Since beginning ASUN play, there is much to unpack at this point. FGCU currently sits at 7-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play. After an anomalous series against Bellarmine, the Eagles have split series with talented Lipscomb ad Stetson teams. Next up, they will be trying to steal a couple games from a surprising UNA team. Below, we go over 5 Eagles things after last weekend’s Stetson series and lead you into this weekend’s series against UNA.
1. Perimeter Shooting Woes
Perimeter shooting has become a consistent issue for the Eagles lately and that continued throughout this series against Stetson. FGCU has now posted 3 straight games with a team 3pt% under 33% and as a team, they are shooting just 29% on the year. Guys like Dom London, Victor Rosa, and Sam Gagliardi all have the ability to be high volume 3pt specialists but that has not been the case thus far. London has proven to be a quick, intense, and savvy scorer with an extremely confident shot. Despite this, his playing time has been somewhat of a roller coaster to say the least. Victor Rosa has had to deal with an early bout of sickness that kept him from the team. Since then, he has been worked into the lineup periodically. The tall, lanky freshman has faced an adjustment period to say the least, finally hitting his first career 3-pointer this past game vs Stetson. Gagliardi’s role has diminished significantly this season after being a part time starter last year. The senior has played in only 3 games and hasn’t scored a basket. Caleb Catto and Cyrus Largie are both shooting well from downtown at 42 and 43%, respectively. Other than those 2, the team must improve these percentages to win consistently.
2. 2nd Game Struggles
After 3 back-to-back series (albeit on a different pace than their opponents), FGCU has been totally outplayed in the waning moments of each “2nd” game. Coach Fly spoke on this matter. “I don’t know if it’s tiredness, energy, or what, but we physically imposed our will on Friday night against Lipscomb (las week) and Stetson, then on Saturday night in both weeks, we came out flat. We’re going to have to figure it out as a group.” FGCU would have had a week to work on things internally but since then, there has been more shuffling of the schedule. FGCU will now host a red-hot UNA squad tat they were originally scheduled to open the conference season against, prior to the shutdown. Now is a better time than any to figure out a way to get the 2nd game monkey off of their backs.
3. Missing the “Point”
So far this season, there is probably no bigger surprise than the quick emergence of freshman, Luis Rolon. The pure passing point guard seems to improve game to game and has already proven to be one of the best in the ASUN. His passing and vision are well beyond what most NCAA players ever achieve, and the guy is only in his first year. Last time out, Rolon scored a career high of 11 points while dishing out 7 assists. That was 5 games ago as he appears to have injured his leg in some way. Details around the injury are vague but one can assume it occurred in practice as he did not appear injured at any point during his last game. Coach Fly did say that his timetable for a return is unknown at this stage. Unlike the last few seasons, this year’s iteration of the roster is much more built to withstand a prolonged absence like this. Senior Jalen Warren has seen his role switch back to being more ball-dominant and other guys are resuming their roles. Still, there is a benefit to having two point guards on the floor at all times and the Eagles are less able to do this without Rolon.
4. Bright Spots
Despite a lot of the frustrations surrounding the inconsistencies and unfortunate situations that this team has had, there were definitely some bright spots to touch on from this past weekend. A guy who has flown a bit under the radar this year is Justus Rainwater. Since arriving at FGCU Justus has always been a hard worker, a strong presence in the paint, and a vicious dunker. There has been inconsistency with the other areas of his game but the hard work has always been there. That’s why Rainwater’s performance over the weekend was even more fun to watch. In the first game, he added a surprising offensive boost racking up 8 points. He also provided the highlight of the night and the #2 spot on Sports Center, with a ferocious alley-oop, reverse dunk on a feed from Jalen Warren. While he played less in the second game, Rainwater had several key rebounds and played a big part in limiting Stetson’s Diawara to just 6 points and 1 rebound. Further stepping up in Rolon’s absence, Jalen Warren played a solid series for the Eagles. In the first game, he led the Eagles with 12 points and added 4 assists with 0 turnovers. In the 2nd game, he struggled to score but still dished out 4 assists. After couple of 22 point games against Lipscomb, Cyrus Largie was not immune from the struggles that the team had over the weekend. Still, he averaged about 13 points and 6 rebounds in the 2 games, including a 16 point, 8 rebound effort in the 2nd game. A guy we’d love to see more of is Dom London. His minutes have been somewhat of a roller coaster lately and this series was a microcosm of that. He received just 5 minutes of action in game 1, followed by almost 20 minutes in game 2 with 12 points to show for it. Lastly, Dakota Rivers had a solid series, averaging 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks over the two games.
5. Andre Weir
Last, but not least, if you have followed the team recently, you know about the addition of Andre Weir to the roster. The 6’10” / 265 pound big man joined the Eagles as a transfer from Richmond and will likely have 4 years with the team, probably starting next Fall. Little has been said about this signing so we asked Coach Fly what type of player he is. “[Antravious Simmons] is the closest comparison to anybody we’ve had here in my time. Andre is going to give us a much different look on the block than we have. Right now we have rim-runners and shot-blockers. He can score on the block, he can step out and shoot. We’re very excited about what he brings to the team going forward.” Weir brings much needed size to the table. Abaev and Rainwater are set to graduate this year, leaving a future frontcourt that could very well be highlighted by a combination of Andre Weir, Dakota Rivers, and Zach Anderson.
Stay tuned for our full breakdown of this weekend’s home series versus UNA. Be sure to follow us on all major forms of social media.