I was looking over the different recruiting sites to see what is being reported about FIU. All three sites (ESPN, Scout and Rivals) are in disagreement on who has and has not verbally committed to coach Isiah Thomas. Recruiting is going to start heating up as it gets closer to signing day in early April. Just like with football, much of what is being talked about in the media is more speculation than truth.
From what I can tell you from football signing day last week, the services really do not pay as much attention to the Sun Belt as the other conferences and some of the information can be inaccurate.
ESPN lists four verbal commitments for FIU:
PF, Darnell Harris, Christian Life, 6-8, 210, TX, grade 91.
C, Chris Coleman, Christian Life, 6-10, 270, TX, grade 88
C, Joe de la Rosa, Montverde Aca., 6-10, 200, FL, grade 88
C, Yvan Ngirabakunzi, The Piney Woods, 6-9, 205, MS, grade 82
Plus one possible commitment
PF, Vince Van Nes, Northfield-Mt. Hermon, 6-11, 235, MA, grade 82
Lists only Coleman and Harris has the only two verbal commitments.
Lists only Harris.
FIU is definitely lacking size this season and could only benefit from having PF Harris and a legitimate center come in. FIU has 14 guards on the roster, with half graduating this year. That includes starting point guard Phil Gary, Alex Legion and Marvin Roberts. At the moment, the Panthers have needed Eric Frederick to carry the load inside. In 23 games played, Frederick has a team-high 6.6 rebounds and 13.3 points a game.
Both Phil Taylor and Dominique Ferguson are freshmen. FIU will need to build around them, along with Frederick, who is returning to play his senior season. FIU will also have the benefit of having leading scorer DeJuan Wright for another year. Put that together with another strong recruiting class and FIU should be a contender in the SBC next season.
This year might not be totally wasted just yet. I have a feeling FIU could make a run in the conference tournament but with how erratic they have played late in games, I am not sure how far they could go.