Getting ready to begin the 2023-24 season, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team will be traveling to Illinois to take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers on November 8th.
Head coach Dusty May spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations against the Ramblers.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Opening statement on how the team is looking to begin the season
"We're excited to get somebody else. Obviously, it's been a long offseason with so many guys coming back. You always run the risk of being still from going against each other so much."
"Our guys have had a very productive summer and fall, and we're excited to see where we are against another opponent. But at the end of the day, this season is going to be about us versus us."
Status Update on G Alijah Martin
"He's doing well. It'd be a game-time decision, but he's doing well. He's in good spirits. Life's good for him in Boca."
May's memories facing Loyola Chicago in 2018
"Unfortunately, I have a couple of memories. Number one, they beat us when we were top five in the country in Florida and they came in with a freshman and Cameron Krutwig and that was their pivotal moment. They were a little bit unheralded at that time, and they beat us at Florida and they deserved to win. They played really well. We were coming off the PK80 classic, and it wasn't a fluke."
"They were a really good basketball team and and we happened to be in Dallas playing at the same time as them. I believe it was the game that sent them to the Sweet 16 while we've just been eliminated by Texas Tech. And their guard, I forget his name, shoots a jump shot. It hits the rim about what seemed like 93 times and it went down against Tennessee, so I was standing 10 feet from it. Loyola Chicago athletic director's an old friend of mine, so I was standing and actually visiting with him before it happened but what a great program, great city. We're excited."
Utilizing Brenen Lorient, Isaiah Gaines, and Tre Carroll on Wednesday night
"All three of those guys have unique skill sets. Brenen's a great athlete and he's shooting the ball much better. He's a weapon on both sides of the ball, and Isaiah Gaines is an elite on-ball defender. He's had opportunities to really help us and he's making shots as well. And then Tre's an elite offensive player. Defensively, he's getting better, his communication, his quickness, his athleticism continues to evolve into an approving player. Those guys can all help us just like everyone, just like Jalen Gaffney, BJ Greenlee, and Nick Boyd and Nelly and all these guys and Giancarlo. They just need to do whatever they can to help the team win. We're in season mode now, a learning mode. Work on our game mode is over; it's time to perform at a high level."
Playing freshmen throughout the game
"We have two true freshmen and we have Leo Beath, who plays a lot of practice and those guys are all going to be fixtures in the program going forward. They're all talented, big upside guys. Right now obviously without injuries, there's a lot of guys in front of them that have played and done it at a high level that'll get the first crack at it. But we're very confident with the young guys in our program to play spot minutes and do what the team needs to be done right now but also having a bright future."
Preparations against Loyola Chicago
"The margin of victory is very small for all of us. They had a good team. Sometimes when you bring in a new group that aren't used to playing together and aren't used to carrying that big of a load in a league like the Atlantic 10, it's a challenge and it's very difficult to sustain success like the Kansas's and those guys. But make no mistake, they have good players. They're going to be extremely hungry for a number of reasons."
"One, being that disappointed in their season last year. They've added some older competitors that have produced at a high level. And obviously with a team with an AP ranking coming in, it's going to give them extra juice. We've got to be able to match their emotional energy for 40 minutes. And if we can, then we just got to go execute because we've been in this situation a lot with this group together. Hopefully our continuity will help get us over the top."
The Owls will be hopping on a 2:30 PM flight for Chicago as they finish their preparation against the Ramblers heading into Wednesday night.