#18 Temple: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10 Conference
2009-10: 29-6, 14-2
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Fran Dunphy (84-49 at Temple, 394-212 overall)
The 2009-2010 campaign was supposed to be a little bit of rebuilding year for Temple. Instead, they won 29 games and finished on top of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings alongside Xavier. The season ended in disappointment with a first round loss to Cornell, but this is really the season the Owls have been building towards.
Key Losses: G Ryan Brooks, G Luis Guzman
It is not easy to pick up Coach Fran Dunphy’s system, so freshmen tend not to play too many minutes. However, this group has two players who may be tough to keep off of the floor. Aaron Brown is a strong 6-5 guard who can bull his way to the basket and keep the defense honest with his outside shooting ability. Anthony Lee is one of the better center prospects in the entire 2010 class and has the ability to score around the basket and hit the glass hard. If he is ready, the Owls will have a ton of depth in the frontcourt. Power forward Jimmy McDonnell could add to that depth, but he will likely need a little more time than the two more heralded recruits.
The backcourt has to replace starters Ryan Brooks and Luis Guzman. Ramone Moore was the team’s sixth man last year and is more than ready to step into a starting role. In just 18.0 minutes per game, Moore averaged 7.6 points per game. His outside shooting needs to improve, but the 6-4 junior has proven that he can produce when given the starting nod. T.J. DiLeo got his feet wet during his freshman campaign, averaging 6.4 minutes per game. Khalif Wyatt was another player who rarely saw the floor during their first year wearing the cherry and white, but has the talent to make a much bigger impact this time around.
The frontcourt has all sorts of weapons to join the talented group on the perimeter. Lavoy Allen is the big name after averaging 11.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks last season. The 6-9 senior just keeps getting better every year and if that continues he will be in of the most productive big men in the nation this season. Micheal Eric started by his side last season and will again. Eric rarely put up big numbers as a sophomore, but he is a big body in the paint who will do the dirty work and free up space for Allen. With Craig Williams giving the Owls another post player, this is a team that has plenty of depth in the paint. Even Rahlir Jefferson or Scootie Randall could play at the four spot if they had to do so. However, Jefferson is the likely candidate to take over at the small forward position. At 6-6, he has the size to help out on the glass and do a little scoring from the wing despite his lack of shooting ability. Randall may be the more dangerous scorer, but he has to find a way into the regular rotation after spending most of last season on the bench.
Who to Watch:
There is not much that Juan Fernandez cannot do. He is a superb leader on the floor and dished out 3.6 assists per game while keeping the turnovers down. What makes Fernandez different than a typical point guard who simply manages the game and finds his teammates is his ability to shoot. Fernandez connected on an amazing 45.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and made over two long balls per contest. Yet, Fernandez certainly does not lack the play making ability to get into the paint and finish or find his teammates.
With Fernandez leading the way, there is little doubt that the Owls will be in the race for an A-10 title. Add in a quality interior scorer in Allen and a few former roleplayers who are ready to step up their game and this is a team that will not just be looking for an NCAA Tournament appearance. They should do some damage once they get there. If Temple can find another shooter to help replace Brooks, Coach Dunphy could lead this group to the Sweet Sixteen or beyond.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Juan Fernandez, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Ramone Moore, Junior, Guard, 7.6 ppg
Rahlir Jefferson, Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 ppg
Lavoy Allen, Senior, Forward, 11.5 ppg
Micheal Eric, Junior, Center, 5.9 ppg
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