#120 Florida Gulf Coast Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #120
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic Sun

FGCU Team Page#120 Florida Gulf Coast Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy FGCU Basketball Tickets

The Eagles are headed into year two of the Joe Dooley era and are coming off an Atlantic Sun regular season title and NIT appearance. But clearly their main goal is to, once again, grab the A-Sun’s automatic NCAA bid and then remind the nation that #DunkCity is on the map. A 22-13 campaign will be great to build off of for a team that is widely considered the deepest and most talented in school history. A plethora of available transfers strengthen a frontcourt that looked sparse at most times last year.

2013-14 Record: 22-13, 14-4
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Joe Dooley
Coach Record: 22-13 at Florida Gulf Coast, 79-65 overall

Who’s Out:
The all-time program leader in field goals made and rebounds, Chase Fieler, is the Eagles key loss heading into next season. A 6-foot-8 versatile forward, Fieler was a two guard early in his FGCU career, but transitioned into a post player in his later seasons. He was second on the team in points per game, at 13.9, but his dominance on the boards will be missed the most. Another member of the Eagles’ sparse frontcourt, 6-foot-9 center Eric McKnight transferred and ended up at Tennessee. After his 12 game suspension to start the FGCU season, McKnight shook off the rust to become a large presence in the paint, blocking shots and working in the post. Now junior guard Dajuan Graf transferred to NCCU after playing only 20 minutes a game last year. He was extremely efficient in his time, but there weren’t enough minutes to go around with Brett Comer dominating the point guard duties.

Who’s In:
The Eagles coaching staff will have a plethora of new talent to work with this year, most notably a multitude of transfers that become available off redshirt. Athletic point guard Brian Greene Jr., who won the Eagles 2013 preseason dunk contest and transferred from Auburn, provides some backcourt depth while fellow Tigers transfer Nick Pellar (walk-on) will likely see some time at the three. With a redshirt year in Dooley’s system under his belt, Rice transfer Julian DeBose will give versatile scoring when senior shooting guard Bernard Thompson needs a breather. Meanwhile, former Tulane forward Marc-Eddy Norelia is expected to slide into the starting power forward position, and the energetic big man is a player FGCU fans should be very excited about. Also at 6-foot-7, redshirt freshman Logan Hovey medically redshirted last year after showing early signs of a stress fracture and undergoing surgery in November. The coaching staff has raved about the Orlando native; he works well around the rim and will no doubt become an alley-oop partner with Brett Comer. Incoming freshmen guards Christian Terrell and Zach Johnson are flat-out scorers but won’t see much time. A junior college transfer, 6-foot-11 big man Eric Moeller has become an apt outside shooter but has beefed up as well and will be needed as a force inside. The most intriguing player is late addition Demetris Morant, of UNLV. The 6-foot-9 can jump out of the gym and is a phenomenal shot blocker. The former high school teammate of Shabazz Muhammad has applied for a hardship waiver in order to play immediately in 2014-15.

Who to Watch:
Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson spearhead one of the best backcourts in mid-major (dare I say all of) college basketball. Comer, aka “Agent Zero”, is a pass first floor general who has a knack for finding the open man but also tends to try to be too flashy at times, leading to some turnovers (3.1 per game). Thompson, FGCU’s leading contributor last year, has developed into a go-to scorer. The Conyers, Georgia native has an ultra smooth jumper, especially off screens, and is a tenacious defender as well. In 2012-13, Thompson’s program record 102 steals earned him the Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year award. A fellow senior, 6-foot-5 Jamail Jones is another one to watch. Although his three point struggles were frustrating at times, his late season surge on the boards and around the rim all but cemented his starting role at the three. Long range marksman Filip Cvjeticanin has undergone back surgery and will miss the 2014-15 season while center Nate Hicks is recovering from a torn ACL suffered against Florida State in the NIT.

Final Projection:
With an ultra-talented backcourt and loads of potential at the forward position, Florida Gulf Coast is primed for another NCAA Tournament run. The Eagles have been tabbed as early A-Sun favorites, and rightfully so. Atlantic Sun powerhouse Mercer has departed for the Southern Conference and ETSU has done the same. If the Eagles can solve their three point woes, expect them to make some post-season noise once again.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Brett Comer, Senior, Guard, 13.7 points per game
Bernard Thompson, Senior, Guard, 15.1 points per game
Jamail Jones, Senior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Marc-Eddy Norelia, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Nate Hicks, Senior, Center, 4.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.5 (148th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.8 (85, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (52, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (67, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (221, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.9 (226, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (254, 7)
Rebound Margin: 2.8 (92, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (158, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (250, 6)


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