being. His play through his four years with Temple generated a ton of interest in Temple Basketball, as well as put the Owls back on the map as a constant NCAA tournament invite. He will be missed as a Temple basketball player, but also as a great human being in the community.

I would say Lavoy Allen has the best show of playing professional ball. He's still young as a junior, and has yet to reach his full potential. Only time will tell though-- there are plenty of players who have the change to emerge as key impact guys.

I think you guys will enjoy our cheerleaders.

Pats or Genos for cheesteaks?

Either one. I'm a fan of both. Also like Tony Lukes.

See our responses to The Owl's Nest questions after 'The Jump'

The Owl's Nest:      It's been quite some time since the Owls have faced the Hoyas. The teams' last matchup was during the '04 season, where the Owls defeated Georgetown 75-57. What have been some of the main changes that John Thompson III has made to this team since his first year, where his team finished out with a record of (16-11)?
The biggest change has been Coach Thompson bringing in his own players. The team he inherited had some tremendous talent but over the past few years, Coach Thompson has done even more to keep local stars here (including McDonald’s AAs Chris Wright and Austin Freeman). Each year, Coach Thompson has had NBA caliber talent but after being dominated on the interior with Hibbert, then on the perimeter with DaJuan Summers (a legendary underachiever), there should be a better balance this year.
For the most part, it looks as thought there are no seniors on this 2009 team. How do you think the majority of the team being juniors and sophomores affects their performance? Do you think the leadership role is divvied up, or could you give us an idea of who fits that spot?
There was a major chemistry issue last year though it appears to have been resolved as the upperclassmen moved on. As noted above, Coach Thompson has kept the locals together and those guys have been playing against one another for years – establishing bonds both on and off the court. Gtown also does a great job keeping the kids in town over the summer and playing in the Kenner League. On top of that, the freshman most of us expect the most from – Hollis Thomson – has been on campus for almost a full year practicing with the team and should be able to blend in immediately.
The team has gone through some changes over the past year but I’d guess that the leader will be Junior Chris Wright – he’s the point guard and very assertive (not always in a good way) and seems to be establishing more trust with Coach, making him the proverbial coach on the floor.  Junior Austin Freeman and Sophomore Greg Monroe also play pivotal roles on the team.

What style of play do the Hoyas have on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball? Who are the team's go-to-guy, and most reliable producers?
Coach Thompson runs elements of the Princeton offense so the games are generally lower scoring and the Hoyas run only when they’ve clearly got numbers. Defensively, they apply solid pressure but really only out to the three point line. They’ve consistently had size and shot blockers so they collapse in the paint well but rebounding has been an issue recently.
No doubt that the go-to-guy is Greg Monroe (note below) for both scoring and rebounding. Everyone expects that Chris Wright and Austin Freeman will take major strides this year too – the key to them is that they can put the ball on the ground in contrast to Monroe really needing someone to get it to him in the post (though he did freak Hasheem Thabeet off the dribble last year).

In 2007 it was Jeff Green. In 2008 it was Roy Hibbert. Who do you think is the next talent to enter the NBA on this Georgetown squad?
Simple: Greg Monroe. He would have been a Top 5 pick last year and he opened up in front of his New Orleans home crowd with a nice 18 point game. After that, it gets more difficult to predict with both Wright and Freeman being undersized. Hollis Thomson has the type of length and athleticism the league loves but he still appears to be a few years away from that goal.
I know it's extremely early, but do you have any predictions for the way this season could potentially turn out for your team? How do you think Tuesday night will fare?
Season’s a tough one but the #20 (AP) ranking looks pretty solid right now. Figure the Hoyas for just over 20 wins on the season with a Top 5 Big East finish.
Tuesday will be an unusual made-for-TV game and there probably won’t be a ton of fan support. We’ll wait for the Vegas lines but with this both Gtown and Temple opening with convincing road wins, this will probably be a close game with the  Hoyas coming out on top. The Monroe-Lavoy Allen should be a nice matchup of 2 athletic big guys.
The dictionary definition of a "hoya"<> describes some sort of shrub/plant of the milkweed family. However, Georgetown's mascot is a bulldog. Where does the relation between this plant and the bulldog derive?

Hoya refers to neither the plant nor the bullbog.  The cheer stems from the chant Hoya Saxa - which means "What Rocks" in a combination of Greek and Latin.  Georgetown was once called the Stonewalls and an ingenious student came up with the chant.  This of course can not be fully confirmed since it happened over 100 years ago.  But in this day and age, Hoya has come to represent those who are able to Google "What is a Hoya."  Those incapable of doing so (80% of West Virginia) are not Hoyas.