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16 posts from May 2009

May 29, 2009

FIU At The Movies --- Part III

Film Sun in the morning, rain in the afternoon. Time to take a field trip to the movies. The FIU sports season is over for now, at least until your Panthers put on the pads in August to get ready for the 2009 football season. 

Let's take a look back at the past FIU sports year by referring to movies that were released between August 2008 through May 2009. Turn off the cellphones please, the show is about to start as we present FIU At The Movies, Part III....

Righteous Kill -- FIU volleyball player Yarimar Rosa (right) led the world in kills last season and picked Yrosa   up her third consecutive All-American honor. YR prepares for another righteous kill and righteous All-American honor this coming September.

Eagle Eye -- Tyler Townsend avoids the junk at the plate and belts fastballs to the tune of a .434 avg., 24 HR, 77 RBI. TT collects the career and single-season FIU records for RBI. 

Elite Squad -- We'll add an "s" to the title of this film for the elite squads of the FIU volleyball and tennis teams -- both Sun Belt champions.

Tyexp Express The Express -- T.Y. Goodbye (left).

Frontrunners -- The story of the FIU track and field team last season. With his team's performances, coach Eric Campbell won the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. Paola Reategui became the first FIU distance runner in an NCAA regional. EC is the 4th FIU coach to win a Sun Belt Coach of the Year award in the last 2 years.

Max Payne -- It was max pain after Florida Atlantic ended FIU's bowl chances in football and FIU's season in baseball. The Hooters derailed bowl hopes last November. The Hooters cut short the baseball season at the Sun Belt Ml Tournament.

Morning Light (left) -- After each of the 2 losses to the Hooters there was "Morning Light", because with the talent FIU is bringing in, it was likely the last time the Hooters end any FIU season.

W -- No. No politics on this blog. Instead, we're talking Ws for the best turnaround seasons in FIU footballHappen and baseball this past year. MC's team improved by 4 wins -- a program best and TT's team improved by 14 wins -- also a program best.

What Just Happened? (right) -- Yes, Isiah Thomas is the new FIU basketball coach. Most of the world caught by surprise by this move.

Jolie Changeling -- Of course, I'm going to put a picture of Angelina Jolie here even though this FIU movie has to do with soccer at FIU Stadium. MLS bows out is replaced by Miami FC.

Doubt -- Will anyone still thinking MC and TT (below, right) were not the right hires for FIU football and baseball, please raise your hands? I can't see any hands. Anyone? No, OK let's move on.

Saw V -- Nobody really saw FIU getting 5 baseball players on the All-Sun Belt team, but that's what yearTt 2 of Turtle Power produced. And 4 FIUers on the 1st team was a Sun Belt best.

Pride and Glory -- FIU has 28 players make All-Sun Belt teams in their respective sports. The FIU swimming and diving team is named an Academic All-American Team.

First Passengers -- All the other college teams fans that visit the GPP. Thanks for your readership.

The First Basket (left) -- Anticipation builds for FIU hoops in 2009. When was the last time we had FIU hoops talk year round?

Role Models -- Definitely, not like the actual movie. Yarimar Rosa wins Sun Belt Female Student-Athlete of the Year. Paul McCall wins Sun Belt Male Sporting Behavior award.

Chacha Soul Men -- FIU baseball team's "Cha-Cha Slide" (left) during the bottom of the fifth inning of home games this season.

Eden -- New FIU Stadium and opening later this summer the state-of-the-art fieldhouse.

The Beautiful Truth -- Golden Dazzlers (right) and their calendar....need we sayDazz more.

Transporter 3 -- Dustin Rivest kicks field goals out of his souped-up BMW and kicks a school-record 5 field goals against Arkansas State to help set up the Hilton Heave.

Everybody Wants To Be Italian (left) -- The story of FIU and Italian National Team Italy Sg swimmer Sara Giovannoni (left) and her brilliant FIU career.

Let Them Chirp Awhile -- Whatever excuses the school across town has for not playing FIU.

The Punisher 2 -- Scott Bryant leads the FIU defense in tackles for the second consecutive season.

The Reader -- Or The Readers as for the second straight year, FIU's APR numbers keep climbing.

Forever Strong -- FIU's strength and conditioning program under Rod Moore, Mick Smith and Dave Feeley has made the Panthers noticeably stronger and better conditioned in the last few years. Or as a visiting Sun Belt media member said at an FIU baseball game this season: "These guys look likeBed Jmert   ballplayers now".

Bedtime Stories (right) -- The non-fiction version...."The Hilton Heave"; "Galindo 3 at the buzzer beats Troy"; "Arrojo squeeze in the 9th wins Opening Night"

Marley & Me -- Rather Monique and me with the me being FIU softball player Kim Rodriguez, who tied Monique White for the FIU softball career HR record this past season.

Ithomp Knowing The International -- No, thanks....just FIU, please.

I Love You, Man -- FIU fans reaction to Pooh Bear Mars, Edgard Theliar and the rest of the top-notch 2009 FIU football signing class.

Knowing (left) -- That Isiah Thompson is not the FIU hoops coach and Turtle Thompson is not the FIU baseball coach.Mc

Sevn 17 Again -- The story of MC (right) being named the fittest college football coach in the nation, according to an ESPN blog.






May 28, 2009

Tyler All-American; New Watch Party Home for FIU Football

Tyler Townsend was named today an NCAA All-American after his record-breaking season.Tyler

TT hit .426 with 24 HR and an FIU single-season record 77 RBI. TT also broke the FIU career RBI record with 164 ribs in his three seasons at FIU. He also had 182 total bases -- another FIU record.

Likely gone to the big leagues after the coming MLB draft on June 9-11, TT earned his second All-American honor at FIU after being named AA his freshman season.


FIU football has a new official home for watch parties when the Panthers are on the road for 7 games next season.

