Will Cummings, who averaged 16.8 ppg last season, is a big part of the Owls’ offense.
2013-14 Record: 9-22, 4-14in the All-American Conference
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Fran Dunphy
Coach Record: 84-47 at Temple, 472-250 overall
By Harry Allison
Temple struggled through a very tough 2013-2014, going from New Year’s to Valentine’s Day with just one win. On the year they won just four American Athletic Conference games and nine total. But those numbers are not quite as bad as they appear. The Owls had a lot of very close losses and a lot of very discouraging losses. A few lucky bounces and this team would have looked much better. And, as is often the case, those tough losses often led to more losses down the road.
Losing Dalton Pepper and Anthony Lee, who opted to transfer, is significant. Pepper led the Owls with 17.5 points per game and added 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals. He was also the team’s most prolific outside shooter, but he scored inside too on those rare occasions when his shot was not falling. Lee was the interior scorer for the Owls. He was fourth on the team with 13.6 points per game last season and led the squad with 8.6 rebounds.
An important element for this team is depth. There were not many bodies for coach Fran Dunphy to work with, in part due to injuries. The eligibility of three transfers and the addition of an incoming freshman, who is ready to contribute, should put an end to those depth issues that plagued the program in 2013-2014. All three Division I transfers are Philly natives coming back home. Jaylen Bond went to Texas and had a promising freshman campaign before an injury limited his playing time as a sophomore. Now the bruising 6-7 forward will suit up for the Owls and immediately provide a tough presence in the paint. Devin Coleman spent a year and a half at Clemson and the 6-2 guard will be eligible in December. Jesse Morgan has been plagued by injuries during his career at Massachusetts, but when he was healthy, Morgan was a great scorer for the Minutemen. The only freshman on the roster is Obi Enechionyia. At 6-8 and 220 pounds, he is physically ready to compete at this level and Coach Dunphy should be able to rely on him for at least some quality playing time right away.
Who to Watch:
The scoring focus will stay in the backcourt where Will Cummings, who averaged 16.8 points per game, and Quenton DeCosey, who averaged 15.4 points, return. Cummings is a great finisher around the basket and will at least get to the charity stripe. His outside shooting is good enough for a point guard. He may not connect on too many, but at least Cummings is a threat to shoot. He averaged 4.6 assists per game, while committing just 2.2 turnovers. Cummings has already been a leader for Temple, but this time around he will be the senior leader who does whatever is needed for his team to win. DeCosey had a breakout sophomore season. He did not play much as a freshman and then last year he exploded for 15.4 points per game. The 6-5 junior can score in every way imaginable. Daniel Dingle, a 6-7 wing, will battle for a starting spot. He was looking very good until an injury ended his sophomore season after just ten games. Dingle is a decent shooter and will use his size to attack the basket as well. His size is also a huge asset in the rebounding and defensive departments. Josh Brown, a 6-3 guard, was the highlight of last year’s class. He averaged over 21 minutes per game, but rarely looked for his shot. Any freshman playing over 20 minutes per game at Temple is impressive though and look for Brown to take a big step this year.
The frontcourt may have lost their superstar, but there is a lot of potential here. Perhaps the most potential lies with Mark Williams. He was another freshman who cracked the regular rotation in 2013-2014 and the 6-8, 240 pound forward will help replace the scoring and rebounding lost with Lee. Devonte Watson earned a handful of starts and is easily the team’s best shot blocker. Jimmy McDonnell is another big body with some experience. However, he is the likely candidate to lose minutes if Enechionyia is ready to contribute. The bottom line is that this team has depth across the board. Last year it was a problem that Coach Dunphy had to rely on freshmen much more than he would prefer. But now he suddenly has experienced sophomores on the roster, not to mention three very good DI transfers, and that is enough to get the Owls on the right side of those close games.
Projected Starting Five:
Will Cummings, Senior, Guard, 16.8 points per game
Quenton DeCosey, Junior, Guard, 15.4 points per game
Daniel Dingle, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Mark Williams, Sophomore, Forward, 4.2 points per game
Jaylen Bond, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.9 (86th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 78.1 (330, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (246, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 47.4 (323, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (137, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.8 (182, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (151, 3)
Rebound Margin: -2.2 (263, 10)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (101, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (36, 1)