FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 10th season of FGCU men’s basketball and the first under head coach Andy Enfield officially got underway on Saturday morning as the team took the newly-renovated Alico Arena floor for the first practice of the 2011-12 campaign.
Predicted to finish eighth in both Atlantic Sun Conference preseason polls submitted by the league coaches and media, practice got underway at 8:30 a.m. and wrapped up just before noon. The Eagles are just 20 days away from their first live action of the season when they host Saint Leo in an exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.
The 2011-12 season marks the first time FGCU has been postseason eligible for the Atlantic Sun Tournament and NCAA Tournament after going through the four-year NCAA Division I transition period from 2007-11.
FGCU returns six players from last year’s squad that would have qualified for the A-Sun Tournament, if eligible, by finishing in seventh place. Sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) is coming off an A-Sun All-Freshmen team season in which he finished fifth in the nation amongst freshman with 78 three-pointers and his 11.5 scoring average is tops among the returners for the Eagles. Senior center Kevin Cantinol (Guadeloupe, French West Indies/Calvary Christian HS/Ole Miss) is the team’s leading returning rebounder at 5.0 per game while adding 6.5 points per after sitting out the first seven games due to transferring from Ole Miss during the 2009-10 season. Rising junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) is coming off a strong end to his second season in which he averaged 16.2 points over the final five games.
Since being appointed the programs second-ever head coach on March 31st, Enfield has ushered in a talented five-member freshmen class and 6-foot-9 Iowa State transfer Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State), who will have to sit out this season due to four-year transfer rules.
Fans will get a chance to get their first look at the 2011-12 FGCU men’s and women’s basketball teams on Saturday, Oct. 22 during the “Hoops and Halloween” fan fest. Both teams will hold open scrimmages and be involved a three-point shooting contest, while the men will also participate in a dunk contest. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and is free to the public.
The entire event will run in conjunction with the second annual "Select a Seat Night" where all available seats or seat upgrades for the upcoming season will be marked. Fans will get the chance to test out different seats during all the action and those who purchase season tickets during the event will get put in a special drawing.
More information on the event will be available Sunday on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.