Dazzle The Sports Grill (a brand new location) on the corner of 117th Avenue and Bird Road (SW 40 St.) in Miami will provide special discounts on food and drinks during Panthers games. All FIU Watch Parties will also include FIU’s own Golden Dazzlers, FIU’s mascot Roary, and other Panthers prizes is what the e-mail I received today says.

The first watch party is Sept. 12 when FIU opens the season at Alabama.


Tommorrow on Friday, May 29, the GPP is taking you to the movies.


SouthPaw: Pete, any news on any remaining scholarships to be awarded for this upcoming season? Also, do you have any update on Quavon Taylor? Pete, can you also give us hungry FIU football fans more updates on the status of Cedric Mack, Carlos Munera, and Chris Cook? Also, what's the status of the D-line coaching position? Has this been officially filled?

PP: FIU may still have 1 or 2 scholies left to hand out. Quavon Taylor is not coming to FIU or likely any school after what I heard, he is dealing with some legal trouble. Mack is still trying to get on the team (Esteban Ari Gold update), Munera is still waiting to hear from the NCAA if they will grant him a medical redshirt. Cook is likely done playing football. Cary Godette is the FIU D-line coach.


May 26, 2009

Never Too Early For Football

Still about two and a half months until your Panthers begin fall practice to get ready for Alabama in the Sept. 12 season opener -- 109 days until the 2009 opener.

But as you have requested it's never too early to start talking FIU football. No need to take photos of theMc fieldturf at FIU Stadium or find out what TY had for lunch, FIURage.

We're back this summer with another installment of your questions and FIU coach Mario Cristobal's answers. MC has agreed to join us on the GPP for his 3rd annual Q&A with you good people.

The Q&A with MC won't be a live blog, but rather you can send in your questions starting with this post and going until this Saturday, May 30. I'll round up your questions and have MC answer them and then post the answers on the GPP.

Among the other FIU football-related upcoming blogs: We'll take a tour of the fieldhouse in the coming weeks and have photos and details on here for you. And yes, blkpanther, we'll get some off-season conditioning news on here. And if you have any other ideas for blogs during the lazy, hazy days of summer send them and we'll see what we can do to accomodate your ideas.

Apaw If you've followed the Latavious Williams recruiting saga then you know by now that he won't be coming to FIU.

May 23, 2009

2010 Opening Night...Just 272 Days Away

Prattville, Ala. -- Short stay for your Panthers at the Sun Belt Tournament in Troy. It was 2 and Bar-BQ for FIU. But a pretty good Bar-BQ spread provided by the hospitable Troy University staff.

Some of you had dreams of Omaha this season for FIU, but let's be honest the Panthers were not going to win the Sun Belt Tournament. Yours truly thought the Panthers would at least make the Sun Belt semifinals, that's why I'm still in Bama. It being Memorial Day weekend, there are no flights available until Sunday morning.

FIU had a quick exit from the SBC tourney, because of a lack of pitching depth and as we saw firsthand a lack ofFiubase postseason experience which is quite different than playing in the friendly confines of University Park Stadium.

Still, looking at the FIU record books this was the greatest turnaround season in FIU baseball history. The Panthers improvement from 20-36 in 2008 to 34-21 this season was 14 wins better and 15 less losses better. The 2009 Panthers surpassed the 1995 FIU team which improved to 49-7 after going 37-19 in 1994.

Forget about the conditions of Troy's Riddle-Pace Field (the racquetball court/ballpark), for every team the ball bounced like that little rubber ball you would get as a kid from the 25 cent machines in Publix. At times the field came into play, but FIU lost because FIU didn't have enough pitching, FIU didn't hit like the .325 average it had during the regular season and FIU didn't catch the ball (7 errors in 2 games). It's a simple game: you hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball.

What FIU gained the most from the SBC Tournament was the postseason experience -- where every team takes their game to another level and every at-bat and every pitch is that much more important.

On the FIU 25-man travel roster, 0 players had ever played in a Sun Belt Tournament. FIU had not been Mollica to the conference tournament since 2006. 18 of the 31 players on the FIU roster this season were underclassmen (13 freshmen and 5 sophomores).

Like 2nd baseman Ryan Mollica -- 1 of only 2 seniors on the team (Steven Stropp the other sr.) --said after Thursday's elimination game: "This was a good experience for the young guys. They will be back here."

Opening Night 2010 is 272 days away and by then the Panthers will have to find replacements for Mollica, who is one of the best hitting infielders in FIU history. Stropp and likely Tyler Townsend, who is expected to be a high draft pick in June.

Raiko Alfonso likely will move from 3B to 2B next season. Sean Reilly, Doug Joyce and Casey Hanrahan will battle for the starting catcher job and there is plenty of power headed to FIU whether Tyler stays or goes pro.

Among the big bats expected at FIU next season (if MLB doesn't snatch them up in the draft) are: outfielder/infielder Josh Garton, one of the top hitters in Tennessee; 5-tool outfielder Yoandy Barroso; Texas slugging 1st baseman Rudy Flores and outfielder Jabari Henry, who is projected as a top 10 round draft pick. Of course, there could be more offensive surprises in store -- stay tuned for that.

But you don't win much if you don't have quality arms on the mound. Got a feeling Scott Rembisz andEbert  Tom Ebert will stick around for their senior seasons. SR said recently he sees himself coming back, because he still has a lot to learn pitching-wise. Ebert, who has been looked at by the Red Sox and Marlins, is a pre-med student and said he would like to graduate.

Among the help on the mound for next season: we'll get to see Dominican right-hander Miguel Mejia, who some believe has the best stuff of any FIU pitcher. And Bryam Garcia, who was an all-JUCO pitcher last season. Both Mejia and Garcia were ineligible this season and redshirted.

Also headed to the UP Stadium mound is Florida JUCO Pitcher of the Year Logan Dodds and Albert Cardenas from Palmetto Ridge High, whose velocity and nasty breaking pitches could make him the closer next season. And of course 272 days from now there might be other pitchers to don the blue and gold.

