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Cummings ends his Temple career with class

NEW YORK – This was not the way Will Cummings wanted to end his Temple career, but after so many times of carrying the team, the senior point guard had his shot betray him in his final outing.

Cummings, who had averaged 22 points in the first three NIT wins, was limited to 11 points during Tuesday's 60-57 NIT semifinal loss to Miami at Madison Square Garden.

Cummings shot 3 for 15 from the field and when he tried to drive to the basket, Miami was frequently there to swat things away.

The Hurricanes blocked eight Temple shots. Cummings went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc and even missed a free throw, going 5 for 6.

Entering the game he had hit all 17 foul shots during Temple's first three NIT wins.

Cummings exited with class, giving his best and realizing that on some nights that just isn't enough.

"Shots just didn't go in," Cummings said. "That's really just all there is to it. Any other day, they are probably going in. We just didn't make them today."

And then he was asked to put his four years at Temple in perspective, not the easiest task just moments after a career-ending defeat.

"It's hard to put that in a couple of sentences," Cummings said. "I would just say a great career, a lot of different teammates, a lot of guys that I had fun with."

A Jacksonville resident, Cummings said if he had to choose all over again, that Temple would be his choice.

"I wouldn't change anything," he said. "It's been a great ride."

It certainly has been for coach Fran Dunphy, who leaned heavily on Cummings during his final three seasons as a starter. With each year, his responsibility grew.

"I think he exemplifies what a good teammate is, a good leader is, a good player," Dunphy said. "I'm hopeful that his professional career will bear some great fruit no matter where that is. Obviously he will start in a very short period of time."

That time begins on April 8 when Cummings will be among 64 players competing in the Portsmouth (VA) Invitational. This consists of many players looking to get drafted, but it doesn't have many future first round choices competing. Still, the exposure with all the professional scouts in attendance is invaluable.

One thing Dunphy will tell any scout is that Cummings was among the best leaders he ever coached.

"He's been a terrific guy," Dunphy said. "I wish we had him again but we're going to have to say good-bye to him."

Farewells are hard to do.

"He will be graduating in May," Dunphy said. He's as great a representative of Temple University as we could have ever hoped for."