Temple Owls

Temple product Haason Reddick displaying intangibles to succeed with Cardinals

Temple product Haason Reddick displaying intangibles to succeed with Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. — While the physical talent is a known quantity, the push for Haason Reddick to succeed must come from within. A combination of talent, knowledge, acumen, desire and all the other tangibles and intangibles that make up an NFL player tend to be byproducts of the journey.

The capacity to succeed and aptitude for success, many believe, lay between the ears. If that is the criteria for personal conquest in the NFL, then Camden, New Jersey, native Reddick, selected by the Arizona Cardinals with their first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2017 draft, is clearly on the right path.

Here in the beginning of training camp, Reddick transitions to the NFL with a quiet confidence. He projects an image that embodies the essence of combining physical conditioning with his value to the Cardinals. While Reddick recognizes the task ahead, he also shifts to the future with a clear vision.

“I think I can be great,” he said Friday before practice at the University of Phoenix Stadium. “I always believed in myself. As soon as I learn, I mean really learn, what I’m supposed to do, that’s when I’ll let loose and let my talent take over. Then, I’ll be able to be great.”

As Reddick begins his introduction to the NFL, the projection and forecast for this hybrid player seem off the charts. With the speed of a defensive back, the mobility of a linebacker and the physical nature of a defensive lineman, Reddick could be the prototype of the future. Listed at 6-1 and 235 pounds, the physical tools are clearly in place. Now, comes the education.

Amid great appraisal and assessment, Reddick now descends on the NFL level. From a walk-on at Temple, to All-American stature and a first-round selection, his physical tools represent the height of his talent. When Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said Reddick possesses “unbelievable talent and speed,” the accolades, like a geyser, pour from this core.

For now, Reddick is penciled in at the hybrid spot, a position known in the Cardinals’ defense as “the dollar linebacker.” That’s currently held by Deone Bucannon, who's recovering from ankle surgery this past May and is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Listed as a linebacker on the Cardinals' depth chart, Reddick continues to prepare for a myriad of roles. At the center, Arians identities the South Jersey native as “a pure pass rusher.”

With his talents clearly in place, the processing of information now begins for Reddick.

“He needs to be a sponge and make sure his sponge is never filled,” said veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is entering his 14th NFL season. “His talent is off the chart. It’s about how he uses that talent and how he prepares.”

For now, Larry Foote, the Cardinals' linebacker coach, and Dansby are the two most prominent figures on Reddick’s radar screen. Hugging his playbook before bed each night and reviewing pages the next morning, Reddick said the introduction to the NFL can be overwhelming. Clearly, preparation for the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and all others this fall is a far change from a year ago. That’s when Reddick and the Owls began preparation for Army, Central Florida and Memphis.

Now, Reddick has traded cherry and white for cardinal red and, as his NFL career nears its advent, he is prepared to move forward.

“The transition is about stepping up and maximizing my full potential,” he said. “It’s about coming in and making an impact wherever I’m needed. There’s an understanding about that now. I’m in the NFL, and going against way better competition. Guys have been doing this for a living, and now are really serious.”

Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose lead Temple over St. Joe's in Big 5 battle

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Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose lead Temple over St. Joe's in Big 5 battle

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With five minutes and 22 seconds left in the first half and Temple trailing St. Joe’s, 26-24, De’Vondre Perry took a three-pointer that hit the back iron and missed long.

Out of nowhere, Quinton Rose streaked down the center of the free throw lane, leaped above everyone on the floor, corralled the offensive rebound and completed the two-handed slam to tie the game, prompting an eruption from the Liacouras Center crowd.

“That’s just how [Quinton] plays,” Shizz Alston Jr. said. “When guys start jawing at him he just turns it up a notch. I think some of their players were talking to him and he just got juiced up off of that.”

The play energized the Owls after a slow start, highlighting a 17-3 run to end the half and leading to an 81-78 Temple victory (see observations). Alston Jr. led all scorers with 20 points, including five three-pointers, and Rose added a 15 point, 11 rebound double-double for the squad.

At the start of the game, St. Joe’s came out hot, hitting on three of their first five three-point attempts and jumping out to a 17-8 lead early in the game. After a Fran Dunphy timeout with just less than 13 minutes left in the half, the Owls seemed to tighten up defensively.

“He just told us we had to pick it up,” Rose said. “It’s simple as that.

"I think we had a lack of communication and the biggest thing is we don’t finish our possessions with rebounds. We give up a lot of second-chance points. We just have to straighten that up and I think we’ll be good.”

Obi Enechionyia and Rose came up with big blocks and Temple started forcing turnovers. This helped the offense get going, in particular, Alston, whose 15 first-half points kept Temple in the ball game despite the hot shooting start by St. Joe's.