May 21, 2009

Sun Belt Game 2: FIU vs. Hooters LIVE GAME BLOG

TROY, Alabama -- With Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" song playing on the stadium speakers while FIU takesLogo infield.....It's do or die for your Panthers this morning here in Troy in FIU's second game of the Sun Belt Tournament.

Da A familiar opponent in the Florida Atlantic Hooters are on the diamond with FIU.

We have football weather this Thursday morning in Troy sort of appropriate with Troy's Veterans Stadium right next door to the baseball field. Walked by the football field yesterday and still could see T.Y. Hilton making that one-handed catch in last year's game here in Troy.

Back to baseball: Temperatures are in the mid-60's according to FIU weather girl Victoria Lynch seated to my right. And Victoria says there is a "gusty" 21 mph wind blowing out to the short 310-foot fence inLynch right field. Could be a home run derby type of day.

There is a threat of rain later today, which could back up the tournament, but first things first, FIU needs to win today to worry about the rain later.

Let's see how the Panthers have adjusted one day after playing in this small racquetball/trampoline Riddle-Pace Field.

We'll have the LIVE BLOG going on inside the comments section....

Can FIU Close Down The Hooters?

TROY, Alabama -- Another early one on Thursday morning for your Panthers as their second game of theFiubase Sun Belt Tournament begins at 9 a.m. (Troy time) and 10 a.m. (Miami time).

We'll have a LIVE GPP BLOG of FIU's second Sun Belt Tournament game beginning at 9:45 a.m. (Miami time).

No, FIU (thanks, Sam Lewis photo) is not out at a Hooters right now thinking about the UL game over chicken wings. Thursday for FIU is an elimination game with the Florida Atlantic Hooters.

Winner gets the loser of the Louisiana/Middle Tennessee game on Friday at 4 p.m (Troy time), 5 p.m. (Miami time).

The loser gets the fine Bar-BQ provided by the Troy University staff (great baked beans and pulled pork)Hooters and if it's FIU - a flight home to Miami, if the Hooters are the losers then they get a bus ride back to Boca Raton. Yes, FAU took a bus up here.

So hopefully by now the 11-3 loss to Louisiana is out of your system and you have either: 1) come down from that ledge or 2) gotten yourself enough of your favorite adult beverage or 3) hit the gym for the last 8 hours -- maybe with MC, who was voted on an ESPN blog as the Ledge fittest college football coach in the nation.

I know most of you were expecting FIU to roll in this tournament, but the fact is the Panthers don't -- yet -- have enough talent on their roster to take down the Sun Belt big boys of Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Troy or Louisiana. Yes, FIU defeated all these teams during the season, but to beat them all in a tournament right now is a tall order.

And I stand corrected from a comment I had on the Live Game Blog earlier today -- the fact is FIU has 0 players on its 25-man roster with Sun Belt Tournament experience. That's right zero, zilch, nada, goose egg, a bagel, a doughnut, 0. Originally, I said 16 of 25 FIU players had no experience.

You can read some of the comments from the players in the game story in the MH 2morrow and both Turtle and Tyler Townsend said that "nerves" got to the Panthers early on and if you were in Troy you could easily see that.

Now with the Hooters on deck manana, you would expect those nerves to be out of the way. Tom Ebert gets the start and the Hooters are without their best hitter, William Block, who kills FIU pitching. Block is ineligible, because of grades and stayed home in Boca Raton. Block is also a senior so his college career is over.

Still, FIU needs to get off to a fast start against the Hooters so that these Panthers get some confidence and keep playing in Troy as long as they possibly can.

Whether Thursday is the last game of the season for FIU or if it happens to be Saturday's championship game, the Panthers made a 14-win improvement and a 15-loss improvement from 2008 (20-36 in 2008 and 34-21 in 2009) when some of you were calling to bring back -- "He's bigger than me and he wantedGravy the ball".

I believe Clawing Cancer put it best on the last blog: whatever FIU gets from here on out this season is gravy. Enjoy gravy!



May 20, 2009

New FIU Hoopster

Lytch 6-6, 240-pound power forward Kavon Lytch signed with FIU on Wednesday. Lytch was being recruited by Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Seton Hall, Kent State, St. John’s, St. Bonaventure, Texas Tech and Alabama-Birmingham. He becomes the 5th player to join the Panthers since Isiah Thomas took over.

At Midland JUCO, Lytch scored 17.7 points per game and pulled down 9.2 rebounds per game. Lytch must have caught IT's eye two years ago when Lytch scored 45 points at a New York Knicks sponsored basketball tournament at Rucker Park in New York.

Lytch gives FIU a power forward to go with point guard Phil Gary, shooting guards Stephon Weaver and Antoine Watson and forward Marvin Roberts.

Sun Belt GAME 1 - FIU vs. Louisiana LIVE GAME BLOG

TROY, Alabama -- Welcome to the LIVE GAME BLOG  for Game 1 of the Sun Belt Conference Logo Tournament between FIU and Louisiana.

As greatest baseball broadcaster of all-time Vin Scully would say: "It's a gorgeous day for baseball here in Troy. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, a cool 60 degrees, the birds are singing".....and whether your Panthers will be winning, we'll find out in about 3 hours from now.

Here at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy, the dimensions are 340 feet down the left field line, 375 to the power alleys, 400 to dead center and just 310 feet to right field, but with a 30-foot wall, similar
to the Green Monster, except this Monster is Black with the scoreboard built into the wall.

Let's get to the LIVE BLOG, we'll run it through the comments section of this post.

May 19, 2009

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

TROY, Ala. -- We're less than 12 hours from the first pitch of the Sun Belt Tournament by FIU right-Remhander Scott Rembisz (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) where your Panthers will open the double elimination festivities with a game against Louisiana at 9 a.m. (Troy time) (10 a.m. Miami time) on Wednesday morning.

By the way, your Panthers had 4 players make the All-Sun Belt 1st team on Tuesday: Mike Martinez (1b), Ryan Mollica (2b), Tyler Townsend (OF) and Tim Jobe (DH). On the 2nd team was Tom Ebert.

