Part of the reason why the Owls were so successful this season was due to their strength and depth across the bench. This was thanks to freshman Obi Enechionyia and Clemson transfer, Devin Coleman. Both were initial spark plugs in their first year for Temple. Enechionyia, a 6’8 forward, averaged 5.3 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game, including 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the final game of the year against Miami (FL).
Coleman, who missed the first 10 games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules, brought energy filled minutes whenever he was on the court. He averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. The crafty guard also played well as the season closed, scoring 13 points and 5 rebounds against George Washington in the second round of the NIT.
Without these two players, the Owls would not have been the same team. The depth they provided to the team was extremely necessary for the squad’s success. However, this coming season Temple will lose senior guards Will Cummings and Jesse Morgan. Therefore, they will have to rely on Coleman and Enechionyia for even more productive minutes, maybe even as starters.
The Empire caught up with both Coleman and Enechionyia this past month. Here is what they had to say about this season, the season to come, personal goals, and more!
Benjamin Simon: What were you proud of this season?
Devin Coleman: I'm very proud of the improvement that we made as a team. The year before, we really struggled but this season we improved in so many ways and I think it showed out there on the floor.
B: What do you plan to improve on?
D: Personally I plan on working on my conditioning and being more consistent with my shooting.
B: What was the transition like after coming from Clemson? How are the two schools different?
D: The transition from Clemson wasn't too difficult because I'm from Philadelphia so I didn't have to get used to much. I already had a relationship with the coaching staff after being recruited in high school and I already knew a few of the players. All of the guys were really accepting and willing to help me out with the few things I needed to adjust to, so it was a really easy process.
The differences in the two school are pretty big with Clemson being in the south, in a more rural environment, and Temple obviously being a city school. Both are great places and first class programs, with great people at the [schools]. I've enjoyed my time at both universities.
B: What was your most encouraging game this season?
D: The most encouraging game for me was the second round of the NIT [tournament] against George Washington. I had a very frustrating season as far as shooting the ball and struggled to get on the floor, so to have a game where I shot well and played extended minutes felt great.
B: Who is your athletic influence?
D: Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett were my two influences growing up playing basketball. They're obviously very different players because of the size difference but what I always admired about both guys was their competitiveness and passion for the game. They both left everything on the floor and you could see how hard they were playing out there. They never disrespected the game with a lack of effort. Their passion and competitiveness are the two things I learned from them and tried to mimic from a very young age.
Benjamin Simon: What were you most proud of this season? What were you least proud of?
Obi Enechionyia: I was proud that we didn't give up after not getting into the [NCAA] tournament, and that we made it as far as we did in the NIT. I was least proud of not beating Tulsa or SMU.
B: What do you plan to improve on this offseason?
O: I plan on improving my post game and getting stronger.
B: How was Temple different than high school? Was it a challenging transition?
O: Temple was different because the college game is a lot faster and more physical. It was a challenging transition, but one that got easier as the season went on and as I got more comfortable on the court. Off the court it was a tough transition from high school in terms of keeping up with my schoolwork and all of the traveling that we had to do.
B: What are your personal goals for next season?
O: My personal goal for next season is to step up and be a leader by example on and off the court.
B: What was the most fulfilling victory for you and the team this season?
O: The most fulfilling victory for us was when we beat Kansas at the Wells Fargo Center. We obviously were not expected to win, so beating them by 25 was very fulfilling.
Photo on left courtesy of Obi Enechionyia's twitter
Photo on right courtesy of philly.com
-Temple loses to Penn State in the first round of the NIT tournament