Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #113
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast made it back to the NCAA Tournament, but there was not any Dunk City magic left for another improbable tournament run. The Eagles went a paltry 8-6 in Atlantic Sun play, but managed to knock off top seeded North Florida in the conference championship semifinals and beat seventh seeded Stetson in overtime in the final. The Eagles did pick up an NCAA Tournament win over fellow 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the First Four, but North Carolina was way too much for them. The return of Marc-Eddy Norelia, who flirted with entering the NBA Draft, gives FGCU plenty of hope for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 6-8 forward had a breakout junior campaign and led the Eagles with 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season. He is the player that FGCU can work through on both ends of the floor.
2015-16 Record: 21-14, 8-6
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joe Dooley
Coach Record: 65-38 at Florida Gulf Coast, 122-90 overall
Julian DeBose was the only starter returning to last year’s team and he was a good leader on the floor. However, his production dipped to 8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during his senior season. Filip Cvjeticanin was a part-time starter during his final season with FGCU. Starting or not, Cvjeticanin was a very good shooter and could occasionally spark the offense with his three-point shot. Brian Greene is the only other departure after seeing limited action.
Christian Carlyle and RaySean Scott are the incoming freshmen, but Florida Gulf Coast will look to transfer Brandon Goodwin to play a bigger role this season. Two years ago Goodwin had a breakout season at UCF where he averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. He can run a team, but he can score in bunches too. Combined with his experience, expect Goodwin to pick up right where he left off and put up big numbers for the Eagles. Joshua Ko also has some Division I experience after walking on at Pitt for two seasons. He is a walk-on at FGCU too, but could see some playing time due to his shooting ability.
Who to Watch:
The backcourt is loaded with Goodwin joining the fray. Last season Zach Johnson and Reggie Reid ran the point. Johnson dished out 3.3 assists per game, while Reid added 3.1 assists. Johnson though can play off of the ball too. He averaged 11.1 points per game and is a capable outside shooter, connecting on 38.0 percent of his three-point attempts. Johnson could spend a lot more time off of the ball this season with Goodwin and Reid running the point, but that will only happen if he can take more shots from long range and keep his percentage up around 38.0. Reid is not a scorer, but he was starting over Johnson for a while. Regardless of how it shakes out, FGCU has two very promising sophomores in Johnson and Reid and an experienced junior with Goodwin. The backcourt also boasts 6-5 junior Christian Terrell. He turned into the team’s top perimeter scorer and most prolific outside shooter and can use his size to help out on the glass too. Sophomore Rayjon Tucker had his moments as a freshman and is a candidate to help replace the shooting lost with DeBose and Cvjeticanin.
The backcourt usually wins championships in the Atlantic Sun and FGCU certainly has a force in the frontcourt with Norelia, but frontcourt depth could be an issue. Demetris Morant and Antravious Simmons split time starting beside Norelia last season and the story could be the same this time around. The Eagles do not have to get a ton of scoring out of those two since Norelia will do plenty of it on his own, but he does need a frontcourt mate who can be a threat to score and help out on the glass. Simmons is the better scoring option after averaging 7.9 points per game last season, but Morant is the better shot blocking threat. Between Norelia, Morant and Simmons, they will need to handle a bulk of the minutes in the frontcourt. It worked pretty well last season, but having another reliable big man would certainly help. Kevin Mickle could develop into that player and he did play quite a few minutes in the NCAA Tournament. If that happens, this is the most talented and deepest team in the Atlantic Sun.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Goodwin, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Zach Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Christian Terrell, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Demetris Morant, Senior, Forward, 5.7 points per game
Marc-Eddy Norelia, Senior, Forward, 17.1 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (76th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.7 (145, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.9 (23, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (56, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (324, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (141, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.4 (326, 7)
Rebound Margin: 5.3 (36, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (137, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (155, 4)