WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
PHILADELPHIA — For incoming freshmen on Fran Dunphy’s Temple teams, the likelihood of seeing significant playing time from the get-go is small. Most lessons are learned on the bench. Most of the action exists on the practice gym floor.
On Nov. 10, that’s what Quinton Rose was led to believe, but the following day, he had second impressions.
The Owls’ 6-foot-8, 185-pound guard was immediately thrown into the fire on opening night this past season, and happened to score 12 points in 26 minutes against La Salle in his collegiate debut. From that point on, Rose never saw less than 12 minutes in any game, and on Feb. 10, he found himself in the starting lineup for the first time. If Rose’s 23.7 minutes per game weren’t unique enough, he also scored double-digit points in 18 of Temple’s 32 games, helping him earn a spot on the American Athletic Conference’s All-Rookie team.
Needless to say, Rose’s first year in Philadelphia came as a bit of a shock.
“My expectations weren’t what it played out to be,” Rose said at Temple’s practice facility on Monday. “I expected to play, but not as much. I didn’t expect to finish out games and stuff like that. Coming in, I thought my freshman year was going to be a development year, and I would play when I got my opportunities. But I didn’t think I’d play as much.
“[Coaches] showed a lot of trust in me. They saw it in practice, but practice and games are two different things, so it definitely means a lot to me. Experience is the best teacher.”
While Temple’s taxing 2016 campaign ended on a sour note against East Carolina in the first round of the AAC Tournament back on Mar. 9, Rose–and the team–have spent little time away from the gym since. Returning players have already begun spring workouts, and Rose realizes there’s plenty of room for improvement in all aspects of the game.
“[This season] was really difficult, actually,” said Rose, whose team finished 16-16 overall and 7-12 in conference. “But it’s going to motivate us this offseason to make sure that doesn’t happen next year. We know that we have to be a more consistent team. Everything happened for a reason. The next couple months, we’re just looking to come closer together as a team.”
Rose wasted no time in making his presence known on the court. On some nights, the Rochester, N.Y. native was a human highlight reel, fully equipped to flaunt his vertical leap with flashy slam dunks and defensive blocks. But athletic ability in basketball can’t overshadow the need for a solid mid-range jump shot, which Rose is eager to work on with assistant coach Aaron McKie.
“I want to be more well-rounded,” said Rose, who shot 43-percent from the field on 252 total shots in his first season. “I definitely still have to learn some of the fundamentals and get a more consistent jump shot. That’s what I’ll be looking toward. I also want to reach 200 pounds and get stronger.”
It’s fair to consider Rose a raw player, but there’s no ceiling to what he can accomplish, according to his now-former teammate Daniel Dingle.
“He’s a unique talent,” Dingle told WHIP Radio back on Feb. 23. “Crazy thing is, he doesn’t really know the game yet, as far as learning it, having a sense of urgency. He just goes off of natural talent and instinct. He’s not really thinking about anything before he does it. So imagine when he starts to learn all of that.
“He stays in the gym, he does a great job. It’s rare that a freshman plays 30-something minutes at Temple University. I think he’s going to be a great, great piece here.”
But Rose’s role as a rising sophomore isn’t set in stone, as Temple’s abundance of guards and small forwards will create competition in the backcourt this upcoming fall. Alongside Rose will be rising junior Shizz Alston, Jr., injured guards Josh Brown and Trey Lowe, and three incoming recruits in Nate Pierre-Louis, J.P. Moorman and De’Vondre Perry. Despite showing promise, Rose isn’t blind to the fact that he’ll have to earn playing time once again.
“I’m really excited to play with those guys. Competition motivates me,” Rose said. “Starting is cool, but if the team would rather have me come off the bench for us to be more successful, then I’ll do it, no problem. I feel like I can still be a leader.”