Temple recruit Will Cummings a true student-athlete

Will Cummings carries a 3.7 grade-point average.
Will Cummings carries a 3.7 grade-point average.
Posted: November 28, 2010

WINDERMERE, Fla. - It all started eight years ago, with a C-plus on his report card.

"I'll remember that for a long time," Will Cummings said. "I won't let that happen again."

Back then, Temple's lone basketball recruit for the Class of 2011 was a fourth-grader whose primary aspiration was to become the best player in Jacksonville, Fla. At the time, he didn't take his schoolwork as seriously as his mother, Angela Cummings, would have liked.

So in his eyes, the punishment he received for getting a C-plus was severe.

"She wouldn't allow me to go to basketball practice," recalled Cummings, now a senior point guard at Jacksonville's powerhouse Providence School.

Thanks to his mother, Cummings blossomed into a student-athlete Owls fans will most likely come to appreciate. That's because the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder is now recognized as a scholar who just happens to play ball.

"It only takes you one time to really get hurt and basketball is all over with," said Cummings, who plans to major in computer science at Temple.

He carries an unweighted 3.7 grade-point average while taking an advanced-placement statistics course. He also takes honors classes in English, economics, American government, marine science, and the Bible.

His recognition as the nation's 34th-ranked point guard in the Class of 2011 is just as impressive as his course load.

"He is the best on-the-ball defender we ever had," Providence School coach Jim Martin said of the true point guard, who is blessed with superior speed and quickness. "And I will say on the offensive end, he's the best player we've ever had where the other team cannot keep a guy in front of him."

Cummings had an opportunity to play in a big-time basketball conference. His stellar play this summer for Nike Team Florida, an AAU team, attracted late interest from Stanford of the Pac-10 and Atlantic Coast Conference teams Boston College and Miami.

But, by then, Cummings was already leaning heavily toward Temple.

"It mainly was just the tradition of winning," he said of selecting the three-time defending Atlantic Ten champion Owls. "If I would have gone to an ACC school in Miami [or] Boston College, they are at the bottom of the ACC."

At Temple, Cummings will get the chance to showcase his offensive skills. And since the Owls don't have a true point guard, he's projected to play a lot of minutes as a freshman.

"I'll score," Cummings said. "And if I don't score, I'll make plays and contribute and be just as versatile."

Last season, Cummings was asked to run the offense and be a lockdown defender. As a result, he averaged a modest 10 points to go with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.

But this season, Martin wants him to showcase his ability take the ball to the rim.

Temple was impressed with how Cummings interacted with others on the court.

"Then you find out what kind of student he is," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "He's pretty much off the page as a student. Then you meet his family, and you say: 'This is almost too good to be true.' "

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com Follow him on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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