— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) October 25, 2018
Last March, it was Landry Shamet, now of the Sixers, who shot down the Owls’ tournament hopes in an 89-81 loss to Wichita State in the AAC Conference Quarterfinals. In that game, Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 24 points in 34 minutes and went 6/8 from beyond the arc. The Temple Owls were never expected to light the world on fire in 2017, as they were predicted to finish 7th in the conference in preseason projections. The Owls finished exactly as expected, finishing 7th in the AAC with a 17-16 overall record and 8-10 in the conference. It wasn’t good enough to earn a bid in the Big Dance, and the Owls lost to Penn State 63-57 in the first round of the NIT.
While 2017 was a disappointing season, the offseason came with bigger news off the court than on it. In late March, Fran Dunphy announced that he will step down as head coach after the 2018-19 season. Coach Dunphy is simply a legend – 872 career wins and one win shy of 400 wins with the Temple Owls. He has won 61.9% of his games as head coach for Temple. When Fran took over, he got Temple to the tournament in 7 of his first 8 seasons. However, success has not been a regular occurrence since Temple joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013. Since then, Temple has reached the tournament only one time in the past five seasons. In his 12 seasons, Fran has brought the Temple Owls three conference championships and gotten to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament two times. It will be a very emotional season for all Temple fans.
According to Andy Katz in his AAC season preview, the Temple Owls are on the bubble for making the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Jake Fischer of SI.com projects the Temple Owls to finish 4th in the AAC. The American Athletic Conference predicted Temple to finish 6th in the conference. According to CBS Sports, Temple was picked to finish 5th in the conference. The AAC sent 3 teams to the NCAA Tournament last season, and it looks even stronger in 2018-19. Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston continue to look strong this year, however, the best player in the conference plays for Temple and his name is Quinton Rose.
Standout Player To Watch
Quinton Rose, a 6-7 junior guard from Rochester, New York, has immense potential as a scorer. Quinton averaged 14.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. Those numbers were good enough for Honorable Mention All-Conference last year. This year, Quinton was named to the The American’s Preseason All-Conference First Team. Inconsistency was the theme for Quinton Rose last year. Despite having some huge games on offense, Rose also scored less than 10 points 8 times. In May, Rose tested the NBA waters by participating in the NBA Combine in May after stating he wished to be a mid-first round pick. Quinton worked out with several teams including the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and New York Knicks. After the draft combine, Rose withdrew his name and decided to return to Temple. Temple Facts: the last Temple Owl to be drafted was ex-Sixer Lavoy Allen 2011. Lavoy was drafted by the 76ers with the 50th pick and spent six years in the NBA.
First and foremost, Quinton is a very smooth scorer. Rose scored 20 or more points nine times last season, and despite finishing 3rd in field goals (190) and field goal attempts (438), he was 5th in the conference in field goal percentage (43.4%). Rose has the ability to score on all three levels and should see his usage rate skyrocket this season. Quinton is a combo guard with a solid first step and quickness to beat his man off the dribble. While the numbers don’t support it, Temple had zero spacing last year, and I think Quinton Rose should be a much more versatile player on offense this year.
Areas to Improve
While Rose is a very good scorer, he’s not an efficient shooter. Quinton projects as a combo guard in the NBA and must improve his shooting from 3 and defense. Rose improved his three point shooting from 29.6% on 71 three point attempts in 2016 to 34.5% from 3 on 142 three point attempts. However, Quinton needs to shoot better from deep, and those numbers simply aren’t good enough. Rose has also struggled from the free throw line, converting only 67.2% in 201 free attempts in his career at Temple. Quinton’s defense actually got worse last season, going from 100.8 defensive rating in 2016 to 104.4 in 2017. If Quinton can improve in these main areas, he should be looked at being at least a second round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Projected Starting Lineup
Biggest Games of the Season
Temple will have 29 games televised on ESPN this season.
November 6th– Lasalle, 7:30pm, ESPN3
December 1st– Saint Josephs, 5:30pm
December 5th– @ Villanova, 8:30pm, FS1
December 22nd– @ Drexel, 1pm
January 2nd– Houston, 7pm, ESPN News
January 19th– Pennsylvania, 5pm
January 27th– Cincinnati, 12pm
January 31st– @ Houston, 7pm
March 9th– UCF, 4pm
Season Prediction – New Season, Brand New Rotation
The Owls are hoping that a 1-2 punch on offense from Shizz Alston Jr and Quinton Rose is enough to get them through a very good American Athletic Conference. However, it will be the Owls’ depth and bench that will be the deciding factor if Temple is able to make a push for the Tournament this year. Fran Dunphy will need improvements from across the roster, and especially from AAC All-Rookie Nate Pierre-Louis, who averaged 7.5 points in 16.9 minutes per game as a freshman. Replacing Obi Enechionyia in the front court is also something to watch on the Owls this year. Quinton Rose and Temple are poised for a big season. I predict the Owls to finish with 20+ wins this year and be in the running for tops in the American Athletic Conference. The biggest question remains – can Fran Dunphy provide enough help to Shizz Alton Jr and Quinton Rose to make a tournament run during his last season as head coach?
LET’S GO OWLS! #TempleMade