#35 Temple Men's Basketball Preview

Temple Owls

Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #2 Atlantic 10
Temple Men's College Basketball Logo
Temple Team Page

2010-11: 26-8, 14-2
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Fran Dunphy (110-57 at Temple, 420-220 overall)

Temple was pretty good last year when they gave San Diego State all they could handle with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line. The Owls lost that game in double overtime, but Coach Fran Dunphy and company will make another go of it this season. The backcourt duo of Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore is one of the best in the country. Fernandez is a superb point guard and an even better defender. He is not a bad scorer either and can knock down some clutch shots. Moore is also no stranger to hitting big shots. He led the Owls with 15.2 points per game last season and can do everything else as well. Moore will even handle the ball at times and he is a very good rebounder for a guard.

Who’s Out:
The backcourt will be just fine, but the frontcourt does need to replace Lavoy Allen. As a senior in 2010-2011, Allen was second on the team with 11.6 points per game and led the squad with 8.6 rebounds. If Temple is going to take a step back this year, it will be because the returning big men cannot replace the interior scoring and rebounding that Allen provided last season.

Who’s In:
The frontcourt will get a boost from Anthony Lee and Jimmy McDonnell. Lee could have contributed during his freshman campaign last year but a back injury put an end to his season before it started. Lee is a lengthy 6-9, 200 pound forward who should be ready to step into a backup role right away. McDonnell needs to add some weight to his 6-10 frame, but the Owls need some bodies up front and he can provide that. The backcourt will be a tough rotation to crack, but Will Cummings has the talent to do it. If Coach Dunphy wants to keep Moore off of the ball, Cummings can be the primary backup to Fernandez at the point. Cummings will not score a ton, but he is a superb defender and that skill could earn him some quality minutes.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt may lack experienced depth and be a little injury prone, but when Micheal Eric and Rahlir Jefferson are on the floor, they are a pretty good duo. Eric is a big 6-11, 240 pound center who has a nice touch around the basket. He missed the last ten games of last season and his absence was felt in March. When he is healthy, Eric can get up and down the floor with the quicker guards. More importantly, he can hit the glass and he will be the one who needs to replace Allen’s production in that department. Jefferson is undersized at 6-6, but he is a tough rebounder and a fine defender. He will not score too much against bigger opposition, but the power forward will do the dirty work and that is what this team needs as long as Eric is healthy and providing a bulk of the interior scoring.

Final Projection:
The small forward spot is in good hands with Khalif Wyatt and Scootie Randall. Wyatt earned sixth man of the year accolades in the Atlantic 10 after averaging 10.1 points per contest. He is a superb shooter and knocked down over 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc during his freshman campaign. Randall is not a bad shooter either, but the 6-6 forward will give Temple a little more size on the wing and, at times, that will be necessary. Randall, like Eric, was hurt at the end of last season, although Randall did, unsuccessfully, return during the NCAA Tournament. Randall is healthy and ready to go and his ability to score inside and out and hit the glass should keep him in the starting lineup with Wyatt likely playing the sixth man role again. Sophomore Aaron Brown and junior T.J. DiLeo will provide some depth to the backcourt. Brown is full of potential and could turn into a big time scorer before his Temple career is over once his shot starts falling. This is an Owl squad that is full of experience. Four returning starters are seniors and the backcourt has plenty of experienced depth. The youth on the bench in the frontcourt could become an issue if the injury bug hits again, but Lee is good enough to play some major minutes if needed. Hopefully it will not be needed and in that case Temple should cruise into the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Juan Fernandez, Senior, Guard, 11.2 points per game
Ramon Moore, Senior, Guard, 15.2 points per game
Scootie Randall, Senior, Forward, 10.7 points per game
Rahlir Jefferson, Junior, Forward, 5.6 points per game
Micheal Eric, Senior, Center, 7.1 points per game

Check out another story about Temple basketball