Change And Challenges

Coach Fran Dunphy commented at Monday's Temple Men's Basketball Media Day that this season stands to be as challenging as his first one as Owls' coach. Dunphy's first Temple team went 12-18 but the next year started a run of six straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Owls should exceed that record, but after losing five starters this stacks up as a challenging season.

Coach Fran Dunphy commented at Monday's Temple Men's Basketball Media Day that this season stands to be as challenging as his first one as Owls' coach.

Dunphy and Owls fans don't expect the results to be the same — Dunphy's first Temple team went 12-18 but the next year started a run of six straight NCAA Tournament appearances leading into this season.

But after graduating five contributing seniors — including standout guard Khalif Wyatt — and moving into the American Athletic Conference this year, this certainly stacks up as a challenging season.

"It's probably the biggest challenge since the first year because of the inexperience," said Dunphy. "We're not as young as we are inexperienced. We do have some experience going for us with Will Cummings, Dalton Pepper and Anthony Lee. Our rotation should be OK to do what we want to do, but we don't have a lot of margin for error."

Juniors Cummings and Lee are second-year starters — Lee started a lot his freshman year when Michael Eric was hurt — but both were up-and-down as sophomores. Pepper, a senior, came off the bench and played seldomly last year after transferring from West Virginia but is expected to be a big piece.

It will be incumbent upon sophomores Quenton DeCosey, Daniel Dingle and Devontae Watson to step up and expect to see a lot of freshman guard Josh Brown.

"We're pretty fortunate to have a core group of veteran guys over the last six years," said Dunphy. "We had a really good blend of veteran and young guys. This year we're a little inexperienced but that's the challenge."

Dunphy stressed how important the Owls' summer trip to Europe was to build team chemistry. He knows they'll need it moving from the often under-rated Atlantic 10 to a stronger American Athletic Conference topped by defending national champion Lousville.

"Exciting is one part, apprehensive is another and a little bit of fear," said Dunphy of joining the American. "You play Louisville two times, Cincinnati two times, Memphis two times, Connecticut two times and then have to face Larry Brown (and SMU).

"It will be a really interesting year with a lot of unanswered questions. I wish we were not as challenged as we will be early in the season. The goal is to win as much as you can, and at the end of the year other people are deciding on your fate. Are we good enough to be in that discussion?

"That's the challenge."


Owls Daily Top Stories