Missing Pieces

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy certainly missed 2012-2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt this season. But he admitted last week after watching the Owls struggle defensively throughout a 9-22 season that the players he really missed were starting power forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and backup guard T.J. DiLeo.

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy certainly missed 2012-2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt this season.

But he admitted last week after watching the Owls struggle defensively throughout a 9-22 season that the players he really missed were starting power forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and backup guard T.J. Dileo.

"Somebody said to me this year you are really missing Khalif, and I love Khalif and Khalif Wyatt was as much fun to watch play basketball as anybody I've coached," recalled Dunphy. "But the reality was the two guys we missed the most were Rahlir and T. J. because all they cared about was the team, and whether they scored five points or 15 points they were going to guard. Those two guys … Their mentality was so good for us. We missed that and we have to have that back."

Dunphy believes the Owls might have that back next season when Daniel Dingle returns from a knee injury and Jalen Bond is eligible after sitting out this season as a transfer from Texas. Dunphy also feels the lone incoming freshman Obi Enechionyia will help the team's overall defense.

"Jalen can (defend) any position on the court," said Dunphy. "He's so versatile defensively, we can switch a lot when he's out there. We have to get Dan to that point where he can guard a two man or a five man and anybody in between.

"Obi's a 4-5, but you wouldn't be afraid to play him at the 3. He's got the length and quickness to guard 2-5 as well and if he got stuck on a point guard I wouldn't have much of a problem telling him to keep the point guard in front of him."

The Owls had three players average 16.8 points or higher and four averaging 13.6 or better. At times this season they were the only team in Division I with four players averaging 14 points or more yet were fighting to stay out of the American Athletic Conference basement.

"There's nothing you can do about what went on, but you can look into the future," said Dunphy.

The future involves a team that stresses defense and versatility on the defensive end. Bond admitted he watched this season feeling his skill set could have come in handy.

"We can be very versatile, me and Dan can play inside and outside and be effective at it," said Bond. "It starts on defense, you play great defense and it helps your transition on offense. It was definitely hard knowing I could have helped my team, but next year I'm going to bring that defensive intensity."

Point guard Will Cummings noted no matter who is on the floor, the defensive effort has to be better.

"Of course we miss those guys and what they brought to the program," said Cummings of Hollis-Jefferson and DiLeo. "We just have to hold guys accountable and make sure we do it on both ends of the floor. That's what we're looking forward to doing next year."

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