NCAA basketball is right around the corner and we here at Screecher Report are very excited and ready to breakdown this season and provide consistent content throughout. The season can’t get here fast enough. Fortunately, FGCU fans don’t have to wait much longer as the Eagles begin play at Saint Louis on November 5th (the first day of the NCAA basketball 2019-20 season).
The Eagles return only 3 players from last season so there are plenty of new faces to get acclimated with. Below is a list of each player that is eligible to play in the 2019-20 season, as well as a short narrative of what we can expect from the Nest.
Jalen Warren enters the FGCU tradition boasting the skills of a true point guard. This is something the Eagles greatly lacked for most of last year. Warren has fair height at the PG spot (6’3″) but is on the smaller side at 167 lbs. His most recent stop was at Eastern Florida State College where he put up an impressive stat line of 13 pts, 4 reb, and 5 ast. Look for FGCU to rely on Warren for veteran leadership as he enters his Junior season (his first with a Division I team).
Zach Scott presumably returns to the Eagles starting line up for his sophomore season. As a freshman, he earned a spot in the starting 5 and had himself one of the best rookie campaigns in FGCU history. Scott consistently flashed a sweet 3-point stroke and an ability to score when needed. On the season, he averaged 8 pts and 3 reb. Those averages rose to 10 pts and 3 reb in conference play, garnering him ASUN All-Freshman Team honors. Scott is primed for a big season and has the opportunity to take the reigns as the primary scorer. He maintains a slight frame but possesses decent height at 6’4″. With a strong season, Scott will be well on his way to establishing a real legacy at FGCU.
Caleb Catto also returns for his sophomore season. He did not make any starts as a freshman but logged plenty of quality minutes off the bench. He ended up averaging 4 pts, 2 reb, and 2 ast on the season. After an off-season in the gym, Catto appears to have gained some strength and even seems taller than his listed height of 6’5″. With a year of experience and noted chemistry with classmate Zach Scott, Catto has the opportunity to greatly improve his statistical averages and expand his role on the team.
Malik Hardy begins the year as a redshirt sophomore. In his freshman year, he played for D-II Nova Southeastern. There he averaged 17 pts and 5 reb per game. He led the team with a 44% clip from behind the arc and shot 87% from the charity stripe. He scored a career high of 32 pts against Florida Tech (an opponent of FGCU this upcoming season). He possesses a stocky build and good size for the position at 6’3″ / 203. Hardy looks to provide the Eagles with that same intensity and scoring ability as he enters D-I play for the first time.
Sam Gagliardi comes to FGCU for his junior season with a lot of starting experience. He was previously at Citrus College where he started 32 games last year. He averaged 13 pts, and 4 reb while shooting 39% from 3-point range. Gagliardi brings fair size to the position at about 6’4″ / 200 lbs. He has a chance to be the 3-point specialist the Eagles have been lacking for some time now. He will have his natural 3-point shot to rely on while the other parts of his game acclimate to the D-I level of play.
Jalen Harper joins the Eagles as a true freshman. He is a bit small at 6’2″ / 170, but this has not stopped him from being named as one of the best high school players in Georgia. For his senior season, he averaged 21 pts, 5 reb, and 4 ast. Harper will be able to learn from the more experienced guards on the team as he figures out a way to prove his mettle at the college level.
Dakota Rivers is one of the more exciting members of this freshman class. He brings great size (6’8″ 200 lbs) and athleticism to the table. As a senior at Windermere Prep, Rivers averaged 17 pts, 9 reb, and 3 blk per game. He also shot 32% from 3. Rivers already possesses great leaping ability that should allow him to be a reliable shot blocker and dunker. His frame is built to add mass and strength as he develops and expands his offensive arsenal. The front court for FGCU is very young and Rivers should get plenty of opportunity.
The first two years of Brian Thomas’ FGCU career have been marred by nagging injuries. When healthy, he has proved to be a tenacious rebounder and shot blocker. Last year, he found a way to average 4 pts, 5 reb, and 2 blocks per game in very limited action. Thomas looks to have used his off-season well and spent quality time in the weight room and working on his conditioning. He stands at 6’9″ and is listed at about 255 lbs. Barring injury, Thomas is a slam dunk (pun fully intended) to be a double double machine this year.
Justus Rainwater joins the Eagles as a junior. Last year at Cochise, he started 30 games and posted averages of 9 pts, 6 reb, and 2 blk per game. He also shot 68% from the field. Rainwater presents with an impressive physique at 6’8″ / 230. He is clearly a workout warrior and possesses the elite bouncability and explosiveness that FGCU fans have come to expect from their bigs. Rainwater will no doubt provide some highlight reel dunks and blocks as he showcases his high energy style on both ends of the court.
