NCAA

Tyler Matakevich leads 7 Owls named to all-AAC 1st team

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Tyler Matakevich leads 7 Owls named to all-AAC 1st team

A Temple football season full of accolades added a few more on Wednesday.

Led by star senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich, seven Owls earned first-team all-American Athletic Conference honors. No team in the conference had more players named.

Matakevich, who was also named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, was a unanimous first-team selection, and it’s easy to see why. He’s tied for 13th in the nation with 118 total tackles, tied for 13th with five interceptions and was named the conference’s defensive player of the week four times. He also recently became the seventh player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to record 100 or more tackles in each of his four collegiate seasons.

In a release, Matakevich said, “It's quite an honor. I said it before and it's no different now. I'm able to make plays because my coaches put me in the right position and my teammates take on blockers to free me up. I'm prouder that Temple had more all-conference selections than any single award I have received."

Other defenders to earn first-team honors included seniors defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis, defensive end Nate D. Smith and safety Alex Wells.

Junior running back Jahad Thomas led the way among the three offensive first-team selections.

Thomas has been the workhorse of the Owls’ offensive attack this year with 1,188 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns, both of which rank second in the conference. He also has a receiving touchdown and kickoff return touchdown to bring his season total to 19 touchdowns.

Seniors center Kyle Friend and right tackle Eric Lofton were the other two Owls named to the first team.

In addition, junior left tackle Dion Dawkins and sophomore defensive back Sean Chandler earned all-conference second-team honors while redshirt junior defensive end Hasson Reddick was an all-conference honorable selection.

All told, 10 Owls received all-conference honors.

The No. 22 Owls (10-2) will try to add another accolade in the form of the AAC championship when they travel to Houston on Saturday to face the No. 19 Cougars (11-1) in the inaugural conference title game. Kickoff is slated for noon.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.