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Meet Your FIU Hoopsters

It Don't worry we have not forgotten about your Panthers football team. Will have the view from Louisiana and their beat writer Josh Parrott on here Friday as well as your GPP preview and prediction of Saturday's high noon game between the Ragin' Cajuns and Panthers. So you get a 2 for 1 deal on Friday and you didn't even have to bargain for it.

For now we have more stuff to give you from Lunch with Isiah. We ran down the current FIU basketball roster with IT.

FIU has now been practicing for a little more than 10 days to go into Chapel Hill and upset No. 1 North Carolina.

What's that you say? Pete, have you had too much tonight? No, sorry that was my nephew grabbing a hold of the keyboard writing the previous sentence about FIU/UNC, while I answered a phone call.

Anyway, without further ado, here is what IT had to say about his players after about 10 days of practice

Jeremy Allen (G, 6-3, 186, Jr., Central Michigan transfer who will be eligible in 2010-11) –

IT's take: "He's a defender, good shooter, can score and has emerged as one of the leaders of the team. Tough competitor, don’t back down to anyone."


Anthony Anderson (G, 6-0, 160, Soph., son of assistant coach Anthony Anderson) – Bright

IT's take: "He's a shooter, zone buster."


Marlon Bright (F, 6-3, 236, Sr.) – (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) 

IT's take: "I would say he is the epitome of what a student-athlete should be [future Rhodes Scholar]. Right now he is the leader of our team. Tough inside player, extremely bright, picks it up quickly. He embodies what we’re about here at FIU."


Cedric Essola (F, 6-9, 215, Sr.) –

IT's take: "I’m pleasantly surprised by Cedric, because he was injured a lot. I didn’t know much about him other than he was injured and every time I saw him he could barely walk, barely run. He’s tough as nails and in a quiet kind of way he is competitive and extremely bright out on the floor. He has great basketball instincts. He’s not like a high jumper, but he will let you know that he is around."


Nikola Gacesa (F, 6-9, 238, Sr.) –

IT''s take: "He is a player. He can shoot the basketball, good on the post, good passer. If I had to pick two captains right now it would be Niko and Marlon."


Phil Gary (G, 5-11, 190, Jr.) –

IT's take: "Good point guard, great vision, handles the ball, keeps everybody under control. Keeps everybody in position and is really getting a feel for understanding tempo. He’s from the west side of Gary Chicago so his self-confidence comes from having to navigate the neighborhood. There is definitely no fear in him. His understanding of the game, he sees it at a very high level. The passes that he makes and the things that he sees and the way he is able to maneuver around the defense. He has exceptional vision. I think the players like playing with him, because he has that one special skill other players seem to like which is passing."


Martavius Kee (G, 6-2, 190, Soph. will be eligible Jan. 2010) –

IT's take: "He can really be a good defender for us. He can score the basketball, but he is an emerging defensive player. He is taking a liking to defense right now and I’m glad that he is seeing that he has that capability. He won’t be eligible until January."


Brandon Moore (F, 6-8, 207, Soph., Arkansas transfer will be eligible in 2010-11) –

IT's take: "Is a shot blocker transfer from Arkansas. He has put on about 10 to 15 pounds and looking to add some more weight. If we can get him to about 220 I think we’ll have a good player in him."


J.C. Otero (F, 6-7, 210, Sr.) –

IT's take: "A shooter, good passer. He and Niko play well together. They have a good understanding, a good feel for each other. He doesn’t have the explosiveness he had before the knee injury, but J.C. has what we call know-how. He knows how to get himself in a position to get a basket or a shot."


Marvin Roberts (F, 6-5, 210, Jr.) –

IT's take: "Probably our most explosive scorer and he can also become a great defender. He can score from the perimeter. He can score by driving, works the offensive glass. He averaged 28 points at the junior college. I don’t know if he will ever average 28 points here, but he’s a guy that can put it in the hole. He’sRussell very streaky with it so I can see him being able to score in bunches."


Tremayne Russell (G, 6-0, 180, Jr.) – (right, thanks AJH photo)

IT's take: "Has worked really hard in the weight room and it’s definitely showing out on the floor as his shots improve. His athleticism taking the ball to basket is getting better and in terms of reading the defense."



Nick Taylor (G, 5-10, 165, Jr.) –

IT's take: "He has been injured. He has been off and on hurt."


Antoine Watson (G, 6-4, 200, Jr.) & Stephon Weaver (G, 6-3, 195, Jr.) –

IT's take: "Antoine and Stephon are definitely two scorers, but both of those guys have taken a liking to defense and I am seeing a defensive tenacity in Weaver and Watson that I hadn’t quite expected. I think both these guys are taking a lot of pride in the defense right now."


Scrappy Other IT thoughts:


On lack of size and style of play for FIU this season: "We will have to be scrappy. We’re small and we’ll have to depend on our quickness and we’ll have to depend on trapping inside and gang rebounding, because we’re not big enough for the bigger teams. Hopefully in the next couple of years we can answer that problem with better recruiting in terms of getting bigger people."



On his starting five if the season started today: "I have no idea. The competition in practice has been very good. I’m comfortable with any of these guys that I have named. I don’t think any of them is to the point where they are getting ready to overwhelm their opponent. As a collective group, I’m comfortable with what they are capable of doing out on the floor."




Aaapaw GPP LIVE BLOG of Louisiana vs. FIU begins with a late breakfast on Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. and I will be able to stick with you until the end, because of the very deadline-friendly kickoff time of 12 noon.


SouthPaw: Kambriel Willis should have been a LB at the college level. He never should have been put on the D-line to start out his career. I've questioned that decision from day one. Has he ever been tried there in practice the past two years, Pete?

PP: He has not.

FIUFan: What are the chances of hosting some first round NCAA matches if we do well in the Sun Belt tourney?

PP: Not likely. FIU would have to get into the top 25 volleyball poll (and well into it like top 15) before the season Braves ends and being in the Sun Belt may not help either.

Max: Pete, any news on any future upgrades to facilities? What's the next for the football stadium? The basketball arena? etc?

PP: Might be a little longer with the football stadium, because of the state. The funds are being delayed byBlack the state, because of the current economy. We might be looking after 2013 for the lower bowl of the stadium to be enclosed.

The Bank is expected to get a jumbotron scoreboard some time this season as part of the arena's renovations. Not as big as the Atlanta Braves scoreboard in the photo, above left, but you get the idea. The new scoreboard is expected to go on the east wall of the arena opposite of where the retired jerseys hang.

Also the FIU men's team is expected to have an all-black alternate uniform. Obviously, the photo on the right of Dwyane Wade's jersey is not the black uniform, but that is the color scheme. Both FIU hoops teams are also expected to get new locker rooms too.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, any thoughts by IT of getting C. Arroyo & R. Bell involved with the program, in reference to fundraising both themselves and some of their NBA buds? Is the player that will be available in December the player that transfered last year with Coach Rouco?

PP: IT has reached out. However, I think the fundraising would really get going once the W's start piling up. You know how this town is. Everybody loves a winner. Yes, Martavius Kee is the Temple transfer from last season and will be available to play in January 2010, because he transferred this past January.


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