2016-2017 Season Review
It was another great season for one of the fastest rising mid-major programs in the country, as Florida Gulf Coast made it five straight 20 win seasons. Joe Dooley's crew went 26-8 (14-2) en route to their first ever outright regular season Atlantic Sun title. They then cruised in the conference tournament to earn an auto bid in the Big Dance, where they received a #14 seed. It was their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and third in five years. The Eagles took on #3 seeded Florida State and pushed the Seminoles the entire way before losing 86-80.
Demetris Morant is the only player the Eagles lost that was consistently in the starting lineup. The big man graduated after averaging 10.5 PPG, a team best 7.9 RPG, and 1.4 BPG while shooting 75.6% (!!) from the field. Morant was the ASun Defensive Player of the Year. Marc Eddy Norelia is another big man who graduated. He started 10 games this past season for FGCU and averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.9 RPG. Guard Rayjon Tucker decided to transfer to Little Rock following a sophomore season in which he played 18.8 MPG, averaging 7.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG and hitting 29 of 64 three pointers (45.3%). Reggie Reid is transferring as well after a sophomore season that saw the guard play 13.8 MPG and average 2.9 PPG and 2.0 APG. Forward Kevin Mickle also decided to go to Ohio as a grad transfer after playing 12.6 MPG in his junior season.
2017 ASun Newcomer of the year and first team All ASun selection Brandon Goodwin returns for his senior season. The 6'2 guard averaged 18.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 4.1 APG. He also hit a team high 55 threes. 6'2 junior Zach Johnson averaged 11.9 points, 2.8 boards, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game last season. He hit 54 threes as well. Christian Terrell, a 6'5 senior, scored 10.2 PPG, grabbed 3.2 RPG and hit 53 threes for the Eagles. Goodwin, Johnson and Terrell were all starters. Antravious Simmons is a 6'9 senior that started 11 games last season. He played 14.4 MPG, averaging 5.4 PPG and 3.4 RPG. RaySean Scott Jr. is a 6'7 sophomore that averaged 3.4 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 9.3 MPG as a freshman. 6'6 sophomore Christian Carlyle played 9.3 MPG in 20 games his freshman season, scoring 2.3 PPG.
Brian Thomas leads the 2017 FGCU recruiting class as a 6'9, 240 pound three star forward. Thomas is good rim protector that has been labeled by some recruiting sites as the best incoming freshman in the A-Sun. Darnell Rogers is a 5'3 PG that is extremely quick and can score the basketball. He has received great compliments from Chris Paul, as he played for Team CP3. Ryan Rocuant is a 6'10 big man that is a preferred walk on for the Eagles. Joe Dooley also has four transfers that will be eligible to play this season. Ricky Doyle is a 6'10 junior that sat out last season after transferring from Michigan. In his two seasons at Michigan, Doyle started 30 games, averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.5 RPG and shot 62.4% from the field. Brady Ernst is a 6'10 sophomore that is a JUCO transfer from Indian Hills. A former Iowa State Cyclone, Ernst averaged 9.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG last season for Indian Hills. Michael Gilmore is another 6'10 big man. Gilmore will be a junior this season and be eligible to play in December. He transferred from Miami, where he was sitting out after transferring from VCU. As a sophomore at VCU, he averaged 3.2 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 11.5 MPG. Dinero Mercurius rounds out the group of newcomers as a 6'4 junior that was at JUCO Daytona State last season. He averaged 17.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG and shot 38.2% from three last season.
Florida Gulf Coast should be the hands down favorite in the Atlantic Sun this season. Even with a lot of turnover in the front court, their back court will be too much for the rest of the league. Brandon Goodwin is a player of the year caliber player. The Eagles have some intriguing non-conference games against Middle Tennessee, Wichita State and Rhode Island. How they fare in those games could give us of an idea of how dangerous this team could be come March.