Quinton Rose thought he was headed to the NBA after his sophomore season at Temple, a season in which he led the Owls scoring 14.9 points a game.
"I went into the process thinking I was going to the NBA," Rose said during preseason practice.
The process consisted of putting his name in the NBA draft, but not hiring an agent. That way he could work out for teams and decide later whether to keep his name in the draft or return to Temple.
The 6-foot-8, 185-pound Rose had five workouts with teams — the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets — before deciding to return to school for his junior season.
He said it wasn't a very difficult decision.
"Once I got the feedback, it was a no-brainer for myself to come back," Rose said.
Rose has the athleticism and size teams are looking for in a shooting guard. Yet Rose was given a frank assessment about his game.
"I was told I had to get stronger and be more consistent with my three-point shot and taking care of the ball," Rose said.
Last season, he shot 34.5 percent from three-point range, which was an improvement from his freshman year when he shot 29.6 percent from beyond the arc. Rose also averaged 2.4 turnovers per game last season.
He was an honorable mention all-American Athletic Conference selection last season and was a preseason first-team choice this year.
"He is a really talented scorer," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said about Rose. "With guards, you have to get to the point where you have to make your team win."
Cronin says only one question matters with college guards.
"Does your team win because of you?" he said. "If he gets to that point, he has a chance to play in the NBA because he has the size for that position."
As for the winning, Temple is just one game over .500 in Rose's first two years. The Owls were 16-16 his freshman year, when Rose averaged 10.1 points, mainly coming off the bench. Last season, Temple went 17-16 and lost in the first round of the NIT, 63-57, to eventual champion Penn State.
Temple coach Fran Dunphy feels Rose's NBA experience was highly beneficial.
"There are going to be guys who want to be in the NBA, and there are going to be guys who have to be in the NBA — that is their main absolute goal and they are going to get there, whatever they have to do to make that work," Dunphy said. "And so that sense of urgency is what I think he is starting to really pick up."
Dunphy has noticed a different player since the NBA workouts.
"I have seen that sense of urgency in Q more in practice, especially at the defensive end," Dunphy said. "Hopefully it results in more scores as he takes the ball to the basket and finishes shots at the rim."
Rose was also boosted by the positive feedback he received from the NBA teams.
"They told me they liked my playmaking ability, my speed, my size. and my scoring ability to get to the basket," Rose said.
Last season, Rose started strong, averaging 18.9 points his first nine games, but then defenses focused more on stopping him.
"Teams started keying on me and I really didn't know how to adjust," he said.
Now, he says things are different. He is ready for the extra attention, and also intent on leading the Owls to achieving his main goal.
"Getting to the NCAA Tournament means everything," he said.
So does getting to the NBA, and after his experience last spring, Rose knows much more about what to do to achieve that goal.
Temple opens the season on Tuesday at home against La Salle.
Last year: 17-16, 8-10 American Athletic Conference (lost in the second round of the AAC tournament; lost to eventual champion Penn State in first round of NIT).
Coach: Fran Dunphy (13th season, 247-152; overall, 557-315).
Key returnees: Shizz Alston, 6-4, Sr. (13.3 ppg); Quinton Rose, 6-8, Jr. (14.9 ppg); Ernest Aflakpui, 6-10, Sr. (4.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg); Nate Pierre-Louis, 6-4, So. (7.5 ppg)
Who's gone: F Obi Enechionyia (10.8 ppg); PG Josh Brown (9.1 ppg, 3.3 apg).
Who's new: Quentin Jackson Jr., 6-2, Jr.; Arashma Parks, 6-9, Fr.
What to look for: This is Dunphy's final season; associate head coach Aaron McKie will take over after this season. The Owls, as with many teams in the American Athletic Conference, have the ability to contend for an NCAA Tournament berth. Simply put, they will have to shoot better. They were 10th in the AAC in free throw percentage (.692) and sixth in three-point percentage (.350). If the shooting improves, the Owls will, too.
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