Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Temple Basketball, One Month In...

Here we are, a month into the season.  Some players on the roster are playing like we thought they would be and others have left a lot to be desired.  Some have earned more playing time, others are looking for someone else to get their minutes.  The record is pretty much exactly what we thought it would be at this juncture.  Here are my thoughts on the first month and what I think will happen in the next month of the season.

First let's take a look at the veterans...

KHALIF WYATT - Wyatt has been a disappointment so far this season.  Not a huge dissapointment but he definitely hasn't lived up to the earlier season hype.  His shooting has been abysmal.  For whatever reason, he can't just take a normal open shot.  He has to create a leaner, or pump fake and lean into a guy, or kick his leg when he is wide open.  Cmon man, just knock down the shot, you can show your man up or whatever, after it goes in.  I know the leaners and drawing the foul is a major part of his game, but if he doesn't start knocking down shots, who is going to fall for his pump fake?  Some were saying he is playing lazy, I don't agree with that, it's just his style of game.  When he plays methodical and plays well, no one calls him lazy, so I'm not going to go there just yet.  And the first few games he had good assists totals which is nice to see.  The scary thing I noticed in the Duke game is that the Owls seemed to play better when Wyatt was on the bench, I hope that doesn't become the norm.  Overall we'll give him a C on the year.

SCOOTIE RANDALL - Expectations were all over the board on Scootie coming into this year.  If you ask me, he has exceeded expectations.  He is a vocal leader on the court, he can get his shot off at any time, and he can rebound as well as anyone on the team.  He doesn't look like he is out of basketball shape either,  which was the one thing I was worried about.  He is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds a game and if you ask me, he'll end up averaging more points than that by the end of the season.  We'll give him an A on the first month.

RAHLIR HOLLIS-JEFFERSON - Rahlir is Rahlir, if you watch the games, you know what I mean.  He rebounds with the best of them, he plays harder defense than anyone on the floor, he can score garbage points when the opportunity is there.  But when he takes an open jumper or when someone passes him the ball on the run, you can't help but yell out, NOOOOO!!!!  I have been impressed by his blocking skills though, he's improved there.  Overall, I'm happy with his start, 10/8 is what we can hope for.  Grade B

TJ DILEO - Same as Rahlir, TJ is what he is and he knows his role.  He's been doing a good job of knocking down the open shot and guarding the best guard when he is on the floor.  He's not going to create his own shot or anything but I feel comfortable when he is open.  20 minutes a game, five points a game, we'll take that all day out of your six man.  Grade B

The two starting sophomores.....

ANTHONY LEE - Very, very, pleasantly surprised by Anthony Lee in this first month.  Dude learned how to score.  I figured he would be able to rebound and block shots, but I didn't think he would be that good of a finisher.  10 points a game to go along with 7 boards is a plus for this team, especially with the capable shooters on the roster.  If he keeps this up, he could be A10 Most Improved Player.  He just needs to stay out of foul trouble, his aggressiveness could hurt him in some road A10 games where getting into foul trouble is easier.  Grade for him will be an A.

WILL CUMMINGS - Will has been the second biggest disappointment so far, behind Wyatt.  You can see his ability, his quicks, his basketball IQ, but he just hasn't put it together.  The fact that he is getting less minutes than Dileo shows you what Dunphy thinks about him right now also.  I think he'll turn it around, with every game he gets more experience.  Look for him to get some serious minutes in the next few games against these cupcakes, get him some more game experience.  Grade so far is a D.

First year players....

JAKE O'BRIEN - I like this dudes game and I like his confidence.  His 11 threes are second on the team, and he's shooting them at 43%.  He is also averaging almost three rebounds a game in less than 18 minutes.  He gives Dunphy the chance to provide matchup problems for the opponents that most teams can't offer.  If Dunphy wants to go big he can move Rahlir to the 3 and have O'Brien and Lee down low.  I see Jake getting over 20 minutes a game during conference season.  I give him a B so far on the season.

DALTON PEPPER - Lukewarm on Dalton.  During the Duke game he was shooting with confidence and because of that he was hustling, playing defense, and aggressively rebounding.  I was worried about his lack of effort but it looks like he was just playing tentative earlier in the season, which I guess I can understand.  He's only getting 12 minutes a game, I don't see that going up very much.  Probably won't get any crunch time minutes.  I'll give him a C so far.

QUENTIN DECOSEY - The reason Pepper will lose minutes?  Because QDC will be taking them.  This dude just oozes confidence.  And man can he shoot.  I worry that his ego could get the best of him.  But I don't think it will, being cocky and confident in a reserve role is a good thing if you ask me.  He's 6'5" too so he can play the 1, 2, or 3.  Looking for big things from him.  Grade A so far.

DEVONTAE WATSON - Loved his dunk in a blowout with the clock running out in the first game against Kent State.  Ha.  Grade A.

DANIEL DINGLE - Grade F, only because I was told all offseason that he would be getting minutes.  But obviously, he's still going to be a plus for this program.

A few too many close games early in the season against bad schools if you ask me, or anyone else that follows Temple basketball.  But in the end, they were all wins, and really that's all that matters this early.  I just continue to be amazed at how Dunphy's teams can blow any kind of lead.  They were up huge against Kent and let them come back and tie it up.  Against Rice, Delaware, and Wagner at home they were up the whole game and could never pull away until the end.  If just one of those teams gets hot and pulls out the win, this team would be a huge disappointment.  The win against Villanova was good, Nova was hot early and Temple just stayed with them and showed their talent advantage in the second half to run away with that one. 

The Duke game deserves its own paragraph.  I actually felt good about this team when that game ended.  Duke hit 13 three's and Temple didn't get a free throw until 8 minutes left in the game.  The fact that they were down 11 with 6 minutes to go is a good sign when a top tier team is hitting shots like that.  Heck, if a few more fall for Temple, that could have been a single digit game going into the final five minutes, can't really ask for much more than that in a "road" game.  As I said earlier, the worst part about that game is that it seemed like the team was better with Wyatt off the floor, I don't like that.  So after the first seven games, I'll give the team a B-.  Record is where it should be, but the domination over the cupcakes isn't.

In the next four weeks the team will face five very, very winnable games at home.  These should be no doubters but I'm sure they won't be.  Temple needs to bury a couple of these teams to remind themselves that they have that ability.  In the middle of these games is the Syracuse game.  At the end is the last nonconference game at Kansas.  Personally, I think this team will win the Syracuse game.  They have the talent, they have the confidence, and every year they beat one of these teams.  Who will get hot and take over?  We had Dionte against Tennessee, Juan against Villanova, Ramone against Georgetown, Wyatt against Duke.  Will it be Scootie?  Or possibly O'Brien hitting a few treys?  Either way, I'm guessing the Kansas game is a blowout, and not the good kind. 

So if this goes as I'm predicting, the Owls will be 12-2 heading into A10 play with a win over a top 10 team.  I think we would all be ok with that.  Let me know what you all think.  Until next time, thanks for reading.


Khalif Wyatt


  1. Great recap. With three "cupcakes" coming up, and with Temple thin in the middle, isn't it necessary to get Watson a few valuable minutes of time so that he can be ready for "crunch time" in February and March?

  2. I don't think so, we need to get more time with the others to mesh. Watson will only get playing time this year if someone gets hurt, so hopefully he doesn't get in.