Perry, a true freshman, provided a spark off the bench for the Owls, contributing nine points in the first half, including two threes and a tough finish at the rim.

“He showed a lot of toughness,” Rose said. “I mean he’s young, but he showed a lot of toughness on the defensive end and rebounding. He made some big shots for us too.”

Perry attributed a lot of the open looks he got to his teammates.

“My teammates opened it up for me,” Perry said. “Either driving or kicking or just doing what they do best by penetrating and giving me the ball.”

Temple’s star big man, Enechionyia, struggled throughout the game, going 1 for 8 from the field and finishing with four points while being limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble. Center Ernest Aflakpui came up big in his absence, putting up 12 points on 5 for 6 from the field and adding six rebounds.

“If we can count on a dozen points from Ern every game, that would be spectacular,” Dunphy said. “It’s obviously not his forte, but he did a terrific job. I thought he was poised at the rim and didn’t rush himself.”

In the last five minutes, the Hawks rallied from 16 down and cut the lead to four, but five clutch free throws from fifth-year senior guard Josh Brown sealed Temple’s first Big 5 and Atlantic-10 win of the year.

“I thought Josh Brown saved us at the foul line,” head coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought he played great again. He played great against Wisconsin and played great again. I’m very, very proud of him.”

The Owls, now 6-2 on the season, will host the No. 4-ranked Villanova Wildcats, who could jump to No. 1 in the country after Duke’s loss Saturday, in another Big 5 showdown this Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

“It’s a really big opportunity,” Rose said. “I hope they are No. 1 so we can knock them off.”

Temple-St. Joe's observations: Owls hold off late rally

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Temple-St. Joe's observations: Owls hold off late rally

BOX SCORE

Temple on Saturday afternoon nabbed its first win against a Big 5 team and an Atlantic 10 team with an 81-78 victory over St. Joe’s at the Liacouras Center.

With five clutch free throws from fifth-year senior guard Josh Brown, the Owls held off a late rally by the Hawks. Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 20 points and four rebounds, while Quinton Rose added a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.

Temple moves to 6-2 on the season with the victory.

• St. Joe’s was on fire early on, making three of its first five three-point attempts, en route to a 17-8 lead just over seven minutes into the game.

• After a Fran Dunphy timeout with 12:44 left in the first half, Temple turned up its effort on defense. Big blocks by Rose and Obi Enechionyia allowed Temple to take the lead, 18-17, with 9:30 left in the half. The Owls forced a total of eight turnovers in the first half.

• Alston, Jr. dominated the first half and really kept the Owls in the game during St. Joe’s early run. He went 5 for 8 from the field in the first half, including 4 of 5 from three-point range, for 15 points. The junior guard has developed tremendously since last season, coming into this contest averaging 16.9 points, which is up from 13.9 points per game last year in his sophomore campaign.

• Enechionyia struggled in the first half, going 1 for 6 from the field in 17 minutes of action. He missed multiple fadeaway jumpers on the baseline and didn’t make an impact in the post. He also picked up his third foul less than a minute into the second half and had to go to the bench. The senior power forward finished the afternoon with just four points and six rebounds.

• Junior center Ernest Aflakpui filled in tremendously with Enechionyia on the bench. He scored 12 points while shooting 83 percent from the field, added six rebounds and disrupted shots around the rim.

• De’Vondre Perry also played a big role for Temple, putting up nine points, 6.9 points more than his season average, in 21 minutes of action, which is up from his season average of 12.3 minutes per game. The true freshman did it in a variety of ways as well, driving and finishing at the basket, drawing fouls and adding two three-pointers. Perry was the only freshman to play in the game.

• Rose displayed his incredible athleticism with multiple big plays in the first half. The sophomore guard slashed through the lane and made a contested layup to put Temple up 18-17, and then followed a Perry missed three-pointer with a put-back dunk that caused the crowd to erupt. He also missed a few layups during the game, showing he still can refine his touch around the basket, but finished the game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

• The student section was involved throughout the game, bringing out big-head posters during opponents’ free throws, making noise after airballs and erupting after multiple big Rose dunks. In Temple’s second Big 5 game of the year, the Owls fans needed to out-do the St. Joe’s fans who traveled to North Philly, and they certainly did.

• The win marks Temple’s first Big 5 victory of the year, almost two weeks after its 87-83 road loss to La Salle. It was a physical matchup that seemed like it would get chippy. Rose got into a St. Joe’s player’s face after a layup in the first half. Enechionyia was elbowed in the face while going up for a rebound at the end of the first half. Temple was the more physical, scrappy team Saturday, but will need to be better this Wednesday against another Big 5 team, No. 4 Villanova.

The Hawks return to action next Sunday when they host Maine.