Men’s basketball team ready to grab spotlightBy Ched Chase>
Last year we saw a men’s basketball team filled with freshman and just one senior on the roster. We knew the future was bright with nine returnees on this season’s roster and a Freshman Player of the Year in Jeff Cowans.
We didn’t know the future was this close, but it is.
The 2001-2002 FAU men’s basketball team returns a strong group of guys centered around senior leadership and a strong group of five sophomores. The seniors, Raheim Brown, Daryl Dingle and John Smart will see a lot of court time for the Owls this season. Smart, who Head Coach Sydney Green often called the team’s “general”, will be counted on to lead the team once again but more eyes will be on the five sophomore standouts.
Earnest Crumbley, Robert Williams, Cowans, Jeff Hamilton and Pierre Downing return to the Florida Atlantic men’s basketball team for their sophomore season.
Cowans led the Owls last year averaging 13.7 points per game and set the FAU scoring record last season will be one to definitely watch. The 6-foot-2 guard also set the FAU record for three-pointers in a game (8) and in a season (63).
Crumbley also earned Atlantic Sun all-freshman honors a year ago while finishing second in scoring with a solid 11.7 points per game. The 5-foot-7 guard and Cowans both were lethal weapons for the Owls last season as they netted a total of 116 three-pointers on the season. Crumbley played a lot of shooting guard last season, but this season the Coaching staff has asked him to lead this team.
“The coaches have been stressing for me to be more of a leader this season,” Crumbley said this past week before practice. “With all the returning players and the JUCO transfers we feel like we can take it to the next level this year.”
Smart will play his final collegiate season after transferring to the Owls before last season. Smart led the team in assists and will play a very large role in the Florida Atlantic backcourt this year.
Sophomore returnee Jeff Hamilton returns for his second season to the men’s basketball team. Hamilton, known for his sharp shooting behind the three-point arc, sunk 24 treys in the 25 games he played in. Hamilton adds depth to the FAU back court but also brings in a style of play that the Owls will need to shake things up at certain times this season.
Crumbley, Cowans, Hamilton and Smart will be looking to get the ball to returning low-post players Brown, Dingle, Downing, Robert Williams, and one big 7-footer named Nick Neumann.
Brown averaged 9.3 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game in the 2000-2001 campaign despite sitting out some games due to injuries suffered during the season.
Williams returns as one of four players (Cowans, Crumbley, and Smart are the three others) who participated in each of Florida Atlantic’s 31 games last year. Williams was very effective in the time he saw chipping in a pair of double-doubles his freshman season.
Dingle returns to the team this year after a team high 5.7 rebound per game and averaging 7.6 points. Downing, on the other hand, only played in 17 games for FAU due to consecutive concussions suffered half way through the 2000-2001 season, but is a great asset to the Owls coming off the bench in games.
The team does return a lot of potent players and a team that many coaches salivate about ever having in their program, but the team also has brought in four players from Junior Colleges that might be the right ingredient for an Athletic Sun Conference title.
Andre Garner (6-4, 200 lbs, F), Avery Headley (6-7, 245 lbs, F), Anthony Slater (5-9, 165 lbs, G) and Antione Stevens (6-1, 190 lbs, G) come to welcoming arms for the FAU men’s basketball team this season from their respective JUCO College.
“These guys (the four JUCO new-comers) are the pieces that we were missing last year.” Crumbley said. “They’re more athletic, more physical and they just bring an attitude to our team that we didn’t have last year.”
Coach Green enters his third season with Florida Atlantic and looks to have his first winning season as Head Coach. Despite going 7-24 this year, this team is very capable of attaining a winning record. The team will play 27 games this season with a more balanced schedule than previous years.
Last season FAU made a run into the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship game before falling to Georgia State, but this year Georgia State has lost two great players and the Owls have the opportunity to finally fly into the national spotlight.
FAU women’s basketball looking to return to winning waysBy Tom Glucksmann>
Last year’s nine win and nineteen loss season was not something head women’s basketball Coach Chancellor Dugan is used to.
Nor does she plan on getting used to losing seasons anytime soon. After taking her University of Southern Indiana team to the Division II national championship game in 1997, Dugan came to Florida Atlantic in 1999, and the team had their first winning season ever as a Division I team – even getting votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
What is going to turn the team back into a winner?
Dugan says she has been able to recruit players that bring, “Quickness and intensity. We’ll be able to be a pressing team.” The recruits will form the core of the team’s bench. Most of the starting spots will be filled with returning players. But Dugan says if the team is to return to the full-court style that she’s used to they will need the depth. “We need a bench to give us a little boost.”
Newcomers such as Crystal Boyland and Tamica Pierce, both transfers from colleges in Mississippi, will give the Owls the boost they need. Another newcomer is Freshman Angie Rodgers from Indiana, who Dugan hopes will become the Lady Owls’ outside threat. “I really look for her… to knock down the three on a consistent basis.”
Center Kristy Halvorsen, FAU’s student-athlete of the year in 2001, should be in the starting lineup, along with returning players Chantale Jones, Julie Goad, and Janka Deckerova.
Dugan is looking to reestablish the defensive intensity of the team. “Hopefully we’ll be known for our defense. I consider myself a defensive coach, and we score a lot of points off our defense.”
To create the Rick Pitino-ish full court press style of play, Dugan plans to play her entire roster some nights. Coincidentally, Dugan hails from Louisville, KY – Coach Pitino also has basketball roots in Kentucky.
The team is looking forward to an early season road trip to Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Classic. They will face Top 20 power Penn State in the first round, something Dugan did intentionally. “[We make] our non-conference games challenging, so the conference is not as challenging.” Twenty of the team’s 28 games are against fellow A-Sun teams. Asked if the team is packing their bikinis, Dugan replied, “I’m sure the girls are. I’m leaving mine at home.”
