FIU basketball received two more verbal commits today for the Class of 2010 and 2011.
Matt Milk (Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest), a 6-8, 240-pound senior power forward told the Panthers he's headed this way to play college basketball next season. Milk is currently a teammate of high school phenom Brandon Knight....hmmm.
FIU also got a committment from 6-9 and growing power forward Yvan Ngirabakunzi (right), who is currently a junior at Piney Woods High in Mississippi. Yvan, who has a good last name to play Scrabble with, is ranked as the No. 40 power forward in the nation for 2011.
According to rivals.com and ESPN, Yvan had an offer from the school across town and decommitted. He has been receiving interest from Arkansas, Marquette and Tulane.
Power forward Eric Frederick (left), who is currently at Highland-Illinois JUCO, has taken care of his academic business and is ready to come play at FIU next season. If you remember, Frederick committed to FIU last season, but was not able to play with this year's team because of grades. EF would be a sophomore when he arrives at FIU next season.
** Of course, all of these commitments are verbal and non-binding, so please keep the GPP's Gatorade Theory of Recruiting in mind when reading the news above.
This team is definitely more athletic than any other FIU hoops team I have seen in the last 8 years since I have been covering FIU.
With Phil Gary at the controls at point guard and a more athletic team, the Panthers should not have trouble breaking the full court press unlike previous seasons.
Marvin Roberts, Antoine Watson, Stephon Weaver and Gary are going to do well in the Sun Belt and they have the abilities to make the rest of the team better.
There is not much height on these Panthers and that might hurt come the Sun Belt tourney or beyond if FIU were to get that far.
Later this week or early next week, going to have new coach Isiah Thomas join us on the GPP to talk about your Panther hoopsters.
You can also learn more about the 2009-2010 FIU hoops team on Thursday night at U.S. Century Bank Arena in the Alumni Panther Basketball Preview where IT will be on hand. However, don't bother asking questions about recruits, because NCAA coaches cannot speak about them until they are signed on the dotted line.
Interesting stat that came out the other day, the FIU football team has played 14 true freshmen this season which is the 4th most among the 120 FBS teams. Only Tulane (17), Texas A&M (16 -- FIU opens at College Station next season) and Air Force (15) have played more.
But that number could grow to 17 by Saturday at Arkansas State, because defensive linemen Andrew Mattox, safety Terrance Taylor and kicker Jack Griffin (for kickoffs) are very close to playing according to MC.
Here are the 14 true freshmen to have played this season: Wayne Times, Darian Mallary, Rockey Vann, Dave Istanich, Giancarlo Revilla, Tourek Williams, Kenny Dillard, Pooh Bear Mars, Jonathan Cyprien, Markeith Russell, Rupert Bryan, Larry McCoy, Josh Forney and Derreck Jones.
The FIU baseball team is currently playing in an exhibition game against the Langley Blaze from British Columbia at University Park Stadium. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, FIU is up 5-0 with R.J. Fondon pitching and Tim Jobe with a solo bomba. Check fiusports.com later for the final score.
FIUManiac: Pete, what about the coaching thus far?
PP: Much like the team, the staff is young and learning on the job. With the exception of the Toledo game, the Panthers have matched up with teams in the first half and came out strong against then-No. 4 and now-No. 1 Alabama. However, then opponents will have a big quarter or big plays and FIU cannot recover. Yes, the defense right now is a major issue and unless it is fixed the Panthers will have a tough time winning the rest of the season.
Much like the team, the coaching staff can improve. It certainly is NOT a lack of effort with this staff as opposed to the previous staff. There have been many high school coaches that I have spoken with since MC took over, who said that FIU had never visited their high school until MC took over. The recruiting under MC has improved 200% from the previous staff and there is talent on this team. But where this team really needs to pick it up is along the offensive and defensive lines and for that you need time in the weight room and/or go get the midwest beef or JUCO beef. I think several people are mistaken thinking this is a 3-year deal with FIU. MC & co. inherited a mess, that included significant scholarship losses and a lack of talent. A more fair assessment would be after year 5.
Jdoezer: Pete, you say in your article that you had FIU at 3-3 ("Yours truly had FIU at 3-3 with losses to Alabama, Rutgers and Troy") but yet your picks have you 5-1 with FIU having a 1-5 record - explain? Are you a journalist or a BS'er?
PP: No Big Shot here. (Yes, I know BS does not mean Big Shot). If you read the entire paragraph that I wrote it finishes with: "...when the preseason predictions were published here on the GPP back in August."
When I made my preseason picks in August...at this point in the season I had FIU at 3-3. I pick FIU games each Friday throughout the season and depending on how the team is going sometimes I amend my picks -- As I said back in August that I would do.
I originally predicted FIU to a 6-6 record and the St. Petersburg Bowl back in August but that is not looking like it will happen. So no BS here, if I don't hit on my picks I'll admit I'm wrong. I'm not looking for a career in Vegas.
Thanks for reading the GPP and following my picks.
FIUJM: Does anyone know if Sports Grill showing game this weekend? Or if it's even on TV?
PP: You can watch the game on ASU's website. They have a video feed of the game.