The LIVE GPP BLOG for Game 1 begins at 8:45 a.m. (Troy time) and 9:45 a.m. (Miami time) and if you're in another part of the world, you'll need to do some math to figure out what hour and 45 minutes into that hour will the LIVE GPP BLOG begin in your neck of the woods.

You can also catch the FIU games on WRGP 95.3 FM (No worries with free advertising, Chris). And unlike last weekend in Boca Raton, I have scoresheets ready for the Sun Belt Tournament. You see FIU spoils you by providing scoresheets at FIU home games and I didn't bring any to Boca, but Marcus Nelson of fauowlacess.com let me borrow scoresheets for each game. (More free advertising for Marcus and our GPP readers, who are fans of the Hooters).

Weath Got a call from my brother that it's been pouring rain in Miami today, not so here in Troy. It's been beautiful weather today and it's expected to stay that way for the tournament. Not a cloud in the sky, with a chilly temperature of 65 on Tuesday (yes, born and raised in Miami). 

Check out a story on Scott Rembisz and Tom Ebert in the Miami Herald print and on-line editions on Wednesday. Speaking of pitching, got both of the Atlanta Braves channels on the hotel TV here so that's a positive, because not much else to do around these parts. Flipping between the Braves/Rockies and Family Guy as this post is being created.

Back to the pitching thing, if FIU is going to win this tournament they will need three things: pitching, pitching and pitching.Atl

As we know, every Sun Belt team can hit the snot out of the ball, but the winner of the Sun Belt Tournament will be which ever team can get those outs during rallies or that can prevent the big innings.

We likely will see some games this week resembling some football scores like FIU's 17-10 win over Florida Atlantic last Saturday, but the difference in that game was that Daniel DeSimone and Ty Main were able to get enough outs to stall Hooters rallies and give the Panthers bats a chance.

Ul The Ragin' Cajuns come in as hot as their UL logo/Chili's logo having won 4 of their last 5 games and hit FIU pretty well earlier this season scoring 28 runs in 3 games, but losing 2 of 3 those games to FIU. Justin Robichaux leads the UL pitching staff with a 2.08 ERA.

ChilisAgainst the Cajuns on March 27, Rembisz pitched 8 innings, allowed 8 hits, 4 runs and struck out 7. FIU hung on to win that game 11-10 after the bullpen surrendered 6 runs in the 9th inning.

Yes, the Panthers bullpen has been so-so this season and will play a huge role in this tournament whether you like it or not. Like we've said all season, there is talent in this bullpen, but the relievers have to learn to trust their stuff and attack the hitters.

The other thing is FIU has to just play baseball and not get caught up in the whole postseason thing. The Panthers can't let the bright lights blind them or play against the uniform like they did at Florida State earlier this season.

All this being said, not sure FIU has enough to win this tournament. The thought here is FIU goes 1-2 in the tournament lasting until Friday's semifinals. Don't think the Panthers have enough pitching to win it this year, but it's just a matter of time before TT brings in the arms to help FIU dominate the Sun Belt year in, year out.

Vote and tell us your thoughts about the Panthers in the Sun Belt Tournament?


Before you vote, spoke with Latavious Williams today. LW visited Georgetown last weekend. He said G-town was good, but is not sure where he's headed. LW said he hopes to make a decision by May 25. Unlike previous phone calls with LW, this time I got the impression from this latest phone call that LW is not 100% sold on G-town and is still trying to decide between the Hoyas, FIU, Kansas State and Memphis. We shall see. Now vote....


May 16, 2009

FIU vs. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at 10 a.m. Wednesday

FIU opens the Sun Belt Tournament against No. 5 seed Louisiana in the first game of the double-elimination tourney at 10 a.m. (Miami time) on Wednesday morning.

We'll have the GPP LIVE BLOG going for that game around 9:45 a.m. (Miami time) on Wednesday.

The Panthers, the No. 4 seed, might want to get a good night's rest on Tuesday, because 10 a.m. inTownsend Miami is 9 a.m. in Troy.

Originally, No. 3 Troy and No. 6 South Alabama were scheduled to be the tourney's first game, but as the host school the Trojans get to choose their 1st round game time and chose 8:30 p.m.

The Panthers took 2 of 3 games from the Cajuns this season back in late March. FIU won 11-10, 11-7 and lost 11-4. As we know well, UL can lay the metal on the cowhide really well.

The rest of the Wednesday 1st round games are: No. 8 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 1 Middle Tennessee at 1:30 p.m.; No. 7 Louisiana-Monroe vs. No. 2 Western Kentucky at 5 p.m.

Despite the loss to FIU on Saturday, the Hooters got into the SBC tourney after New Orleans got blasted by Louisiana 18-2.

Should FIU defeat UL, then the Panthers would play the winner of the FAU/MT game on Thursday at 5 p.m. Should the Panthers lose they get the loser of FAU/MT on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Apaw Tyler Townsend (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) belted 2 more HRs on Saturday against the Hooters and now has 43 career bombas one back of Brad Eldred's 44 for the all-time FIU career HR record.

Apaw Baseball Fan is our write your own GPP Blog Winner. Baseball Fan predicted a 35-21 record for FIU (34-21) as did 3 other readers, but Baseball Fan had the Panthers scoring 420 runs which was the closest number to FIU's 472 actual runs scored this season. E-mail me your blog, Baseball Fan and I'll have it up here.

May 15, 2009

No. 3 Seed At Best; 2 More Hoopsters?

Turtle The opportunity to finish second in the Sun Belt regular season baseball standings is no longer a goal for FIU after losing the first game of the 3-game series with Florida Atlantic last night.

And to finish 3rd in the SBC became a much longer shot with the Thursday loss. Troy lost as well on Thursday to South Alabama keeping the Panthers faint hopes of the No. 3 seed alive.

