NCAA

After 'Nova and NBA, Malik Allen an entrepreneur

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After 'Nova and NBA, Malik Allen an entrepreneur

As his NBA career was winding to a close, former Villanova star Malik Allen thought long and hard about what he wanted to do next.

Perhaps he could heed the advice of many of his teammates and coaches and get into coaching. Or maybe he could use his basketball knowledge to become a broadcaster. Or he could always follow the path of other ex-athletes and start a foundation or charity.

But, in the end, Allen decided to chart an entirely different course and enter the murkier world of online entrepreneurship. Together, with good friend and former Villanova classmate Joe Rocco, Allen developed a social networking website called inRecruit that he hopes will organize and modernize college basketball’s often chaotic recruiting game.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to do something that made an impact in one way, shape or form,” Allen said. “And I wasn’t sure what it was. Not that coaching wasn’t an option -– and I may still coach at some point –- but when I got into this, I really started to feel passionate about it.

“It’s different. It’s different than what you normally hear athletes doing [after retiring]. I just felt this might be something that would help make a difference. And I wanted to make a difference.”

Allen admitted that some of his old NBA pals have scratched their heads a bit when they’ve heard about his new venture. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize it’s actually a great fit for him. When the Villanova grad was with the Orlando Magic from 2010 to 2011 –- his last stop in an NBA career that spanned a full decade -– some teammates noticed the professional way in which Allen carried himself and said they expected him to own his own business some day.

They just might not have realized how quickly it would happen.

“I was serious about my job,” Allen said. “I had to be because my athleticism wouldn’t carry me for 10 years in the league.”

Allen certainly used his strong work ethic and professional demeanor to forge a successful career in the NBA. After starring for Villanova under Steve Lappas from 1996 to 2000, the 6-foot-10 forward went undrafted in 2000 and began his career in the ABA. But in 2001, Allen was signed by the Miami Heat, where he played for the next four years. He then became a journeyman, suiting up for the Charlotte Bobcats (2005), Chicago Bulls (2005-2007), New Jersey Nets (2007-08), Dallas Mavericks (2008), Milwaukee Bucks (2008-09), Denver Nuggets (2009-10) and Orlando Magic (2010-11).

It was a lot of travel for his wife and two kids, but Allen had some memorable moments along the way, averaging 9.6 points with the Heat in 2002-03 and starting all six playoff games for the Bulls during the 2006 postseason, among many others.

“I loved playing,” Allen said. “The NBA lifestyle is what you make of it, but I loved playing. It always came down to loving to play and compete.

“I miss the game. I miss it every day. But at the same time, I like being able to be at home.”

Allen might have even played longer if not for tearing some tendons in his ankle halfway through the 2010-11 season. It was also around that same time when he began to talk to Rocco about the idea of building an online recruiting community where coaches, parents and high school players could gather -- something that Allen knew could have helped him when he played at Shawnee High School in New Jersey.

And for the past two years, despite having finally settled down with his family near the Villanova campus, Allen is still working long days, this time to help grow a business that’s in its infancy stage.

“The big thing we saw was there were companies out there that were in the space for a while and had some traction,” Allen said. “But there wasn’t really a feeling of much authenticity –- a feeling like you’re actually talking to someone and actually connecting with somebody.”

While there are a lot of places on the Internet you can go to read about blue-chip recruits, Allen and Rocco hope inRecruit can become a good forum for lower-level recruits to connect with the colleges that may be interested in them. And the plan is for it to become a site for not only coaches and players, but also for parents and fans, as well as sportswriters to share recruiting news.

“We live in a world where coaches have to recruit on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram,” Allen said. “We just wanted to develop a platform that can be alongside that, but in a more professional sort of way.”

Allen and Rocco have shown the beta version of the site to the Villanova coaches, who offered them some feedback. Other colleges like Penn have begun to dip their feet into the water, but coaches from Penn and Villanova both declined to comment because of NCAA rules.

"Right now, the focus is just getting the product out there," Allen said, "and letting people know it's there for them to use and that it's useful."

To be sure, the site certainly has a long way to go and will likely continue to grow and evolve. But in the meantime, Allen has enjoyed applying the same kind of attention to detail he used in the NBA.

And the best part is he still gets to spend some time in a basketball gym.

“I’ll never leave being around the sport,” he said. “I can’t do it.”

Temple, Anthony Russo continue winning ways

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Temple, Anthony Russo continue winning ways

BOX SCORE

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Temple quarterback Anthony Russo has impressed his coaches with his big arm and tendency to make game-changing plays at critical moments.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore delivered again in one of his team's biggest road tests of the season.

Russo threw for 300 yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Ventell Bryant midway through the fourth quarter and Temple won for the fourth time in five games by running past Navy 24-17 on Saturday.

"It was a fun game," Owls coach Geoff Collins said. "I am just so amazingly proud. Those guys fought back. They stayed together and made play after play after play in an adverse situation in a hostile environment. You just can't say enough about that group of young men who were in there."

Owls fullback Rob Ritrovato tied the game at 17 on a 1-yard plunge within 5:53 left in the third quarter. From there, the defense for Temple (4-3, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) contained Navy's triple-option attack.

