The Men's Basketball program recently released it's schedule for the 2009-2010 season and, upon first glance, it appears the Owls have a shot at immediate redemption over last years 6-26 record.
With home and away games against lower and mid major programs, the youthful but talented roster should find its way into the win column quickly.
Jarvis has made it a point to establish a schedule that "somewhat repeats itself", outside of league play. Hofstra, Albany, and American are all contracted for home and home series. He said that he will look to add one other team to this schedule regime next year to keep the recruiting pipeline in tact: "Hopefully we will get another team somewhere in the northeast whether its in Boston, a BU maybe (Boston University), or Northeastern, or a GW (George Washington), or George Mason in DC. So we'll get one more team next year that we'll start a home-and-home with, and the idea would be every year that you have a team coming from Washington DC, you know you're going to New York, and vise versa. You play where you want to recruit, or play where you have an ability to recruit. Since I know a few people in the northeast and there's some pretty good players there, we want to be able to go back into the DC/Baltimore area to play and want to go back into New York. We want to go back into, someday, maybe Boston to play", offered Jarvis.
This year's slate includes 13 home games, if you count Miami, which is actually being played at a neutral site while being marketed as a home game for the Owls. Fans would obviously like to see more home games on the schedule, but, because of the need for money games to help fund the program, FAU is hard pressed to enjoy a positive balance at home. "Since we have to play guarantee games, and two or three are on the road, so you're not going to play more home games than that. Maybe one more", said Jarvis.
On a positive note, the Sun Belt recently changed the way it is scheduling it's games; while combining road trips to include two games in the same geographical area. Last year, the Owls had to make single game road trips to both Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky. This year the contests will be a part of a two game stint. Also in this format will be trips to Louisiana-Lafayette and New Orleans. Jarvis is happy about the change: "The league has finally changed...hopefully forever, because the way it was done didn't make any sense at all, and it was really unfair to the student athlete."
Jarvis is emphatic that he has no favorites for starting roles at this point in time. Much like last season, he will make the determination after players hit the floor and staff run practice begins. Players have been undergoing trainer lead work-out sessions and playing together. However, he sees no roles solidified based on last seasons outcome. "We don't have any starters coming back. That's number one - not one. Everybody's going to basically have an opportunity to prove if they can be a starter, but even more important, how much time they get. Because that is more important than whether they start or not", said Jarvis.
He admits that coaches often have "favorites", and says that those are usually the ones who work hardest and produce the most for them. He certainly has a plethora to choose from within this year's class - each with their own special offering.
Expect some changes to last years line-up. It is hoped that shot blocking machine Brett Royster will slide over to the four-spot to appear out of "nowhere" from the weak-side on defense. This will open the way for Justin Davis, who the staff has praised since his arrival, and newcomer DeMonte Simpson to anchor the five spot. Further, the insertion of Ray Taylor into the point guard pool will likely mean less time for Alex tucker. Who will start is yet to be decided, but we are banking on Taylor assuming that role at some point - probably sooner than later. Greg Gantt is another newcomer to keep a watchful eye on.
This year's immediate goal is obviously to make a vast improvement over last season, while becoming a team that is "in the black". Given the talent level coming in, this can surely come to pass with some focus, determination, and absorption of the knowledge that a very capable FAU staff will empower them with.
Looking forward to the ride "up".