November 05, 2010

Isiah Thomas wants local recruits

Here's a writeup from Thursday's men's basketball media day, but one note that didn't make the paper:

Isiah Thomas' Hall of Fame credentials and dogged salesmanship has made FIU a viable option for talented recruits from across the nation, like transfers Eric Frederick and DeJuan Wright and freshman Richaud Pack.

Yet Thomas hasn't had the same success convincing the Sunshine State's best to consider the school.

"For so long, they looked at FIU as a place not to come to, in terms of the basketball program," Thomas said. "We'd like to have some success here locally to also go along with what we're doing nationally."

September 20, 2010

Reports: McAfee, Harris commit to Panthers

Isiah Thomas is at again.

According to internet reports, two of the nation’s top 100 players in the Class of 2011 have committed to Florida International: guard Cedrick McAfee and forward Darnell Harris. 

Both are four-star recruits, and will join centers Chris Coleman and Yvan Ngirabakunzi, who have also committed to FIU.

McAfee is a 6-2, 180-pound point guard from Memphis Melrose, and is the 59th-best player in the country at any position, according to ESPNU’s rankings.

Harris, a swingman ranked 83rd overall, picked the Panthers over Providence and Loyola. He will join Coleman, a current teammate at Christian Life Center Academy (Texas), on Southwest Eighth Street.

Coleman has long been in Thomas’ plans, agreeing to attend FIU during his junior year. 

Ngirabakunzi, a 6-9, 205-pounder out of Piney Woods, MS, chose the Panthers after backing out of a commitment to attend the University of Miami.

Interesting to note: FIU, which lured elite recruit Dominique Ferguson to campus last year – although he’s still awaiting NCAA clearance – is the only Sun Belt team to have a commitment ranked in the ESPNU 100.

If all goes well, the Panthers will have three such players on the court next fall, instantly changing the team’s conference – and perhaps even national – outlook.

September 05, 2010

Projected offensive starters; countdown to Rutgers


Wesley10 FIUfoot MHS TMC QB: I think most FIU fans know who will be the starting QB this year. Just in case you don't, expect junior Wesley Carroll (left), to play most of the game against Rutgers. Wayne Younger has had plenty of work during fall camp and will most likely see some playing time. 

RB: There is still some confusion as to who will be the Panthers' starting running One13 fiuscrimmage MHS ADD back. Junior Darriet Perry (301 yards on 103 attempts 2009), sophomores Darrian Mallery and Jeremiah Harden (right) are all battling for the stating spot. Mallery has been practicing with the first-team lately. Since I have to pick one guy, I'll go with Mallery, but I would not be shocked to see him split carries with the other running backs. 

WR: Junior T.Y. Hilton and senior Greg Ellingson are the only two wide receivers that are guaranteed to be starters. Junior Mertile, Willis Wright and Wayne Times are battling for the third spot. At the moment, I'll say Mertile will be the third WR against Rutgers. I don't think Willis Wright, as a true freshman, will start the game. I think it is very possible that Wright will be a starter in the near future, just not the first game. Senior Ariel Martinez has put together a nice fall camp and should see some playing time off the bench.

Faucher29 preview MHS AU TE: Jonathan Faucher (left, during his years with Cypress Bay) will most likely be the starter (since Dudley LaPorte is still dealing with his foot injury) but it is still to early to tell if he will be physically ready to play. Faucher is also dealing with a lower leg injury that he sustained early in fall camp. If Faucher does not play, junior Colt Anderson will take his place.

Offensive line

C: Brad Serini (right, no surprise here), LT: Caylin Hauptmann, RT Rupert Bryan Jr., 200 fiu SPTS ADD OG: David Istanich, OG: Giancarlo Revilla.

Response to comments

I think Mack could start at guard or is he still out of shape?...Panther Viscosity

A. Mack has lost a lot of weight. He could definitely be a starter. He's a big guy listed at 6-4, 320 on the roster. Cristobal told me last week that he has really slimmed down and is getting into better shape.

2010 FIU iPhone App is ready

The app is free for the first 30 days, then it's 1 month: $0.99, 3 months: $1.99, 6 months $2.99, 12 months: $4.99.

Deadspin catches up with Isiah Thomas caught up with Coach Thomas after a U.S. Open match. Story here.

Tomorrow defensive starters.

Justin Azpiazu

August 19, 2010

August 18, 2010

August 10, 2010

August 07, 2010

Rakeem Christmas picks Syracuse over FIU

The 6 foot 9 Christmas choose Syracuse over FIU and Georgetown.

