Daniel Dingle has been hearing the stories for years. Now he wants some stories of his own. Twenty years after his older brother Dana helped UMass reach the Final Four, Temple’s junior swingman from the Bronx made his NCAA Tournament.
And the moment he’s been waiting for, Friday night’s South Regional first-round game between the 10th-seeded Owls (21-11) and No. 7 Iowa (21-10), is coming with some extras. Dingle will be in his hometown and is expected to have 30 friends and family in attendance.
“Just getting the opportunity to play in front of friends and family and the opportunity to be here with my teammates and show them the whole New York atmosphere,” Dingle said. “I might not get a chance to play here again, as far as March Madness, so I’ve just got to cherish this moment.”
These teams appear headed in opposite directions.
Iowa (21-10) was ranked as high as No. 3 and has two wins over Michigan State, but arrives in a 2-6 tailspin. “It’s not Panic City by any means,” Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery insisted.
Temple scheduled a spate of non-conference powerhouses and lost to them all before it started beating top competition in late December; it got signature wins against then-No. 22 Cincinnati, then-No. 8 SMU and UConn. Those are the three games in which Dingle scored in double digits.
Dingle says his older brother has been prepping him for Friday for two decades.
“He really put the ball in my hands,” Daniel said of Dana, who is 20 years older. “I started to play at the age of 3. I mean really playing a lot, like 6-and-under. I was competing back then.”
Daniel had his brother’s guidance the whole way, from skill development through choosing a college. All along he got to hear Dana’s stories about John Calipari’s “refuse to lose” Minutemen that made the Final Four (wins that were later vacated).
Now when most people bring up his brother’s career, they mistake him for being his father because of the age difference.
Dana Dingle was invited to Nets camp when Calipari left UMass the following year, ended up playing overseas and in the Dominican Republic for a few years before returning to New York and the world of finance. He now runs the Long Island-based New York Lightning AAU team.
Dingle was an Owls freshman three years ago when they last made the tourney but saw no action. A knee injury cost him most of his sophomore year and he appealed to the NCAA to get back the eligibility. Now he is in Temple’s starting five and, given that road, he says “this means a lot, just being in the tournament.”