Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My name is Mardy, last name Collins...

For whatever reason I waited until now to preview the 2005-2006 Temple Owls. Perhaps this is due to my workload but more then likely it was a nice excuse to take a look at the team in action, take a few notes, and draw some conclusions using broad strokes. I am gonna begin this post with a short review of the personnel we got and hit it up later with how I see the season turning out… Boom!

Coach Chaney is the type of leader who likes to keep his lineup tight and his rotation thin. A Temple team that uses more then 8 guys is fairly rare but this could be the case this year judging by the lack of a true center. Wayne Marshall would be holding down the middle for the Owls but he has apparently caught the same affliction that took the life of Jason Collier and caused the exodus of E-City from Chicago. His status is unknown and as far as how long he will be out depends on his medical clearance. Of course its worth noting that more then likely he isn’t running and keeping in shape if he has heart concerns so I don’t see a major contribution from Wayne this season. I can’t tell you how many people told me that Marshall was going to be a one and done guy. That seems a little far fetched at this point but lets hope he gets it straightened out because the Owls need some help in the middle and Wayne can get some buckets as well.

Assuming Wayne is done that leaves the center by committee to Sergio Olmos, Nehemiah Ingram, Dion Dacons, Anthony Ivory and perhaps Antwayne Robinson. Out of that bunch Robinson could be most effective because he is long and athletic but his rebounding has been an issue in the past and Chaney hasn’t been shy about reminding him by sitting him down as a result. If ‘Twayne could find a way to control the glass or at least hold down the middle that would allow the Owls to play Dionte Christmas and Dustin Salisberry together with Mardy Collins at the two and Tyndale at the one.

But lets keep in mind this is Coach Chaney and that old dog doesn’t like new tricks. So far Chaney has been starting Ivory but the huge freshman is out of shape and although he posts up strong on the block he has trouble moving from side to side and seems limited within the zone and on the glass. When Ivory runs out of gas or gets in foul trouble Chaney will most likely go with Dacons or Ingram. Dacons stands about 6’6 and although he is tough as hell and uses his size well there’s not much to go around. Ingram has the size but seems to lack the toughness of Dacons. Coming off a stint with the football team we’ll see what he can contribute. In one game against the Hurricanes he looked slow to the ball and a little lost in limited minutes. Of course he has reached iconic status with the Owl faithful for the whole “Goon” incident. Perhaps this could serve as a needed lift for a guy who hasn’t done much outside that media circus.

Sergio has also got some minutes early in the year. He is rail thin but plays hard. His height can’t be taught but apparently his frame isn’t taking to the whole weight gain concept. I still like the spark he gives and the effort is unquestionable in the few minutes he has played. Against UCLA he had a decent up and under move as well as an offensive rebound. He gets a lot of fouls but they are usually loose ball or over the back calls which you can’t bitch about as a coach watching an undersized freshmen. In the game against Army he was working so hard to front the cutters coming into the lane. It was a sight to see but he was effective. Of course, it was Army and their tallest guy was about 6’6.

Chaney is placing Tyndale at the one so far this season. Mark is slow with the ball and careful. Obviously weary of turnovers and new to the position this will take time but it will also keep him from gunning every chance he gets and give Mardy a chance to do his thing within the offense. I’m still a little skeptical of this move. I feel Mardy is good enough to get his at the point guard position and is unselfish enough to distribute the ball to the other guys. Once in their offensive set the Owls like to spread the floor and work the ball along the perimeter and into Antwayne at the high post so the point guard duties became irrelevant. As long as Tyndale can eliminate careless turnovers and setup the offense I suppose this will do. I’m sure Mardy had to ok this transition to some degree and I would look for him to take over some point guard duties late in a close game... Tyndale's growth as a player and a leader will be a key for the Owl's this year.

A position battle is bound to develop between true freshmen Dionte Christmas and junior Dustin Salisberry. Mark and Mardy are in the good graces of Chaney and wont see the bench for more then a rest at any point in a game. Despite his trouble on the glass Chaney needs Antwayne on the floor as well as the center by committee to fill the five spot. This leaves another swingmen position open for these two to gut it out over. Christmas is the new guy and Salisberry has been up and down in his career at TU. I think this will be a changing spot in the rotation throughout the year with the hot hand getting the minutes while the other guard scowls from the bench. Of course if the strategy discussed above with ‘Twayne at the five goes into effect all is good and you would see Mark, Mardy, Dionte, Dustin and ‘Twayne on the floor for the Owls.

With Mardy and Mark in the backcourt I don’t see much time for Chris Clark. He looks like a decent point guard but size will always be an issue with him and he isn’t blazing fast like a lot of smaller point guards that make it work. Also, judging by the recruits the Owls brought in for next year he hasn’t done enough to ever receive a vote of confidence from Coach Chaney.
Camden product Semaj Inge is another highly touted recruit but what got into the youngin against Army? He looked STD on the court (Scared to Death) and airballed on at least two attempts. To early to call him Nile Murry (Who turned out to be a tough player for TCU btw) but I would be pleased to see a stronger performance from a kid who was supposed to make an immediate impact. He is from Camden though, so he has been through it no doubt and as long as he survives the initial browbeatings from Chaney will be just fine.

DaShone Kirkendoll needs some time to show people he can do more then just hit threes. He has to prove it to me as well but he is clutch from downtown and hits some big shots. He stuck a big one against UCLA and who can forget that tough shot last year against Wake? He doesn’t see much time in the rotation though and its not looking good with Dionte and Samaj in the mix. One thing about Kirkendoll this year is that you can tell he understands he needs more opportunities. Take the game against Miami for example. He hits his first three and then a few trips down the court fires another one. It was a bad shot and a bad miss. I think he takes that shot because he wants to make the most of his time in the game and get his. I’m not calling him selfish, I think its smart, he just realizes he needs to make an impact to see more minutes. Of course he was yanked after taking the poor jumper.

Next time I will have some predictions based on the schedule and game recaps. I am gonna skip the NIT tournament coverage but lemme touch on it briefly. Army might as well have been an intermural team. They made the Owls look like UNC last year if you added Carter and Jordan to that stacked roster. They had 12 points at the half. The UCLA game displayed everything that is wrong with Temple's offense and they were hurt on the glass. The zone was effective but of course production was a problem and Mardy didn't have one of his best games.... That was then and this is now... CHECK IT!


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