The Temple Men’s Basketball team did not have an ideal season this year finishing 16-16 and a first round exit to East Carolina. The young team had a few bright spots though in the play of sophomore Shizz Alston, junior Obi Enechionyia, and freshman Quinton Rose. The fact of the matter is we should have seen the writing on the wall when along with Daniel Dingle, Mark Williams was named a captain. The team never looked that it had a leader nor a go to guy in crunch time.
During the season a mutiny against Fran Dunphy was growing on Twitter with fans signing their tweets with #FireFran-friends of mine included. Between Fran Dunphy and Fran McCaffery, Iowa’s head coach, the #FireFran movement has blended together.
Now listen there are things about Fran that baffle even his strongest supporters. His NCAA Tournament record of 3-16 over 16 years, his motion offense can go stagnant, and his inability to not land top local recruits; some that live right down the street (JaQuan Newton, Rysheed Jordan, Quade Green).
This year’s team started the season as hot as a Temple team had in a while. They beat No. 25 Florida State with future NBA lottery pick Jonathan Isaac and No. 19 West Virginia, a team in the Sweet 16 at the writing of this, in the same weekend. They would have most likely been ranked top-25 the next week if it wasn’t for starting 1-2.
Even with the tribulations of the season there is one thing. Fran Dunphy isn’t going anywhere.
He is loved by his players.
Everyone has heard an inkling of the story about Dionte Christmas and Fran Dunphy. Dunphy promised Christmas he would shave his mustache if he graduated from college. Christmas fell three credits short, but came back two years later to finish his degree.
“When Coach Dunphy came, he really taught me a lot about basketball, life, being a man, and everything,” Christmas recalls. “He was like my second father.”
Dunphy lived up to his end of the deal and saw his upper lip for the first time in 40 years.
Khaliff Wyatt and Fran Dunphy butted heads for the first two years while Wyatt would be late for team meetings, doctors appointments, and show defensive lapses. But he echoes the same fatherly sentiments that Christmas did at the end of his career.
“Coming in here as a 17-year-old, you think you know everything. You think you have the answers to everything,” Wyatt said. “Coach Dunphy helped me grow up a lot. He really was like a father to me for 4 years. He pretty much raised me from 17 to 22. I’m happy I had him in my life. Through everything, he’s stuck with me. He had my best interests at heart.”
His recruiting class for next year is stacked.
The Temple recruiting class is stacked for next year–in terms of Temple standards. There will be three Four Star recruits-6’10 Forward Justyn Hamilton, 6’7 Forward J.P. Moorman, and 6’4 Guard Nate Pierre-Louis. Each of these recruits will add versatility and athleticism to a line up that is already flush with it.
The other recruit Temple has coming in is 6’6 Forward De’Vondre Perry who averaged a double double his junior season and mentions he can play all five positions on the court.
This young mix of recruits to go with the young core of Enechionyia, Alston, and Rose gives the Temple Men’s Basketball team a bright future.
He resurrected the program.
Every pundit points out Fran Dunphy’s tournament record of 3-16. You can picture the graphic in your mind whenever Temple is playing in the first round. The record doesn’t tell the whole story of Dunphy’s tournament career. This guy can coach! He went to the tournament nine times while at Penn and played a higher seed each time. Before he got to Temple the Owls hadn’t made it to the NCAA Tournament in over six years. At Temple he is 2-7 in the tournament. That could easily be 4-5 if Adam Woodbury gets whistled for his push-off last year and the Owls finish out No. 1 seed Indiana in 2013 after leading in the last 79 seconds.
I believe the addition of Aaron McKie to the staff will do wonders for the program and it’s already paid dividends in terms of the last two recruiting classes. Many people see McKie as a Kevin Ollie type. A veteran NBA player that has tons of respect from kids and parents who grew up watching those 2000 Sixers teams. Unfortunately, from people who I’ve spoke to around the program he has no interest in being the head man in charge, sorry #FireFran army.
This program is trending up and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tournament appearance next year from the Owls. Enjoy Fran Dunphy while you have him folks. He’s not the all time winningest coach in Big 5 history for no reason.