By Jon Rothstein
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1. TEMPO CHANGE
For the past few seasons Juan Fernandez has given Temple a steady, methodical point guard that’s ran the Owls offense at a conservative pace. This year, Temple will have a completely different look with sophomore jet Will Cummings leading the attack. The ultra quick Cummings should produce at a high level once he gets more minutes and becomes more comfortable with the added responsibility he’s about to undertake as the leader of the Owls offense. Fran Dunphy will have to show patience with Cummings’ decision making early but in some ways, he’s an upgrade at the most important position on the floor because of how he can pressure the opponent’s floor general defensively.
2. RANDALL’S RETURN
A medical red shirt last season, Scootie Randall has all the requisites of a player that’s primed for a big time season. Two years ago Randall was a piece to Temple’s puzzle — this season he’ll be one of their main ingredients. Along with fellow seniors Khalif Wyatt and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Randall provides an anchor for the Owls to lean on as they hope to capture another Atlantic 10 championship in their last season before heading to the Big East.
3. DINGLE’S JINGLE
He may not be the most talked about freshman in the Atlantic 10, but Daniel Dingle is going to have an impact for Temple. The point forward from St. Raymond’s high school in the Bronx has an exceptional basketball IQ and is becoming a significantly better defender than he was in high school. In practice on Monday, Dingle was extremely comfortable guarding wings on the perimeter, mostly in part due to his much improved physique. This will be a terrific four-year player in Dunphy’s program.
4. DEPTH PERCEPTION
Dunphy has historically played a tight rotation with only two or three reserves seeing regular time off the bench — that should change this season. Temple could play up to 10 players on a regular basis and Dunphy has said he expects to experiment with both big and small lineups to figure out how the Owls can be most effective. It will be interesting to see if this team’s makeup remains the same for the duration of the season.
5. JAKE THE SNAKE
The late addition of Boston University transfer Jake O’Brien was a huge addition to Temple’s front court. The cerebral big man plays within his abilities and never seems to force anything in the Owls offense. A capable pick and pop threat, O’Brien is also crafty in the low post when given space and knows where to pick his spots against the defense.
Many people are mentioning Saint Louis, Saint Joseph’s, and even VCU as potential teams to win the new and improved Atlantic 10 but for no reason at all they’re forgetting about Temple. The Owls may have lost their point guard in Fernandez and their starting center in Micheal Eric but Dunphy still has the pieces in place to win another league title. Cummings will be a work in progress but this team has three capable senior starters in Wyatt, Hollis-Jefferson, and Randall along with capable role players in T.J. Dileo, Dalton Pepper, O’Brien, and Anthony Lee. If Dingle and fellow freshman Quenton DeCosey can contribute regularly off the bench, the Owls should be two deep at every position and that alone may be enough for Dunphy to win another Atlantic 10 title before he leaves the conference.
What’s your prediction for Temple? Be heard in the comments below…