The Temple Owls’ (21-12, 14-4) 2015-16 season ended in devastating heartbreak for the American Conference champions nearly eight months ago in the NCAA Tournament. Playing the underdogs as the tenth seed against the seventh-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes (22-11, 12-6), a controversial push-off and tip-in underneath the basket in overtime handed the Owls a 72-70 loss at the Barclays Center in New York City.
The Owls missed out on a rematch against the eventual national champions, Villanova Wildcats, who they were set to play in the second round of the tournament had they beaten the Hawkeyes.
Since then, news has not been good to the Owls. Guard Trey Lowe, who had a promising freshman season with the Owls, is set to miss the entire 2016-17 campaign while recovering from injuries he sustained in a one-car accident he had back on March 1.
Senior Josh Brown, the team’s starting point guard, suffered an Achilles injury in May that could sideline him for the entire season as well. Brown averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 assists per game last season for the Owls. His 161 assists to 46 turnovers last season, ranked eighth in the country.
“The window is definitely not shut,” Brown said of his chances to play this season. “Like I said before, I’m working hard every day and trying to see what happens.”
While the Owls wait on Brown’s status, they’ll also have to figure out how to replace both the scoring and rebounding prowess of Quenton Decosey (15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds), Jaylen Bond (10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds) and Devin Coleman (9.3 points) who all graduated in May.
“The team is interesting at this point,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “I’m not really sure where we are or who we are.”
The Owls are returning two starters in junior forward Obi Enechionyia (11.0 points, 3.8 rebounds) and redshirt senior guard Daniel Dingle (4.4 points, 2.8 rebounds).
Sophomore guard Levan Alston, freshman forward Quinton Rose and senior forward Mark Williams are expected to fill out the rest of the starting lineup when the season begins on Friday against La Salle.
“It’s a great challenge,” Dunphy said of La Salle. “Our guys are looking forward to it. We’ve had a couple scrimmages. By the time we play [La Salle] we’ll know pretty much who we are, but we’ll have to execute on Friday night.”
Friday’s game will air at 7 p.m. on ESPNews.
G – Alani Moore, G – Ayan Nunez deCarvalho, F – Quinton Rose, C – Damion Moore, G – Isaiah Lewis
G – Trey Lowe (redshirt), F – Quenton Decosey (graduated), F – Jaylen Bond (graduated), G – Devin Coleman (graduated), C – Devontae Watson (graduated)