But now Troy must lose the final 2 games and FIU must win the final 2 games for an FIU third place finish. Not impossible, but it's looking more and more likely that the Panthers will be the No. 4 seed in the Sun Belt tourney and will open up play on Wednesday at 4 p.m. against the No. 5 seed -- which right now could be any 1 of 5 teams. We'll have LIVE BLOGS for all of FIU's Sun Belt tourney games from Troy starting next Wednesday.

Here you go Gooch7: With 2 games left in the regular season: South Alabama, Louisiana (both with 15 losses), New Orleans, Florida Atlantic (both with 16 losses) and Arkansas State (17 losses) all still have a chance to finish 5th and anyone of these 5 teams could be FIU's first opponent in the tournament.

The only 2 teams that cannot finish 5th in the Sun Belt are: ULM (17 losses but done with conference schedule) and Arkansas-Little Rock (19 losses).

Of course, FIU can eliminate the Hooters by beating them once in the final 2 games in Boca Raton.


FIU Fanatic and FIUPantherFan, FIU is in the running for 6-6 guard Lance Stephenson, but been hearing that the Panthers are looking into some character issues. One of them is not LS's father. There have been reports through cyberspace that the father could be a handful, but from what I'm hearing that is not a concern for FIU.

Another recruit that could be headed toward the Bank at FIU is 6-6, 240-pound power forward KavonKavon%2008%20mug  Lytch, who also has Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Seton Hall, Kent State, St. John’s, St. Bonaventure, Texas Tech and Alabama-Birmingham after him.

At Midland JUCO, Lytch scored 17.7 points per game and pulled down 9.2 rebounds per game. One possible connection with Lytch and IT is that two years ago, Lytch scored 45 points at a New York Knicks sponsored basketball tournament at Rucker Park in New York. Will try and get Lytch on the phone to see what he's thinking.


nothingxs: Hey Pete, any news on what happened to Delmonico after he finished coaching the Netherlands?

PP: The Netherlands coaching job is a year-round job so RD is not working anywhere else.

Baltimore Panther: Pete, You should do a blog about the lingerie football team and league and have lots Miacal of pictures.

PP: Good idea, but there is a long waiting list of people at the MH wanting to be the writer that covers the  Miami Caliente. Here are 2 Caliente tryout photos shot by the Calien MH.

blkpanther: We have signed 4 already, how many scholarships we have to hand out? Is not 5 max 6? Pete can you help here?

PP: FIU should have 2, possibly 3 scholies left for this season. Tough to tell right now, because it all depends on who is going and who is staying.

FIUJM: Pete, Great article on Tyler. Who else do you think in this year's team has chance to get drafted and play in the pros?

PP: Thanks. Tom Ebert, Scott Rembisz and Ryan Mollica all have a chance to get drafted. Catcher Steven Stropp could sign a free agent deal somewhere.

May 12, 2009

Latavious "The Same"; Mollica Back For Hooters Series

Called 5-star forward Latavious Williams this morning to see how the visit to Georgetown went.

LW did not go to Georgetown last weekend, but will visit the Hoyas this coming weekend. He said he would make a decision between Georgetown, FIU, Kansas State and Memphis by next Wednesday, May 20.

Asked if he's changed his mind about any of the 4 teams, LW said "I'm still looking at all the schools theMollica same. Everything is still the same."

Not so the case with FIU second baseman Ryan Mollica (.379 avg, 8 HR, 49 RBI), who was cleared to play after missing the last couple of weeks with an illness. Spoke with RM this morning and he expects to be back in the lineup on Thursday for the first game of the regular season finale 3-game series with Florida Atlantic.

FIU is currently 4th in the Sun Belt and trails Middle Tennessee and Troy by 2 games in the loss column. MT finishes the season with 3 games against conference leader Western Kentucky. Troy plays 3 vs. South Alabama.

The Panthers still have a chance to finish 2nd in the regular season, but need big weekends from WK and SA. Either way, FIU needs to win the series vs. the Hooters and a sweep would be even better for their chances to catch MT and Troy. By the way, if FIU wins the series against FAU, more than likely the only Hooters we'll see in Troy, Alabama at the Sun Belt Tournament are of the chicken wings variety.

Hooters FIU owns the tiebreaker vs. Troy, but not vs. MT.

Although stranger things have happened (ask our GPP friend Joaquin Andujar), it looks as though FIU will need a strong showing in the Sun Belt Tournament next week to get into an NCAA regional. The thought here is FIU must at least reach the Sun Belt title game. You can vote below on what FIU needs to do to get into a regional.

Will be traveling to Troy, Alabama next Tuesday to cover the SBC Tourney and will have LIVE GAME BLOGS for each of FIU's games in the tourney.

The Panthers open the SBC Tournament next Wednesday at 4 p.m. against either: New Orleans, South Alabama, Louisiana, ULM, Florida Atlantic or Arkansas State -- all 6 are within 1 or 2 games of 5th place right now with UNO, SA and UL tied for 5th going into Thursday's play.


Jimmy: After reading the wrap-ups I was shocked to learn that FIU lost 7 starters on defense. Is that correct and, if so, who are the starters that are returning?

PP: FIU lost 6 starters on D: Daniel Chacreton, Michael Dominguez, Marshall McDuffie, Robert Mitchell, Quentin Newman and Jarvis Penerton.

gpantera: Pete, Your blog is hungry. Feed it!

PP: Dinner is served. Busy in these next 9 days before leaving for Troy. Working on a couple of FIU baseball features (Tyler Townsend's story runs in Thursday's MH and Scott Rembisz/Tom Ebert story runs early next week), currently in Lakeland helping out with state championships for Dade/Broward high schools, will be in Boca Raton Thursday-Saturday for FIU/FAU 3-game series, then Marlins/Dodgers on Sunday before flying up to Sun Belt Tournament. But don't worry the GPP will not go to the back burner.

FIU Fanatic: Pete, I never read online your article talking about the conversations that UM AD and Pete Garcia are having to renew the rivalry games in both...revenue and non-revenue sports. Any reason for it?

