Possibilities For FGCU's Open Scholarship Spot

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)
With the departures of Eric McKnight and Dajuan Graf, Florida Gulf Coast now holds one open scholarship slot for the 2014-15 season. Although it confused fans a month ago, the Eagles' continuous recruitment with the class of 2014 now makes sense. But now the question is: who will come to Dunk City and fill that final scholarship? We explore the possibilities.

FGCU dipped into the transfer market, as it was reported that the Eagles are after Butler transfer Nolan Berry. The 6'10" freshman center left the Bulldogs after he played in just 18 games. The big man was a consensus three star recruit out of De Smet Jesuit High School, where he played with Florida Gulf Coast commit Eric Moeller (Co. Central Florida). A source informed us that Dooley made a visit to Berry during the week of March 31, but Berry is waiting a bit to start taking visits.

Considering that Florida Gulf Coast returns one player who averaged over 5 rebounds a game last season (Jamail Jones - 5.6), the Eagles are looking for a big man to solidify the front court. While Berry is an option, Jabari McGhee (2014) of Hargrave Military Academy also fits the bill. The 6'7", 210 lb forward took an official visit to Dunk City on March 15 and has narrowed down his list to FGCU, Western Kentucky, Louisiana Lafayette, Ole Miss, and Georgia Tech. In addittion to Florida Gulf Coast, he has already visited Western Kentucky (Feb. 21), and ULL (April 8), and plans on visiting Ole Miss on April 18.

The Blue and Green also have their eyes on JUCO guard Jay Wright (2014) of Casper College (Casper, Wyo). According to Verbal Commits, the 6'1" guard will take an official visit to FGCU on April 18. As a starter for the Thunderbirds, Wright averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game last season.

Excluding the aforementioned, Florida Gulf Coast has offered four other recruits in the class of 2014 according to Verbal Commits: guard Jamall Gregory (Calvin Coolidge HS - Washington D.C), small forward Zach Lee (Elev8 Sports Institute - Albuquerque, NM), power forward Quadree Smith (Potomac HS - Fairfax, VA), and power forward Marcus Freeman (Louisburg College - Williamston, NC).

Starting on Monday, April 14, until Thursday, April 17, there is a NCAA dead period when coaches cannot make in person contact with recruits. The live period resumes again on April 18 and extends to April 23rd. Also worth noting is that the regular signing period begins on Wednesday, April 16.

FGCU Baseball Falls To Jacksonville In Pitcher's Duel

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)

Despite seven phenomenal innings from junior pitcher Jack English, Florida Gulf Coast (24-13, 9-3) dropped the final game, 1-0, of their weekend series to Jacksonville.

Through the first seven innings, neither Atlantic Sun squad could seem to solve the opposing pitcher. The Eagles put their first batter on base in the 8th inning when Nick Rivera singled to left field. Unfortunately, the Blue and Green couldn't advance a runner past second in the inning.

On the other side of the coin, the Dolphins faced similar troubles. Junior Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla.) stumped JU batters for 7.1 innings as he struck out three while only giving up six hits. But in the eighth, Jacksonville finally broke through when Angelo Amendolare doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch from freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla.).

The Eagles, with Gage Morey due up, faced a 1-0 deficit heading into the top of the ninth. It looked promising to start the inning, as Morey tripled to right center, but he was immediately caught stealing home. With one out, Alex Diaz singled but no Eagles could advance him further.

Despite dropping this final game of the weekend, Florida Gulf Coast still took home a series win, outscoring the Dolphins 16-6 over the three contests. Sitting at 9-3 in conference play, the Eagles hold 2nd place in the Atlantic Sun; Mercer sits in 1st with a 12-2 A-Sun record.

Before continuing Atlantic Sun play with North Florida next weekend, FGCU plays host to the No. 12 Florida Gators on Tuesday night at Swanson Stadium. Florida Gulf Coast split two games with the Gators earlier this year; they won the first meeting, 2-1, on Feb. 27 before falling 4-0, two days later. The two teams met at Hammond Stadium last season as well. The Gators defeated FGCU, 5-3, behind five innings of work from Bobby Poyner.

