Working eight new players onto the team and making up for the losses of Tymell Murphy and Rakeem Buckles is what the FIU basketball team is faced with as the Panthers currently practice for the 2014-15 season. FIU tips off the new season against Florida College on Nov. 14 at FIU Arena.
“We brought in six players and we have two who sat out last year so we basically have eight new players,” said FIU coach Anthony Evans. “We had some injuries early on and we are starting to get some guys back, so chemistry isn’t there yet.”
Two things that Evans points to about the Panthers this season are the depth and length of the team. With eight forwards ranging from 6-6 to 6-9 and new center Adrian Diaz standing at 6-11, Evans likes what his team could do defensively. CLICK HERE for a look at the roster.
“We are going to try to mix it up defensively,” Evans said. “I don’t think we can play one style of defense. We can have some versatility defensively with guys who are 6-6, 6-7. I envision us still trying to put some pressure on people.”
The new depth is expected to help offensively as well. Murphy (16.6 points-per-game) and Buckles (13.7 ppg) combined to average 30.3 ppg last season as the leading and second leading scorers on the team, respectively. Dennis Mavin is the leading returning scorer with 11.8 ppg last season. Still, FIU expects to have scoring come from various players instead of relying on just a few like last season.
“Dennis [Mavin] and Adrian [Diaz] are guys who will provide scoring,” Evans said. “Then there are a bunch of guys who are capable of scoring. Jason Boswell, Kris Gulley, Dominique Williams, Daviyon Draper all those guys or a combination of those guys are capable of making up the points from last year. We have more depth. Some of the guys coming off the bench now will give us a chance to rest some guys.”
Said Mavin: “Last year we had like six or seven guys that consistently played. This year I think we can go eight, nine or 10 deep if we need to.”