PP: Will check with on-line people on why it's not on there. The full article is on the previous blog. And FIU will not play UF, FSU and UM all in the same season in football like some readers were wondering. Although the Panthers would like to play all 3 in baseball and basketball yearly if it could be worked out with all the teams schedules.


 The Latavious train keeps on chugging with our poll question, which has reached close to 300 votes. From the conversations with LW, I get the feeling he's headed to Georgetown. A couple of our new readers are sure that's he not going to FIU.

A reader in Fargo, North Dakota says FIU has 0% percent chance of landing LW and so does a reader in San Jose, Costa Rica. No gains from those people for FIU, but they are gains to our scorecard:



36 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Apaw Besides receiving an automatic bid by winning the Sun Belt Tournament, what do you think FIU must do to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament:

May 08, 2009

9-Mile Schedule Wall Coming Down....FIU vs. UF & FSU In All Sports?

Helm Apparently, that schedule wall that stretches for 9 miles from FIU to the east in Coral Gables appears to be crumbling with FIU getting a visit from the crosstown school in volleyball on Sept. 10. And your Panthers could be looking at the Gators and Seminoles on their schedules in ALL sports on a regular basis in the near future.Uf

Here's the story by yours truly running in Saturday's MH:

   FIU and the University of Miami did not have any games scheduled between Fsu the two schools in the foreseeable future, but that has changed in one sport and might change in many more.

   Recently, UM cancelled all games in revenue sports with FIU, and FIU cancelled all games in non-revenue sports with UM.

   But the scheduling freeze ended with the Golden Panthers now scheduled to host the Hurricanes in volleyball Sept. 10 at U.S. Century Bank Arena.

   And with new FIU basketball coach Isiah Thomas on board, the teams are discussing a game for this coming fall.

   FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said Friday that the schools are in talks to find a date to play basketball for the upcoming season.

   “Kirby Hocutt and I have had very productive conversations in reference to scheduling,” Garcia said. “We will continue to have conversations about future scheduling in every sport.”

   FIU is also in discussions with Florida and Florida State to schedule games in all sports, including the three revenue sports: football, basketball and baseball.

   The Panthers are playing football at Florida this November and just played Florida State in baseball last week.

   Garcia believes playing the Gators and Seminoles on a regular basis is just as important as playing the Hurricanes.

   “It’s important to us to play Miami,” said Garcia. “But we want to make sure we balance our schedules by playing Florida and Florida State just as much.”

   Before the games in the revenue sports were cancelled, FIU and UM had played in baseball every year from 1973-2007, and in basketball from 1987-1992 and again from 2001-2008.

   FIU and UM met in football twice in 2006 and 2007.





Nice turnout on our Latavious poll question on the last blog. In the voting's first day, 35 states chimed in, but so far the leading vote says FIU has 0% chance of landing LW.


Some readers in Buenos Aires, Argentina were a little more optimistic giving LW a 25% chance of becoming a Panther.


Before we add Argentina to our scorecard, here's a link to a blog on the latest with Freddy: As The AAU World Turns




35 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Apaw Your thoughts and vote on the future FIU schedules....


May 07, 2009

Where's Latavious?....Here's Latavious

Ww Latw We were looking for five-star forward Latavious Williams around the GPP and on Thursday afternoon we found him.

LW -- who would be the highest rated hoops recruit to sign with FIU if he does so -- did not visit Georgetown today, but will go there next week. Here's what he had to say:

How was your visit to FIU?

LW: It was nice. Great weather and a beautiful campus. I like coach Thomas. I like the style of play he's going to have. Coach also has a lot of NBA connections. I didn't really know much about FIU, but it's looks like a good school and I really like coach Thomas. He was a fine point guard and he's a good dude.

What happened today that you didn't visit Georgetown?

LW: Coach Thompson wasn't in town so we postponed my visit until next Friday. After my visit at Georgetown next weekend, I will decide which school I will go to.

So what schools are you still considering playing for?

LW: Georgetown, FIU, Kansas State and Memphis.

Is that the order that you like those schools?Latdunk

LW: Nah (laughs). Every one of the schools has a chance to sign me.

So FIU has a 25 percent chance just like the other 3?

LW: FIU has a chance just like everybody else.

You seem to be undersized for a power forward. What are you weighing now?

LW: 212. I'm trying to get to 220. That's an ideal weight for me.

Do you think you can handle power forward weighing 220?

LW: I really only played power forward in high school, because we didn't have any bigs on our team. I'm comfortable playing the 3 or the 4. I can score from the wing or down in the block.

There have been concerns with schools, because of your grades. How are your academics right now?

LW: I did real well on the ACT. I will be all right. I'm going to do real well in college.

How did you find your way to FIU?

LW: My AAU coach and coach Thomas have known each other for a long time. I enjoyed my visit there. We'll just have to wait and see where I go. 



FIU hoops got another committment today from Highland (Ill.) JUCO forward Eric Frederick. EF is a 6-6 forward, who was committed to TCU where new FIU assistant Anthony Anderson used to coach at. Should EF sign with FIU he would play this coming season and would be a sophomore to start at FIU.

FIU_GPanther: Pete do you have any info on whether FIU is working on a TV contract with anyone, because I'm assuming there will be more games shown on TV specially Basketball and maybe even Football.

PP: There is nothing yet regarding TV. I'm sure one of the ESPNs will pick up some FIU hoops games.Espn Even if it's the Ocho.

FIUPIKE: Are we to assume that PG and Zeke would not recruit this kid unless they knew he qualifies here as well ?

PP: From what I've heard, LW will qualify, now it's a matter of him getting the grades at whatever school he goes to.

Gooch7: Pete I am so proud to have lost the baseball bet. I underestimated how good this team can actually be.

PP: The FIU baseball team has gotten much better, but it still has plenty of room for improvement to own  property in the Top 25 neighborhood. What has really hurt this season is losing those mid-week games and that has a lot to do with the depth of the pitching staff. TT has had only 1 full recruiting class. I agree with you that when TT gets a couple of more full classes in, FIU should be the class of the Sun Rem Belt and eventually a regular Top 25.

