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Basketball Tips-Off; Baseball Signs-On

FIU begins the first of the final three games of the Orange Bowl this Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette, but before we get to Golden Panthers football this week let's see what's going on in FIU hoops and baseball.

Galindo The FIU basketball team tips-off tonight at 7 p.m. against Florida Tech at home in Pharmed Arena. It should be a much-improved Golden Panthers team with Preseason All-Sun Belt forward Alex Galindo (left) and the addition of the two giants down low in Russell Hicks and Badara Ndiaye, plus shooting guard Redd White from Texas A&M. Ndiaye has a left shin stress reaction and will not play tonight, but could be ready for FIU's next game Nov. 21 at home against Kennesaw State. The Golden Panthers first seven games are at home. For more on FIU hoops, check out this story in today's Herald: FIUSeasonOpener

Wednesday is National Signing Day for NCAA baseball and the Golden Panthers are expected to have a strong first class under new coach Turtle Thomas. Got a call from Flanagan High coach Ray Evans the other day. Evans, who led the Falcons to two of the last three Class 6A State Championships, let the GPP know that R.J. Fondon, the 2007 Broward High School Pitcher of the Year, has verbally committed to FIU and will sign on Wednesday. Fondon, a lefty who was 10-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 2007, had an offer from the Rj_4 Gators, but according to Evans, Fondon (right) decided to come to FIU after talking with TT and new FIU pitching coach Felipe Suarez. Said Evans: "R.J. told me he likes the way Turtle is running things down there at FIU and Felipe Suarez is the kind of pitching coach that can help R.J. get to the next level."

Heard from several high school baseball coaches there might be some pleasant surprises in TT's first-full recruiting class. Some of which may or may not suit up for FIU due to those players being drafted in the early rounds by Major League Baseball next June. Still, if this talk of top recruits heading to FIU comes to fruition, it's a testament to TT. Let's Wens_3 see what Wednesday brings.

Memo to the Golden Panthers football team: the 2-8 Ragin' Cajuns are NOT a pushover on Saturday at the Orange Bowl. ULL stomped the same Middle Tennessee team that wiped out FIU earlier this season. Plus, FIU has never beaten the Cajuns in four tries. It will be a challenge to get the first win on Saturday. If you missed it in today's Herald, here's a story on LB Toronto Smith: Little Canada

PANTHER PAWSE Gppaw

FIUandME: Here is a better explanation of the Panther Club in the new FIU Stadium. The Panther Club will be located on the bottom floor of the stadium. It is for club seats ticket holders. The folks who will watch the game from club "suites" have their own suites to watch the game from above. There is no field view from the Panther Club. It's just a gathering place for club seats ticket holders.

UltimateFIUFan: From what I'm hearing once the football stadium is done, then attention will be turned toward upgrading the hoops arena. There is already talk about work on the arena.

TNGoldenPanther: Agree with you that FIU should start some kind of pre-game tradition. Maybe it will begin next season in the new stadium. A live Panther sounds good, but don't know how much of a liability that would be. What they have to do is get Roary into the gym. That Panther needs to get somePant_2  muscles on him. He has too much of a cartoon character-look. FIU football strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore has to get Roary to look like this....

Quijote: There is no news of late regarding any logo and/or color changes. If and when there is we'll keep you posted on it.

FIU-GO-PAWZz: Glad to have you back on the GPP.

Roar BABY!!!: Welcome to the GPP.

FIUDad: Don't know about having a pack of live panthers on the field in the new stadium. There already have been live animals on the FIU Stadium turf. True story: During the inaugural season of FIU football, a pack of wild dogs ran across the field during practice. As the FIU offense and defense were split up on separate parts of the field, four wild dogs that live in the preserve behind the baseball stadium came sprinting out of there, across the football field and ran below the portable bleachers in the southeast corner of the old FIU Stadium. The players freaked for a moment, but went back to practicing as the dogs left the stadium.

Crazy Cane: Thanks for your readership on the GPP. Every time you click on our blog you help keep the GPP in the top 10 among Herald blogs. But let's try to leave essential human body parts out of your posts, the GPP claw came out earlier today. Thank you.

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