Since he could pick up a basketball, redshirt-senior guard and forward Daniel Dingle has had his own personal tutor.
When Daniel was two years old, his brother Dana Dingle was a starter on the University of Massachusetts’s Final Four team in 1996.
After Daniel began to pick up the sport seriously around 8 years old, Dana, who is 20 years older, started grooming his younger brother to follow in his footsteps.
“Pretty much his whole career I’ve been there,” Dana told The Temple News last week. “I’m his biggest fan, but also his biggest critic.”
As a junior last season, Daniel averaged 4.4 points, 1.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game, but he flashed some signs that something bigger was coming. He scored in double digits in three of the Owls’ biggest wins last season against Connecticut, Cincinnati and Southern Methodist, including 14 points in Temple’s upset of the then-undefeated Mustangs.
This offseason, he was prepping for a larger role. Temple’s leading scorer Quenton DeCosey graduated. Senior guard Josh Brown was out indefinitely with an injured Achilles tendon, and besides junior forward Obi Enechionyia, Daniel was the only player returning player who had started 10 or more games in 2015-16.
Daniel is currently averaging 13.5 points, three assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. They’re all career-highs. He scored a career-best 22 points against Manhattan College on Nov. 20, and he made the all-tournament team during Temple’s two wins in the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off win last week.
“I earned it,” Daniel said. “I worked for this position. I’m the leader. Just showing the young guys what it takes to get to this position. I was poised and I was patient. This is my fifth year. It didn’t happen right away.”
He put in a lot of work with Dana. When Daniel was in fourth grade, Dana started an Amateur Athletic Union team and coached Daniel on it. He continued to coach his little brother through high school.
When he got to college, Daniel came back and worked out with Dana, who gave him drills to test him mentally and physically.
During the season, Dana gives Daniel instant feedback on his performances. Whether it’s on TV or a live stream on his computer, Dana tries to watch every one of his younger brother’s games.
Each lesson was to prepare him for a season like the one he’s having this year.
“Every year he’s shown steady improvement, and this is the year I expected the breakout year,” Dana said. “He kind of sacrificed a lot for the better of the team because he didn’t feel like they needed him to do a lot of stuff. Now, he has the opportunity to showcase everything he can do on a bigger scale.”
Dana’s playing style was a little bit different from Daniel’s, despite both players standing at 6-foot-7.
He weighed about 30 pounds more than Daniel and he used his size down low. He averaged 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game at UMass, including 10.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during the Minutemen’s Final Four run.
Dana helped Daniel develop a similar well-rounded skillset. Daniel said he can play all five positions on the court from point guard to center.
“It’s a privilege,” Daniel said. “Everybody can’t do what I do. That’s because of my brother. My brother Dana worked me out and did a good job of helping me develop all those skills.”
If Daniel’s numbers start to dip or his shots stop falling, he’ll give Dana a call to help figure out what’s wrong, whether that might be him finishing short on his shot, not boxing out or something else.
“When I’m watching the game, I’m just watching him,” Dana said.
Owen McCue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.