The Temple News projects players to watch for men’s basketball

The Temple News’ sports editors predict which players will lead the team in points, rebounds and 3-pointers.

Although the season starts Nov. 28, Temple University men’s basketball’s official schedule hasn’t been announced. The total number of games they will play is still uncertain and it is unclear if there will be fans attending games. 

In an effort to prepare fans for the season, The Temple News’ sports editors predicted some of the team’s statistical leaders, starting lineup and final American Athletic Conference record. 

What will the starting lineup look like at the beginning of the 2020-21 season?

Dante Collinelli: Dunn, Ademokoya, Perry, Moorman II, Forrester

Temple lost a number of players from last year’s team, but retained forwards senior De’Vondre Perry, senior J.P. Moorman II and junior Jake Forrester. It’s likely they’ll be starting forwards because head coach Aaron McKie will value their experience on a relatively young team. 

The two guard positions are more difficult to predict. Redshirt-sophomore Tai Strickland and freshman Jahlil White are sidelined with injuries right now. Redshirt-freshman Damian Dunn played just 18 minutes last season, but understands the offensive system from sitting on the bench during games last year. Temple struggled to shoot from the 3-point range last season, making freshman guard Quincy Ademokoya, who shot 38 percent from three in high school, a logical choice for the last spot. 

Adam Aaronson: Dunn, Moorman II, Perry, Forrester, Parks

With Strickland and White injured, I’ll project Dunn to open, but not necessarily finish the season as a starter. Moorman II, Perry and Forrester seem like shoo-ins thanks to their experience, which should be valuable for a team with many new players. With the Owls roster lacking size, I’ll round it out with redshirt-sophomore forward Arashma Parks, one of the team’s best rebounders on a per-possession basis last season.

Isabella DiAmore: Moorman II, Forrester, Perry, Williams, Dunn 

After losing a number of players from graduation and the transfer portal, the Owls’ lineup will fluctuate throughout the season, but Temple still has some key players returning. Returning forwards Moorman II and Perry should see more playing time on the court. Forrester, who was a transfer from Indiana University and joined the Owls in the 2019-20 season, could also make an impact for Temple’s group because of his experience and inside scoring prowess. 

It’s hard to say who the starting guards may be. Dunn injured his foot again last season after playing in his first collegiate level game, and with some time off for recovery, I predict he’ll be a guard with some action. Another guard who could be a potential starter is freshman Jeremiah Williams from Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, Illinois. He averaged 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game during his senior year of high school. 

Who will lead the Owls in rebounds per game? 

DC: J.P. Moorman II

The Owls’ leading rebounder from last season, Nate Pierre-Louis, left Temple and entered the NBA draft after last season, making this a tough category to predict. Moorman II averaged 5.1 rebounds per game last season, which was second on the team. If he’s a starter this coming season, he should have ample opportunity to finish first on the team in rebounding this season. 

AA: J.P. Moorman II

With Pierre-Louis gone, the logical choice here seems to be Moorman II, the second-leading rebounder on last year’s team. Parks could be another candidate if he gets enough playing time, but as it stands now, Moorman II seems to be the obvious choice.

ID: J.P. Moorman II

Because their are so many new players on the roster for the 2020-21 season, I predict Moorman II will finish first in rebounds on the team. Besides Moorman II, Forrester should see most of his impact on the team in the interior, like getting the rebounds and cleaning up certain drives that aren’t going anywhere. With that said, I’ll stick with Moorman II. 

Who will lead the Owls in points per game?

DC: De’Vondre Perry 

Four of the Owls’ top-five scorers from last season are no longer on the team. Forrester is the team’s sole returning top scorer from last season, but he only averaged 7.5 points per game. I could see Perry having a breakout season with more playing time. He shot 41.3 percent from the 3-point range last season, and there were flashes of his scoring prowess when he posted 18 points against the University of Miami last season. It’s a longshot, but I think Perry rises to the occasion. 

AA: Jake Forester 

Here’s a longshot pick: Forrester. His 7.5 points per game last year, in a limited role, fails to jump off the page. With more playing time likely to come this season, Forrester’s scoring ability can prove to be a major asset for the Owls.

ID: Jeremiah Williams

When it comes to shooting and leading the team in overall points, all the rosters’ players are near equal. I believe scoring is going to be the area where the team fluctuates the most and we may see more of the younger guys step up in scoring. Williams averaged 16.8 points per game during his senior year. At the collegiate level, he could be a potential prospect for leading the Owls. 

Who will lead the Owls in total 3-pointers made? 

DC: De’Vondre Perry 

Temple shot 32.2 percent from 3-point range last season, which isn’t good enough to win games in today’s pace- and space-oriented game. Perry is the obvious pick because he shot 41.3 percent from three last season, which led the team despite him only playing 25 games. I predicted he would start this season, so he should play more. 

AA: De’Vondre Perry

Perry had a breakout season from beyond the arc last season, and the Owls will rely on Perry sustaining that production to build a well-functioning offense.

ID: De’Vondre Perry

Perry finished second in The American Athletic Conference in 3-point percentage last season. He’ll make key offensive plays and go for the three when needed, which makes him the obvious choice to lead the Owls in this category. 

What conference record will the Owls finish the season with?

DC: 9-11

The American’s preseason coaches poll predicted Temple will finish 10th out of 11 teams in conference play this season. The ranking makes sense since the Owls lost a number of their top scorers and are dealing with some injuries before the season has even started. The start of the season will be a struggle for the Owls as they figure out which young players can contribute good minutes. This is a transition year for the team, and transition years don’t typically yield winning records. Temple will finish 9-11 in conference play this season. 

AA: 8-12

Amid what may be a bit of a transition year, I don’t expect an off-the-charts season from an Owls team that was predicted to finish 10th out of 11 in The American. Assuming they play a 20-game conference schedule, I will predict the Owls go 8-12 in conference play.

ID: 9-11

The Owls were selected to finish 10th in The American preseason poll, which was voted by the league’s head coaches. Their conference is tough, and McKie said he believes they don’t get enough credit for some of the competitors they play against.

However, factoring out potential COVID-19 complications and having a completely different roster, if the Owls want to do well this season, their play will have to remain consistent. It’s hard to judge what Temple’s team will look like considering how many new players are on the roster, but by midseason, I think we’ll see a collective unit. That being said, I predict the Owls will finish 9-11 in The American.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly labeled photos of Quincy Ademokoya and Jeremiah Williams. It has since been changed.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.