Christmas told FOX sports' Jeff Goodman, “I had a lot of great options, but I fell in love with Syracuse. I know a lot of the guys on the team and that made a difference in my decision. I also felt that I could fit in well with their system.”

Read full story here.

Response to comments

@Que bola: I'll let you guys know tomorrow what practices will be open to the public.

July 23, 2010

LeBatard: Isiah meets with Knicks

From Dan LeBatard's Twitter account:

No joke- inside source telling us that Isiah Thomas flew into Ocean City, NJ airport today & met w/ highest levels of Knicks management.

meeting was super secret/private airport, according to a source whose info i trust 100 percent but a source i couldn't personally trust less

We hear that Isiah will be on his 790 AM show at 6:20 p.m., presumably to discuss his future.

UPDATE: Apparently, Thomas didn't pick up his phone when The Ticket called. When we know more about what exactly is going on, you'll be the first to know.

UPDATE NO. 2: Full story in tomorrow's Miami Herald, but here's the university's take:

FIU sports information director Paul Dodson, who had been in contact with Thomas earlier Friday, said the school was "surprised" to hear LeBatard's report, but expressed confidence that Thomas would remain at the school.

"He's our coach now, he'll be our coach tomorrow, and he'll be our coach this coming fall," Dodson said.

Thomas, who is in the second of a five-year contract with the Golden Panthers, oversaw a 7-25 season last winter, but that hasn't stopped the former Piston great from amassing back-to-back impressive recruiting classes.

He's on the road this week, visiting recruits in Orlando Saturday and Los Angeles Monday, Dodson said.

June 28, 2010

Talking w/ Chris Coleman

Had a chance to catch up with Chris Coleman and his Christian Life Academy high school coach CarlosColeman Wilson on Monday afternoon -- one day after the No. 10 center in the nation said he will become an FIU Panther.

Here's what the gentlemen had to say....

PP: Chris, what made you decide on joining FIU in 2011?

CC: I wanted to get coached by someone that knows the game. Plus, I loved the school when I went down there. I liked that if you graduate from FIU, because of its international ties, you can basically get a job anywhere in the world. And you can't beat the weather in Miami.

PP: When did you first meet coach Thomas and as a 17-year-old how much did you know about his Hall of Fame career?

CC: I met him last summer and he is great. I've known about what he did on the basketball court for a while, because of my grandma. My grandma loves coach Thomas. She's from Chicago, like coach, and she is a big It Detroit Pistons fan. And my mom and coach Thomas went to the same high school also in Chicago.

PP: Coach Wilson tell me a little about Chris's game.

CW: Chris is a true center that can beat you with his back to the basket or by putting the ball on the floor. He's a multi-faceted big guy. He's going to cause big problems at the five spot for FIU opponents. Chris averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks last year. He shot 52% from the field and 64% from the free throw line. He has to be a better free throw shooter.

PP: Chris, it seems like you pretty much have a complete game. But what about the free throw shooting? Do you feel that it's the thing you have to improve on the most?

CC: I thought I did all right at the line last season, but I would love to improve that 64%. I'm going to get fouled a lot down there and I'm going to be at the line a lot. A lot of big guys like Dwight Howard and Shaq have trouble with the free throw. It's just a matter of concentration and focus.

PP: Do you have any ritual you go through at the line to help you out?

CC: Yeah, I think of a song when I shoot free throws. I'm thinking "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne. I like the song andLil it helps me relax.

PP: Coach, how was FIU's recruitment of Chris?

CW: FIU got in on Chris really early and they were consistent and persistent. They did a masterful job.

PP: Chris, are you done growing at 6-10 and how do you feel about the 249 pounds you are carrying right now?

CC: I'm hoping I can get to 6-11 or 7 feet. I come from a big family. My dad is 6-4 and my mom is 5-9. I feel good at 249, but I'm going to add some muscle and get bigger. I love the weight room.

PP: Chris, do you know any of the highly-regarded recruits that FIU is chasing or any of the top players that FIU has signed?

CC: I played with Dominique Ferguson last summer in Detroit. We liked how we fed off each other on the court. We played well together. I really don't know any of the other players. But I think we can get some more top players to come down and play with us at FIU.



Aaapaw Along with the continued recruitment of Rakeem Christmas, the Panthers are pursuing Josiah Turner (No. 4 point guard in the nation). JT will have to decide among: Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, USC, Cal and FIU.

Word is RC is down to four schools: FIU, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgetown. FIU is also after Coral Gables High 6-8 power forward Jonathan Holton -- a 1st team All-Miami Dade player last season.


blkpanther: So Pete this makes two commitments for the 2011 season? Yvan Ngirabakunzi, Chris Coleman.