There is plenty of freshmen and new pitchers on the pitching staff with loads of talent (TT doesn't hand out scholies like dinner mints), but they need to trust their stuff and attack the hitters. They have to follow Scott Rembisz (left) and Tom Ebert's leads. Quick anecdote: there were several major league scouts at FIU's last home series last week vs. Arkansas State. A National League scout was raving about Rembisz. He told me "that kid is one strong, mentally tough kid on the mound". The scout added "Rembisz has got the [testicular fortitude] of a bull." He said another word not printable in this blog for testicular fortitude. 


May 06, 2009

APR; Where's Latavious?; A-Rod The Painter

The NCAA released its APR scores today and FIU continued its improvement with five teams (women's Grad cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and softball) scoring a perfect 1000. And 10 other FIU teams also improved their scores.

Men's basketball had the biggest leap of 155 points from 800 to 955. The minimum score the NCAA requires is a 925. MC's football team made a 74-point leap from 891 to 965.

While the FIU baseball team raised its score (917) from its multi-year rate of 873 and had every player eligible and every baseball player that was scheduled to graduate ended up graduating, the NCAA gave FIU baseball some penalties: practice time reduced from 20 to 16 hours per week; reduced the playing season from 132 to 125 days and the schedule goes down from 55 to 54 games in 2010. No scholarships were lost and all FIU teams have their full allottment of scholies.


Although it has not become as popular a question as Where's Waldo?, there are 3 teams and possibly just 2 teams waiting to find out where 6-8 power forward and 5-star recruit Latavious Williams will play hoops this fall.

Still waiting on a call back from LW for a GPP interview, but heard two different scenarios about LW today. One has LW deciding between Georgetown, Memphis and FIU and the other scenario has LW deciding between just Georgetown and FIU with the Hoyas being the favorite. Let's see what LW can tell us.


If this baseball thing doesn't work out for Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, then there might be aArodp future in painting for him.

The person that donated the paint job to University Park Stadium is none other than A-Rod. He owns the construction company that painted FIU's baseball stadium. FIU coach Turtle Thomas recruited and signed A-Rod to play across town back in the early 1990's.


Apaw With 7 games left (including tonight's game at Florida State) in the FIU baseball regular season, we have 4 contestants (Crazy Cane, TheChampionUnderdog, Gooch7 and Yandro) eliminated thus far from our WIN A GPP BASEBALL BLOG contest.

With FIU currently at 30-18, the most games the Panthers could lose would be 25 if they did not win the rest of the season. With the 4 contestants predicting FIU's loss total to be more than 25, they have gone over the loss total and are eliminated. (Closest to the actual FIU record without going over the loss total is the winner; Tiebreaker is closest to actual runs scored by FIU without going over) FIU has scored 398 runs as of Wednesday.

Here are your predictions from back in February:

FIUUuu (40-16, 392 runs); Baltimore Panther (37-19, Regionals, 409); Posterchild (37-19, Regionals, 449); Joel (36-20, Regionals, 410); Roman (36-20, Regionals, 385); Baseball Fan (35-21, Regionals, 420); Clawing Cancer (35-21, Regionals, 400); FIU_GPanther (35-21, Regionals, 408); Max (35-21, SBC finals, 401);  FIUBlueandGold (34-22, Super Reg, 392); FIUcanesFan (34-22, Regionals, 409); FIUPantherFan (33-23, SBC semis, 370); OC Panther (33-23, Regionals, 425); 2006PA (32-24, SBC champs, 320); FIU Fanatic (31-25, SBC semis, 402);

**** Yandro (30-26, SBC semis, 374); Gooch7 (29-27, SBC semis, 390); TheChampionUnderdog (26-30, no postseason, 385); Crazy Cane (25-31, Regionals, 350).    


FIURage: Pete any info on Byron Blake...did he sign w/ FIU?

PP: No, he signed with Arkansas State.

Fomenter: All I've seen mentioned, in your blog and Barry Jackson's, is that UM had a change of heart. Have I misread any article in which it shows that they initiated the conversation with FIU in regards to scheduling a basketball game? Please address this

Pete, I know you are a horrible journalist, hence you covering FIU and the Marlins, two of the worst represented sporting interests in the Metro-Dade market, but I suggest you get your head out of your ass and do some simple research on the attendance. . .I was able to attend a few of [UM] home games this year and my associate attends all their games as he is a die hard, and I assure you that there was not less than 30k actual attendance at any game

PP: Thanks for the compliment and your readership. To answer your questions (which by the way for Lunch being an avid Florida State fan, you're also UM's top defense attorney).

1) There has not been any article written about the talks. How do I know UM initiated the talks, because I have sources from both schools close to the situation. And both groups of sources tell me the same thing: Kirby Hocutt called Pete Garcia and invited him to lunch to open talks about playing FIU again in basketball. But initially, this lunch was going to happen later this summer and it was to discuss the 2 schools playing in other sports, not necessarily basketball. Then Isiah Thomas gets hired and the lunch invitation to PG suddenly gets moved up and playing FIU in basketball is the priority......Guess, it's a coincidence Barry had the same story, but not as many details?

Rb 2) As far as the attendance at Joe Robbie Stadium, now I'm not a lawyer, but I played one on TV. And I know you say you are a lawyer and you're kind of a big deal. In sifting through the sitcom between you and the FIU bloggers, I noticed you mention something about facts being more important than speculation.

So if that's the case, unless you grabbed the P.A. microphone at Joe Robbie Stadium when you were at a UM game and told the crowd: "Everyone please sit in your seats, because I am going to do a head count", then you can't really state for a fact that there were 30,000 or more people there, because you didn't do a head count and those large pockets of empty orange seats sure don't help your case, counselor. Sounds like you are speculating on attendance.

May 04, 2009

So Now U Want To Play

Knock It Bg Well, look who is knocking on FIU's door checking to see if FIU wants to come out and play basketball.

