Cummings looks to lead Owls

Will Cummings plans to be more assertive this season for Temple University. — SUBMITTED PHOTO COURTESY OF TEMPLE UNIVERSITY

Temple University will open its basketball season against the University of Pennsylvania in an early Big 5 matchup at The Palestra on Nov. 9. The Owls lost three starters from last year’s NCAA tournament team that finished 24-10 overall record and advanced to the third round of the tournament.

Will Cummings is one of Temple’s key returning players. Cummings, the Owls’ point guard, knows how important his role will be this season.

“I definitely have to step up and be a leader,” Cummings said. “That’s something that Coach [Fran] Dunphy [Temple’s head coach] talked to me about and that’s what I’m doing.”

Dunphy feels that Cummings will exhibit all the leadership qualities the Owls need in order to be successful. He would also like to see Cummings do a little bit more overall. Dunphy knows his floor general is capable of putting the ball in the basket. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior averaged 9.8 points a game last season. He tallied 3.3 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists a contest.

“We need Will to score, but he has to get the ball to the other guys whether it’s a post feed to one of the big guys or getting the ball to one of the perimeter guys,” Dunphy said. “I want him to score. We also want him to lead on the offensive end with good decisions. His passes have been on target. I think he’s going to have a really good year. In reality, I think we need him to have a really good year.”

Cummings learned quite a bit from playing with former Owls Khalif Wyatt, Scootie Randall and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson last season. He picked up some valuable intangibles from them, which should serve him well this year.

“They taught me a lot,” Cummings said. “They taught me how to be tough on the court. Now, I’m kind of taking from their game on how to score the ball. I looked to them and kind of remember how they scored [in] different ways and how they got everybody involved and how they made plays on the court. That’s what I’ve learned from them.”

Temple has moved into a new conference where the competition appears to be really tough. The Owls will be playing in the American Athletic Conference, which features the NCAA champion Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut and Cincinnati.

“We’re playing all the heavyweights,” Cummings said. “We’re playing all the big names. You want to play the best. As a college basketball player, that’s what really motivates you.”

Cummings and the Owls will get started with the Quakers. Penn is expected to be one of the top teams in the Ivy League.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at 215-893-5719 or dhunt@phillytrib.com.

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