Quanzi Samuels is one of the three freshman making up this class. He suffered a torn ACL in high school and largely missed his senior season. Prior to the injury, Samuels averaged 10 pts and 6 rbs as a junior. He possesses good size at 6’8″ (maybe taller). At his listed weight of 195 lbs, he could stand to bulk up a bit. However, recent team photos tell us that his time in the gym this summer has paid off. As of now, he is viewed as a forward with the ability to play on the wing as well. Samuels is touted as having the shooting and ball handling skills of a much smaller player. This potential combination of size and ball skills could be very good for FGCU.
Tracy Hector Jr.
Tracy Hector Jr. will be joining he Eagles as the only senior on the active roster (Christian Carlyle will be redshirting due to injury). He is transferring from Florida A&M (FAMU) and was once a member of fellow ASUN member Kennesaw State. Hector is immediately available to play out his remaining year of collegiate eligibility as he is exempt from NCAA transfer rules due to FAMU being ineligible for post season play. As a junior, Hector averaged 7 pts, 5 reb, and 3 ast. He has been marketed as a forward but lacks ideal height at 6’5″. On the contrary, his 230 lb, hulking stature comes with toughness on the defensive end.
Christian Carlyle enters his Senior season with the Eagles. Unfortunately, he will be missing the season due to an injury sustained over the summer. It is unknown whether Carlyle will be utilizing his medical redshirt this season in anticipation of a return next year. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the situation over the course of the season. We wish the best in his recovery as he rehabs at home with his family in Jacksonville.
Cyrus Largie will be walking on to the team this year for his first season of collegiate basketball. He comes to FGCU as a 2 star recruit after averaging 24 pts per game as a senior for Mater Lakes Academy. He stands at 6’1″ and 212 lbs. Largie has the offensive repertoire to be an exciting player when he gets his chances late in games this season.
Kyle Hoffman is one of the few familiar faces among the walk-ons heading into this season. At 5’9″ and 137 lbs, he is the smallest player on the roster. Last year he played in 3 games as a sophomore. Fellow ASUN teams have a history of smaller point guards and Hoffman’s work in practice allows the Eagles to have an accurate representation of some of the competition.
Chance Jackson joins the Eagles for his freshman year. He is a 6’4″ / 200 lb guard. Coming out of high school, Jackson is touted as having a strong work ethic. He has received good coaching and should bring intensity to practice and in games when given the opportunity.
Lenny Ricca is a 6’1″ / 176 lb freshman guard who has walked on to the team. For his senior year in high school at St. Thomas Aquinas, he was moved to the point and proved to be a great facilitator of the basketball. This ability should make him an invaluable addition to this years group of walk-ons.
Ryan Rocuant is probably the most familiar face among the walk-ons. This year, he enters his third year with the team but will be listed as a redshirt sophomore. At 6’10” and about 230 lbs, he possesses rare and useful size for a walk-on. Rocuant is also somewhat of a hometown hero as he attended Estero High. He appeared in 4 games last season and should see more action this year.
A Future Face
On September 11th multiple sources, including the individual himself, stated that Dom London has committed to play for FGCU. There is somewhat of a lack of information about this signing to this point but one thing is for sure. London is a SHOOTER. As a Freshman at Harcum (Juco), he averaged 15 points over 30 games (21 starts). He shot 44% from the field and 42% from deep. He stands at 6’0″ and boats limitless range. There has been no official announcement from the university, but based on research, London will be playing his Sophomore season at Harcum this year before joining the Eagles for the 2020-21 season with two years of eligibility. It will be great to follow London this season at Harcum in anticipation of his arrival next season.
Caleb Catto (#2), 6’5″ 190, SO
**Christian Carlyle (#3), 6’6″ 210, SR
Zach Scott (#1), 6’4″ 180, SO
* Kyle Hoffman (#10), 5’9″135, rJR
Sam Gagliardi (#15), 6’4″ 200, JR
Malik Hardy (#12), 6’3″ 203, rSO
Jalen Harper (#20), 6’2″ 170, FR
Jalen Warren (#5), 6’3″ 167, JR
* Cyrus Largie (#4), 6’1″ 212, FR
* Chance Jackson (#23), 6’4″ 204, FR
* Lenny Ricca (#51), 6’1″ 176, FR
Brian Thomas (#30), 6’9″ 255, JR
* Ryan Rocuant (#55), 6’10” 230, JR
Tracy Hector Jr (#13), 6’5″ 230, SR
Justus Rainwater (#32), 6’8″ 230, JR
Dakota Rivers (#0), 6’8″ 200, FR
Quanzi Samuels (#11), 6’8″ 195, FR
* Denotes Walk-On
**Denotes a Player Redshirting