Bryant, who had eight receptions for 147 yards, has caught a pass in 42 straight games, which is tied for the longest active streak in the FBS. He also had his first touchdown reception since a 34-10 win at Navy in the 2016 AAC championship game.

"Two years," Bryant said. "The last time I was in the end zone was here. It felt so great. I had a great week of practice. I was doing all of the little things I needed to do."

Senior Garret Lewis got his second career start at quarterback for Navy (2-4, 1-2) ahead of Malcolm Perry, who moved back to slotback. Lewis completed 3 of 11 pass attempts for 14 yards. He also ran for 56 yards with a 1-yard touchdown that gave the Midshipmen a 10-7 lead at the half.

Perry had a go-ahead 30-yard touchdown run called back because of an illegal block on center Ford Higgins.

"I thought that killed us," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said about the penalty. "I know I'm going to get reprimanded. I don't care. I'll take the fine. It was a horrible call. Just a flat-out horrible call. It was one of the worst I've seen in my 29 years of coaching. The guy did not push him. It cost us the game. I thought the call changed the game. We saw on the replay that it was a bad call."

League rules preclude officials from discussing judgement calls, according to Chuck Sullivan, assistant commissioner for communications for the AAC.

Sophomore fullback Nelson Smith had 18 carries for a career-high 108 yards for Navy, which has lost three straight games. He also had a career-long 45-yard run that set up his first touchdown run from 12 yards out on the opening drive of the third quarter that gave Navy a 17-7 lead.

"It was a good day for me, but I can't really be happy when we lose," Smith said.

Last year, Temple held Navy to 136 rushing yards in a 34-26 victory. This time, the Midshipmen responded with a huge day on the ground, running for 270 yards. However, it was still not enough against the surging Owls.

Temple running back Ryquell Armstead was out of the lineup with an ankle injury. Backup Tyliek Raynor scored his first career touchdown on a 15-yard run with that gave Temple a 7-3 lead with 11:31 left in the half.

RIGHT AT HOME

Temple has enjoyed success in the state of Maryland this season. The Owls also routed the University of Maryland 35-14 in College Park on Sept. 15.

THE TAKEAWAY

Temple: The Owls picked up a big win to keep their bowl hopes alive. Still, Temple faces a challenging schedule the rest of the way with games against No. 25 Cincinnati, No. 10 Central Florida and No. 23 Southern Florida.

Navy: The Midshipmen failed to get to .500 with a rare home loss. It was just the third time in four seasons Navy suffered a setback on its own turf. Navy also has a tough slate of the games the rest of the way, including a matchup with No. 5 Notre Dame on Oct. 27 in San Diego.

UP NEXT

Temple: The Owls host No. 25 Cincinnati for their homecoming game Oct. 20.

Navy: The Midshipmen play at home against Houston on Oct. 20 before embarking on three straight road games.

No. 8 Penn State upset in heartbreaking fashion by Michigan State

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No. 8 Penn State upset in heartbreaking fashion by Michigan State

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Brian Lewerke threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Felton Davis with 19 seconds left to lift Michigan State past No. 8 Penn State 21-17 on Saturday, making it two consecutive seasons that the Spartans used a late score to hand the Nittany Lions a second straight loss.

Lewerke completed 25 of 52 passes for 259 yards with an interception and two touchdowns for the Spartans (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who were coming off a loss at Northwestern but handed Penn State (4-2, 1-2) a devastating blow - just like last year.

Two weeks ago, Penn State let a fourth-quarter lead get away against Ohio State before getting a week off to prepare for Michigan State. Last year, in consecutive weeks, Penn State lost to Ohio State and Michigan State, with the Spartans kicking a last-second field goal.

Davis, who came back from an injury he sustained on the previous drive, finished with eight catches for 100 yards.

Miles Sanders ran for 162 yards and a touchdown for the Nittany Lions and Trace McSorley completed 19 of 32 passes for 192 yards with a touchdown to become the program's all-time passing yardage leader.

It looked like the Spartans would regret an attempt at late trickery.

After a 10-play drive deep into Penn State territory, Michigan State lined up for what could've been a tying 40-yard field goal with 5:19 left, but faked the kick. The ploy failed when safety Garrett Taylor swatted Lewerke's pass away from defensive tackle Raequan Williams.

But Penn State ran just seven plays on its next two possessions and gave Lewerke the ball back with 1:19 to play and he put together an eight-play, 76-yard game-winning drive .

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan State: The banged up Spartans, still without running back LJ Scott and wideout Cody White, were able to control time of possession and keep Penn State's offense well below its scoring average. That possession time advantage paid off as Penn State's defense looked gassed again in the fourth quarter.

Penn State: Coach James Franklin said his team needed to evolve from a great team to an elite one after its one-point loss to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions still have plenty of work to do to get there. They looked sluggish on offense late, committed six penalties for 41 yards, turned the ball over twice and had no answer for Lewerke's arm in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: The Spartans host No. 12 Michigan next week.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions go to Indiana next week.