PP: Yes, so far.

Max: Any news on our schedule for this season? Shouldn't it be released soon?

PP: Opener is at home against Florida Memorial. Big non-conference home game is vs. Florida State. There won't be any 24-day road trip for FIU like last December. Schedule should be out by mid-August.

March 07, 2010

Year 1 Done

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS -- The first FIU basketball season under Panthers coach Isiah Thomas is complete after FIU's 71-64 loss to Denver in the 1st round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in HotCapone Springs, Arkansas. Unlike Al Capone, FIU did not rule Hot Springs, Arkansas this week.

Stayed at Capone's hotel (the Arlington) in Hot Springs on Saturday night. Spending Sunday here in Little Rock, because there were no flights available to Fort Lauderdale one day before my scheduled departure on Monday.

Was expecting the FIU men and women's hoops teams to win their 1st round games and that's why the Monday flight was booked out of Arkansas.

But neither team escaped the 1st round. The FIU men's team pretty much had little shot of winning their 1st round game after leading scorer Marvin Roberts was suspended for violation of team rules. Of course, it didn't help either that starting power forward J.C. Otero was out with a torn knee.

It was a missed opportunity for FIU late Saturday night (10:50 p.m. tipoff), because in the coming years, Denver will not belong on the same court as FIU. The Pioneers have no size, no athleticism and very little defense, but FIU with its shorthanded roster had very little of those qualities as well on Saturday.

Gary Here's how bad it got for FIU on Saturday: 5-10 point guard Phil Gary was playing center at one point in the game. Still, Gary (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) scored a game-high 23 points. Shooting guards Tremayne Russell and Stephon Weaver were playing power forward.

Despite all the disadvantages, the Panthers hung with the Pioneers until late when Denver went on an 11-4 run to build a 9-point lead.

It should all get better for FIU next season with the No. 17-ranked signing class in the country taking to the court in October for preseason practice. The arrivals of forwards Dominique Ferguson and Eric Frederick, shooting guard Richaud Pack (the nation's leading high school scorer) and point guard Phil Taylor in addition to the returns of Phil Gary, Roberts, Russell, Weaver, Nikola Gacesa and others should see an improved FIU team.

Looking back on this season and looking forward to next season, IT had this to say in the postgame press conference on Saturday:

"I’m proud of the foundation this team has laid. They did a good job in establishing the type of identity we want to play with in the future. They never quit. I told them in the locker room: unfortunately sometimes the people that are responsible for building the house and laying the foundation they never get a chance to live in the house. But what they are able to do is drive the kids by the house and take their friends by the house and say hey we built this. This group of young men their job was to do the dirty work and they did the dirty work. They got a lot of mud on their shoes and a lot of blood under their fingernails. We appreciate the work that they did and how hard they played."


After their first loss of the season on Friday, we learned FIU baseball won't go 62-0. On Sunday night in Surprise, Arizona, the Panthers loss to Arizona State 4-1 in 7 innings.

The game was delayed after 7 innings, because of rain and once the tarp went on the field the TexasWalkerTexasRanger Rangers -- who play their spring training games at the Surprise stadium -- ordered that the tarp not be removed regardless if the rain stopped. So the umpires called the game after 7 innings, despite the rain stopping. I was never a fan of the show: Walker -- Texas Ranger, anyway.

FIU went 2-2 on their Arizona trip which is not too shabby considering the competition the Panthers faced in the Coca Cola Classic. FIU is now 9-2 on the season.

The Panthers return to Miami to open a 5-game homestand with 2 games against Boston College starting Tuesday and then a 3-game weekend series against Rutgers.

LIVE BASEBALL BLOG starts at 5:56 p.m. Tuesday.


The FIU media relations department filled in for me during this weekend's spring practices while yours trulyCollins was in Arkansas and from the reports new defensive coordinator Geoff Collins has made an impact with his new defensive unit.

From the story from FIU media relations.....It all starts with Collins (right, thanks Roy Viera photo). When quarterback Wayne Younger aimed for the sideline to throw a pass away Friday, Collins knocked it down. After the ball hit the turf, linebackers Larvez Mars and Markeith Russell motioned for Collins to drop and give them 10 push-ups. That's exactly what Collins did.

``He's just as much into it as we are,'' linebacker Toronto Smith said. ``I think, in the game, if we catch an interception, that he'll run down the sideline with us. We might get a flag, but it's Jj worth it. I love the energy that he brings to the defense.''

