Temple opened practice to the media on Thursday afternoon for its annual media day. Media members got an opportunity to watch a scrimmage, which was much more competitive than the one that was played during Cherry and White Night on Oct. 19.
The intensity was visible as players are fighting for positions as well as steady minutes.
With the season opener quickly approaching on Nov. 13 at Kent State, Temple is preparing for its final season in the Atlantic 10. The Owls are in a good position to find success under head coach Fran Dunphy.
“Coach Dunphy [is] one of the best coaches in the country,” senior guard Khalif Wyatt said. “I think every game we go out there we’re prepared. We’re probably the best, most prepared team, like as far as scouting reports go and just knowing what we got to do in order to win.”
Dunphy is entering his seventh season as the headman for the cherry and white, looking to guide the Owls to the tournament for the sixth consecutive year, but four of the last five years have resulted in a loss amidst the round of sixty-four teams.
The sour taste with last season’s opening-round defeat to South Florida still lingers, but Temple is hungry and last year’s early exit is behind them.
“Yeah, I mean it seems like we say the same thing every year,” Wyatt said. “It’s just we lost our last game and we wanna get that taste out of our mouth, but I mean it’s really behind us. We got a new group, a lot of new guys who didn’t play last year, a lot of guys who did play last year who want to leave on a better note than the guys that last year left. We just wanna go out there and play basketball.”
Dunphy has talked publicly about how this is one of the deepest teams he has had the opportunity to coach since arriving at Temple prior to the 2006 season and his players can attest to that.
“We got a lot of players,” Wyatt said. “[Coach] Dunphy isn’t known for going that deep but we got about 10 guys who I see playing. I just know we got a lot of good players and a lot of good pieces. It’s going to be up to coach to make it work.”
New faces have arrived, whether it is through transferring or committing to play basketball on North Broad Street out of high school, but the potential is apparent, and you get a sense of that when talking to the players.
Senior guard T.J. DiLeo summed it up perfectly.
“I think we gel together,” he said. “When we’re playing good we can play with anybody in the country; we’ve seen it various times over the past couple years. We’ve beaten some great teams every year and I think we really just need to be playing our best basketball.
“We need to have stuff working, guys need to be getting hot at the right time and that’s a big part of it too. We need to feed of one another, we need to build energy of one another. Coach brings some energy but I think as a player the best way is when it comes from one another. When one person’s down, we need we need to pick them up and we got to make sure we’re all moving as a team.”