NCAA

Former Philadelphia college stars chasing NBA dreams in San Antonio

Former Philadelphia college stars chasing NBA dreams in San Antonio

SALT LAKE CITY – Beating the odds to make an NBA roster is never easy for an undrafted player. Without the luxury of a guaranteed rookie contract, undrafted prospects have to turn heads in summer league play to even get an invite to an NBA team's fall camp.

Former Villanova standout Ryan Arcidiacono and former Temple stars Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey are banking on a summer league stint with the San Antonio Spurs turning into a launching pad for an NBA career. They are playing with the Spurs in both Utah and Las Vegas this month.

Each player has a goal of proving their skills can translate to basketball's highest level after getting overlooked by scouts and general managers when they first came out of college.

“I feel like I belong here,” Arcidiacono said. “Even though I was not drafted, I still feel like I can play.”

What Arcidiacono did at Villanova certainly offers a good template in building a successful pro career. He became the first player in Wildcats history to record more than 1,500 career points and 500 career assists. Arcidiacono ranks fourth all-time at Villanova with 535 assists and finished with 1,604 points.

With him at the controls, Villanova posted a 35-5 record this past season and earned its second national championship in school history. Arcidiacono was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 Final Four.

“I don't think you count a kid like that out,” Spurs summer league coach Will Hardy said. “He started four years at Villanova. Obviously, had a great career there and won a national championship. So, yeah, I wouldn't count him out.”

Arcidiacono averaged 1.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals in 22.7 minutes per game in Utah this week. Hardy praised his effort on the defensive end and his ability to put teammates in good positions on offense.

Solid and gritty play has brought Arcidiacono to this point and he is counting on that same formula to earn him a chance in the NBA.

“I just have to keep doing what I did in college,” Arcidiacono said. “That's what got me to this point. If I tried to change everything, I'd be giving myself a worse chance of making a team. My best chance of making a team is to keep doing what I did in college: be a leader, be very vocal, play solid defense, find people and be able to make open shots.”

Players like Cummings bring a different perspective to summer league basketball. The former Temple guard spent last season in the NBA D-League, playing in 49 games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He made the most of his opportunities at that level. Cummings averaged 20.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 36.3 minutes per game for the Vipers. He was selected to both the All-NBA D-League Second Team and the NBA D-League All-Rookie Team at season's end.

“I already knew I wasn't going to get drafted,” Cummings said. “I was already mentally ready to go through what I was going to go through. I already knew what I had to do to prepare myself and get better and have the season I had in the D-League.”

One year of pro experience also has Cummings feeling confident he can now take the next step up to the NBA. In Utah, Cummings averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 15.7 minutes per contest for the Spurs.

He feels a difference in his overall skills and his confidence level from this time a year ago.

“I have a better understanding for the pro game,” Cummings said. “Just having that year under your belt helps you coming out. You're more calm. You're more relaxed. You kind of know what to expect.”

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

usa-logan-marchi-penn-athletics-justin-watson.jpg
USA Today Images/Penn Athletics

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

Temple (3-4, 1-3 AAC) at Army (5-2)
Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Saturday, noon, CBS Sports Network

Last time out
Temple lost to UConn, 28-24, last Saturday.

Army beat Eastern Michigan, 28-27, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week against UConn, the Owls committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. Despite putting up 229 more yards and 13 more first downs than the Huskies, Temple couldn’t finish drives late in the game to pull out the win.

Temple’s schedule doesn’t get easier this week. The Owls play an Army team riding a three-game win streak and boasting the second-best rushing offense in college football (378.4 ypg). That will be the matchup to watch as Temple averages 167.1 rushing yards allowed per game, good for seventh in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple’s starting quarterback Logan Marchi missed some practice time this week, but head coach Geoff Collins said he expects him to play on Saturday. If he can’t go, look for backup Frank Nutile to replace him.

What it means
Temple’s performance against UConn was embarrassing, while the Owls' bowl hopes would take a severe hit with a loss to Army. Tulsa and Cincinnati are the only other opponents on the schedule against which Temple should be favored. Navy and UCF, on paper, look to be tough matchups for the Owls.

Series history
Temple owns the 7-5 series advantage and is 6-1 against Army since 2008. That one loss came last year when the Black Knights beat the Owls, 28-13, at Lincoln Financial Field in Temple’s season opener. 

What's next?
Temple has its bye before hosting Navy on Nov. 2.

Army travels to Air Force. 

Penn (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) vs. Yale (4-1, 1-1 Ivy)
Franklin Field
Saturday, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia+


Last time out
Penn lost at Columbia in overtime, 34-31, last Saturday.

Yale defeated Holy Cross, 32-0, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn has the worst scoring defense in the Ivy League, which doesn’t bode well for its chances in this one considering Yale has the best scoring offense in the league. The Quakers allow 32.6 ppg and the Bulldogs score 41 ppg. Penn’s total defense is also last in the league allowing 449.2 ypg.

The Bulldogs take control on the ground with the best rushing offense in the Ivy. Zane Dudek and Deshawn Salter lead the Bulldogs, as both have rushed for more than 400 yards and each has seven touchdowns. Penn will have to win the battle in the trenches to slow down the Bulldogs.

Series history
This is the 84th meeting between the teams. The Bulldogs hold a 46-37-1 advantage but Penn has won 19 of the last 25.

What’s next?
Penn travels to Brown.

Yale hosts Columbia.

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

BOX SCORE

That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.