Good to hear defensive end Jonathan Jackson (left, thanks AJH photo) got into the backfield to tackle running back Jeremiah Harden for a tackle for loss in Sunday morning's practice. It's been a while since JJ and his injured feet have been on the field.

Next practice is Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.


Aaapaw Will have a LIVE BASEBALL BLOG of Tuesday's FIU/Boston College game from FIU Baseball Stadium. First pitch is at 6 p.m. Will be on-line about 5:56 p.m. for you.

Aaapaw Attention: kendallplayafiu, canerallymonkey, Miguel Alfonso: you have been traced and are being monitored on this blog's tracking program.

You are more than welcome to post your anti-FIU rants on here, but pick one screen name. Your original screen name that you posted on this blog is Miguel Alfonso, which you say you are the former FIU pitcher that stopped playing when Turtle Thomas took over FIU.

You're more than welcome to keep posting under that screen name. If you post comments under any other screen name the comments will be deleted. Thank you and thanks for making the GPP one of the most read blogs on the Miami Herald website.


March 01, 2010

6-0, Not Bad At All

Yes, I'll admit I was one of those that wanted to see how FIU would do against Oral Roberts after sweepingGuy Maryland.

Before the ORU series, I wasn't sure about the bullpen, although coaches and players have said all along that the pen would be the strength of the team this season.

Also outside of being down 3-0 in the early innings of the season opener, FIU wasn't really tested against the Terrapins and I wasn't sure how the Panthers would react when faced with some adversity.

Well, the Panthers responded to both of those concerns against the Golden Eagles this past weekend.

With the help of two Lammar Guy (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) game-winning RBI, FIU got another three-game sweep to start the season 6-0 -- FIU's best start since 2000.

In Friday's game, FIU kept swinging the bats and Scott Rembisz pitched a masterful game.

On Saturday and Sunday, we got to see the bullpen and FIU's reaction when the chips are down.

The Panthers rallied from down 6 runs in the 7th inning on Saturday and the bullpen did a solid job late with Daniel DeSimone, Eric Berkowitz and company giving the FIU bats a chance to rally by keeping the deficit at 6 runs.

Patton And what you had to like about Saturday and Sunday's rallies were that they were fueled by several different Panthers, whereas in years past FIU had to rely on the same 2 or 3 hitters to get something going.

Saturday's game had sophomore Raiko Alfonso (2-run double), freshman Rudy Flores (3-run bomb), junior Yoandy Barroso (2 steals), sophomore Jeremy Patton (double in the 9th, left, thanks AJH photo) and senior Lammar Guy (game-winning RBI single) that all contributed in the rally.

On Sunday, sophomore Aaron Arboleya had another quality start. Then down 5-4 in the 8th, reliever Bryam Garcia made his FIU debut and held ORU scoreless for 2 gritty innings to give FIU a chance to tie. Jorge Marban ran into some tough luck in the 10th, but did not panic and kept it a 1-run game for the bottom of the 10th.

By the way, Garcia (right, thanks AJH photo) has some nasty stuff. FIU may have found its closer in No. 44.

Guy (double) and Patton (single) drew FIU within 5-4 on Sunday. Garrett Wittels gave the 10th inning rallyBgarcia some life with a single after Tim Jobe was walked and then freshman Jabari Henry had a senior-like at-bat.

With the bases loaded in the 10th and FIU down 6-5, Henry displayed that patience that we saw in his first college at-bats last week against Maryland. Instead, of going up there swinging at whatever to try and be the hero, Henry didn't like anything that was thrown and drew the game-tying walk. Not sure how many freshman across college baseball are Company Jones interns like Henry. He's an intern, because he's a freshman.

Guy capped it all off with his second straight game-winning RBI on a sac fly.

The FIU bullpen's work was very encouraging this past weekend, but just as or maybe even more important was the attitude the Panthers took when struck with adversity. They didn't panic and like Wittels said after the game: "The biggest thing for our team is confidence. Like coach Thomas was preaching Saturday night, when you come to the park thinking and knowing you are going to win is the biggest thing."


FIU coach Isiah Thomas missed Saturday's game against Western Kentucky, because of the Sun Belt's 1-game suspension for getting ejected from a game. Where was Isiah on Sunday? In Chicago: Isiah Back Home

Torgrim FIU opens the Sun Belt tourney on Saturday night against Denver at 9:45 p.m. Eastern time (8:45 p.m. in Hot Springs, Arkansas). The Pioneers defeated the Panthers 59-53 in Denver back on Dec. 17.

