While FAU Men’s Basketball starts tomorrow and women’s on Nov. 7, each of the programs look to improve from last year. Coaches and players expressed their insights and expectations for the upcoming season.
Here’s a rundown of the key points they made:
The FAU Women’s Basketball team had a disappointing season last year recording a 5-25 record while two of the wins were in the conference.
Head Coach Jim Jabir was less than pleased with the performance of the team last season. His assessment of the team was blunt.
“We stunk,” Jabir said. “It’s the only way you can say it, we didn’t have the right personnel plus we saw eight freshman get extended minutes.”
With that, Jabir sees the unlimited potential in the team. When asked about the players who can make a significant splash this season, he talked highly of sophomore guard Juliette Gauthier.
Gauthier was the second leading freshman scorer in C-USA last season, averaging 11.2 points per game.
Two other players that Jabir praised at media day was the newcomers like Finland native Lotta Vehka-Aho and Astou Gaye from France who last played at Gulf Coast State College.
“The kid can definitely play, even though she had surgery this summer,” Jabir said. “She’ll be one of our best players when healthy.”
Graduate student Crystal Primm is one of the new members of the team coming from Auburn where she averaged 10.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. She is going to be one of the main focal points of the team, but she feels there is a lot to improve on.
“I’m definitely known as a slasher and athletic type of player,” Primm said. “But I wanted to improve on my three-point shot and being a better leader and decision maker.”
While she hasn’t played a single minute of game-time with her teammates, she said that the “sky can be the limit for the team” if they focus on the small things whether that be about the game or sportsmanship.
The FAU Women’s Basketball team starts off their season on the road on Nov. 7 as they take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Dusty May’s first year as the head coach resulted in the programs first winning season since the 2010-11 season. While they finished 17-16, their season ended when they lost to Charleston Southern University in the Colleginsider.com tournament.
A big storyline from last year was the loss of star forward Jailyn Ingram, who averaged 18.9 points and 8.2 rebounds before his season-ending injury. He played only 10 games.
Recovering from the injury, Ingram feels ready to take the workload from last season.
“I feel pretty ready, I’ve been in practice the past couple of weeks so I feel good,” Ingram said. “There really isn’t any limitations, I think you need to have the right mindset when it comes to these injuries.”
Ingram’s expectations for the team are really high coming off of a winning season. He said that the Owls have all the pieces to make a huge run this year, especially with the development of their younger players.
Coach May said that Ingram looks like exactly like he was last season. While that’s definitely a great sign, May also said that “he has stuff to feel out, but he has the right mindset to come back 100%”.
One of those players is sophomore guard Michael Forrest. Last year he started 27 games last season and led the team in assists with 96 in total.
Forrest said he has a lot to improve on this season as he looks to have a big role in the lineup.
“I really want to improve on my playmaking skills,” Forrest said. “Making open shots, getting to the basket are huge things when playing.”
May expects a lot from this team going into year two especially when implementing the certain traits he looks for.
“Just continuing improving, more contributions from more guys and elevating what we can be in the conference,” May said. “We can be a top three our four team in the league, if not the very top.”
May said that togetherness, toughness and playing with the intensity is the characteristics he wants to incorporate in the team after winning 17 games last season.
The men’s basketball team starts their season off tonight as they face the Flagler Saints.
Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.