In addition, the Eagles have already took the field at Swanson once this season, against Miami. Despite an evenly matched affair through nine innings, the Hurricanes scored three runs in extras to take home a win.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

Eric McKnight And Dajuan Graf Will Not Return Next Season

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson) 
Florida Gulf Coast rising senior center Eric McKnight and rising junior guard Dajuan Graf will not be returning to the FGCU program next season.

According to a Florida Gulf Coast release, Graf will seek a program closer to home (Charlotte, NC) while McKnight plans to graduate in May, forgo his final year of eligibility, and start his professional career.

Graf, who often came off the bench to give starting point guard Brett Comer a breather, averaged 4.9 points while finishing second on the team in assists with 73 last season. He took care of the ball well and was a phenomenal facilitator.

“Dajuan improved his game significantly from last year to this past season, and we’re extremely grateful for all of his contributions to FGCU the last two years.” Dooley said in the release.

During the 2013-14 season, McKnight recorded 21 starts in his 23 games played following his 12 game suspension to start the season. During that time, the former Iowa State transfer tallied 6.9 points, and 5.1 rebounds a game.

“Like Dajuan, Eric has also taken his game to the next level over the past year. He certainly will be missed, but we respect his decision to get his degree and begin the next chapter of his life. We wish both Dajuan and Eric nothing but the best moving forward as I believe both of their best basketball is still in front of them," Dooley said.

With their departures, the Eagles are now one under the scholarship limit for next season. Coming out of high school are guards Christian Terrell and Zach Johnson while center Eric Moeller leaves the JUCO ranks to accompany them. Transfers Brian Greene Jr., Julian DeBose, Marc-Eddy Norelia, and Nick Pellar will all be available after coming off their red-shirt season.

With that in mind, FGCU has still been active in the class of 2014. Power forward Jabari McGhee visited on March 15th and the Eagles are on his final list of five schools. Florida Gulf Coast is also pursuing Butler transfer Nolan Berry, a former teammate of Eric Moeller. JUCO guard Jay Wright will reportedly take a visit to Dunk City on April 18th.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

Florida Gulf Coast Offers JUCO Power Forward

FGCU offered 2014 power forward Marcus Freeman of Louisburg College today, according to his Twitter account. Louisburg is a North Carolina based JUCO that finished 35-2 this season. Freeman, a 6'8" 240 pound power forward, averaged 6.3 points and 6.3 rebounds the past year.

According to Rivals, Freeman already held offers Buffalo, Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Tennessee Tech, and Washington State. Coming out of Riverdale High School, where he averaged a double double in 2012, his choices were limited due to academic status and eventually Freeman chose Louisburg (via Washington Daily)

In what was expected to be a quiet offseason with all scholarships filled, the Eagles have been surprisingly active with the class of 2014.

Power forward Jabari McGhee visited Dunk City on March 15, and FGCU is on his final list of five schools. The Eagles are also going after Butler transfer Nolan Berry, a former teammate of Florida Gulf Coast commit Eric Moeller.

While a big man seems to be a priority, the Eagles are chasing some guards as well. In early February they offered 2014 guard Jamall Gregory out of Washington, D.C. It was also recently reported that 2014 Casper College guard Jay Wright will be taking an official visit to FGCU on April 18th.

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)

Florida Gulf Coast 2014 Recruiting Profile: Christian Terrell

(Courtesy of NDN)
Christian Terrell
Height & Weight: 6'4" | 185 lb.
School: Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Position: Shooting Guard
Rating: 2-Star
Video Playlist

Terrell No Stranger To #DunkCity Or Big Stage

Some fans felt it just wouldn't be right if Christian Terrell ended up somewhere other than Florida Gulf Coast, for there might not be a better match between player and school than #DunkCity and the Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) guard.

It began in a summer league contest with the Stallions; Terrell caught a transition pass from teammate Grayson Allen and "I just tried to dunk it and...it was crazy," Terrell said.

Eagles In The Pros Update: MLB and Minor Leagues

With Major League Baseball finishing its opening week of the season, the FGCU Eagles Nest took a look at some former Eagles now in the MLB and minor leagues. Check out how they're doing so far and feel free to use this page as an index of easy links for the future.

Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox)
The only current major leaguer who made their way from Swanson Stadium, Sale is now 2-0 on the season. He took the mound on Opening Day and went 7.1 innings while giving up three earned runs and striking out eight. In his second outing, the southpaw went 8 innings and gave up no earned runs, while striking out six batters. His slider continues to dominate the South Side of Chicago. White Sox veteran Paul Konerko said "I don't think I've ever played with a lefty with as good stuff as him."