Will have a late-night LIVE HOOPS BLOG of the FIU/Denver game from Hot Springs on Saturday night. Brew some Cuban coffee and stay up with the GPP.

Speaking of FIU hoops, 6-6 shooting guard Torgrim Sommerfeldt (left) attended FIU's game against Middle Tennessee. TS, who is from Norway, originally was headed to Wake Forest until injuring a knee and the Demon Deacons pulled his scholie. Nothing concrete on TS becoming a Panther yet.


In case, you missed the previous post that's where you can check out the 2010 FIU Football schedule.

FIU Spring football starts on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. at FIU Stadium. So far all practices are open to the public. Will have your spring football preview on here Tuesday. 

Vote on the 2010 FIU schedule below.

February 26, 2010

No. 1 Center in Nation To Visit FIU

Christmas is in March for FIU. We should know later this summer if the Panthers get to open the presentRakeem_christmas that is on coach Isiah Thomas's Christmas wish list.

The nation's No. 1 center for 2011 -- Rakeem Christmas -- will visit FIU in March, likely near the end of the month.

Christmas (right) has several perennial Top 25 teams also hoping he lands under their X-mas tree. Among them: Florida, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Texas.


Here's what IT had to say about the 32:09 he was a part of Thursday's game against Middle Tennessee, which saw the FIU coach ejected with 7:51 left in the game. A game which had one of the worst officiating crews seen in an FIU game in a long time.

IT's opening thoughts about the game:

"I will fight for my team. We play tough. We play scrappy. We play with a lot of heart, but I think the perception of our team right now is hurting us. In the last 6 games, we’ve lost by four points or less. If we win those 6 games, we’re 10-7 and that would put us tied for first, second or third in the conference. The last 6 games we’re averaging 70 points and opponents are averaging 73."

"I think what’s happening to us is the perception of our team I hope going into tournament play will be different than what it’s been in the first half of the season. I hope we can change that perception. I think our kids play hard. They are doing all the right things out on the floor and hopefully the perception of our team will change and I hope it can change quickly."


It What did you think happened on the non-call foul on Tremayne Russell that brought you off the bench?


"I thought when Tremayne went up he got hit on the arm. I could have been wrong, but that’s what I thought. It was more than just that. I just think that what I need to try to figure out is how do we change the perception of our team going into tournament play. Forget what the record may say, over the last 6 games if we get a call here or there you’re sitting at the top of your conference as opposed to being at the bottom of it."


Do you think it's just a matter of winning to change the perception of your team?


"I think winning changes perception. When you’re coming from the bottom and this is what I told our players. There are the haves and the have nots and right now we’re the have nots. The haves don’t want you to have it and the only way you’re going to get it is to take it. And that’s the only way you are going to change perception, you have to go and take it."



"I think going into tournament play we got to be a little bit more mentally tough and win a couple of basketball games. There are 4 games next week that we got to win."


(FIU wins 4 SBC tourney games and they go to the Big Dance)


Normally, you are not one to jump up and holller on the sidelines. Do you think you will be that way now?


"I’m not one to react and when I do react there is damn good reason for it and I thought tonight I had a good reason for reacting. Now did I go over the line? Yes. Is that my normal behavior? No. I felt that I needed to stand up and fight for my team. The perception of my team right now has got to change, because our kids are playing really good basketball over the last 7 to 8 games and you have to give them credit for that. If people haven’t noticed, then my job is to kind of make them notice it."




FIU is bringing back the marching band. The university will make an announcement on Friday. We'll haveKelly to wait until then to get the details.




Former Golden Dazzler Kelly (right) dropped by the baseball press box last weekend so that she could get her picture on the GPP. No, kidding. But Kelly did drop by and told yours truly she is now a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.


Si Been quite a fall for the Dazzlers. One Dazzler -- Vanessa (left) --- was Sports Illustrated's Cheerleader of the Week and a former Dazzler is now cheering for the local pro football team.












JH: Hey, T.Y. these are some good seats here in the FIU student section.Jhty


T.Y.: Yeah, it's a Good-Buy and they're so easy to order that a caveman can do it.


JH: So let me get this straight: you guys have Isiah Thomas as coach, you have the No. 17 signing class in the nation playing here next year and the Golden Dazzlers cheer at every home game....Where do I get FIU Basketball season tickets?






Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG on Saturday night starting at 7:56 p.m. of the FIU/Western Kentucky game. It's the season finale for the Panthers before they head up to Arkansas for the Sun Belt Tournament beginning next Saturday. Tip-off Saturday is at 8 p.m.


