Temple’s basketball team is off to a terrific 5-0 start, its best start since the 1987-88 season 25 years ago. There are a lot of reasons the Owls have been playing extremely well. And one of them is Scootie Randall, who returned to the starting lineup after redshirting the 2011-12 season because of a knee injury.
Randall, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound senior, has come back in great shape. Moreover, he looks like the player who captured the Atlantic 10 and Big 5 Most Improved honors during the 2010-11 season. The former Communications Tech star leads the team in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg).
“I feel good to be able to go out there and play with my guys again,” Randall said. “They give me the confidence and encouragement to go out each and every day to play better. That means so much to me.”
“It takes work each and every day. You can’t take a day off and working with the right people and having the right people to motivate you. I think that’s pretty key to have those people who know what they’re talking about in your ear. You just [listen] to what they have to say and go out there and do what you have to do.”
Randall showed everybody how well he bounced back from the injury right away. In the Owls’ first game of the season, he had career-highs of 31 points (10-of-18 shooting from the field and 5-for-12 from three point range) and four steals in a win over Kent State. He had his first career double-double (16 points, career high 12 rebounds) in a win over Rice. He had 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory over Delaware. Randall is really excited about the Owls potential this season.
“I feel real good about our team,” he said. “I don’t think we’re even at our best yet. We still have a lot to do. We still have to beat tougher programs. So far so good, each game you have to be prepared. I think with this group of guys we can make history.”
Temple has a big week in front of it beginning Wednesday night, Dec. 5 against Villanova (4-3) at The Pavilion on the Main Line. The tip-off will be at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. After that, Temple will play No. 2 ranked Duke (6-0) on Dec. 8 at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. The game will begin at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN2.
“We got a tough stretch,” said Randall, who scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the 70-62 win over Wagner last weekend. “All you can do is prepare, coaches don’t know what you’re capable of each and every night. The only person who knows that is you. As long as you come out with a team mindset you can get the job done.”
Randall knows a little something about winning basketball games. It goes all the way back to his playing days at Communications Tech. In 2008, he guided his school to the Public League championship. He is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,735 points. He averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks his senior year.
He played with some great players such as Manny Jordan, Antonio “Gee” Monroe and Chris Jones. Communications Tech had a sensational 14-1 record in the Public League and a 28-4 report card overall. Randall led Communications Tech to the league title at the Liacouras Center, where he plays his college games. There are still plenty of people who remember those glory days.
“I still have a lot of family support,” Randall said. “I have a lot of friends who come to the games. I really value every person who comes out to see me play. I have a lot of loyal people in my corner and it’s going to continue to grow.”