#73 Florida Gulf Coast Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Florida Gulf Coast Eagles


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #73

Conference Rank: #1 ASUN

Florida Gulf Coast Logo
Under Coach Joe Dooley, Florida Gulf Coast has finished first or second in the ASUN all four years. Last season saw the Eagles win another regular season title and reach the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Following a 0-2 start, FGCU lost just five games between November 20th and the start of the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles were not too far away from making another improbable tournament run either. They nearly knocked off #3 seed Florida State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. This group has some big holes to fill, but they should get another shot at shocking the college basketball world this March.
2016-17 Record: 26-8, 12-2
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joe Dooley
Coach Record: 91-46 at Florida Gulf Coast, 148-98 overall
Who’s Out:
The frontcourt will look a lot different without Demetris Morant and Marc-Eddy Norelia. Morant was third on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game and led the squad with 7.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Two years ago Norelia averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He saw his production diminish last season due to an injury and personal reasons,  but losing a player like Norelia still hurts immensely even he was not anywhere close to 100 percent last season. Kevin Mickle will head to Ohio as a graduate transfer. He provided a decent amount of depth in the frontcourt. Guards Reggie Reid and Rayjon Tucker are also leaving the program. Reid, a 5-11 point guard, averaged 2.9 points and 2.0 assists last season, while Tucker was often the top scorer off the bench and averaged 7.7 points per game.
Who’s In:
Coach Dooley obviously needs some new contributors in the frontcourt. He went out and grabbed four of them, including three transfers with Division I experience. Ricky Doyle started 30 games during his two years at Michigan. The 6-10 forward saw his production dip to 3.8 points and 2.0 rebounds during his sophomore season, but he can do some scoring when given the opportunity. At the least he has proven to be an efficient scorer. Brady Ernst began his collegiate career at Iowa State, where he played in six games before an injury ended his freshman campaign. For his redshirt freshman campaign, the 6-10 forward went to a junior college where he averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds. Michael Gilmore will be eligible following the fall semester. He spent two years at VCU, where he ended his time with a strong showing against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. Incoming freshman Brian Thomas will have time to develop his game, but he can make an impact on the glass and in the shot blocking department right away. FGCU also adds three newcomers to the perimeter, including two transfers. The well-traveled Dinero Mercurius will add an experienced three-point shooting threat to the team. Walk-on Kyle Hoffman could see a few minutes off the bench too and has the ability to shoot the ball. Darnell Rogers is a quick, tough 5-3 point guard who can set up his teammates. He can score some too.
Who to Watch:
Brandon Goodwin will again lead a very talented backcourt. He transferred in from UCF and took the ASUN by storm, averaging 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals during his debut campaign with the Eagles. He will be joined by fellow returning starters Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell. Johnson averaged 11.9 points per game, while adding 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals. Terrell tallied 10.2 points and 2.4 assists. All three of those players made between 53 and 55 three-pointers, but they only shot between 34.4 percent and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc. That is why finding a consistent shooter who can come in off the bench was so important for Coach Dooley in the recruiting class. None of the returning starters are bad shooters by any means, but the hope is that Mercurius can boost the team’s three-point shooting percentage if Goodwin, Johnson and Terrell hover around a similar shooting percentage as last season.
Final Projection:
In the frontcourt, Antravious Simmons and RaySean Scott will have to battle the newcomers for minutes. Simmons, a 6-9, 250 pound senior, started 11 games last season and averaged 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. He was more productive during his sophomore season, but Simmons could be in for a good senior season if he can earn more playing time. And it will be the play of Simmons and the rest of the frontcourt that determines just how dangerous this team will be in March. Morant and Norelia are not easy pieces to replace and FGCU needs to find an interior scorer, a shot blocking threat and a couple decent rebounders.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Goodwin, Senior, Guard, 18.5 points per game
Zach Johnson, Junior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Christian Terrell, Senior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Antravious Simmons, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Ricky Doyle, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.4 (42nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (99, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.9 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.5 (101, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (253, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (187, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (170, 4)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (34, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.5 (56, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (111, 2)