Casey Coleman (Free Agent)
The Chicago Cubs cut Coleman after the former FGCU pitcher spent his entire career in Chicago following his selection in the 15th round of the 2008 draft. He is headed to Arizona to work out and throw while he awaits other teams' calls. (Des Moines Register)

Richard Bleier (Buffalo Bisons (AAA) - Toronto Blue Jays)
The former FGCU lefty has recorded some big league time and has pitched once already this season for the Bisons (1.2 innings - 0 earned runs). He holds the most experience besides Coleman and Sale and is definitely a name to watch.

Harrison Cooney (Burlington Bees (A) - LA Angels)
Drafted by the Angels in the 6th round of the 2013 Draft, Cooney picked up his first win already with the Bees. He is one of the Eagles brightest young prospects.

Brandon Bednar (Augusta GreenJackets (A) - SF Giants)
Another Eagle selected in the 2013 Draft, Bednar is off to a hot start, hitting .500 with the GreenJackets - that team name has to be one of the best in the minors as well.

Ricky Knapp (Savannah Sand Gnats (A) - New York Mets)
Knapp possess phenomenal command of his pitches, to go along with a game IQ. He has yet to see time with the Gnats, but there is no doubt he'll make his mark felt whenever he takes the mound.

Brandon Bixler (Cedar Rapids Kernels (A) - Minnesota Twins)
The recent Twins draftee already has two innings of his shutout ball under his belt. Be sure to watch this former Eagles' growth.

Mike Reeves (Dunedin Blue Jays (A) - Toronto Blue Jays)
The former FGCU catcher has made one appearance already and will be playing for the Florida based team, trying to achieve the big goal of returning to Canada to play for the Blue Jays.

Sean Dwyer (Modesto Nuts (A) - Colorado Rockies)
Another 2013 draftee, Dwyer has knocked in 3 RBIs already on the season, all coming from a double and a triple. He has taken advantage of his increased playing time.

Tim Roberson (Greenville Drive (A) - Boston Red Sox)
A 2009 Atlantic Sun All First Team selection, Roberson signed, undrafted, to the Red Sox and just began his 2nd season in Greenville.

Jacob Barnes (Brevard County Manatees (A) - Milwaukee Brewers)
He has already pitched five innings of shutout ball for the Manatees in 2014.

Stephen Wickens (New Britain Rock Cats (AA) - Minnesota Twins)
After spending last season with the nearby Fort Myers Miracle, Wickens was promoted to the Rock Cats in late March.

Joe Dooley Rumors Continue To Swirl

(Courtesy of Linwood Ferguson)
Although Boston College filled their head coaching vacancy, Joe Dooley's name has once again been thrown out there for another job: Tulsa.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN was the first, and really the only one to report Dooley as a candidate for the Golden Hurricanes' job after coach Danny Manning left for Wake Forest. That tweet started a firestorm of rumors and reasons why Dooley would make sense at the new position.

Well, the former Kansas assistant returned from Dallas and declined to comment on his named being linked to the vacancy.

“I’m not going to comment on any jobs,” Dooley said in a news-press.com article. “If your name is associated with jobs, it’s because you and your guys did a good job.”

In Dooley's first season, worth $225,000 and part of a five year deal, the Eagles went 22-13, falling in the Atlantic Sun finals to Mercer and then to Florida State in the first round of the NIT.

From his years on the Jayhawks' bench, Dooley holds many ties to Tulsa. Newly named Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, who just left Tulsa, was a longtime assistant under Bill Self (2006-2012) before being hired by the Golden Hurricanes. Interestingly enough, Dooley's name was also linked to the Tulsa job back in 2012, prior to Manning's hiring.

According to the Tulsa World, the Golden Hurricanes, who are headed to the newly formed American Athletic Conference this offseason, "prepared to make Manning the first coach in program history to make as much as $1 million annually."

With Manning gone and Tulsa now on the prowl, FGCU fans hold their breath to see if they will lose their 2nd coach in as many seasons. At the moment, Dooley has yet to been contacted by anyone from Tulsa (via naplesnews.com).

For more on FGCU, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEaglesNest)