With the loss of Quenton DeCosey, Devin Coleman, and Jaylen Bond, Temple will be seeking new senior leadership for this upcoming season.
Josh Brown will be that guy. Well, he’ll have to be that guy.
While Daniel Dingle and Mark Williams are also headed into their senior year, Brown has played more minutes in his time at Temple by far.
After transitioning to the point guard position after Will Cummings graduated in 2014, the former backup guard has taken up his new role in a solid fashion. While he didn’t shoot a whole lot, only averaging just over 7 shots each game, and he was able to average 8.3 points per game.
Most of his production came from facilitating and passing to his teammates. He had the second most assists per game in the American Athletic Conference with 4.9 per game.
Perhaps even more impressive, and more important to a team’s success, was Brown’s assist-to-turnover ratio. For every 3.5 assists Brown had, he had one turnover. That was good enough to finish in the top ten in the country. He was able to have that ratio while also leading the American in total minutes played with 1,195 and 35.9 per game.
Even though Jaylen Bond was the captain of last year’s team by name, Brown showed his own leadership by being vocal on the bench and on the court. He put together a solid effort each game and managed the pace of play on the offensive end.
The most impressive factor has been Brown’s ability to improve every year as his average statistics in every major category, except for three point and free throw percentage, has increased. His senior year should be no different. With his fantastic consistency last year, head coach Fran Dunphy and his staff will need him to have the year he just had, but score even more with the loss of leading scorers in DeCosey, Jaylen Brown, and Devin Coleman. It’s clear, however, that he knows how to move the ball to give the Owls the best scoring opportunity. What he can improve on is having confidence in his own shooting ability.
As previously mentioned, Brown averaged 8.3 points per game on an average of 7 shots per game last year. He made a respectable 41% of his attempts. The former backup guard avoids taking bad shots. While that can be a good thing, he sometimes avoids taking shots that are makeable. As a result, he only reached double digits in shots three times all of last season, one of which was the NCAA Tournament game against Iowa. He went 7-for-11 for 16 points in that game, along with five assists and even nine rebounds. It was one of his best efforts of his college career and resulted in a well played game by the Owls. Shooting 63.6% from the field every game would be a lot to ask for most players at any level, but this kind of game shows that Brown is very capable of taking smart shots and making them. Temple will need him to do that this season. After last season, his teammates and coach Fran Dunphy will have a lot of trust in Brown with the ball in his hands.
If Brown is more comfortable shooting the ball next season and still has the ability to only take smart shots, the combination of the assist-to-turnover ratio and points per game by him will go a long way into helping the Owls succeed. With the amount of minutes he plays per game, there are ample of opportunities to make those shots as well.
Brown has also always had a knack for hitting big shots. In the past two seasons, on the road nonetheless, Brown has hit a game-winner at Memphis and Connecticut. Both of these games ended up being key wins for Temple in those respective seasons. It never hurts to have a guy on the team who is confident with the ball in his hands in the final seconds of a game.
It does hurt to have a guy like that on the sideline to begin the season, however. Brown suffered an Achilles injury recently and it is unknown how much of next season he’ll miss at this point.
Temple is hoping it is sooner rather than later because if he is healthy and ready to go, he will have to be the go-to scorer for the Owls this season.
Photo: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
-Temple loses to Penn State in the first round of the NIT tournament