Temple University men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie finally has a chance to slow down.
McKie gets to spend more time at home with his wife and children now that Temple’s season has been canceled, he said.
Before the cancelation of the season, Temple was scheduled to play Southern Methodist in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament on March 12. That morning, AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco announced the cancelation of the tournament due to the COVID-19 outbreak, ending Temple’s season.
Temple ended its season on a five-game losing streak with its last game occurring on March 7 against Cincinnati. The team was looking forward to reversing that streak in the conference tournament, senior guard Quinton Rose said.
“We only had one shot of making the NCAA Tournament and that was to win four games in four days,” Rose said. “We were very aware of that. Our last game, we played pretty well til the last couple of minutes. We weren’t too cold going in. We knew we had to do everything individually and we had a plan, but we didn’t get a chance to show it.”
The Owls started the season with a record of 9-3 after winning its first conference game of the season against Central Florida on December 31, 2019. From there, the Owls struggled, only winning five of its last 19 games and ending the season with a record of 14-17.
McKie has been able to reflect on his first season as coach, but he has been doing so after every game, he said.
“We had our good share of highs and we had our good share of lows,” McKie said. I think the one thing that I’ve really learned is just patience. When you give out information, when you give out details, you want kids to be receptive and be able to pick it up right away and it just don’t happen like that.”
Rose was one of five seniors whose careers ended with the tournament’s cancelation, together with guards Alani Moore II and Anto Keshgegian, forward Tim Waddington and center Damion Moore.
Rose was named Second Team All-Conference for the AAC after posting 16.4 points, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. Rose led the team in all three categories. Rose is also the AAC’s all-time leader with 1,860 points, 231 steals and 675 field goals made.
“It was just painful knowing that my career was ending due to something I couldn’t control,” Rose said.
Rose plans on declaring for the NBA Draft, he said, but he has not found an agent yet. The process of finding an agent has been different due to COVID-19, he added.
To get shots up and stay in shape, Rose has also been practicing at a gym with his dad in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
“I think he has a good chance of getting on one of those rosters,” McKie said. “He’s gonna have to get his body strong. He’s gonna have to continue to get his mind strong. He’s certainly passed the eye test of being an NBA player. He’s long, he’s athletic, he can run.”
Rose is the only captain who will not return to the team next season. Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis and junior forward J.P. Moorman II will return for their senior seasons after posting 10.9 points and 5.8 points per game, respectively. The Owls will also bring back sophomore forward Jake Forrester, junior forward De’Vondre Perry and redshirt-junior guard Monty Scott. Pierre-Louis, Moorman, Forrester, Perry and Scott averaged 37.6 points per game combined.
The Owls will also welcome back sophomore guard Tai Strickland and freshman guard Damian Dunn. Strickland redshirted this season after transferring in from the University of Wisconsin. Dunn only played in one game after dealing with a foot injury throughout the season.
“It’s gonna be a big summer for those guys,” McKie said. “[Perry] and [Moorman] and [Pierre-Louis], we’re gonna need their senior leadership. Collectively, it’s gonna be a big summer for everybody, but I’m looking forward to seeing everybody take that next step in growing and developing as players.”