A few things left over from the short story on Jerica Coley that functions as an advance for FIU’s Women’s NIT opener against Stetson Thursday.
On Coley’s recruitment, FIU coach Cindy Russo said, “She was a well kept secret. I was in Orlando and one of our assistant coaches said we’re going to see a 2011 kid, which was Kamika Odom, who we have now, her cousin. I said, “Who’s she?” Looked her up and sure enough, she was a little bit off the radar, but she was going to be a rising senior. So, for the rest of the tournament in Orlando, I watched her play. I knew within 10 minutes of watching her, how much I wanted her and what a great player she was. I don’t know why she didn’t get more attention, but I’m glad it didn’t happen. She can play at any level. I know a couple of Florida schools saw her. I think she put out that she didn’t want to leave Florida. Flroida didn’t recruit her, Florida State didn’t recruit her, Miami didn’t recruit her. I can’t answer that. But I’m happy about that!”
Jerry Coley said he wanted his daughter to stay in Florida because “We didn’t want her to go way off where we couldn’t see her play. Also, we can keep close tabs , we could check on her more quickly. So much happens on college campuses, we didn’t want her across the country.”
Jerica said, “Towards the end, the only schools I was thinking about were this school, Jacksonville University and Florida Gulf Coast, a little bit. When I came here, I liked the atmosphere. Very frieldny, and the coaches seemed genuine.”
Russo opined that Coley improved more from her freshman year to sophomore year at FIU than from St. Pete Catholic High to FIU freshman.
Russo said, “Her confidence level, her consistency (improved). Jerica’s a self-motivated young lady. She does things on her own. She’s the earliest one before games. Summertime, she’s in here all the time. She likes to expand her repertoire – every day, she tries something new – and she has. Now, she has to learn how to deal when a committee is on her.”
Speaking of improvement, Sun Belt Conference swimmers had to be asking about FIU freshman Johanna Gustafsdottir, conference swimmer of the year and in the NCAAs over the next three days: “Where did she come from?”
The simple answer – Denmark by way of Iceland. The longer answer…
Gustafsdottir was on the Iceland National Team at 13, won 43 national titles and set 25 national records.
“She was one of the top swimmers in Iceland at a young age,” FIU swim coach Randy Horner said. “She got to a point where she was a little burth out and didn’t love it as much. After some time away, she decided she really wanted to come back.”
So, what Horner started with wasn’t a callow kid used to dominating lesser competition but a 21-year-old with international experience and some rust. The last six months at FIU acted as WD-40 on Gustafsdottir, who won the 200 Individual Medley, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the Sun Belt meet. She also set an FIU record in the 200 freestyle. Horner said she almost swam the 400 IM there and it “could still be one of her best events.”
Gustafsdottir’s best event this weekend figures to be the 200 back, where she’s got the 14th fastest time in the NCAA.
FIU senior third baseman Mike Martinez’s infield single in the third inning drove in a run, the 164th of Martinez’s career. That ties Tyler Townsend’s school record. Mike Martinez passes Tyler Townsend…alliteration abounds!
The National Association of Basketball Coaches picked FIU senior guards Jeremy Allen and DeJuan Wright as Second Team All-District 24. The rest of the players on the first two teams also were from the Sun Belt.