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Hoops Gets Smaller; 2-QB System

Gacesa In case, you missed it in my game story in Wednesday's MH, FIU hoops has lost its 2 tallest players to injury.

6-9 forward Nikola Gacesa (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is done for the season with an ACL tear he sustained at Monmouth. 6-9 forward Cedric Essola had hernia surgery and is not expected back until the earliest January. The injury bug moves from FIU Stadium to the Bank.

J.C. Otero, a 6-7 small forward, did a nice job filling in at the 5 last night with 16 points and 14 rebounds. But eventually, the lack of size will catch up with the Panthers this season.

With the exception of the Golden Dazzlers, it wasn't pretty last night for FIU against NAIA FloridaGdazz Memorial from Miami Gardens.

Ragged play all around from a team that is showing it has not played together before. Don't get me wrong, there were moments such as the alley-oop from Antoine Watson to Marvin Roberts. When was the last time we saw an alley-oop by an FIU team? Yes, this is a more athletic team, but the playing chemistry is still off.

Stephon Weaver and Otero combined on a nice play in the paint. For being 5-10, Phil Gary (below, left) is a proud, card-carrying member of Company Jones, driving fearlessly to the hoop against bigger bodies. And Roberts had that dunk off a rebound in the middle of the paint -- again when was the last time we saw that kind of play from a Panthers team?

However, the disjointed play needs to be cleaned up come conference time. Expect this season to be similar to MC's and TT's first years as FIU coaches. Not expecting FIU to compete for the Sun Belt this season, but a better season than has happened in a while at the Bank would be a start.

Gary Speaking of the Bank, very nice renovation job of the arena. The Panthers hoopsters home finally had the feel of a real arena last night with all the changes.

Plenty of signs everywhere telling you where your seats were, where the concessions, bathrooms and where the courtside seat holders suites were located. And having fans come down from the second level to their seats also is an improvement. The place also benefitted from an entire new paint job and new court markings as well. Next up some time this season will be a jumbotron scoreboard and work on the new FIU hoopsters locker rooms, which should be ready for next season.

TWO-QB FIU & WESLEY TEBOW

Pmc As for Saturday's game against the Gators and for the Boca Raton Hooters gameWy on Dec. 5, MC said today that he "thinks so" that both Paul McCall (left, thanks AJH photo) and Wayne Younger (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) will play. The two-QB system worked at times for FIU last Saturday against North Texas. Tell us below, what you think about the idea for the Panthers final two games of the season.

Future FIU quarterback Wesley Tebow, er, Wesley Carroll has been playing the role of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow this week in practice running the scout team offense.

Appropriate enough for a former All-SEC Freshman QB to be playing the role of an All-SEC QB.

Obviously, WC does not have the size or credentials of Tebow, but WC has looked pretty good running theCarrollwes scout team. WC is a very mobile QB, has a good arm and throws well on the run.

If the FIU offensive line can improve next season, then WC could have a pretty good first year as FIU's QB.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw LIVE BLOG coverage of the FIU/Florida game will begin at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. It is a very deadline friendly kickoff time so I will be able to stick with you until the end of the game.

Aaapaw Will have the next LIVE FIU HOOPS BLOG for Sunday's game which is a 6 p.m. start against James Madison. LIVE BLOG starts at 5:45 p.m. No LIVE BLOG for Friday's hoops game vs. NC Central since I will be in Gainesville on that night.

Aaapaw Due to space constraints in Thursday's MH, the FIU Volleyball story will likely run in Friday's MH paper. Here's a preview of the story....

   The patrons in a downtown Nashville restaurant were in for some unexpected entertainment from the FIU volleyball team on a Saturday night earlier this month. The Golden Panthers -- who had just wrapped up their second consecutive Sun Belt regular season title by defeating defending conference champion Middle Tennessee an hour earlier – were ready for a late night dinner.....

Check out the rest on Friday.

 

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