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April 11, 2013As expected, Roberts Vaux High School point guard Rysheed Jordan announced Thursday morning via Twitter that he has verbally committed to St. John's, choosing the Red Storm over Temple.
Ranked No. 29 overall in the 2013 class by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound North Philadelphia native averaged 24.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals as a senior en route to the PIAA Class A state championship. He was widely considered to be the top uncommitted point guard in the country.
Landing a player like Jordan would have been a huge recruiting development for the Owls, who are losing five impact players in Khalif Wyatt, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Jake O'Brien, Scootie Randall and TJ DiLeo from a team that advanced to its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament, where it lost to No. 1 seed Indiana, 58-52, in the third round.
Instead, Jordan plans to sign a national letter of intent with St. John's and its coach Steve Lavin, whose team finished with a 17-16 record after losing in the NIT to Virginia.
Jordan and his AAU coach, Kamal Yard, did not responded to numerous interview requests over the past week. Temple coach Fran Dunphy, per NCAA rules, cannot comment on a high school athlete like Jordan that has not yet signed a national letter of intent.
The Owls' 2014 recruiting class is currently comprised of a pair of New Jersey guards in Josh Brown and Kyle Green. Brown, a 6-2, 180-pound point guard from New Jersey's St. Anthony High School, is rated by Rivals No. 130 overall in the 2014 class, while the 6-4 Green averaged 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for nearby Camden Catholic High School. Both Brown and Green inked national letters of intent with Temple back in November during the NCAA's early signing period.
Temple has four more available scholarships to offer and continues to be a possible destination for 6-7, 225-pound forward Jaylen Bond, a former star at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School who is transferring from Texas, and Mark Williams, a 6-8, 230-pound forward from Montrose Christian Academy who, according to a source familiar with his recruitment, could be arriving at Temple Thursday for an official visit.
As of now, the Owls would only have 10 players on their roster heading into the 2013-14 season. Of those 10, only two - rising junior forward Anthony Lee and rising junior point guard Will Cummings - saw significant minutes this past season. Wing guard Dalton Pepper, who averaged 11.3 minutes and 2.9 points per game after transferring in from West Virginia, will be a senior next season, and freshmen Quenton DeCosey and Daniel Dingle showed flashes of promise but played sparingly, as did center Devontae Watson, who played just 12 minutes. All three will almost certainly be asked to play significant roles next season as Temple transitions into the newly-named American Athletic Conference, which will include defending national champion Louisville, UConn and Cincinnati, along with fellow new member Memphis.
It's also looking like that the Owls' roster will not have a player from the city of Philadelphia heading into next season. While Temple has done well recruiting in the New York and northern New Jersey metro area in landing players like DeCosey out of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ, and Dingle out of St. Raymond in the Bronx, the Owls have missed out on several of their top recruiting targets over the past 12 months, including local products like Chester High School's Rondae Jefferson, who signed with Arizona, Lower Merion's B.J. Johnson, who signed with Syracuse, and now Jordan.
Dunphy had been recruiting Jordan, who lives no more than a few minutes from Temple's North Philadelphia campus, since he was a freshman. The Owls have not signed a player from Philadelphia since Randall, who was the 2008 Public League and Pennsylvania Class AAA player of the year.
OwlScoop.com editor John Di Carlo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @OwlScoop_com or @jdicarlo.