The Temple Owls aren’t in a position where they can afford to lose too many bodies heading into the 2013-14 season. With Khalif Wyatt and three other key contributors from last season’s NCAA tournament team out of eligibility, head coach Fran Dunphy finds himself with a team that doesn’t have much depth. And the program’s taken another hit in the personnel department.
According to Josh Verlin of City of Basketball Love, 6-5 freshman guard/forward Kyle Green has decided to leave the program. Green reportedly did not accompany the team on its recent trip to Europe for personal reasons.
How much would Green have played had he decided to remain with the program? He didn’t seem to be in a position where he’d earn major minutes, but the fact of the matter is that Temple is now down to ten players with nine being on scholarship according to Nick Menta of CSN Philly.
Already in a position where they could ill afford injuries to key players such as forward Anthony Lee and guard Will Cummings, the Owls won’t have a large margin of error as they take on a schedule that includes the traditional Big 5 (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova) games as well as their American Athletic Conference schedule.
Temple’s trip to Europe came at the right time in regards to their adjustment to life without Wyatt and Co., as guys who were either role or seldom-used players last season will have to take on added responsibilities in 2013-14.
Temple won its finale against Perugia on Tuesday, and they also won three of four quarters in a scrimmage against Mantova earlier in the trip.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.