Aaapaw Spring football practice begins next Wednesday, March 3 at 3:45 p.m. Going to have Jimmy Buffet drop by the GPP to help me preview the Panthers 2010 Spring Football.


** Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez for the IT and T.Y. photos.


February 17, 2010

PTI from FIU on Friday

It FIU basketball coach Isiah Thomas will be taping a segment of ESPN's Pardon thePti Interruption outside FIU's Graham Center on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

IT's segment will air on PTI later that day during the show's "5 Good Minutes" segment. PTI hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon will talk with Isiah about all the erroneous information about FIU basketball in a recent new times article.

The PTI segment will be taped from outside the southwest corner of the Graham Center by the water fountains.

February 13, 2010

Ponce Can Recruit; More Baseball

TAMPA -- Apparently, FIU baseball brings out a much more spirited debate than some people thought. The 2010 season is just 6 days away when the Panthers open next Friday, Feb. 19 against Maryland at University Park Stadium.

Ponce Went out to another intrasquad game the other day and this time caught four innings. Since FIU baseball brings out such passion in some of our readers, there will be a comprehensive FIU baseball blog on the next post. And you can look for the Herald's FIU baseball preview in next Thursday's paper.

But for now will let you catch your breath from the last post whether you were talking baseball or talking about which school has the better apple pie in their food court.

Yours truly is in Tampa for the weekend working a soccer tournament, but here's a little mix of FIU sports stuff going on in case you missed it.

Three members of the FIU football coaching staff are among some of the candidates being considered for the open running backs coaching job. Among them are special teams coach Apollo Wright, who coached Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook at Villanova. Grad assistant Dennis Smith and director of football ops Juan Navarro.

Congratulations to FIU receivers coach Frank Ponce (above left making a "W" sign for Willis Wright, thanks to Alex J. Hernandez photo) who was named by ESPN as the top recruiter in the Sun Belt for securing ManChild to join the Panthers. Former FIU OC James Coley, now the OC at Florida State, was named the ACC's top recruiter. Click on this link: Top College Football Recruiters  for more info and notice that it looks like ESPN used a mug shot of Coley wearing an FIU coach's shirt.


A pretty inaccurate article in the new times about FIU hoops. Hey, we're in America and you can express whatever opinion you want, but when you use facts (i.e.: actual numbers and actual people that said certain things -- "Isiah Thompson") at least get those right in a story.

PG responded to the article on Friday and here is a short story that is expected to run in the Herald atIt some point:

   FIU athletic director Pete Garcia fired back at a recent New Times article on FIU basketball.

   Garcia noted several inaccuracies about the story which chronicles Golden Panthers coach Isiah Thomas’s first season and the program’s ticket sales.

   Among some of the misinformation from the article that has Garcia perturbed is FIU basketball’s average attendance numbers.

   Garcia is also upset about the article’s writer misidentifying FIU President Mark Rosenberg as the person to wrongfully introduce Thomas at the coach’s hiring news conference.

   Former FIU provost Ronald Berkman, now the president at Cleveland State University, introduced Thomas as “Isiah Thompson” at the April 15, 2009 news conference.

   Rosenberg was not working at FIU at the time. Since the Times article was published Wednesday, the error was corrected to Berkman mis-introducing Thomas.

   “This is a classic example of irresponsible and sloppy journalism from someone who uses inaccurate numbers and inaccurately quotes President Rosenberg with introducing Isiah Thomas at his hiring press conference which he never did,” Garcia said. “This is the end result and it’s unfortunate, because the quality of journalism in South Florida is among the best in the nation and this one story won’t ruin the good journalism that takes place in South Florida on a daily basis.”

   The Times article states “. . . the basketball team has averaged a paltry 120 attendees per home game this season. The arena seats 6,000.”

   U.S. Century Bank Arena, which seats 5,000, has averaged 1,163 fans per FIU basketball game this season, according to figures FIU ticket operations manager Jeremy Lamb provided the Miami Herald.

   Lamb added it’s an increase from the 2008-09 FIU basketball season’s average attendance of 487 fans per game. Lamb said FIU has also sold 46 of 50 courtside seats added to the arena this season.

   The Panthers are 7-20 this season, but Thomas has signed the No. 17 2010 recruiting class in the nation.




Catch your breath yet about FIU baseball? Apple pie? (Cracker Barrel has a pretty good one). Ok, then.


FIU was picked to finish third in the Sun Belt by the conference's coaches on Friday. Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky were picked ahead of the Panthers. But don't take the SBC coaches word for it, you decide in our poll question below.


