Depth Perception

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy has never been one to favor an extended rotation. The veteran Owls coach has often gone eight deep early in the season, spotting a ninth and by the end of the year typically giving just seven players regular minutes. This year, a short rotation might be dictated by the roster and not just a coach's decision.

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy has never been one to favor an extended rotation.

The veteran Owls coach has often gone eight deep early in the season, spotting a ninth and by the end of the year typically giving just seven players regular minutes.

This year, a short rotation might be dictated by the roster and not just a coach's decision. The Owls have just 10 players, one which is former walk-on Nick Pendergast and another being Jimmy McDonnell, who has played key minutes in just one game in his three years on campus.

While Dunphy wasn't ready to divulge a starting lineup for Saturday's opener at Penn just yet, it is likely junior Will Cummings and senior Dalton Pepper will comprise the backcourt, sophomores Quenton DeCosey and Daniel Dingle will start at forward and junior Anthony Lee will be at center.

Freshman Josh Brown should see significant minutes at guard, while sophomore Devontae Watson and freshman Mark Williams will provide frontcourt depth.

"There's so many different variables that go into a rotation. … Players being tired, injured," said Dunphy. "We're prepared to play 10, but every game is different. We'll have to see."

The Owls graduated five seniors from last season's squad which won an NCAA Tournament game and had top seed Indiana on the ropes. All five were significant contributors.

The only returners with significant experience are Cummings and Lee, who were both starters a year ago. However, Cummings often found himself on the bench down the stretch in favor of senior T.J. Dileo and the foul-prone Lee sat for long periods as sharp-shooter Jake O'Brien saw extended time.

While it would seem Cummings and Lee would need to be on the floor for most of the game, Dunphy said he is comfortable with the players who could replace them.

"We're going to play Josh, we like him a lot," said Dunphy. "It would be nice if he were a fifth-year senior but he's not. If Anthony Lee has to come off the floor, we're comfortable going to Devonate. Is he a finished product? Probably not, but we'd like to see what he can do."

Freshmen haven't often seen significant playing time under Dunphy – recently graduated Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was probably the last four years ago – but Brown looks like a player that should be on the court 20 minutes per game.

"I just want to come in and help the team win any way possible," said Brown. "Defend, score, rebound, do the little things that help us win. I've been playing like that since I was in coach (Bob) Hurley's system in high school. It's just instilled in me.

"You try to make the best play possible. If they play me up tight, I'll give it up. If they lay off, I'll rely on my shot."

Williams might also have a chance to play out of necessity as well. It should make for an interesting opener Saturday night against Penn.

Two years ago, the Owls opened at Penn with Khalif Wyatt serving a one-game suspension and were fortunate to escape with an overtime win.

It was in that game that DiLeo established himself as a key rotation piece and defensive stopper, a role he played for the next two years.

Dunphy admitted the uncertainty of the first game worries him, especially after the Owls struggled in their most recent scrimmage against Drexel.

"The last four years since Jerome Allen has been their coach, we have not played better than them once," said Dunphy, whose squad has nonetheless won each of those meetings. "When we played them to start the year two years ago, even without Khalif we were a much more experienced team. So I'm very concerned how we'll play and we'll just have to find a way to win."

Seeing who will step up for the Owls will be a question in the early going, starting Saturday night.

"The guys are ready, it's a great opponent," said Dingle, who should be making his first career start. "What better way to open the season than with a Big Five game at the Palestra?"

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