2012-2013 Overall Rank: #71
Conference Rank: #7 Atlantic 10
Temple Team Page
Temple was riding high heading into the postseason last year, but fell in their opener of the A-10 Tournament to Massachusetts and lost a week later in the NCAA Tournament to South Florida with a horrible offensive performance. With a couple key pieces of the backcourt leaving, the Owls will need to find some new scorers and a more consistent offense if they hope to return to the NCAA Tournament. The return of Scootie Randall, a 6-6 wing, should help. Randall had a breakout 2010-2011 campaign, averaging 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds. But he missed all of the 2011-2012 campaign after a slow recovery from knee surgery due to an injury suffered late in the prior season. Randall will need to keep improving and emerge as a leader on the floor.
2011-12 Record: 24-8, 13-3
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Fran Dunphy
Coach Record: 134-65 at Temple, 444-228 overall
Losing Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez is a tough blow. Moore led Temple with 17.3 points per game and added 3.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds. Moore took a majority of the big shots for the Owls and he could provide instant offense. Fernandez was painfully inconsistent at times, but he really stepped up his game during his senior season. Not only did he lead the team in assists, but he also shot 43.1 percent from long range. The transfer of Aaron Brown to Southeast Missouri State leaves the backcourt with very little experience. Brown only started one game last year for the Owls, but he was a dangerous shooter off of the bench. The only loss up front is that of Micheal Eric. Eric was a dominating force in the paint when he was healthy. He only played in 19 games during his senior campaign, but was always a tough interior scorer and the best rebounder and shot blocker on the squad.
Coach Fran Dunphy brought in a couple experienced players who should be able to make an immediate impact. Dalton Pepper, a transfer from West Virginia, suddenly has a lot of pressure on him to emerge as a scoring threat on the perimeter. Pepper did not play very much for the Mountaineers during his two-year stint, but he is a very good shooter. If he can use his 6-5 frame to attack the basket more effectively, Pepper could do his fair share of helping replace the scoring of Moore and the shooting of Fernandez. Jake O’Brien opted to leave Boston U after graduating and is eligible to play immediately. The 6-8 power forward had two and a half very productive seasons with the Terriers before a foot injury slowed him down last season. O’Brien’s ability to shoot will stretch out the opposition, but he was not the best interior scorer during his time in the America East and he will find it even tougher in the A-10. Daniel Dingle and Devontae Watson will add some more frontcourt depth. Dingle is the best of the incoming freshmen, which also includes small forward Quenton DeCosey, and all three will get an opportunity to provide depth.
Who to Watch:
Khalif Wyatt and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson are the new stars of this team. Wyatt had a superb junior season, averaging 17.1 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. The 6-4 point guard is a match-up nightmare for most opponents and his ability to do everything is a must for this group to have any hope of replacing the lost production in the backcourt. But Wyatt cannot do it all and the emergence of other players around him will be the difference between a trip to the NCAA Tournament and a disappointing campaign in the new, tougher A-10. That is where Hollis-Jefferson and fellow big man Anthony Lee come into the equation. Hollis-Jefferson is the senior leader of the frontcourt. He has always been known for his defense and rebounding, but Hollis-Jefferson may need to do more scoring this year. He did pick up his offensive output in 2011-2012, averaging 9.3 points per game, but at 6-6 he is not a traditional power forward. Lee is coming off of a fine freshman campaign in which he earned 17 starts and averaged 5.0 points and 5.2 rebounds. He has the potential to develop into a big scoring threat, although Temple also needs him to keep up the rebounding and shot blocking that made him a pretty good replacement for Eric when he was hurt.
Senior T.J. DiLeo and sophomore Will Cummings will have to at least provide quite a bit of depth on the perimeter. DiLeo is a decent all-around player who can play some solid defense and Cummings is a 6-1 sophomore point guard who failed to make much of an impact as a freshman. But now the minutes will be there for Cummings and he will be in for a huge year. If Coach Dunphy can find a player or two who can score and shoot in the backcourt, this will be a pretty good team that will be eyeing another trip to the NCAA Tournament. However, there is not much room for error in this conference anymore and the battle for at-large bids will be fierce.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Khalif Wyatt, Senior, Guard, 17.1 points per game
Dalton Pepper, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Scootie Randall, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Senior, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Anthony Lee, Sophomore, Forward, 5.0 points per game