#127 Temple Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Temple Owls
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #7 American
Temple reached the NCAA Tournament last season and this year was supposed to be a small step back with a few key players moving on. However, the news got worse when Josh Brown suffered an Achilles tendon injury in May. Brown was the catalyst of the offense and he rarely left the floor. The Owls had, and still have, better scorers, but nobody is more important to this team than Brown. Last season he averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 assists and spearheaded the defensive effort as well. It remains to be seen when Brown will be healthy enough to play, but it is certainly very plausible that he misses some games this year. And if the injury lingers, Brown could be looking at a medical redshirt. With Brown, this is a Temple team that could be competing for an NCAA Tournament berth. Without him, it could be a long, long season.
2015-16 Record: 21-12, 14-4
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Fran Dunphy
Coach Record: 214-120 at Temple, 524-283 overall
Who’s Out:
Even without Brown, the Owls were in for a bit of a rebuilding year with the loss of Quenton DeCosey, Jaylen Bond and Devin Coleman. Those were three of the team’s top four scorers last year. DeCosey was the team’s top scorer, averaging 15.9 points per game and he would take all of the big shots for Temple. He was also second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per game. Bond was a tough 6-8 forward who led the team on the glass with 8.5 boards per contest and added a consistent interior scoring threat. Coleman was a part-time starter, but starting or not, he was a very dangerous outside shooter. The only other departure is little used center Devontae Watson.
Who’s In:
If Brown is indeed out for part or all of the 2016-2017 campaign, the pressure will be on incoming freshman Alani Moore to step into a much bigger role than anticipated. Moore is a speedy little point guard who can run an offense. He is more than capable of scoring, but for now Temple will need him to take care of the ball and set up his teammates. Ayan Nunez de Carvalho and Quinton Rose are both big guards who will battle for playing time. Despite being 6-5, Rose can handle the ball too and could be part of a point guard by committee approach that the Owls may be forced to do. But Rose is a smart player who can get to the basket. With a little work on his outside shot, he will be a dangerous scorer. The last of the freshmen is center Damion Moore. Moore likely needs some time to bulk up his 6-10, 220 pound frame, but he can hit the glass effectively and block a few shots.
Who to Watch:
Despite all of the losses, Temple does return talent, although much of it lacks experience. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia does not lack in experience or talent. The stretch four had a breakout sophomore season, averaging 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds. Enechionyia is by far the team’s top returning shooter. He knocked down 38.6 percent of his 145 attempts from beyond the arc. It is extremely tough to defend a 6-8, 220 pound forward who can shoot like that. Mark Williams figures to step into a more prominent role beside Enechionyia in the Temple frontcourt. Williams, a 6-8, 240 pound senior averaged less than ten minutes per game last season, but he has the size and strength Temple needs to help replace Bond in the paint. Sophomore center Ernest Aflakpui is another option in the frontcourt. A year of experience, albeit not much experience on the floor, could do wonders for Aflakpui. Trey Lowe was part of the regular rotation as a freshman before a car accident ended his season after 28 games. He suffered upper body injuries and his status moving forward is up in the air. While Lowe was out, Levan Shawn Alston saw a little boost in minutes. Alston is a very talented 6-4 guard, but never really got a chance to show his stuff last year. He will this season. The most experienced player in the backcourt is 6-7 wing Daniel Dingle. He will need to be more consistent shooting the ball though.
Final Projection:
Even without the injuries, it is difficult to see this Temple team being better than they were last year. DeCosey and Bond were a great inside-outside duo. The Owls lack that explosive dynamic this season. Enechionyia can be a star and the returning wings have a lot of talent, but the lack of a proven interior scorer and a proven outside shooter on the perimeter is a big problem. And the injuries are an even bigger problem. By the time AAC play rolls around, Coach Fran Dunphy will have all of his pieces put together into a good team, but not a team that is good enough to beat the best the American Athletic Conference has to offer.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Josh Brown, Senior, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Trey Lowe, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 points per game
Daniel Dingle, Senior, Guard, 4.4 points per game
Obi Enechionyia, Junior, Forward, 11.0 points per game
Mark Williams, Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.7 (266th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.6 (70, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.6 (310, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.4 (67, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (103, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (226, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.4 (227, 8)
Rebound Margin: -1.1 (229, 9)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (157, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.2 (3, 1)

Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#161 Alani Moore