An eye on the record books

LSU may have itself a new all-time leader by the end of the week.

He won’t be the NCAA’s all-time best scorer like Pete Maravich, and he isn’t putting up monster block and rebound numbers like Shaquille O’Neal. But barring injury, senior guard Garrett Temple will become LSU’s all-time leader in minutes logged.


“I never would have imagined playing as much as I’ve been playing here,” said Temple, whose 4,240 minutes played trails only Torris Bright (4,250) and Howard Carter (4,276). “A lot of people thought I was like a package deal [with former LSU star Glen Davis] and that’s one of the reasons I thought about going somewhere else.

“But I was blessed enough to get a scholarship here in my hometown … I was able to play alongside what I think is one of the best guards in LSU history in Darrell Mitchell … I really didn’t think I’d be able to start four years and play as much as I have.”


It’s fitting to have the name Temple achieve such a unique status. Temple’s father, Collis Jr., was the first African-American to earn a scholarship for LSU as Tiger fans are well-aware, and his brother Collis III helped the team to a Sweet 16 appearance. Wednesday night marks the end of Temple’s fifth year in the LSU program.


“It’s going to be real emotional,” Garrett said. “It’s going to be the last time a Temple plays at LSU for a while – probably. Hopefully we can get it out of the way and go play the game.”


Temple said his father may have to find a new favorite pastime without a son to watch on the basketball court.


“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” he said. “He’s still going to come because he’s known Tasmin so long and he knows Bo. He’s still going to be a big LSU supporter, just like he was when he finished playing. I don’t know if he’s going to travel as much. Maybe he’ll play a little more golf.”


With his last home game approaching later tonight, Temple is on the verge of the second NCAA tournament of his career. He was a significant contributor to LSU’s 2006 Final Four run, laying the foundation for his reputation as a defensive stalwart. Along with senior center Chris Johnson, Temple is one of just a few players in the program’s history to achieve two SEC championships.


“We didn’t even think about it – I didn’t know how rare that was,” Temple said. “When you’re playing good, guys tend to get along and things tend to go well … but we don’t want to end up 13-3 we want to be 15-1.”


Temple said his minutes logged are evidence of his contributions to both titles – the 2006 championship and the one LSU locked up over the weekend.


“It’s minutes played – you’re on the court,” he said. “Two SEC Championships - I guess that means I’ve been a little part of both of those being able to play that many minutes and be a part of the success of the team.”


Whatever honors he earns, Temple said the focus is now on these last two regular season games and the SEC tournament. The Tigers hope to significantly improve their seeding for the upcoming tournament with just five games remaining to make an impression on the NCAA selection committee.


“We’re trying to keep winning,” he said. “We need to take it one game at a time to try to increase our NCAA seed. That’s really all that matters – the rankings come in April.”


Temple said the SEC championship is nice, but the team has “unfinished business” left to do.


“Maybe I’ve been spoiled, because the feeling of going to a Final Four is so much better, but SEC champs feels great,” he said. “But we have two more games left and we’re not finished. There’s the whole SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament. If this is all I felt we could do I’d feel better, but we have a lot more left to accomplish.”

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