An open letter to FAU’s men’s basketball’s nine newcomers

Rolando Rosa

Rolando Rosa. Photo by Melissa Landolfa

Dear new guys,

Welcome to FAU.

Coach Mike Jarvis has high hopes for you. He says you have the potential to be the best class he’s ever had here.

After observing numerous practices, I agree with coach’s assessment. From high-flying point guard Stefan Moody, to versatile forward Chris Bryant, and 7-foot transfer Dragan Sekelja, your squad has greatness written all over it.

The thing is, last year was supposed to be great too. The Owls were coming off a conference title and had their sights set on the NCAA Tournament. They had players (Ray Taylor, Kore White, Omari Grier, Dennis Mavin) just as talented as you guys, only most were juniors and seniors.

It was all set up to be the Year of the Tourney. Jarvis touted that squad the same way he’s touting you guys.

Point man Ray Taylor was a lot like you, Stefan. He was a fan favorite who wowed the crowd with his ball handling and rainbow 3-pointers.

Forward Kore White filled your role last season, Dragan. He even outscored potential NBA lottery pick Tony Mitchell (North Texas) at The Burrow last year.

The potential was there, but the team last season wasn’t focused enough. Players were frustrated. Some wanted more playing time. Other wanted more shots.

The result was an 11-19 season and four transfers. Only seniors Greg Gantt, Jordan McCoy and Andre Mattison remain. That’s where you guys come in.

The main lessons to take from last season’s failures:

1. Don’t take your talent for granted.
2. Accept constructive criticism

Skills and talent are important qualities for any basketball team, but a solid work ethic is the difference between “good enough” and “legendary.” When you graduate you don’t want to have any regrets about what could have been. To be the second-ever Owls men’s basketball team to make the Big Dance, you’ll have to push yourself harder than you’ve probably ever have.

As for your coach, I know Jarvis can be a bit of a hothead, but remember — he has your best intentions in my mind. He has over 30 years of coaching experience and has led multiple teams to March Madness.

Respect him.

If he’s yelling at you in practice, it’s only to make you better, tougher and mentally stronger. That way when you’re down five with a minute to go at FIU, you won’t panic.

Here at FAU, the stage is perfectly set for you guys. There’s little basketball tradition, so the expectations are low. This gives you the perfect opportunity to sneak up on people and create a bigger fanbase, which is also the only way The Burrow will ever grow.

Oh, and one last thing: Have fun.