This will be a special weekend for former Temple point guard Pepe Sanchez. Not only will he be inducted into the newly created Basketball Ring of Honor, but he will also be inducted in the Temple Athletic Hall of Fame.
A 2000 graduate, Sanchez will return on Sunday for the Owls 2 p.m. game against Manhattan at the Liacouras Center to receive his honors.
Others being honored with Sanchez in the Ring of Honor on Sunday will be All-Americans Meyer "Mike" Bloom ('38), Don Shields ('38) and Terence Stansbury ('83)
"This is one of the biggest honors in my sports career," Sanchez said in an email response. "Being inducted to the Hall of Fame of the school, and also be one of the recipients of the Ring of Honor, is far and beyond something that I could imagine when I came to Philly 20 years ago."
Originally from Argentina, Sanchez grew both on and off the court during his time at Temple.
"I was a kid that didn't speak the language and had no idea where Philly was or how passionate Philly people are with their teams," said Sanchez, who holds the Temple career average assist record (5.9 per game). "My dream was to play college basketball, and have the chance to get a college degree and learn the language...everything that came next was amazing."
He went well beyond that dream.
Sanchez became the first Argentine to play in the NBA. He played parts of two seasons with three NBA teams, the 76ers, Atlanta and Detroit. He would then enjoy a successful career overseas.
Sanchez was a member of Argentina's 2004 Olympic gold medal basketball team. During those Olympics, he played in all eight games and averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 assists.
In the 84-69 gold medal win over Italy, Sanchez contributed three points, four rebounds and five assists. During Argentina's 89-81 semifinal win over the U.S. Sanchez had four points, two rebounds and seven assists.
The 39-year-old Sanchez owns a pro team in his home town Bahia Blanca, in the top Argentine League.
"We are focusing on developing young talent," he said. "I will build a training facility and open an Academy in a year for kids from all over Latin America."
He has also enjoyed success in broadcasting, serving a commentator on the Argentine National Team in World Cups and Olympics for Directv for Latin America. Previously, he was a part-time commentator on Los Angeles Lakers games for TWCable Deportes.
As a senior at Temple in 2000, Sanchez was a third-team all-American and the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the Big Five Player of the year in 1999 and 2000.
Sanchez says his time at Temple helped prepare him for his basketball career afterwards.
"Being a part of the history (at Temple) is amazing," he said. "Being coached by Coach (John) Chaney was an amazing thing. I can put this right next to the Olympic gold medal, and I think that represent how much it means."