#60 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles: College Basketball 111 in 111

florida gulf coast basketball

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles went from a mostly obscure college basketball program to the darlings of the NCAA Tournament.  Their improbable run to the Sweet 16 captured the hearts of the basketball world and even earned them the catchy nickname of “Dunk City.”  Even though their head Andy Enfield fled to USC, FGCU returns enough talent where they won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year.

FLORIDA GULF COAST EAGLES
Last Season: 2nd, 13-5 in Atlantic Sun, 26-11 overall
Predicted A-Sun Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Erik McKnight (Jr)/Nate Hicks (Jr)
F: Chase Fieler (Sr)/Filip Cvjeticanin (Jr)/Marcus Blake (Jr)
G/F: Jamail Jones (Jr)/Logan Hovey (Fr)
SG: Bernard Thompson (Jr)
PG: Brett Comer (Jr)/Dajuan Graf (Jr)

Gone: SG-Sherwood Brown, PF-Eddie Murray, G-Christophe Varidel (transfer-Chaminade), C-Leonard Livingston Jr. (transfer)

2013-2014 Outlook:
Replacing Enfield as head coach is long-time Kansas assistant Joe Dooley who tries to build off of the momentum after becoming the first ever 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16.  It helps tremendously that four starters return with the lone exception being leading scorer Sherwood Brown.

Dooley has experience in the backcourt with juniors Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson who is a capable scorer in his own right.  The team also welcomes Marquette transfer Jamail Jones who didn’t see much playing time with the Golden Eagles but is a tremendous athlete that was considered a top 100 recruit coming out of high school.  Backcourt depth will be a concern with Dajuan Graff being the the lone scholarship guard coming off the bench.

Dunk City’s starting front line is intact with Chase Fieler and Eric McKnight returning.  Fieler is a stretch four who actually the team’s most efficient three-point shooter a year ago.  Georgia Tech transfer Nate Hicks adds needed size and depth in the middle while Filip Cvjeticanin provides Dooley with another forward capable of stretching defenses with his outside shot.  Due to a lack of bodies on the active roster, seldom used Marcus Blake and freshman Logan Hovey are expected to see minutes off the bench as well.

The sudden rise of Florida Gulf Coast on the college basketball map also allowed Dooley to snag three key transfers this off-season.  Julian DeBose was the second leading scorer on Rice last season while Former Auburn combo guard Brian Greene is also a capable scorer.  In addition to the new guards, Dooley picked up a commitment from ex-Tulane post player Marc-Eddy Norelia.  All three guys must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but will be allowed to practice with the team and add needed depth in 2014-15.

We will have to wait and see if the Eagles can duplicate the magic of last season with their high-flying, fast-paced style of basketball or if they are just another one-hit wonder destined to drop back off the college basketball map.  If I was a betting man, I’d put money on FGCU to once again represent the Atlantic Sun Conference in the NCAA Tournament and undoubtedly be a draw that no top seed will want to see when the brackets are revealed.

Player to Watch: Brett Comer
Entering his third year as the starting point guard, Comer is truly the maestro of the Florida Gulf Coast offensive attack.  The former high school teammate of Austin Rivers has led the A-Sun in assists in each of the past two seasons and his poise and terrific court vision make him one of the more underappreciated point guards in the country.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/8 at Nebraska
11/26 at N.C. State
12/1 vs. Iona
12/17 at South Florida
12/19 at Mississippi State

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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