Temple basketball team picked to finish seventh in AAC
The Owls, a season after making the NCAA Tournament, will be playing their first season under head coach Aaron McKie.
The Temple men’s basketball team was picked to finish seventh in the American Athletic Conference in a preseason poll of conference coaches. Houston and Memphis were the co-favorites in the poll revealed Monday at AAC media day in Philadelphia.
After its first NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons, Temple returns three starters, highlighted by senior guard Quinton Rose.
Rose was named to the AAC’s preseason first team for the second consecutive season. He finished ninth in the conference last season with a 16.3-point average. Rose has scored 1,353 points in his career.
“He has a chance to be a 2,000-point scorer in college basketball, and not a lot of guys can say that,” first-year Owls head coach Aaron McKie said. “He’s going to have to help me lead some of these younger guys.”
Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis also received recognition from the coaches. He was named to the AAC’s preseason second team after sharing the conference’s Most Improved Player award last season with UConn’s Josh Carlton.
“He has to be the best defender in the country for us. He has to be the best rebounder in the country for us at his guard position,” McKie said. “He’s one of the hardest-working basketball players I’ve been around, and I played basketball at all the levels.”
The Owls are projected to be a part of a strong top seven in the conference. The gap in votes from seventh to eighth was larger than the distance between the third and seventh teams in the 12-team conference.
Temple finished last season 23-10 and was one of the last teams to get in the NCAA Tournament. The Owls’ 2019-20 season will begin with a matchup against Drexel on Nov. 5 at the Liacouras Center.
“We got a taste last year, and we all like the feeling,” Rose said. “Our whole mindset this year is to get back and make some noise.”