Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy has never been one to favor an extended rotation. The…
It's Their Time
That time is now for Quenton DeCosey, Daniel Dingle and Devontae Watson, who as sophomores expect to play prominent roles on the 2013-2014 Owls.
DeCosey and Dingle should find themselves in the starting lineup and it's possible Watson will be the first big off the bench for Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
"It was frustrating for them early, which is understandable when you've achieved a level of success," said Dunphy. "But in anybody's program you're going to play the players who give you the best chance to win the game, and their teammates deserved it.
"We wanted to play them more last year, but it was such an interesting year. Every game was so close, and we didn't have the opportunity to put them in for five, six, seven minutes the way we wanted to.
"But they knew their time would come. And now it's their time, and they didn't have to wait long."
None of the three saw significant playing time last year, but DeCosey did get long looks in a few early games – leading the Owls in scoring with 13 against nationally-ranked Duke and playing 22 minutes and hitting a couple big threes in an upset over a Final Four team in Syracuse – while playing in 28 games overall.
Those games were early in the year and as the season wound down, Dunphy relied more on his five seniors, leaving DeCosey on the bench.
In the time he did play, the 6-foot-5 DeCosey displayed a scorer's mentality. While many of his teammates deferred to leading scorer Khalif Wyatt and some of the other seniors, DeCosey was aggressive, even in the bigger games and the bigger spots.
"I've always been a scorer," said DeCosey. "I'm always looking for my offense. I knew I was capable of scoring, and when I got into a game I was aggressive.
"I thought I'd have a bigger role last year, and it was confusing and frustrating but I learned from the seniors. And I know this year will be different. I have to step up and be one of our leading scorers and that's what I was on our summer trip to Europe."
Dingle saw spot minutes in big games against Syracuse and St. Joe's and broke out in the Owls' win at Fordham – a Homecoming for him – late in the season, while playing in 10 games overall. He admitted talking to Dunphy often about what he needed to do to get on the floor, but said he learned a lot from the little time he did receive.
"I'm definitely coming in this year well prepared and able to contribute instead of just hoping," said Dingle, who at 6-7 is a tweener who could see time at both forward spots but will be more needed at power forward. "Around mid-season I was talking to coach about what I needed to do to play, but I thought I went about it pretty well and now I'm ready to produce.
"I think my mentality initially was I'm going to beat out (small forward) Scootie (Randall) for his spot, and when you don't play you question how good you are and if you're working so hard, why don't you have a huge role? But I knew I was getting better and when the time came I would be ready. Getting that taste of the game is going to help this year."
Dingle could end up being similar to the player he is replacing, power forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who despite being under-sized was a ferocious rebounder and on-the-ball defender.
"I think I need to be vocal, play defense and pick my spots to score," said Dingle. "Just be a solid all-around player."
At 6-10, Watson is a defensive presence with a gradually improving offensive game who is the most raw of the three sophomores, though with tremendous upside.
"I learned a lot (last year), it was more of a learning process," said Watson, who played just 12 minutes a year ago. "How college basketball is, what to do in certain situations. The seniors that just left were real leaders. They were mentoring me through the whole process even though I wasn't playing. They helped me out during practices.
"I thought I would play more, but it wasn't a disappointment. I didn't play at all freshman year of high school, either. We talk about it (as sophomores), how we didn't play as much as we thought. But it's all for the better. We had five seniors and weren't really needed. This year we'll be needed more."
While there are a few veterans on this team – senior Dalton Pepper and juniors Anthony Lee and Will Cummings – there will be plenty of minutes for DeCosey, Dingle and Watson if they prove to be as good as their reputation coming into Temple.
"We all have a lot of potential," said DeCosey. "I might not be the leading scorer every night, but I should be in the top two or three every night. Dingle can play the three or four, and Devontae is another big we can bring off the bench and give us good minutes."
Added Dingle; "Q is a tremendous scorer, Devontae has a competitive edge. .. I think that's what we all bring is a competitive edge that we want it more than you. I know there's a lot of questions around the city, can we live up to the expectations?
"We didn't get the time we thought we would last year, but we're going to prove we belong."
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