When Enfield left he took Kevin Norris with him who is a great recruiter due to his ability to connect with players. He played for Miami from 95-98. He is the only player in the school's history to lead the team in assists all four years he was there.
Enfield's Replacement is Joe Dooley, who served as Bill Self's right hand man for the last decade. He has a great reputation as a recruiter and has already brought in an influx of his own talent through transfers as well as three commits for next season. The word that a lot of the guys would use to describe Dooley in comparison is that he is a lot more intense in practice, although is is willing to joke around to lighten the mood. On offense his philosophy is pretty close to what we already had in place with the exception that when we get into our half-court sets that we are a little more structured within the offense.
On defense he preaches playing good defense for the full 35 seconds as well as being aggressive and getting into passing lanes. This shouldn't be a problem because we were sixth in the nation in total steals last season.
Brett Comer- Brett is the conductor that makes our train go. Last season he averaged 8 ppg and 6.6 apg(good for 12th in the nation). As illustrated during our run last season Comer sees everything that is happening on the court and has a knack for finding an open teammate even if he puts himself in a precarious position. He does is most damage working in the Pick and Roll where all he has to do is make the defense collapse and find the open man. He is great in the full court as well because he always has his head up looking for easy hoops. Just because he is a pass first pg doesn't mean he can't score. When he gets close he has the ability to finish through contact as well as avoid it in mid-air thanks to his sneaky good-not-great athleticism.
On the other side of the ball he is a solid on-ball defender even if he is a tad bit slow. He was second on the team in steals last season, but sometimes has a tendency to be to aggressive while going for the ball and either fouls the offensive player or gets caught out of position.
Brett's weaknesses are that he is an iffy three point shooter(26% last year) and that he turns the ball over quite a bit. I believe his three point shoot will be much improved because he has been working on it all summer so defenders can't sag off of him and play the drive and pass. I am also hoping for a reduction in turnovers(136 in both of his first to seasons on campus). They mainly come because he is a high risk/ high reward type player. If he is on then there is no stopping him, but if he gets rattled then he has a tendency to try and force the issue and it only results in more struggles.
Bernard Thompson- Bernard may be the most complete player on the team. Last season, he averaged 14.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 spg. He also shot 38% behind the arc. The best way to describe Bernard's offensive game is by using his nickname, Smoove. He can torch a team for 20 easily, but you would never know because he does it in such a quite and efficient manor. He is a soft touch all the way out to NBA three point range and really knows how to sell his pump fake and get his defender into the air. Bernard's repertoire of moves within fifteen feet seems endless between the floaters, runners, up and unders, and turn around jumpers(He has other moves as well but there are too many to list).
Smoove may be a great offensive player, but his bread and butter is on the defensive side of the ball. He finished second in the nation in total steals with 102 behind only Michael Carter-Williams. His long arms and great anticipation are what make him so dangerous on defense. He has had a steal in 63 of his 67 collegiate games including 47 muti-steal games.
If I had to pick something to criticize in Bernard's game it would be that he hasn't really showed the ability to be a late game assassin. In all honesty though this is probably because he has spent last season sharing the court with last year's A-Sun player of the year Sherwood Brown. With Sherwood playing over in Israel it is Bernard's time to step into the spotlight.
I know it has been reported that Bernard tweaked his ankle in a scrimmage last week, but that honestly shouldn't make a difference. He is a tough player who has played through this type of injury before and will be ready to go.
Dajuan Graf- Dajuan is an interesting player to me. Last season he averaged 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, and 1.4 apg in 13 minutes of action a game. I believe he is the most improved player on the roster, but he is stuck behind two potential all conference players. He is quick and has shown the ability to get to the rim and finish. He is a serviceable three point shooter and can make you pay if he gets left open. He knocks down is free throws when he gets to the line. Like Brett Juan is a great passer, but unlike him he won't try and force something if it isn't there. In transition Dajuan might be our fastest player with the ball and can really cause problems for defenses if they do not get back in transition.
