Shooting Star

Whenever senior forward Jake O'Brien rises up from beyond the arc, Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy thinks the shot is going in. And with good reason. The 6-foot-9 O'Brien is shooting 46 percent on threes and 44 percent overall this season, averaging 8.2 points per game in just 17.6 minutes per game of action.

Whenever senior forward Jake O'Brien rises up from beyond the arc, Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy thinks the shot is going in.

And with good reason.

The 6-foot-9 O'Brien is shooting 46 percent on threes and 44 percent overall this season, averaging 8.2 points per game in just 17.6 minutes per game of action. His 20 three-pointers are second on the team - one behind Scootie Randall, who has 36 more attempts.

O'Brien scored a season-high 15 points on Monday against Bowling Green, one game after his eight first-half points helped the Owls rally against No. 3 Syracuse in a game they won, 83-79.

O'Brien scored over 1,000 points in less than three seasons at Boston University and was the America East Rookie of the Year in 2008-2009. He broke his foot midway through his junior season and two subsequent surgeries cost him the second half of the 2010-2011 season and all of 2011-2012.

The forward transferred to Temple for his final season because Boston will not be eligible for the America East Tournament this year as it is moving to the Patriot League, and therefore will have little chance at an NCAA berth.

With O'Brien's help, the Owls' 10-2 record has them on pace to make the tournament for a sixth straight season.

"He's a valuable, valuable guy for us," said Dunphy. "Nobody's coming to mind (that I've had like him), with that kind of size and shooting ability. When he shoots it, you typically think it's going in. He has that same amount of confidence in himself. He has a pretty good chance of making shots."

O'Brien agreed his shooting ability is his biggest asset.

"Whatever the team needs obviously, but my game is as a shooter, pick and pop," said O'Brien. "My game is to hit shots and help the team out, defend and rebound. As a shooter you have to have confidence in your shots. Every shot you take you have to feel is going to go in."

He's hit enough shots that the student section at home games has serenaded him with the chant of "Jake O'Buckets."

O'Brien admitted this season has been a transition, first from the standpoint of learning a whole new coaching staff and teammates and also getting used to being back on the floor after missing a year-and-a-half. He has accepted the role of bench player even though he was one of the Terriers' best players.

"It's a little different than what I was doing at BU," admitted O'Brien. "It's different when you're out there all the time. In this role, there's less room for error, but I'm ready whenever I'm called upon.

"I think I'm getting more comfortable. A lot of (the transition) is me being out with injuries. There's always a little bit of rust, and this is a new situation for me. But I'm happy where I am now and I'm going to continue to get better."

With the Owls off to a hot start and No. 6 Kansas on the horizon, O'Brien feels Temple has offered exactly what he expected when he transferred.

"I came here hoping to play on a successful team with a chance to play in the tournament and a place I can contribute," said O'Brien. "Temple has offered all that, so as I stand now, I think it's been a good decision."

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