Temple Owls: How Obi Enechionyia’s return helps both parties

Feb 9, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls forward Obi Enechionyia (0) rebounds past Southern Methodist Mustangs guard Jarrey Foster (10) during the first half at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls forward Obi Enechionyia (0) rebounds past Southern Methodist Mustangs guard Jarrey Foster (10) during the first half at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that Temple Owls forward Obi Enechionyia has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft, how can he improve and help the Owls going into his final season?

At the end of last season, many figured that the Temple Owls basketball team would look different. The team itself has a lot to figure out next season. With four seasons graduating and a mediocre recruiting class, the head coach Fran Duffy will rely heavily on his veterans. Luckily, forward Obi Enechionyia has decided to return for his senior year. 

Interestingly enough, Enechionyia originally declared for the NBA Draft. However, he chose to not hire an agent. As a result, he could withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to college. Now, this return helps both parties out tremendously.

On the positive side, it helps Temple fortify its frontcourt. With forward Mark Williams graduating, the Owls would have been at a serious disadvantage up front. Throw in the fact that Enechionyia could have left only makes that proposal that much more of a nightmare. So, at least the Owls could maintain the starting frontcourt of Obi Enechionyia and Damien Moore for one more year.

Stability Up Front

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Keeping Enechionyia for one more season allows coach Fran Dunphy to slowly incorporate youth at the position. Had Enechionyia gone pro, the Owls would have a huge deficiency of experienced big men. Their only remaining frontcourt players with experience would have been centers Damien Moore and Ernest Aflakpui, neither of which made any serious noise last season. Because of this, Obi Enechionyia returning could prove vital to the team’s well-being.

While Temple will have a few recruits available to fill the void it may not work initially. The Owls only have one recruit for the frontcourt in four-star prospect Justyn Hamilton. Now, Hamilton is a decent prospect and could become a quality contributor down the line. However, at this juncture, the lack of college-level experience may not work well for him. Ideally, Fran Dunphy will look to ease him into the rotation. Having Obi Enechionyia back for another year makes that proposition even easier.

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Now, the motives behind Obi’s staying go beyond simply helping Temple up front. Remember, Enechionyia originally declared for the NBA Draft. However, he was not invited to the Draft Combine. Reading the tea leaves here, one would assume this meant that most NBA front office heads do not think highly of Temple forward.

With that said, that does not mean he can’t improve his stock for next year. Interestingly enough, many projected Enechionyia as a potential first round pick. However, due to the lack of consistency in his play, his stock fell dramatically. As a result, most teams wouldn’t even give him a workout. The only team to do so, oddly enough, was the Boston Celtics. Soon after that workout, Enechionyia decided to return for his senior year.

Improving Draft Stock

Now, returning for his senior year could seriously help Obi Enechionyia’s draft stock. Based on his measurables, teams should still look at Enechionyia. At 6-10, 220 pounds, he could have a lot of eyes on him next year. The question then becomes, what position does Obi Enechionyia play? Is he a three or a four? Can he play both? Is his lack of bulk going to hurt him at the next level?

Now, based on his size, Obi Enechionyia should play the four. The Temple Owls do not have enough bigs to warrant Enechionyia playing anywhere else, at least not for long periods of time. One area of his game that could make a highly coveted prospect next year is his three point shooting.

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Last year, Obi shot 38.5 percent from three point range. Now, that might sound good initially, but he actually shot a high volume of shots, about 6 threes per game to be exact. For such a high volume, only hitting about 2 per game may not be enough. Clearly, consistency could prove ever so important for Obi Enechionyia.

In addition, NBA teams want to see guys work hard at both ends of the floor. Two areas where Obi Enechionyia struggles are personal fouls and turnovers. Last season Enechionyia landed in the top 10 of the AAC in both of those categories. Teams will want to see him played in a more disciplined fashion. Getting into foul trouble on a consistent basis and turning the ball over won’t help. Pro scouts want bigs who understand this notion and won’t become a liability to the teams.

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So, in order for both parties to do well next season, Obi Enechionyia will need to play consistently and with less recklessness. Now, Enechionyia has the potential to make himself into a viable prospect. As long as he plays to his strengths, and works on improving his shooting, he can himself and the Temple Owls in the immediate future. Hopefully, both sides benefit from one more year of Obi Enechionyia at Temple.