With only a few seconds in an eminently winnable game NBA at Miami, something stood out like a 6-foot-11 sore thumb.
The Philadelphia 76ers were winning and this decade’s version of “Hack-A-Shack” was in the game. Of course, instead of two 90 percent free throw shooters Mario Bellinelli and J.J. Redick being in there to catch the ball and get fouled and win the game, Ben Simmons was spotted and fouled immediately and the Sixers lost at the buzzer mostly because he missed two free throws.
What does this have to do with Temple football?
Because after the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown said it was “more important for Simmons’ development” to be in there than it was to win the game.
The word “development” caught my ear because I heard, by my count, Temple football head coach Geoff Collins a derivative of it not one, not two but four times at the recent recruiting celebration. Collins said “we’re a developmental program” while reviewing some recruiting film and saying a lot of these players are in the developmental stage and are coming here to be developed. It wasn’t the first time he used it. This is what he said in an interview on SI.com last May: “I think this place is a developmental program, so I take pride in that.”
I guess Florida wasn’t a developmental program.
Hmmm. I’m sure Collins means well, but I don’t like the term.
Developmental program is a term I’ve never associated with Temple football before Collins came to town. AAC championship program, yes. Top 25 program, yes. Developmental program, no. While players certainly have been developed and nurtured (the most recent example is Haason Reddick), the primary purpose of Temple football has been to win as many games as possible. If someone got developed along the way, fine, but development was always secondary to playing in championship games.
To me, like the Sixers’ game above, winning is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing. I could not give a rat’s ass about Simmons being in there to learn a lesson, nor could I give a similar derriere for Logan Marchi’s “development” as a quarterback meant keeping him in there for seven games, looking awful against a bad Villanova team and stinking up Lincoln Financial Field in winnable games against Houston and UConn. A seven-game career as a starter was way too long for Marchi, who failed an eye test two games into his starting career and should have earned a permanent spot on the bench.
Big-time college football is a business and, in business, it’s either up or out. Marchi wasn’t treading upward after a brutal Game Two performance against Villanova and should have been out.
One of William Bendix’s catch phrases in the old TV show “Life of Riley” was “What a Revolting Development” and that applies to the word “developmental” and Temple football. A year ago, Collins was touting Temple as a “Top 25 program” and now it’s “developmental program.”
I prefer Top 25, thank you.
Let’s hope Temple never becomes the Sixers and sacrifices a precious game for the development of any single player. The football Owls don’t get to play 82 games a year. They can’t afford to trade wins for development.
Monday: 5 Questions for The Stadium Meeting
Wednesday: Eye On Atlanta
Friday: Reflections on The Town Meeting
3/12: Spring Practice Begins