Guess, the spotlight is shining too bright on FIU from the Isiah Thomas hiring that now the crosstown school wants to have the light shine their way too. And u said u didn't care about FIU?

Kind of stinks when FIU is making all the local college hoops headlines. And wait until Tim Hardaway comes on board. U will be banging down the door with a sledgehammer wanting to play FIU.

And let's put aside the newly minted smokescreen excuse of "it's smart economically". Yeah, it may be "smart economically" to get a sellout at the Coral Gables arena with FIU visiting. But, what it really comes down to is that "it's smart Isiahnomically". 

From what I'm hearing, the green/orange wants to play FIU 2 games next season -- a home and home, (Guess the g/o's last proposal of 2 games in Coral Gables and 1 at FIU didn't work out too well for FIU's liking so the new proposed terms have been re-worked to an even number of home games).

But the Panthers schedule is filling up rather quickly with IT on board as head coach. Seems a lot of Osu teams around the nation want to play FIU. So there may not be a spot for the g/o onItpoint FIU's schedule next season.

Case in point, the Panthers are set to open this coming hoops season at Ohio State as part of a tournament like last season's O'Reilly Auto Parts Tournament where the Panthers visited Washington and then hosted the Miami round of the tournament.

After a visit to Columbus, Ohio for the 1st round of that tourney, FIU will host 3 teams from that tourney. IT and PG are currently sorting out the offers they have received from other teams around the nation and will have the FIU hoops schedule done later this summer.

Gm Back to the point of this post, while u won't play FIU because of THIS , there'sDm suddenly an interest to play, because of the national attention of IT. So if FIU hires Greg Maddux as its pitching coach and Dan Marino as its quarterbacks coach, then will u want to play baseball and football??

If I'm PG, I say make the hoops deal with the g/o, but it MUST include these 3 stipulations:

1) FIU/UM must also play in football and baseball

2) Make all 3 sports series -- home and home games

3) Make all 3 series be played every year.

Here are the simple terms of what the deal should be: Football at FIU Stadium one season, then the following season the 2 teams play at will-always-be-Joe-Robbie-Stadium-to-me. And don't worry about FIU Stadium only seating 20,000 right now, the actual crowds were less than 20,000 at JRS on Saturdays last fall anyway.

Baseball between the schools should be a 4-game series every season: 2 at FIU and 2 in Coral GablesTtjm {Jim Morris just clicked on the X in the right-hand corner of his screen upon reading the previous sentence}. This will also save travel costs for both schools in these economic times. Because we have to be "smart economically".  

It's good for the local community to see these crosstown teams suddenly have a chance to play each other again.

Because you know "There's history there." and "At this particular time it is in Miami's best interests" to play FIU.



5-star recruit and 6-8 power forward Latavious Williams (right) was at FIU on Monday meeting with IT after postponing a press conference to announce where he would play hoops this fall. LW is supposed to be going to Memphis, but took a detour for the momentLatwill to meet with IT. Trying to get LW for an interview on the GPP.


Jsuarez88: Pete, What's the story behind (5star prospect) Latavious Williams visiting FIU this past weekend? What are our chances in getting him? Any way we can get his opinions on his visit?

PP: Supposedly, LW is a raw talent that can rebound and score down low, but still needs to refine his skills and put on some weight (he's 210 right now) to play power forward. Memphis should land him, but it would not surprise to see him in an FIU uniform, because of IT. Trying to reach him on the phone to get his opinions about FIU.

Puma: Pete is this a record for the Marlins in terms of grand slams allowed so early in the season? Jeez, we can't catch a break. I wanted to know the following: 1. What was Alvarez a/k/a Rosenhaus demanding from IT in exchange for his clients (Asprilla, Soto) staying? 2. Have you spoken to TT, IT, or MC about replacing Mia/NY Josh as cleanup hitter on your softball team? 3. Is Crazy Cane really Manny Navarro’s alter ego?

PP: The Marlins record for allowing grand slams in a season is 7 back in 2000 and 2001. So far, Fish pitchers have allowed 5 grannies. 1) From what I'm hearing from 4 well-connected sources in the local basketball community is that he wanted one of his assistants on IT's coaching staff. The sources also said that IT wants to run a clean program and won't play Granny that game. 2) I'm trying to get Tyler Townsend and his 18 HRs as a clean-up hitter. 3) Manny's too busy now as the backup Marlins writer. The CC that showed up to FIU Stadium last year for the Louisiana-Monroe game, ironically enough, is a lawyer.

alt7787: Pete I have some marlins questions if you dont mind answering. 1) Have you heard anything about the Marlins bringing in another pitcher to take over Andrew Miller's spot? The taylor kid is ok, but he is definitely only a temp solution. plus even andrew miller wasnt the best starting pitcher. 2) Have you ever met Rich Waltz or Tommy Hutton? dont know why i ask. guess ive just been watching too many marlins broadcasts lately. they grow on you.

PP: Don't mind at all. 1) Andrew Miller (right) will be back in his spot when he's healthy. They will use Taylor for now. The pitcher that could challenge for Miller's spot eventually is lefty Sean West, who is 6-8 andAmiller throws in the mid-90's. He's currently at Double A Jacksonville, but is off to a so-so start at 2-2 with a 6.39 ERA. 2) Yes, have met them, both good guys.

c-UM: Pete, if possible, could you give us some stats on the baseball signees that were listed in the article on FIUsports.com a couple months ago?

PP: Listing the stats of all the players -- the two highest ranked of the FIU class are Texas slugger Rudy Flores (left) and Orlando's Jabari Henry -- takes up too much space, but here is the Flores link to the release on the FIU sports website: New FIU 2010 ballplayers They have all the stats for the players in the linked article.

ridgepanther: what is the time frame on renovations? two years?

PP: The arena renovations (new entrance, new FIU locker rooms and players lounge, new seating and courtside seating and floor) are expected to take 2 years.


PG needs your help (well, not really) but what's your take on UM begging to play FIU again?

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