PREVIEW: The Eagles Flock to Jacksonville for a Road Test Against the Dolphins – 1/30

FGCU (6-16, 3-4) will travel to Jacksonville (10-12, 3-4) for a road game that will, for the time being, make the overall ASUN standings a bit more clear. The ASUN has been insanely competitive this year. Stetson has been the biggest surprise and currently sits in 1st place. Only 2 games separate 1st and 8th place in the standings thus far. Jacksonville has won 2 straight games now and is looking to extend that streak. The Dolphins are a fairly young squad but they still feature 3 seniors who are regular contributors for them. Below we will break down some of the Jacksonville players who could make an impact, discuss potential matchups, and give our predictions for the game.

The Players

David Bell (#3)

Bell is a 6’10” / 225 lb redshirt senior. He is in his second season at Jacksonville after transferring from Ohio State. He has played and started 21 games for the Dolphins, averaging about 25 minutes a night. Bell is extremely efficient and dominant on high ends of the floor. He is averaging 12 points a game on 64% shooting and is surprisingly skilled from the charity stripe (72%). Maybe most impressive though are the 10 rebounds that he averages per game.

Destin Barnes (#23)

Barnes is a 6’7″ / 215 lb junior and a versatile guard/forward combo. He is in his first year with the Dolphins after transferring from FSW, where he played for one year. He has wasted no time in proving himself to the team. Barnes has started all 22 games for Jacksonville and is currently averaging 11 points and 3 rebounds.

Aamahne Santos (#10)

Santos is a 5’10” / 165 lb redshirt senior and point guard for the Dolphins. He is in his 2nd season at Jacksonville after joining the team last year and starting 31 games. This season he has started all 22 games to date and currently averages 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Kevin Norman (#0)

Norman is a 6’4″ / 200 lb junior forward for the Dolphins. He is in his first season at Jacksonville after transferring from community college. On the season, he has played in all 22 games, making 12 starts. For his shorter size, he is an excellent defender and can capitalize on larger, and subsequently slower, players using his unique speed and athleticism. Currently he is averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds per game.

DeAnthony McCallum (#5)

McCallum is a 6’4″ / 180 lb senior guard. He has played in all 22 games this year, making 20 starts. On the season he is averaging 7 points and 3 rebounds while playing in 24 minutes a game. While he is not a typical scorer, he is known to get hot. This is evidenced by his 41% shooting from the floor and 43% from downtown.

Bryce Workman (#13)

Workman is a 6’7″ ‘ 230 lb sophomore. He has played in all 22 games and has made 1 start. Generally he is the first big off the bench for the Dolphins. On the season, he is averaging 6 points and 5 rebounds while only playing about 16 minutes a game.

Mo Arnold (#14)

Arnold has been a promising freshman for the Dolphins. The 6’2″ / 180 lb guard has flashed throughout the season and is starting to earn the trust of his teammates and coaches. He has played in all 22 games and has made 4 starts, including the last 2 games. Whether by coincidence or not, Jacksonville is on a 2 game win streak since giving Arnold the keys to the car. On the season, he is averaging about 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

Projected Starters

FGCUJU
Jalen Warren – G (#5)Aamahne Santos – G (#10)
Sam Gagliardi – G (#15)Mo Arnold – G (#14)
Caleb Catto – G (#2)DeAnthony McCallum – G (#5)
Tracy Hector Jr – F (#13)Destin Barnes – F (#23)
Justus Rainwater – F (#32)David Bell – F (#3)

Matchups

Guards

Jacksonville features a well balanced backcourt. They have promising freshmen in Diante Wood and Mo Arnold as well as reliable seniors in DeAnthony McCallum and Aamahne Santos. None of these players have been consistent, primary scoring threats for the Dolphins though. However, each of them has the ability to lead their team on a given night. For FGCU, Caleb Catto has be an absolute force throughout most of ASUN play. He has scored in double figures in 6 straight games and is averaging 17 points per outing in that span. His size, in combination with the groove he has been in, will make him a tough matchup for the smaller group of guards that Jacksonville possesses. In addition to Catto, Zach Scott and Jalen Warren have stepped up their play to a degree as well. Both players have made clutch shots down the stretch in games for the Eagles. The bulk of FGCU’s scoring comes from their guards, whereas the same cannot be said for Jacksonville.

Forwards

Jacksonville has some quality bigs on their squad. David Bell is a load for them at 6’10” and averages 12 points and 10 rebounds a game. Destin Barnes adds 11 points per game of his own but is less of a factor on the boards. Bryce Workman is a solid backup who provides efficient and impactful minutes in relief of Bell. The wildcard here is the 6’4″ DeAnthony McCallum, listed as a 180 lb forward. He has unique size and ability and is a very effective college “3” who can play good defense and also get hot as a shooter from time to time. A bulk of the Dolphins scoring comes from these forwards which is not something that can be said for FGCU. The Eagles’ workhorse is Justus Rainwater who is a lock to get between 5 and 10 points and/or rebounds per game. Next to him has been Tracy Hector Jr at the “4”. Hector Jr has battled a season long injury but has been a source of consistency for this young team. He has had a knack for contributing in whichever way the team needs him to on a given day. Unfortunately, in the last game, he looked to be in a great deal of pain due to severe cramps in his lower legs and his availability against Jacksonville is unknown. Beyond them are Brian Thomas, who has seen very limited action since returning from injury, and Dakota Rivers, who has generally looked good when given minutes.

Outlook

FGCU is coming off 2 straight close losses. Each of those games saw the opponent’s best player take over. Jacksonvile is led, in many ways, by 2 forwards in Bell and Barnes. The Eagles have played fairly good defense against opposing bigs, with a few exceptions. Rainwater will have his hands full with Bell and FGCU could opt for a bigger lineup with Qwanzi Samuels and/or Dakota Rivers at the 4 if Barnes starts to make an impact on offense for the Dolphins. Caleb Catto and the rest of FGCU’s backcourt have found somewhat of a groove and this could play a big part in them leaving Jacksonville with a win.

Predictions

Elliott Kresse (17-5)

“FGCU bounces back at JU with a somewhat convincing win.” – Elliott

72-64 – FGCU

Russell Kelly (12-10)

“After 2 straight losses, FGCU needs this win. The ASUN is an extremely competitive conference this year and I think the Eagles can find a way to win here.” – Russell

68-64 – FGCU

Dawson Jordan (12-10)

“After 2 losses in a row, FGCU is due for a good win against Jacksonville” – Dawson

69-64 – FGCU

Bryan Genter (12-10)

“Jacksonville has been a tough place for the Eagles to play and I think JU comes out on top in this one.” – Bryan

67-63 – JU

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