Last season, Temple was almost totally dependent on senior David Hawkins for its offense. Hawkins came through, averaging 24.4 points per game, but even that wasn't enough. For the third straight year, the Owls failed to reach the NCAA tournament, finishing 15-14 after a first-round NIT exit.
Now Hawkins is gone. Temple is hoping that a more balanced offense works better, but the Owls will go into this season with more questions than answers. You can count on a John Chaney team not to turn the ball over much and play the roughest non-conference schedule around, but nothing else is assured. Even Temple's trademark matchup zone has not been consistently up to par in recent seasons, and the loss of Hawkins will also be felt heavily at that end of the court.
Guard Mardy Collins, now a junior, was last season's only other double-digit scorer, averaging 15.5 per game. Collins considers himself more of a natural off-guard, but he has been forced by necessity to play point guard. Collins excels at getting into the lane and creating his own shot, but distributing the ball isn't his forte.
One huge key will be establishing an inside game, since Temple hasn't had one for the last couple of seasons. Center Keith Butler and forward Antywane Robinson each averaged just 4.7 points per game. Both are back, but Temple's big hope rests on a newcomer, Wayne Marshall, who sat out last season due to academics. He showed an impressive low-post game the year before in the Philadelphia Public League.
The Owls picked up a recruit in the Hawkins mold in Mark Tyndale, out of storied Philly prep program Simon Gratz. Like Hawkins, the 6-foot-5 Tyndale isn't a pure shooter; he's more of a scorer and a defensive stopper.
A bigger sophomore season by guard Dustin Salisbery will be important. Salisbery showed off some offensive gifts, and averaged seven points per game, but Chaney wasn't happy with his defense or his hustle, and Salisbery found himself stuck to the bench at the end of the season. He has a great chance for redemption, especially after combo-guard Mario Taybron was thrown off the team.
All answers will have to come quickly since, even by its Hall of Fame coach's standards, Temple has a bear of non-conference schedule, with trips to Wake Forest and Alabama as well as a visit from Duke.