Jobe FIU first baseman Tim Jobe (left, thanks AJH photo and for Zeke photo above, right) was selected to the preseason All-Sun Belt team. Jobe was a member of the 2009 All-Sun Belt team.


Several publications and websites are picking FIU baseball to finish near the top of the conference, but I think you have to wait and see how the Panthers starting rotation and bullpen shake out.


FIU is going to miss projected No. 2 starter Logan Dodds (academically ineligible). Dodds -- like Scott Rembisz 2 years ago -- was the Florida JUCO Pitcher of the Year last season at Miami Dade College. R.J. Fondon, Corey Polizzano and Daniel DeSimone are going to have to step up.


A bigger concern could be the Panthers bullpen. It could be a closer-by-committee until someone nails down the job. Among the candidates are freshman Alberto Cardenas, last season's part-time closer Jorge Marban and third baseman/pitcher Garrett Wittels.


Eric Berkowitz (a.k.a "Harry Potter" as his teammates call him, because of the Potter-like glasses he wears) is likely moving to middle relief where he had some pretty good outings last season.




Aaapaw Will have a Happy Blog Hour 2-for-1 special in LIVE BLOGS  next week. Log on to theHoops GPP on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7:54 p.m. for a LIVE BASKETBALL BLOG of FIU/Hooters basketball when the Hooters from Del Boca Vista Phase 2 visit the Bank for game two of the Pat Riley Classic this season.


Then log on to the GPP the next night, Feb. 19 at 6:56 p.m. for a LIVE Base BLOG BASEBALL of FIU's season opener against Maryland from the House that Mike Lowell Built. Yes, I know she is one of the FIU Witches.




Gooch7: Pete: Who will the closer be? Any input about him?


PP: Hope the two paragraphs above at the end of the baseball section of this post answers your question.


Yandro: Pete, thanks for the update. Do we know who the starters will be come Opening Night, or are positions still up in the air with a week left?


PP: Competition still going on at several positions. Will have TT come on here next week and give you an update straight from the head coach's mouth.


Wes Kendall: Hey Pete, I've heard rumors that Rosenberg is rebranding FIU, which might again lead to another logo change/color change. Have you heard anything?


PP: Nothing to it. The university changed their logo to block letters not too long ago and the athletic program went to block letters with a more fierce Panther just 2 years ago.



February 05, 2010

L.A. Story

Iit One rumor circulating through the worldwide web has the Los Angeles Clippers contacting Isiah Thomas to be their coach, general manager and president. That from foxsports.

But ESPN has contacted two senior executives from the Clippers who have denied the foxsports report saying: "I can't deny it more strongly," one of the executives said. "We haven't called him and we're not planning on calling him." The other executive called the story "ridiculous" and "irresponsible."

I placed calls to Isiah and PG tonight and both have not returned those calls. However, we should have a clearer picture on Saturday, because FIU hosts North Texas.

Will have A LIVE HOOPS BLOG during the game tommorrow. Tip-off is expected to be about 2:30 p.m. -- 30 minutes after the women's game. LIVE BLOGGING starts at 1:56 p.m.

Whether this rumor about IT has any legs to it we'll soon find out. But get used to coaching rumors with IT, because right now FIU is not in a po$$$$ition to compete with pro teams and more established college programs when those teams come calling for FIU coaches. FIU does not have enough boo$ter$ or enough alumni invested in the athletic program yet to compete with more established colleges.

Maryland was interested in Turtle last season and although the Terps could offer more money, the Terps baseball facilities and the location of the school to lure top baseball talent are not as good as what FIU has to offer -- FIU does not have a trailer for the baseball coach's office and baseball is played year round down here with no snow to worry about.

In this case, if the Clippers rumor has any truth to it, you have to believe it is NOT about money for IT, but rather a chance to get back in the NBA. So, if that's the case IT will have to decide if he wants to go back to the NBA or continue building an NCAA basketball program that could be like a Memphis one day -- without the John Calipari-NCAA violations (good for Bobby Knight).

Although, any of the other 29 NBA teams are better to work for than the Clippers, because they have the cheapest owner in pro sports in Donald Sterling. Try getting marquee free agents to sign with the Clippers -- Sterling won't pay for them. Sterling has been the main reason the Clippers have been the laughingstock of the NBA forever. He's like the Marlins owner -- at least until Major League Baseball came out and ordered the Marlins to spend money on players.  


Aaapaw LIVE HOOPS BLOG starts at 1:56 p.m. on Saturday for FIU/North Texas game.


Alonzo: Pete, Is Man-Child Wright academically eligible?

PP: Yes, he is.

