Given their overall lack of depth, success on the recruiting trail in the 2014 class is of great importance to the Temple basketball program. Fran Dunphy’s Owls won’t be able to add those players to this season’s roster, which at present time has just ten scholarship athletes, but a good run recruiting-wise will help Temple establish itself as a perennial contender in the American Athletic Conference.
That lack of depth is what makes Sunday’s news so important for the Owls, as 2014 power forward Obi Enechionyia has verbally committed to attend Temple. Enechionyia announced the news via his Twitter account Sunday afternoon.
Standing at 6-9, Enechionyia is a consensus Top 100 prospect with the talent needed to have an immediate impact upon his arrival on the Temple campus next season. As a junior at St. James School Enechionyia averaged 19.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and four blocked shots per game while playing alongside his older brother, Nnamdi. Nnamdi will play basketball at Samford this season.
Obi played his grassroots basketball with Team Takeover, playing alongside fellow Division I commitments Phil Booth (Villanova), Martin Geben (Notre Dame) and Dion Wiley (Maryland).
While landing Enechionyia is certainly cause for celebration amongst the Temple coaching staff, the fact is they’ve got plenty of scholarships to hand out. The Owls lose just one senior from this season’s squad (wing Dalton Pepper), but given the fact that they’re currently under the 13 scholarships allowed there are multiple spots to be filled.
Enechionyia joins a front court that will include two seniors (Anthony Lee and Jimmy McDonnell), two juniors (Daniel Dingle and Devontae Watson) and one sophomore (Mark Williams) if all return for the 2014-15 campaign.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.