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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Twice, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was at the scoring end of a tip-in Saturday. Both buckets ended Villanova spurts. Both buckets bolstered Temple's advantage over the Wildcats in the Owls' 78-67 Big 5 win.

'Big' doesn't do Hollis-Jefferson justice. The Chester All-Delco has played bigger than his 6-6 frame for Temple (6-2 overall, 2-0 Big 5), which is missing 6-10 center Micheal Eric due to injury.

"Since Rahlir has been here, he's played the four man (position)," said Temple's Ramone Moore, who had 32 points. "...On any type of big man, he does a good job."

“He had two great tip-ins and they were critical tip-ins at the right time for us," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy of Hollis-Jefferson. "If there's a finer human being than Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, I haven't met him anyway. Any time you can see that kind of performance by him, it adds to his way. He's a tremendous guy and he could care less about himself. It's all about the team and it's delightful to watch him succeed.

After scoring 11 points (on 5-for-8 shooting) with 14 rebounds and three assists, Hollis-Jefferson spent some time catching up with me on a variety of topics ... including his alma mater, Chester High:

Q: Ramone talked about your team needing you to play bigger than you are. Is that OK with you?
A: I play with my heart, so my heart makes up for my size. When I play, I'm not 6-6. I'm bigger than that.

Q: Everyone always called you Rah-long back in Chester, right?
A: Oh, wow. I haven't heard that in a while. I still hear it when I go home, but … wow. It don't really mean anything to me anymore because I have a lot of big guys around me now.

Q: Where do you see this team a month from now?
A: If we keep working hard, I see us going far. That's about it, really.

Q: You played for a state champion (in 2007-08), what some people call the best Chester team ever. Some people said that about last year's (state championship) team. Where does this year's team rank with those two?
A: I mean, last year's Chester team was good. Now they have almost all of their players back. They're more mature, so they should be able to handle things much better than they did last year. They should be able to do some damage this year.

Q: Is there anybody in the state that can beat them?
A: Anybody on any given night. That's how it is. We didn't feel like we could lose, so we came to play every night.

Q: How do you like how your brother (Rondae Jefferson, a Chester junior getting solid Division I looks) is progressing?
A: I like the way he's coming along. He's still got a lot more room to grow, and he's going to continue to do so. He's going to keep working hard at his craft.

Q: Have you tried to convince him to come to Temple?
A: No, I can't do that. Wherever he wants to go, I'll support him. That's how it is.

(Photos courtesy Associated Press/H RUMPH JR.)

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