Men's Hoops Update…
Who’s in & who’s out?
A degree of uncertainty waft in the air when Jarvis announced that both Sanchez Hughley and Chris Watson would not be back in uniform next year.
Jarvis said the decisions were up to them, and each chose to move along in their respective directions - Hughley into post basketball life and Watson onto Lynn’s roster for more playing time. Owl fans will get to see Watson again this fall.
Of course this led to what many thought would be the insurgence of another big man, or even two. No dice.
“They become liabilities, big stiffs”, said Jarvis.
Let’s face it, he’s right. At this level of play, who has anything to offer under the basket in dominance? North Texas’ George Odufuwa is pretty much the closest thing to it presently in the Belt, and even he is not “dominant”.
What was needed was a “six pack” of guards, with little to no drop off, who could afford the ability to notch 40 full minutes of up-tempo basketball; both offensively and defensively.
FAU got that in the signings of Dennis Mavin, and Pablo Bertone, who will both push returnees Gantt, Richardson, Taylor, and Tucker for playing time and have impressive skills to boot.
Marshall transfer Kore White will finally suit up as well and should be quite a treat to watch. Guy has a complete package, can do it all, and will significantly tighten up that four man mismatch that has plagued FAU since moving into the Belt.
Taking it to the Next Level
Singing a familiar tune of “there are no starters”, Jarvis is back to basics once again and will ask each player to tow the line to establish themselves. The Owls were 14-16 last season, so it’s not like anyone should be guaranteed first dibs out of the gate anyway.
Wanted to get Coach’s nutshell take on the roster, and he was kind enough to oblige. Going by position here with the guards first. If you don’t know players by last name, comment away and we’ll fill you in…
Taylor – “Become like Steve Nash and lead the country in assists.”
Tucker – “Dedicate and commit himself to developing a jump shot.”
Mavin – “Come in and compete for playing time.”
Gantt – “Be a better shooter, but most importantly become a better defender.”
Richardson – “Become more than a jump shot, and a more complete player.”
Stewart – “Get what I was expecting to get, give us a defensive presence.”
White – “Help us win a lot more basketball games, and beat teams like WKU.”
McCoy – “Be patient with himself, and work his butt off.”
Mattison – “Bring it, and turn the motor on every day.”
Royster – “Be a consistent big-man, and 12-13 rebounds a game.”
Davis – “Play like he’s 6’-10” and not 6’-2”. More space between his man.”
Simpson – “Be a physical presence and let it be felt. Make some lay-ups.”
Stone cold bottom line:
“If the guys don’t play defense, they’re coming out. I don’t care how much they score.”
Jarvis couldn’t comment on Bertone, as there has not been an official release on him yet. So, will cite poetic license and just say that “go to the basket and score” would be most fitting. He’s a mature player and can flat out play while capable at any of the 1-3 spots.
Last, but not least, don’t be surprised if McCoy is tapped for a red shirt opportunity this year. Jarvis is high on him and would like to have him around down the line. With the “six pack” in effect, you really only need four bigs. And if his minutes are slacking early on, he will likely get the nod.
Schedule Coming Together
Simply put, the goal is to play teams in desired recruiting markets, and those who afford growth opportunity to become a legitimate mid-major.
Accordingly, FAU will begin home and home series with both George Mason and Siena this year but will hit the road to both locales first.
American and Manhattan will be making trips into the Burrow with Lynn and Northwood on tap for early exhibition action.
Northwood is led by former Villanova great Rollie Massimino. He’s quite a gregarious character and gets mad props for his NIAA squad knocking off FIU’s Isaiah Thomas in Thomas’ collegiate coaching debut in convincing fashion 71-61.
Money games currently include Florida, and DePaul - which FAU is waiting on a contract return to finalize. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Auburn and are all in consideration as well, with a congruent date being the determining factor as to which one will land on the schedule.
The Owls will also participate in a pre-season tournament in Oregon hosted by University of Portland amidst fellow participants UW-Milwaukee and UC Davis. Which brings us to our last stop…
For the first time in program history FAU is truly taking to the international landscape for an extended tour. The Owls did participate in the Puerto Rico Holiday Shootout back in 2000, going winless (0-3) in a three day sprint away from Boca Raton. But this will be a different bird altogether.
The team will make their way through Belgium, the Netherlands, and France for an extended eleven day swing August 11th – 21st while taking on a number of professional teams.
Obviously this has some attractive takeaways in recruiting, exposure, and team bonding. But don’t forget the cuisine.
Uniquely, most teams would have to wait to hit the road after playing on the Athletes in Action circuit (see pre-season tournament above), but not FAU.
Jarvis was able to broker the equity up front and will cash in this summer rather than next.
Easy to see that he is moving in rapid fashion right back to where he found success at George Washington by looking to tap into the fertile grounds of overseas talent.
That's all for now...