Florida Gulf Coast

Now that they’ve shocked the world, get to know Florida Gulf Coast


Be honest. How much did you know about Florida Gulf Coast before they beat Georgetown (not to mention when they became the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16)?

If you follow college basketball actively, you probably know they got here by winning the Atlantic Sun tournament championship over Mercer. You may also know that they beat Miami earlier in the season when the Hurricanes were without Durand Scott. You probably also know that the Eagles feature Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Sherwood Brown.

But what about the institution itself and the program’s coach, Andy Enfield?

Florida Gulf Coast sits on 760 acres of land in Fort Myers, Fla., and was founded in 1991. It has 11,279 undergraduate students, including some who beat No. 2 Georgetown Friday night. The school offers 52 undergraduate degree programs and 30 graduate degree programs and has a few notable alumni, despite only being just over 20 years old.

Among them is Courtney Jolly, a former beauty queen who went on to drive monster trucks. Find out more about her here. Alumni also include Florida state representative Matt Caldwell, who has served in that capacity since 2010. He is the chair of the state’s Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee. On the athletics front, Chicago Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman played for the school’s baseball team before being drafted in the 15th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft.

When it comes to the basketball program, coach Andy Enfield is in his second season as head coach and leads this team to the NCAA tournament Round of 32 in just the second season that the program has been eligible for it in Division I. He took over in 2011 as just the program’s second-ever coach. Last season, he led the Eagles to the Atlantic Sun championship game in its first year of eligibility for the postseason.

Prior to coming to Florida Gulf Coast, Enfield was an assistant at Florida State and also worked as an assistant in the NBA with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.

Florida Gulf Coast now moves on to play San Diego State, which beat Oklahoma in the Philadelphia night cap Friday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
Leave a comment

While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how CBSSports.com summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told CBSSports.com Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.

Xavier commit to enroll early, redshirt

Getty Images
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Xavier landed a commitment on Wednesday from four-star big man Eddie Ekiyor, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

Ekiyor, who picked the Musketeers over Miami and Florida, is a borderline top 100 recruit. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 post that shouldn’t have an issue adjusting to the pace and physicality of the game, although he needs to continue to develop offensively to be more than a catch-and-dunk big man down the road.

In other words, on paper, Ekiyor isn’t much different from the majority of high major big men. But what’s different about this situation is that Ekiyor will be enrolling at Xavier for the start of the spring semester, technically making him a member of the Class of 2015. Xavier won’t be rushing him through the process — he’ll redshirt the second half of the 2015-16 season — but getting him on campus early will allow him an extra six months of learning the Xavier system, developing in collegiate practices and working out with the Xavier strength coaches.

That should help him limit the adjustment phase as he transitions from high school. That’s important for the Musketeers, because there’s a chance that they could lose their starting front line — James Farr (graduation) and Jalen Reynolds (early entry) — after this season.