On defense Juan is a little undersized at 6 foot flat. He makes up for this lack of size with quick hands and quick feet. He has a knack for getting his hands on the ball as shown by his 4 steals vs Jacksonville last year in only 20 minutes.
For Juan to make an impact this season he needs to be a consistent threat to score or find an open teammate for easy hoops. Do not be surprised to see Graf on the court at the same time as Comer and Thompson in certain situations, although this will cause us to have a very small lineup.
Everyone else- Nobody really knows how much the other guards on the roster will contribute because they are all new to the program this season. They are Armand Shoon, Tejai(pronounced TJ) Allen, and Kevin Boyle.
Shoon is my bet to carve out some playing time this season. Both he and Tejai are walk-ons who could end up playing due to our lack of depth this season. They can both shoot and Armand is an explosive leaper who can finish around the rim.
Boyle is the son of high school coaching legend Kevin Boyle. He played his high school ball with the likes of Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but after he graduated high school he decided to pursue his passion for movies and went to film school for two years. Up until about two months ago he hadn't touched a basketball for those two years. When Dooley called his dad to see if his son was interested in playing again, Kevin jr. came out retirement to suit up for the green and blue. He is a solid three point threat and a craft passer, but is still working on knocking the rust of.
Jamail Jones- Jamil is easily the biggest recruit FGCU has ever gotten. He transferred in last season from Marquette after riding the bench and not seeing completely eye to eye with Buzz Williams. Coming out of high school he was rated the number 53rd player in the nation by ESPN with offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Oregon, and of course Marquette. Melo(his nickname) is a strong athlete that can knock down threes in both transition and in the half court. He can use his solid frame to get to the rim and finish with power or finesse. He will step right in on offense and take the place of Sherwood. He has the size to go through smaller defenders and the speed to go around bigger ones.
He gets after the ball on defense and uses his size to keep his opponents in check. He is a solid rebounder from the forward position and is willing to do the dirty things, like dive for loose balls, to help the team win.
His biggest weakness as of now is that his motor isn't always going at 100%. He has had a tendency to take plays off in practice in the past, but Dooley seems to have remedied that with his intentness,
Filip Cvjeticanin- Filip is your prototypical euro big. He is 6'9, but spends the majority of his time on the perimeter. There is good reason for that though, when he is feeling it there are very few shooters in the nation that I would want on my team. Looking at his stats from last year doesn't tell the whole story because he played all last season with a bad back that almost forced him to redshirt the year. This cause a lot of pain for Fil throughout the year and he was never able to truly find his groove. If you want to see his true potential watch the begining of the A-Sun Championship from two seasons ago. He hit three threes, had a steal and finished it with a dunk in the span of three minutes. This preseason his back seems to be holding out well so I'm hoping to see a step forward from him and hopefully he will be a little more physical as well.
On defense Filip is exactly what you would expect. He gets bodied up by stronger players and doesn't rotate well in the post. He doesn't have great foot speed but is a serviceable on ball defender thanks in large part to his size and length. I do want to give him credit though, he works like crazy on improving this part of his game
Logan Hovey- You guys won't get to see Hovey do to a stress fracture in his leg, but I figured I would do a little write up on him while I'm at it. For a freshman his offensive game is very polished. He can finish in close in a variety of ways including some rim rattling dunks. He also has the ability to knock down the mid-range shot, and can step out and knock it down from three too. I never really got a chance to see him play defense thanks to his injury, but from his high school tapes he seems to use his length to cause problems for the offensive player. He has a very good nose for the ball and always seems to be in the right place for a rebound.
It is really a shame he is not playing because I think he is an all-conference talent when he gets a shot to play big minutes(as soon as next year). At this point I am hoping he redshirts because he has missed all of preseason and probably wouldn't be completely healthy until January.
Nick Pellar- Nick is a bit of a man of mystery for me. He transferred in as a preferred walk-on after playing last season at Auburn with another one of our transfers Brian Greene Jr. I have seen Nick do some nice things like step
out and knock down contested threes in practice, but he just seems a little slow for the D-1 level.
On defense as well as on the boards the man goes after the ball and seems to end up with it more times than you would expect. He probably won't play a ton, but you can be sure he will make the minutes he does play count.