While depth and quickness are strengths, rebounding poses a problem for the smallish Owls. To compensate for their lack of height, Dugan is looking for “checking off the boards, and going after every loose ball.” The Owls were winless in road games last season, so Dugan is hoping the trip to Hawaii will teach her team how to survive on the road.
Senior Chantale Jones figures to be the floor leader for the Lady Owls. Hopefully she has put her academic troubles behind her. Dugan projects sophomore Julie Goad as her starting shooting guard, and 5’11″ Sophomore Janka Deckerova as her small forward. Deckerova, from Slovakia by the way, of Cardinal Gibbon’s high school, gives the team another three-point shooter.
Echoing the sentiment of most FAU coaches, Dugan urges students to come out and support the team. “It’s an exciting team,” she says. The Lady Owls play an exhibition against Nova Southeastern Nov. 10 in Boca. They open their home schedule on Dec. 1 with 7 straight home games, including hosting Miami on Dec. 15.
FAU loses to St. Peter’s 19-0 all by themselvesBy Clark Palmer>
Running back Doug Parker’s fumble on one of the first plays of the game marked the beginning of a long day for FAU. The fumble was one of four turnovers in Florida Atlantic’s 19-0 loss to St. Peter’s College on Oct. 27.
However, the Fighting Owls can take comfort in the fact that there was hardly anyone there watching. Only 9,757 fans were in attendance.
In any case, turnovers and mistakes plagued FAU throughout the game. When the Owls punted after their first offensive series, they got an interference penalty. Then FAU fumbled again on their second possession. This time it was running back Dekolan James who coughed it up.
St. Peters recovered the ball on the Owls 10-yard line. Thankfully, FAU’s defense sacked St. Peter’s quarterback on third down and forced a field goal. With 6:51 remaining in the first quarter the Peacocks led 3-0.
Florida Atlantic’s next possession began with a false start penalty. This was another instance where FAU really shot themselves in the foot. They had good field position on this drive, starting almost at midfield. However, after the false start and third down and long, FAU had to punt. That didn’t go well either. The snap was too high for the punter and he was forced to down the ball at the FAU 15-yard line. St. Peter’s running back Derek Clayton scored a touchdown two plays later. This gave the Peacocks a 10-0 lead with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
The Owls were finally able to move the ball on their next possession. Quarterback Jared Allen threw his first completion on a 15 yard pass to receiver Larry Taylor. Thus moving the chains for a first down, for the first time in the game.
On FAU’s next third down, Allen was able to convert again. This time completing a pass to #88 Thomas Parker, setting up a first and ten from the St. Peter’s 31-yard line. However, that was as far as the Owls would go. They were again faced with a third and long, but Jared Allen could not complete a pass this time.
The first quarter then came to a close. But, Florida Atlantic was in field goal range, so on the first play of the second quarter they attempted a 47-yard field goal. Mark Myers kick was no good though.
On the Peacock’s next possession they seemed to get the ball moving. The key play on that drive was a 44-yard pass completion, setting up the St. Peter’s at the FAU 16-yard line. The Owls’ defense tightened up, stopping St. Peter’s for four downs in a row.
Allen and the rest of FAU’s offense then came on the field, starting on their own 1-yard line. But, on third down, a bad snap to Allen forced him to throw the ball away.
Since there were no receivers in the area, and Allen was not out of the pass pocket, intentional grounding was called by the officials. By rule this was a safety because Allen was in the end zone at the time. St. Peter’s therefore led 12-0.
The tough Peacock offense deserves credit on their ensuing drive. In about six minutes they moved the ball 59 yards for a touchdown. With 1:41 remaining in the half, SMC led 19-0
The second half was basically uneventful.
St. Peter’s went on to win a school-record sixth straight game. However, something did not happen that is customary at the end of a Division I-AA football game. The players did not shake hands. The head coaches did, but the players did not.
Apparently an altercation occurred between both teams during halftime. Normally when teams head to their locker rooms at the half, they go through the tunnel separately. But, for some reason both FAU and St. Peter’s walked through together. A couple players, still pumped up from playing, went at each other. Maybe that was why they didn’t shake hands after the game.
St. Peter’s Head Coach, Rob Stern, didn’t have much to say about this. He only commented that teams should shake hands at the end of a game.
FAU Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger was a little more responsive. “I think we should [shake hands]. I regret that it didn’t work out.” He was mindful of the incident at the half. “I was concerned about another scuffle like the one we had before the second half.”
In any case, at the press conference after the game Coach Rob Stern was very excited about the win. “The number one defense came down here” and obviously they won. He also joked “We came down here looking to win, not to go to South Beach.”
Coach Schnellenberger put it best when describing FAU’s state of mind after the game. “Obviously this is a low point in the development of our program.” There weren’t many positive things to take from the loss. Although, Coach Schnellenberger was happy with running back Parker’s performance. “I was very proud of Doug Parker. He ran with a lot of authority. He probably played his best game.”
However, Parker didn’t speak in a self-gratifying tone at the press conference. “We had a lot of mistakes, and we tried to improve when we came out in the second half.” He knows this team has talent. “We are better than what we played today.”
QB Allen felt almost the same way. Being a quarterback he seemed to take their poor offensive showing a little more personally. “I want us to do good but we’ve got to get into the end zone. I feel like it’s my job to get in there.”
FAU’s mistakes seemed to add up as the game went on. Allen was unhappy with that. “I and a lot of our guys need to learn [to let mistakes go].”
The last thing Coach Schnellenberger said offered some closure on the matter. “What I want you all to know, is that young players will get better and our situation will improve. Stay positive about what we’re doing.”