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8 Temple The Owls should have a beefed-up offense thanks mostly to a slimmed-down forward

After Temple lost to Duke 85-64 in the East Regional final last
March, forward Mark Karcher sat in the Owls' locker room, his
face buried in his hands, and declared his season a
disappointment. It didn't matter to Karcher that he had just
scored a team-high 19 points against the top-ranked Blue Devils
or that he was Temple's leading scorer for the year (13.4 points
a game). Having sat out the previous season as an academic
nonqualifier, the 6'5" Karcher had ballooned to 255 pounds and
played most of last season about 30 pounds over his normal
weight. As a result, says Karcher, he was a shell of the player
who averaged 22.8 points a game as a high school All-America at
St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. "I wasn't able to take people
off the dribble like I normally do, and I had to settle for my
shot. I got tired easily, too. Right after the Duke game I
promised myself I'd never again come into a season out of shape."

Last spring and nearly every day this fall, Karcher has gone to
McGonigle Hall at 6 a.m. to run on the treadmill for an hour
before working out with the team. Coming into his junior season
he's shed the extra weight, and at 218 pounds he should be a much
more explosive player.

The Owls have three other starters back from a 24-11 team,
including point guard Pepe Sanchez, who provides senior
leadership. Sanchez isn't flashy or a scoring threat, but he is
a heady player who had a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and
averaged 3.1 steals per game last season. Temple typically
struggles on offense and relies on its matchup zone to win
games. But the Owls, who have an inside presence in 6'10"
forward Lamont Barnes and good shooters in Quincy Wadley and
Lynn Greer, should score more easily this season. "Defense has
always made us, and we can't get away from that," says coach
John Chaney, "but now we have a few players we can rely on

Karcher is looking to be one of those guys. "I have all my tools
back," he says. "I was always a step behind last year, but this
year I think you're going to see the real me."

--B.J. Schecter



SF Mark Karcher[1] 6'5" Jr. 13.4 ppg
PF Lamont Barnes[1] 6'10" Sr. 12.9 ppg
C Kevin Lyde 6'9" So. 5.9 rpg
SG Quincy Wadley[1] 6'4" Sr. 9.2 ppg
PG Pepe Sanchez[1] 6'4" Sr. 5.8 apg

1998-99 record: 24-11 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 14
Returning starter[1]