FAU Basketball: Owls hold luncheon ahead of the upcoming season

As the 2021-22 season approaches, both Dusty May and Jennifer Sullivan spoke at a luncheon held at FAU Arena.


Eston Parker III

Head coach Dusty May talks to his team in a huddle during practice.

Bryce Totz, Staff Writer

On Thursday afternoon, FAU held a luncheon for donors and media to discuss the upcoming basketball season. Both the men’s and women’s teams held open practices for those in attendance at the luncheon. 

At the event, Athletics Director Brian White announced plans for a renovation to FAU Arena, but a timetable was not discussed. White explained that the university wants to change the architecture to match that of the Schmidt Family Complex next to FAU Stadium. 

White mentioned the growth that the university will have once they receive more national coverage after joining the American Athletic Conference (AAC). He was promoting FAU sports to the people in attendance.

Both head coaches Dusty May and Jennifer Sullivan mentioned the excitement in telling new recruits about the national attention that the Owls will receive once they join the AAC. 


Men’s Basketball:

May is excited about the new season. The team has just four upperclassmen on the roster, including graduate students. 

The players have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season.

“They probably spend as much time outside of practice in the gym as any group that I have been around,” May said.

The Owls were ranked ninth in the C-USA preseason poll, but May is not concerned. 

“The preseason rankings are all about recurring production and where you are in expectations,” May said. “Very rarely are the preseason rankings correct.” 

May is looking to junior guard Michael Forrest to take over as the leader in the locker room this season, but says that Forrest needs to be more consistent. 

Along with Forrest though, May is looking for consistency throughout the team.

“We have been very consistent defensively,” May said. “We feel like by far this is the best defensive team because of size.”

The team struggled with COVID-19 last season, as May missed some games after some of his family members were infected. This season, however, will be different, as he stated that scholarship players and staff are fully vaccinated. 

The team will play a single exhibition game before the regular season begins. Their first regular-season game will be on the road against New Mexico on Wednesday, Nov. 10. The time is still to be determined along with a television broadcast, but it will air on Fox Sports 640AM South Florida.

“New Mexico will present a lot of challenges,” May said. “Playing in Albuquerque, the altitude will be a challenge.”


Women’s Basketball:

Sullivan is preparing for her first season with FAU. Previously, she was an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee, Ohio State University, Missouri State University, Arkansas State University, McNeese State University, and Rhodes College. She was also an associate head coach at the University of Louisiana and she played at Memphis University.

This team will feature just one true freshman, Simona Henshaw. Henshaw is from London and is still adjusting to the new environment. When she arrived in Florida, it was the first time Henshaw saw palm trees, but Sullivan believes she is excited.

“She has been great and has been working really hard,” Sullivan said.

Overall, Sullivan seems prepared for her first season with FAU.

“The girls have worked really hard,” Sullivan said. “We are really excited to play an opponent to see where we are.” 

That opportunity will come soon, as their exhibition game will be Friday, Nov. 5. 

Sullivan is confident that the players trust her, as she claims they have “bought in” to how she coaches. 

“I always want to have more practice time, but I definitely think for our [players], it’s time to play,” Sullivan said. “I am excited for them to get a chance to put on their uniforms.”

Iggy Allen was the team’s leader last season, but she transferred to Old Dominion University. Coach Sullivan believes that everyone needs to play better this season to take her place, rather than look at one person to perform. 

“We expect to win,” Sullivan said. “Our coaches and staff show up with the expectation to win and we hold [players] accountable.”

Sullivan’s biggest concern for the upcoming season is potential injuries. She said the goal is to be healthy all season, but at least up until conference play. 

Their first regular-season game will also be on Wednesday, Nov. 10, against Palm Beach Atlantic University at FAU Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and it will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Bryce Totz is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.