For Temple's Jesse Morgan, this moment has been a long time coming.
"I'm really excited right now," the senior guard said Wednesday. "I'm ready to go. I know that the first moment Coach calls my name I have two things that I'm going to be looking to do: get a stop or get a bucket. Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm going to do."
A transfer player from Massachusetts, Morgan will play his first game for Temple (6-4) on Thursday night when the Owls visit Delaware (0-7) for a nonconference game. Guard Devin Coleman, a transfer from Clemson, also will make his Temple debut.
Morgan is a 6-5 senior who starred at Olney High. This will be his first college game since Jan. 10, 2012, when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Morgan was averaging 13.4 points per game for UMass. He transferred to Temple and the NCAA ruled that he could play either the first or second semester of his final season.
A former Friends' Central star, the 6-2 Coleman will have another season of eligibility after this one, but he also was forced to sit out the first semester. Coleman averaged 5.4 points for Clemson in 10 games last season and actually played against Temple before transferring last fall.
Morgan and Coleman join another transfer, forward Jaylen Bond (Texas). Temple has high hopes for them. The 6-8 Bond is averaging 6.0 points and a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per game.
Temple's leading scorers are veteran guards Will Cummings (14.8 ppg.) and Quenton DeCosey (14.7).
Morgan and Coleman have been practicing daily with their teammates. Still, coach Fran Dunphy acknowledged that there could be some growing pains working the new players into the lineup.
"It is difficult to change your team's dynamics in the middle of the season, and that's what we're going to have to pay attention to," Dunphy said. "You've got to figure out substitution patterns and, most important, you have to have everyone buying in. It's going to be interesting, but I think this group is ready to make the necessary adjustments."
Dunphy has placed a great deal of emphasis on playing better defense this season. He says that the new players should help.
"They're both pretty good shot makers, and they've both shown a commitment to playing defense," Dunphy said. "Jesse is one of those guys that gets his hands on more balls in practice than anyone else. Either way it's a good thing to have the team in place for the rest of the season."