Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Men’s Basketball: New season begins with first official practice

A new season begins as the men’s basketball team puts in work at the first official practice of the season
Erika Fletcher
Florida Atlantic Men’s basketball team waiting for rebound at practice in Baldwin Arena on October 3, 2023.

The FAU’s men’s basketball team began their new season with their first official practice of the season on Oct. 2. Although all players were present, junior guard Alijah Martin and redshirt junior guard Alejandro Ralat were non-participants in practice.

Players took the court at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena and began to warm up with a shoot-around. Practice started with head coach Dusty May gathering a huddle and hyping the team up before the start of practice as they began to work towards a new season of success. 

The team worked on various game-simulating drills, specifically working on their patented ball movement with a drill that saw players take a max of two dribbles toward the rim before kicking it out to the perimeter. 

The team ran every drill at full speed, maintaining high drive and energy throughout the two-hour practice. Every time a player hit the floor the whole team, including staff, would run to the player to pick them up, a sign of the strong bond everyone in this program has.

A notable standout in practice was redshirt sophomore guard Nick Boyd, who was stepping up to be more vocal in practice, calling out plays as he’d take the ball up the court, communicating with teammates, and taking accountability when making mistakes. 

“I’m trying to take the next step and just be a leader all the time. No matter the situation, just trying to stay positive no matter what,” said Boyd. 

Another player looking to be a leader for the Owls is junior guard Johnell Davis, who decided to return to FAU after “testing the waters” and entering the 2023 NBA Draft.

“It was a great process to get to know people and compete against high [level] talent. The reason I came back was [because] I feel like I just wasn’t ready for it at that time, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready,” said Davis. 

Davis had workouts with multiple NBA organizations, like the Sacramento Kings. Based on what NBA teams told him in workouts, Davis said he must “try to be a better leader, floor general, and knock down open shots more consistently.”

The Owls made history with their “Cinderella” run in the NCAA tournament, but to Davis, this was no fluke.

“We aren’t settling for just a conference tournament. We know we could compete with anybody, Power Five, as long as we stay connected as one,” said Davis. 

After making it to the Final Four last season, there could be expectations to achieve that same success or more. However, Boyd and Davis stressed that they are maintaining a “one-game at a time” mentality, the same mentality that got them into the NCAA March Madness tournament last season.

“We get questions about the national championship all the time, and making a run to March Madness, but I feel like that can get in the way sometimes and distract [us]… It’s a process and you got to get better every single day,” said Boyd. 

“[A national championship] is everybody’s big goal, but we’re just trying to stay in the moment,” said Davis. 

Although falling short of a national championship appearance, the Owls captured their first Conference USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional championship on the way to their Final Four appearance. The team received two championship rings for these accomplishments.

“It was like somebody just giving you candy… my first time calling myself a champion and getting my first ring,” said Davis, with a smile on his face while reflecting on their accomplishment.

“Those were my first two rings… very special, but I definitely want to add some more [and] have a handful of rings.”

The path to more rings this season will be a more difficult one than last year, facing multiple power-five conference teams this season. However, the team isn’t shying away from the challenge or the spotlight. Although there are plenty of high-profile games on the schedule, Davis has one circled on the calendar.

“[I’m looking forward to] every last one really, but the one I really want to go to is the one at home [in Chicago against Loyola University] because my whole family is going to be there,” said Davis. 

As for Boyd, he’s looking forward to returning to the court where the team booked their Final Four ticket with a win against Kansas State University in the Elite Eight.

“New York, we go to Madison Square Garden again. I’m going to be excited and I’m gonna have my family in attendance,” said Boyd.

After running five-on-five drills, practice ended with the whole team taking free throws and coach May giving the team a speech.

The men’s basketball team will be introducing the 2023-2024 roster at the “Paradise Madness” event on Oct. 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

JD Delcastillo is a Staff Writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email him at [email protected] or reach out on Instagram @jd.delcastillo

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About the Contributors
JD Delcastillo
JD Delcastillo, Managing Editor
JD is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in sports studies and digital marketing. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the sports industry. He's published work in magazines, started his own sports newsletter, and currently interns with ESPN West Palm.
Erika Fletcher
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a senior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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