Recent Commit Expects To Play

Rahlir Jefferson

Defensive-minded Chester High School forward Rahlir Jefferson recently picked Temple ahead of George Washington, Providence, and Penn State. Last week, Jefferson told OwlsDaily.com that hard work and a defensive mentality will help him earn playing time when he joins the Owls next season.

Chester High School basketball coach Larry Yarbray initially compared his senior swingman Rahlir Jefferson to a young Scottie Pippen for his defensive prowess.

He later said Jefferson's scoring touch compared favorably to Dionte Christmas at the same age.

If Yarbray's projections are correct, then Temple Coach Fran Dunphy has recruited a heck of a player. Jefferson, a 6-6, 200-pound forward, is the most recent addition to Dunphy's 2009 recruiting class.

"He can guard one through five," Yarbray said. "He's athletic, he rebounds, he runs the floor and he's relentless."

What Dunphy will probably appreciate most about Jefferson's game is that, unlike most high school players, Jefferson's defense is ahead of his offense.

"From the moment I first started to play basketball, that was how I was taught," Jefferson said of his focus on defense. "Right now it's (his strength)."

Jefferson has been used mostly as a post player at Chester, where he averaged 10 points and seven rebounds a game last season. But Yarbray and Jefferson both expect he'll play more on the wing this year.

"We're going to play four out to take advantage of our mismatches," Yarbray said. "He's played down and around the box from such a young age because of his size. But he's a natural wing player. He's a lean guy. We're working on him scoring from 15 feet."

Jefferson admitted he's currently more of a slasher than a shooter, but developing his guard skills is a primary goal for the upcoming year.

"I have to develop my jump shot and work on my ballhandling skills," Jefferson said. "I've been more comfortable driving to the basket."

Jefferson, who said he picked Temple for its proximity to home and the coaching staff, chose the Owls over George Washington, Providence, and Penn State, among others. Yarbray said Jefferson's grades and SAT score should easily make him a qualifier.

Jefferson said playing for Chester, last year's PIAA Champion and a perennial state power, should help his transition to Temple because of the quality of competition he sees on a regular basis.

"I think it's helped me expand my game," Jefferson said. "If I put in the hard work, I know the coaches will see that. However they want to use me, that's where I'll play."

Yarbray also said Jefferson could work his way into Temple's rotation as a freshman, noting his standout dented Chester's talented lineup as a sophomore.

"You have to wait your turn at Chester, and he found ways to get on the court," Yarbray said. "He accepted his role. He's such a dedicated player and hard worker that they will see he can contribute."

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