Among the new Panthers is 6-5 forward Marvin Roberts, the nation's leading scorer in junior college basketball. Roberts led the NJCAA averaging 29.6 points per game this past season for Redland Community College.
IT also signed three guards: Stephon Weaver (left), Antoine Watson and Phil Gary, Jr.
Weaver, a 6-3 guard was named the Bi-State Conference Player of the Year and Third Team JUCO All-American.
Watson (right), a teammate of Roberts at Redland CC, averaged 24.8 points per game -- which was the fifth best average in the NJCAA. Watson also led the NJCAA in steals per game (4.7) and three-point shooting percentage (72% on 54-of-75 shooting). He also averaged 8.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Gary, Jr., a 5-10 point guard from Chicago Malcolm X Community College averaged nine assists per game to go along with 19 points per game. Gary recorded three triple-doubles this past season where he scored at least 30 points in those three contests.
Center Freddy Asprilla (below, left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), according to his AAU coach Art Alvarez, has asked for his release from FIU. Point guard Josue Soto is off to Puerto Rico to play professionally. FA went back home to Colombia after the spring semester ended last Friday. FIU has not granted FA's release.
Alvarez said: "We have nothing against Isiah Thomas or the FIU basketball program. But Freddy didn't come to FIU to play for a new coach. He came to FIU to play for Sergio Rouco under those conditions. . . His coach was just dismissed and the combination of Josue leaving left him with uncertainty. Freddy has asked for a release and we're awaiting to get that release.''
The irony of it is that FA would be playing for a new coach -- that is not SR -- wherever he ends up anyway. So this is NOT really about "a new coach". But unfortunately, we have not heard from FA directly.
IT said: "We want to do what's best for Freddy. We understand this is an emotional time for him with his coach being let go. We want to leave the door open at FIU for Freddy and I would like to talk with him when the time is right. I believe the players we have signed thus far will complement him real well.''
As far as Soto's decision, IT said: "We will do everything to assist Josue in his decision to play professional basketball in Puerto Rico.''
OTHER FIU HOOPS STUFF
With Michael Dominguez and Harley Fuller deciding to go play closer to home, there are now 6 returning players: FA (to be determined later this summer), Tremayne Russell, Cedric Essola, Nikola Gacesa, J.C. Otero, Martavius Kee (transfer from Temple under SR). Although Otero and Kee are Alvarez's former players -- so stay tuned on whether those 2 guys stick around FIU.
Former TCU assistant coach Anthony Anderson is the first assistant to join Isiah's staff. IT has interviewed 12 to 15 coaches for his staff and hopes to have his staff in place by the end of July. I asked IT about the possibility of Tim Hardaway (right) joining the FIU staff and IT said: "Tim is high on the list."
Congratulations to the FIU women's tennis team in making the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers open the NCAAs next Friday against Princeton in the Coral Gables Regional.
Haven't forgotten about the MARIOS Spring Football Awards, but the FIU hoops train is gathering steam of late. Will wrap up FIU spring ball later this week.
So what's your take on the Freddy situation: