Temple opened up basketball practice Thursday afternoon at Pearson-McGonigle Hall.
Senior point guard Josh Brown, who received a medical redshirt last season due to an Achilles injury suffered in May 2016, was on the floor for the Owls’ first practice. Temple coach Fran Dunphy estimated that Brown is 90 percent healthy.
“I’ve been feeling great,” Brown told reporters before Temple began its first practice. “I’m doing a good job monitoring my recovery time so I can be fresh each and every day. It has been a good job by the training staff and the Temple staff to help me through (the injury).”
The quartet of freshmen – combo guard Nate Pierre-Louis, forwards JP Moorman and Dre Perry and big man Justyn Hamilton – have provided Temple with an influx of young talent. All four have caught the attention of Brown, a fifth-year senior who described himself as the “alpha dog.”
“Since I’ve been here, freshmen wings haven’t come in here with that type of body, that type of athleticism,” Brown said. “Those guys, coming in with that type of body and athleticism, can help us a great deal – not only offensively but defensively too. They can guard a lot of positions that we really couldn’t guard a lot in recent years.”
Junior guard Shizz Alston, a Philadelphia Big 5 First Team selection and the Big 5’s Most Improved Player, has also been impressed by Temple’s freshmen.
“I’ve never seen freshmen this ready to play,” Alston said. “JP can bring the ball up, Dre can bring the ball up, even Nate sometimes. They’ll help us a lot.”
Dunphy said the presence of the four freshmen has caused the intensity of practice to rise “exponentially.” But not one freshman in particular is standing out to Temple’s head man.
“We like the positioning of all of them,” Dunphy said. “We like their athleticism and skill level.”
Sophomore wing Quinton Rose tried out for the United States’ team, coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari, in the Under 19 World Championships. Rose did not make the final cut, but he spent time with some of the top high school players in the country, including local five-star guard and Duke commit Cameron Reddish.
“He gained some confidence,” Dunphy said. “Just his overall sense of who he is has improved. He’s also shooting it better from last year. Some of that is the confidence, some of that is he’s worked really hard at it. We need him to be a better shooter.”
In other injury news, guard Trey Lowe did not participate during the short open portion of Thursday’s practice. Lowe, who has not played since a February 2016 car accident, participated in warm ups and shot using his right hand.
“I don’t know that we can expect that he’s going to be ready early in the season,” Dunphy said. "He's going to go at his own pace and we will deal with that as it comes. I'm encouraged by just his being with us every single day."
Dunphy said that Lowe is not a "regular" practice participant but is able to do some drills with the team.
"He's trying his best to do what he can do," Dunphy said.