Mark Tyndale was deemed academically ineligible last season and missed the first six games.
Fans might know Tyndale, a senior guard, rebounded to become the second-leading scorer in the Atlantic Ten Conference, averaging a career-high 19.4 points per game. But another important point average didn’t come at the Liacouras Center.
During the period he was ineligible, Tyndale was named to the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, reserved for athletes holding a 3.5 grade point average or higher.
Few knew this fact, and Tyndale is well aware of it.
“I got over a 3.5, but nobody was talking about that,” Tyndale said.
Tyndale, a Philadelphia-bred guard, enters this season as a captain. He plans to give people plenty to talk about this season, his last at the collegiate level.
“This season is very important to me as a teammate and individually,” Tyndale said. “If I get to the [NCAA] Tournament this year, I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish playing college ball.”
Individual accolades should have been easy to capture for the second-leading scorer in the conference. First team all-conference might have been fitting and second team all-conference a definite possibility.
Yet, Tyndale received honorable mention honors. Coach Fran Dunphy said the Owls needed to win more for Tyndale to achieve higher. To do that, the Owls needed to play better defense, an aspect Dunphy has stressed to Tyndale during the offseason.
Individual accolades should have been easy to come by.
But nothing has been easy for Tyndale.
He’s overcome the transition from high school power forward to college guard.
He’s overcome his struggles in the classroom.
Overcoming those obstacles hasn’t been as simple as just stepping over them. He’s worked hard at it.
Chris Clark, also a team captain, has not let Tyndale’s effort go unnoticed.
“He one of the hardest working guys I know,” Clark said. “He goes hard every time. No doubts and no questions about it. It’s definitely been a great opportunity for me to be his teammate the last four years.”
Clark said the road has not been easy for his co-captain, but he never had a reservation Tyndale would not recoup from the situation.
“It was a tough situation,” Clark said. “He worked hard on and off the court and I knew it would not be a problem at all for him to bounce back.”
Dionte Christmas, who led the A-10 in scoring, averaging 20 PPG, said Tyndale is a key cog to the Owls.
“Without Mark Tyndale I don’t think we could function as a team,” Christmas said. “He leads by example everyday. Mark hates losing. Even in sprints, he wants to finish first. I definitely acknowledge everything he says.”
Being a high school forward from Simon Gratz, coming to play for legendary coach John Chaney and handling guard responsibilities, Tyndale had a lot in common with former Temple star and current Knicks guard Mardy Collins.
He peppered Collins with questions every day and picked his brain. Now, Tyndale is in the role of leader.
“Martavis [Kee] asks me a thousand questions a day, but I’m willing to answer all of them,” Tyndale said. “And hopefully he asks me some more.”
Tyndale said he would be sure to attempt to answer all questions to the best of his ability, even if it is not a test.
There will be a big test in a Volunteer uniform, sweet-shooting guard Chris Lofton, who shot over 41 percent from three-point territory.
Tyndale is not intimidated by the challenge.
“I’m up to the challenge to play anybody in the country,” Tyndale said.
That’s good because coach Fran Dunphy, who made like an emcee when asked about Tyndale’s defensive responsibilities against Tennessee, said Tyndale will be covering Lofton.
“During the course of the game, he will have Lofton often,” Dunphy said.
Dunphy said for Tyndale to get his due, he’ll have to continue his hard work.
“Nobody is going to give him anything, he’s going to have to earn it.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.