Mike: Pete please evaluate our spring 2-man depth chart. When you Look back at our 3 last recruiting classes how are they shaping up? 1. how many Spring 2010 starters came from each class, from walk-ons, and from transfers? 2. how many Spring 2010 players on the 2-man depth chart came from each class, from walk-ons, and from transfers?

PP: Will have an updated football roster soon. Your idea sounds like a good blog post. Will get to it in the downtime we have until baseball season and spring football start.

Miri: Pete, we recorded the Early Show yesterday morning on the DVR, and we did not see the Dazzlers at all. We recorded this morning's show also just in case they showed up. What happened to them?

PP: CBS did not want the Dazzlers wearing their uniforms, but other outfits and the squad passed on the show.


January 30, 2010

FIU vs. Florida Atlantic LIVE HOOPS BLOG

BOCA RATON -- Here from Hootervile in the Mouth of the Rat for FIU/Florida Atlantic basketball. If theHelmetlogo football series is the Don Shula Bowl, should the basketball series be named the Pat Riley Classic?

A much improved Hooters hoops team this season and they are 11-point favorites by LasFau Vegas in this game. FIU scored 96 points in its last game. That might be tough to get to in this one. Let's see....

January 24, 2010

2 More Line Commits

Add a couple of more commits to the FIU offensive and defensive line on Sunday.Cdavis

Jacksonville Forrest High offensive lineman Ceedrick Davis (right) and his 6-3, 300 pounds committed to FIU joining David Delsoin's 6-6, 275-pound frame on the Panthers O-line this coming season.

On the defensive side, defensive end Jeremy Jermin (6-2, 250 pounds) from Nassau JUCO (N.Y.) also committed giving FIU 5 D-line commits to go with: Isame Facine, Wade Isaac, Jericho Lee, and Jordan White.

Deionmcgee You can check out more on the latest FIU commits and the FIU recruiting story in Monday's Miami Herald or on Monday. The story centers on the 3 All-Miami-Dade defensive backs (Richard Leonard, Khambrel McGee and Sam Miller) ready to join the FIU secondary. Read to find out how Leonard made Deion Sanders do a double-take last March. That's McGee (left) working out in front of Deion in the photo on the left.


Nice win by your Panthers last night on the hardwood. Since he got a first look at his team back in October, FIU coach Isiah Thomas has said that the Panthers could be a tough team to face come Sun Belt Tournament time in March. In Saturday night's 96-81 win over UALR, FIU showed why.

Crisp passing, a scorching Marvin Roberts shooting 6 of 9 from 3-point land for 28 points and some tough full court press D gave the Trojans fits and put on a show for FIU alum and Golden State Warriors guard Raja Bell. Add to it the presence of J.C. Otero's passing, rebounding and shooting and Phil Gary's slick play at point guard and you could see that IT might be on to something. And it should get even better when the new players arrive for the 2010-11 season.Itpop

FIU has a tough one for its next game when the Panthers travel to Hooterville next Saturday to face Florida Atlantic.

The Dallas Mavericks used to have a free chalupa night for fans in attendance when they scored 100 or more. I suggested to IT (right) last night that whenever FIU scores 100 or more points that fans at the Bank should get a free bucket of his Dale & Thomas Popcorn served at the Bank. IT's response: "Good idea".



SouthPaw: Pete, what happened to Derrick Clark?

PP: Couldn't play last season, because of grades. Let's see if he's eligible for spring ball.

Jorge Suarez: Pete, two more questions... Speaking of what could be our best CB recruiting class ever, do you think we still have a good shot on landing KM's NW teammate Khalid Marshall? & in your opinion, do you think Willis Wright will sign with FIU?

PP: Not really sure about landing Marshall. He could be a late addition, but the Panthers are also looking to keep adding beef along the 2 lines, because that is what is needed after last season. Wright has a ton of schools after him, including FIU. He took his visit with the Panthers this weekend. I think Wright will make his decision on signing day and after what MC and his staff did last season with Pooh Bear Mars and Dudley LaPorte on NSD, I would not be shocked to see WW wearing blue and gold next season.


January 09, 2010


Helmetlogo Welcome to the Bank for tonight's FIU vs. Troy basketball game as they will unveil the name of Troy the student section tonight.

Can your Panthers unveil a two-game winning streak after Thursday's win over ULM. Let's see....

January 07, 2010


Helmetlogo A little break from the coordinator searches here for some basketball. Your Panthers host theUlm ULM Warhawks tonight from the Bank.

FIU trying to snap a 3-game losing skid. Let's see how they do.



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