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Training sessions will begin for the 2021-22 season at the FGCU Basketball Center, both men and women.



Members of the FGCU men's team, including Kevin Samuel (center right) and Caleb Catto (right), will train at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at FGCU share common goals.

Retour to the NCAA tournament

Training officially started Tuesday morning for the Eagles. The women began light and early with the men. Just before noon, the men joined.

Michael Fly, the men’s coach, recently extended his contract for the 2023/24 seasons. He was excited about this team’s experience, and said so.

Fly said, “Ofcourse we give back an enormous percentage of points to the guys that come back.” “Caleb (Catto) and Cyrus (Largie) had all the league caliber numbers last year, if we had been able to play all the games they would have received these recognitions. While we have many familiar faces, who have made significant contributions in the last year’s league, there are also a variety of Division I transfers that have proved to be productive.

For those who missed it, here’s a link:Caleb Catto has been recovering from an offseason hip replacement

Kevin Samuel leads the group. After leaving the Big 12 Conference and TCU, he moved to FGCU in his fifth year. Austin Richie of Tulsa, Carlos Rosario from McNeese State and Tavian Duncan-Martin (Duquesne), Matt Halvorsen of Western Carolina support him. Andre Weir joined the Eagles in mid-season last year and is expected to contribute.

Samuel is originally from Barbuda, the Caribbean. He chose to study at the FGCU because of its Florida climate.

Samuel said, “Only Coach Fly has the culture that they have here,” And they want to continue winning. So I needed something different so I could make a new start at ASUN, the Big 12, and continue to play for Dunk City. The weather was great in Florida. The weather was about the same in Florida as it is in my native Caribbean.

Members of the FGCU men's team, including Kevin Samuel (center right) and Caleb Catto (right), will train at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Catto was a 2017 SFCA graduate. The News-Press Boys Basketball Player-of-the-Year is his fourth season. Catto has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Eagles. Catto was an SFCA graduate, 2017 News-Press Boys Basketball Player Of The Year and a Catto player. Catto’s fourth season is his fourth with the Eagles.

Catto, Catto’s team-newcomers said that “the greatest thing” is their experience. “Even if the boys return, we’ll just be more experienced. Experience, depth and older men who’ve been through this process before will be a great asset.

Members of the FGCU men's basketball team, including Caleb Catto (right), will train at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

“It’s all kind of blurry. This is my fourth year. It was amazing. It was amazing.

Fly was brought to the position of the head coach in his fourth year. He mentioned one important distinction from the current team. The team had a high basketball intelligence partly because they were Division I veterans. Fly has the luxury of knowing that 11 out 16 members are either seniors, juniors or fifth-year players.

Members of the FGCU men's team, including Kevin Samuel, left, and Carlos Rosario, will train at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Fly said, “It is different than last year.” “We’ve had a lot of newbies, young college folks, lots of guys who have never played Division I basketball. There was much teaching, particularly in my two first years and some of the previous year. Here are the defense principles. This is called ball screen defense. For college basketball players, it was almost like starting from scratch.

“With this group we were able to play a lot more and play a lot earlier because when I tell them what we want to do offensively or defensively, they know the terminology, they just went through games differently with an older group in In terms of what you can work on without doing a lot of basic things. “

They will begin the conference against North Florida with an ambitious list of no-conference men that includes USC (Loyola-Chicago) and Rhode Island.

Kierstan Bell, a member of the FGCU women's basketball team, will train with teammates at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

It is the goal to win

On the women’s side, the Eagles’s first-round loss to Michigan in the NCAA tournament is why they’re getting even better this season, according to Junior Kierstan Bell.

Bell, the ASUN Player of Year said that it felt good to return home. Last year, we lost to Michigan. That was an extremely busy year. “We were very focused on details and small things. The coach is extremely efficient. We became fixated on a single keyword.

Learn more:FGCU women participate in Disney’s MAAC / ASUN Challenge

The FGCU women are from a 26-3 campaign where the team ranked 24th according to the AP poll, while ranking 25th according to the USA Today / WBCA poll.

Karl Smesko is entering his 20th season of coaching the Eagles and described the Eagles’ first day of training as fundamental.

Smesko stated, “I think there was a lot excitement today.” “Everyone loves to start official training. The session was typical of a first training session. It was full of energy but full of errors. You need to be positive and continue moving forward, correcting any mistakes that you made.

Karl Smesko, the coach of the women's basketball team at the FGCU, will train his team in the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Tyra Cox fifth grader knows that mid-majors, like the FGCU, often don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Tyra says even a loss could put the Eagles back one or two places.

Cox said, “It’s great to be recognised and seen. However, we also realize we are in an unique position.” We can begin really high but that takes only one game. You could lose a game, and it can be ranked in the top or in certain lists.

It’s great but also makes us realize that we must work harder. It’s possible to win and fall but it is only FGCU we have to deal with each year.

Contrary to last year’s, this year the Eagles receive 90% of their points back. This includes Bell but also TK. Morehouse was a unanimous choice of ASUN.

TK Morehouse, a member of the women's basketball team, will train with teammates at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Cox is excited for Kendal Spray’s potential success. Clemson Transfer is first in the nation for 3-point attempts (943) while second at 7.79 per game (3.0). Cox also has a career percentage 0.385.

Cox said, “I really look forward to Kendall.” “I was with Taylor Gradinjan (and Jess Cattani). It’s quite clear that she’s among the top shooters at the FGCU.

Smesko will be accompanied by the Eagles for a road test and then they’ll travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face Kim Mulkey (and LSU). Mulkey ranks third in the list of top Division I coaches (0.859), while Smesko ranks fifth at 0.823. This is their first meeting.

The Florida Gulf Coast women's team will train at the Alico Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Smesko said, “We have a very difficult schedule without conferences.” You don’t even know the names of teams likely to win at least 20 Division I matches. Every one of our Division I competitions is exceptional and there are some huge names in LSU, Michigan. State and Princeton, both of which were in the top 25 during our last game.

“We’ll be evaluated early on and learn lots about our team. If we get a high seed and are fortunate enough to be invited to the NCAA tournament, we will have a great chance of getting ranked. These games must be won. This is how you get seeding. It’s also important to consider non-conference as an opportunity for learning and development for middle-majors.

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