Chase Fieler- Chase is the mayor of Dunk City best known for his jaw-dropping dunk vs Georgetown the pretty much sealed us the victory, but he is so much more than a big time dunker. Chase is not only a great basketball player, but he is also a great leader. He gives 110% on every play and expects nothing less from the guys around him. You won't find a lot of zeros when you look at his stat line in the box score. He averaged more than one in every category.
Chase is another player who has the ability to score however he wants, but he prefers to finish with a slam to get his point across. It works for him which is evident when you look at his field goad percentage of .563. To get to the rim he can either take his defender off the bounce or roll to the hoop after setting a screen. When given time and space he can also knock down threes. He shot 38 percent last season.
Chase led the team in blocks last season and has a great sense of when to come over and help a teammate. He is very vocal and active on D and does a great job of letting his teammates know what is going on at all times. If opposing bigs arn't careful with the ball he will take it and is a threat to go coast to coast on them.
Chase doesn't have many weaknesses, but the thing has worked on the most this off-season has been adding muscle and getting in better shape. If he accomplishes those two things there is no doubt in my mind that he will win the A-Sun PoY this season and help us make some more noise in the NCAAs.
Nate Hicks - Nate is another transfer who is eligible this season. He came to use by way of Georgia Tech and may be the most complete offensive post player we have ever had. He has a very workman like attitude and is very easy to root for. He can finish over either shoulder and can step out to twenty feet and surprise defenders with his range. He is a big body and will bang with other bigs. He has surprising athleticism for some one who is listed at 6'10. He has a 30 inch vertical and will finish on his fair share of ally-oops this season.
On defense I think Nate could be a tad bit underrated due to not playing for a year and with having a couple of very good shot blockers in Fieler and McKnight. He has a very good second jump for rebounds and doesn't get moved in the post easily.
I would not be surprised if Nate came close to averaging a double double on the season. Nate needs to work on his free throw because he is going to spend a lot of time at the line this season and needs to be able to put away games if it becomes a hack a big type of game. Due to Nate not playing last year and his minuscule stats while at Georgia Tech I think He will be the most surprising player on the roster when it is all said and done.
Eric McKnight- Eric is another guy that won't be playing in this game. He got suspended for violating a team rule after last season ended. Eric transferred in from Iowa St. when Enfield first arrived and lived up to his billing last season. He is a freak athlete who can wind up and throw it down with the best of them. He has developed some nice post moves since arriving down here, but doesn't have much of an offensive game outside of 10 feet. He is another guy I worry about being on the free throw line at the end of a game.
On defense Eric goes after every shot looking for a block and gets more than his fair share of them. If he gets a piece of it, he most likely will send it right back in your face. He is a ferocious on the boards and uses his long arms to get rebounds to high for other bigs to reach.
All in all is can be a very domain defensive player with an offensive game that is good enough to force teams to pay attention to him in the post. When he sees the court he should be one of the better defensive, if not the best, defensive big in our conference.
Marcus Blake- Marcus is a preferred walk-on that has been with the team for what seems like forever. He is a bright guy and plays basketball for the love of the game. Thanks to Eric's suspension and our lack of depth he should get some quality minutes this season. He is an explosive leaper who can finish at the rim, but not much more than that on offense, although he is a solid free throw shooter for a big. He out works other players for rebounds. If not in any other part of the game his hustle will have an impact. He gets down court quickly and routinely beats his man for an easy lay up in transition. On defense he might be a little over matched by bigger opponents but that's not going to stop him from doing everything in his power to make life hard for his opponent.
In closing, we are not a team to underestimate. We return a lot of talent from last year's run and may have even upgraded at the center position. Our biggest concern is obviously depth, but as long as we avoid foul trouble we should be fine. If you have any questions about the team feel free to ask, but I think I pretty much covered everything
I have a feeling this is going to be another fantastic season for use and that we aren't going away anytime soon. I think we will steal one at your place by the final of 71-63.
I will leave you guys with this
Good Luck and GO EAGLES!!!