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FIU Men's Basketball season ends with thud

While many of you were sleeping, Isiah Thomas' second season came to an abrupt -- and painful -- conclusion at the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 73-38 rout at the hands of Middle Tennessee.

Now, the inevitable debate begins: Will IT be back for No. 3?

Our media brethern up in New York seem to have made a cottage industry out of Isiah's continuing connections to the Knicks, and no doubt many of those rumors have been just that. But certainly, with a coach with Thomas' pedigree -- and his on-the-record remarks about a longing to get back to the Big Apple -- where there's smoke, there's at least embers, if not an entire fire.

Last week, before the Panthers headed to Hot Springs, I chatted with FIU's head coach about this year -- and of course, got a question in there about his future. For what it's worth, he gave all the right signs about remaining at FIU.

Q: How has this year gone for you?

IT: "Actually, it’s been a good year. In terms of recruiting, in terms of building the program, establishing the way we want to play. I’m very excited about the future, in terms of what we have coming in, what we’ll have staying, what we’ll be able to add. Like Al McGuire said, the best thing is freshmen become sophomores. I think the experience that this group has gotten is definitely going to make them better."

Do you think you're improving as a coach?

"I think you always improve. This is a game you never master, and it’s a game you always try to get better. You always try to learn something new and every game you coach, you get better."

What's one thing that’s surprised you this year?

"I think the level of play in the Sun Belt is very underrated. It’s not a big-man’s league, but 6-7 and under, you better bring a lunch because they scrap and they go after it. The thing that this league doesn’t have is the dominant bigs, but out on the perimeter, you better bring a lunch."

Do you think you'll be a better coach next year?

"Every year in basketball that you have, you get better. You just keep acquiring knowledge. It’s like the more you go to school, the smarter you get. Some people. The longer you do it, the more experience you have. The thing that’s really helped me this year is I’ve learned my kids. I’ve learned what they can and can’t do, and having as many close games as we’ve played, I know who can do what and when they can do, as opposed to having to guess about it."

Do you think you need one or two more guys to emerge?

"That’s all recruiting. This is really our first class, and these guy, when you look at Ferguson, Allen, DeJuan, Taylor, Pack, Bell, these guys, that’s a nice foundation that they have. You add a couple of big pieces to it next year, we have a nice little foundation here."

Do you think there will be more noise surrounding you this summer?

"It seems to always be that way."

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Isiah might leave one day, but I think he genuinely likes it down here and likes the college game. This was a building year, and next year when we have some big men and can allow our guys to play their true positions we will be a much better team.

There's a reason he says "they" have a nice foundation and not "I" have a nice foundation.

It's just too bad no NBA team is willing to take him off our hands.

Except he said "we" a lot more than "they."

If Isiah leaves best of luck to him. He got FIU Basketball more national attention than any player, season or coach ever has so thank you for your services. I do hope, however, that he stays.

If anything Thomas is going to stay 2 more years, just so he could bulk his reputation. Look at Harvard, Amaker isn't going to be there forever, he is just bulking his reputation and then he will leave for a big program.

I think IT definitely itches to be on the big stage again and he clearly still has a a love affair with the knicks.
But at the same time, after so many years in the limelight I think he may enjoy the lower-key lifestyle he is afforded at FIU. As a natural competitor im sure he wants to stick around long enough to prove people wrong.
It will be interesting to see what happens either way.

Isiah needs to win 14 regular season games minimum next season and win the SBC torny.

#NoExcuses

zeek is not going anywhere be lucky you have him at fiu hes a good coack who will be a great coach one day and he is getting good players to come to fiu


db kinston nc

How do you figure he will be a great coach one day?

I think IT is the right guy for FIU.. Why?
1) Because he has brought FIU Basketball more attention in 2 years then all the players and coaches combined did for the first 20 years.

2) His recruiting is amazing (thats half your job as a college coach) Back-to-back Top 25 classes.

3) People expect a Sweet 16 appearance after just 2 years.. Not a chance! Lets start by having a winning season and winning the Sunbelt.

4) Remember that he did not recruit anyone that is a Junior or Senior from our team. He was handed crap and now he needs to build one brick at a time.

BTW for anyone keeping score I was wrong about my prediction that the Men's Team was going to make the Semis..

Go FIU!

Best of luck to FIU and Zeke next year.
From a New Yorker.

1) Same could be said of the brawl with Miami.

2) Valid.

3) Can't think small when the dude's only going to be around for one more season at the most.

4) see #s 2 and 3.

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