‘There is definitely a lot of pressure’

Josh Brown prepared this summer to replace guard Will Cummings.

Junior guard Josh Brown is prepared to start after serving as the team’s sixth man last season, where he averaged 6.3 points per game. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN

As the summer sun shined on the streets of Philadelphia, Josh Brown sat inside the film room of the basketball facility on the third floor in McGonigle Hall.

With clips of former Temple guards on repeat, the junior guard began to hone the intricacies of being the primary ball handler in coach Fran Dunphy’s offense.

“I watched a lot of film,” Brown said. “A lot of of former point guards, especially Will [Cummings], Juan Fernandez, even some Khalif Wyatt. I worked on every aspect of my game.”

Whether it was in the film room or on his laptop at his room in Johnson Hall, Brown was preparing to be the Owls’ new starting point guard in 2015 after the previous year’s campaign ended in the 60-57 National Invitation Tournament loss against the University Miami at Madison Square Garden in the Final Four.

“As soon as we lost to Miami, everyone was like, ‘All right, this is your team now,’ and in my head I’m like, ‘This is my team now,’ Brown said. “We are going to go as far as I lead them.”

The team lost Cummings to graduation in May and Brown is expected to fill the void he left behind.

Cummings averaged 14.8 points per game and 4.2 assists per game last season—both team highs. He was the 50th member of the program to score 1,000 points.

He also led the team in 10 different statistical categories last season, including field goals and minutes per game.

“There is definitely a lot of pressure,” Brown said. “But I feel like pressure excites you. Of course I’m nervous because of the pressure, but there is something about the pressure that makes you want to prove doubters wrong.”

As the team’s sixth man last season, Brown scored 6.3 points per game and dished out 1.5 assists per game. Brown appeared in all 37 of the Owls’ games and was one of five Temple players to total more than 800 minutes played in 2014-15.

Cummings played 750 minutes or more three times in his career, finishing last season with 1,224. Brown has played 750 or more minutes once in his two years as an Owl.

“I tried to get in tip-top shape,” Brown said. “I have to play a lot of minutes. I worked on my body, so I can be stronger and take more hits.”

Along with improving his endurance, Brown participated in basketball workouts with Graduate Assistant Manager John Linehan and former Graduate Assistant Manager Jimmy Fenerty.

“He’s been working hard since day one,” senior guard Quenton DeCosey said. “He’s been looking real solid.”

Brown also sought the guidance of assistant coach Aaron McKie.

After a three-year career as an Owl from 1991-94, McKie played 13 seasons in the NBA, including eight with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia native joined Temple’s coaching staff Aug. 21, 2014.

“It’s been incredible,” Brown said. “Ever since he came in, I’ve been all ears, just trying to suck in all the knowledge I can.”

Besides helping him on the court, Brown said McKie has aided his transition into being the team’s new leader off the court.

“On the court, I was always mature,” Brown said. “A lot of your teammates watch how you are off the court. … If you carry yourself in a mature manner, they see that.”

Brown also learned from the two years he spent with Cummings, who was a team captain last season.

“During my sophomore year, watching him and every now and then he’d pull me to the side in practice and that was really helpful,” Brown said. “Starting off on the bench last year and watching him, I learned a lot from that.”

Michael Guise can be reached at michael.guise@temple.edu or on Twitter @Michael_Guise.

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