Coach May Field of 68 Classic Presser Notes
Coming off a successful run in the ESPN Invitational en route to winning the tournament, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team looks to take advantage of that momentum by getting ready to host the Field of 68 Classic.
They will first take on the Liberty Flames on November 30th before playing the Charleston Cougars on December 2nd.
Head coach Dusty May spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations against the Flames.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Opening statement on the team's performance in the ESPN Invitational since the Bryant loss
"We're pleased with the way we played in Orlando. But all our focus has turned towards the Thursday and Saturday homestand. And the train keeps moving. we've got a big big game versus liberty on Thursday."
"We learned a lot from the Bryant game. Number one, I don't know if we learned it or just reconfirmed it, but some nights the basketball is not meant to go in. We were 9-26 on layups and we were 5-30 from three. But if we would have found a way to still get a good percentage of 50-50 basketballs, if we could have came up with some extra possessions, if we still would have hustled like we typically hustle despite our shooting woes, then we still would have been in position to win the game."
"So that's going to be our mindset going forward when our shots are going in, just gonna determine the amount we win by, and we're very confident that we can grind them out when the ball is not going in. But most importantly, we will learn that we don't need anyone to play hero ball for this team. We simply need to do it together."
Evaluating the team's depth based on their performance in the invitational
"I love the depth of our team. We have a lot of guys to come play. Tre Carroll, for example, there's no way we beat Butler if he's not ready and he doesn't make the contributions he does. Brenen Lorient, even though he's not playing near as well as he's capable or he'd like to, he's made some real contributions from a defense and energy standpoint, turning some defense into easy baskets. Sometimes when you lose a guy or two, it actually helps short-term and long-term really, that Jalen Gaffney now knows he's playing 20 to 25 minutes so he doesn't have to wonder."
"It's not based on foul trouble; we have so many guards that they all have to give up quite a bit there. A lot of them are playing 20 minutes at night and they should be playing 27 or 28 based on on how much we expect how much energy we expect them to exert. But I was super proud of Gaffney, he was sensational. I know Alijah got the MVP of the tournament, but he was as valuable as anyone in our role guys. BJ Greenlee, I think he was probably as impactful as a defender as anyone in Orlando and Brandon Weatherspoon with his intangibles. So obviously Vlad, and Johnell and Alijah and those guys played really well. But I thought our role guys were kind of the unsung heroes of the entire tournament."
Nick Boyd's playing status update
"He's getting closer. I don't think so. It'd be a game-day decision. He's doing some things. I can't say for sure right now, I would say probably not. But I wouldn't have thought Giancarlo was going to play against Virginia Tech either so I don't know yet. I don't think so, but we won't know for sure until game day."
Given May's response, Boyd should be considered questionable.
Preparations for Liberty
"They're impressive. Hats off to Coach McKay, his staff, and his group. They play the game the right way. They're physical, they're together, they shoot it, they have playmakers, they do some very unique things on both sides of the ball. Very well-planned style of play. They have solutions for every situation offensively and defensively. I could go on and on. There's going to be 10 players on the court Thursday that know how to play this game at a high level. So we're excited to test ourselves against a great program."
Thoughts on Saturday's matchup with Charleston, and the Field of 68 concept
"A lot of respect for Coach Kelsey. That's a great basketball program, historical program, facility, city, everything you would want in a basketball job and arena and now they have a rabid fan base and a coach who's brought a lot of juice and energy to that program and has a roster full of really good players."
"There's a reason these three teams got together and it's because of mutual respect for each other. It's difficult to get these type of games at home in neutral sites. So it made sense for all of us, and there's a reason that these three programs got together; because we all have a lot of respect for each other."
With today's practice already concluded, the Owls will continue warming up as they gear up against the Flames entering Thursday night.