Get ready Eagles fans, we’re a month away from our annual trip to Dunk City. The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team is gearing up for its season following last year’s disappointing finish in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament finals.
Kicking off the season will be FGCU’s Dunk City After Dark pep rally, which also can be seen live on ESPN3 for the second-straight year and will showcase both the men’s and women’s team. The event will include an introduction video, 3-point contest, a scrimmage by the Men’s team, player skits and the fan-favorite dunk contest.
The Eagles will begin their season in Alico Arena when they host Nova Southeastern University on November 15. Eagle News had a chance to sit down with Brett Comer and discuss this game and more on the season. Comer is one of five seniors departing after this year along with Marcus Blake, Nate Hicks, Jamail Jones and Bernard Thompson.
Comer discussed his departure saying, “It’s weird [being a senior]. I feel like I have been here forever but I’m actually now realizing that this is my last year, which is kind of strange. I’m excited. I want to get through this year and get back to the tournament and not go out on a sour note like Chase had to do last year. Me, Bernard, and Jamail have been determined to not go out like that.”
Last season, FGCU fell to Mercer University in the championship round of the A- Sun tournament. Mercer, along with East Tennessee State University, have since left the A-Sun leaving FGCU as the clear choice for first place in this year’s pre-season rankings by both the Coaches and Media Polls.
The Eagles also took over individual player preseason honors with Comer, Thompson and Jones all getting selected to the Preseason All-Conference team. In addition, Thompson was honored with both the Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason Defensive Player of the Year awards. Comer was the Facebook Fan-Voted Pre-Season Player of the Year but when asked about this he stated, “It’s nice to see that but at the end of the day it’s pre-season none of that matters. I think the last two years Torey Craig from Upstate got pre-season [POTY] but ended up not being the Player of the Year. You can’t predict how people are going to play.”
FGCU lost two key role players this off-season with the departure of Eric McKnight and Dejuan Graf. Though they lost two, they still had five players who were ineligible due to NCAA transfer rules that will now be on the court this season.
“It’s sad to see them go,” Comer said. “But you have to move on and live with what you got. I think we ended up upgrading. We lost two but we’re bringing in five.”
In addition, incoming freshmen are looking strong and seem to be contributing to the team more than expected.
Comer, along with the rest of the team, is always optimistic about their future, and this year is no different. They plan on making it back to the tournament, and they know no one strong enough is in their way. The A-Sun Conference is eight teams now where FGCU gained all but one vote in each of the pre-season polls that ranked them first.
Comer showed his confidence in his team and told me, “I think even if Mercer was still in the league, we would be optimistic. We want to play them but they don’t want to play us. This might be the best team we have ever had skill-wise.”