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FAU center Dragan Sekelja, left, and guard Jackson Trapp slap hands during the Owls' exhibition victory vs. Lynn on Monday. (Owl Access Photo)

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Change is good

2012-13 Basketball Preview: FAU will have a new look this season following several players transferring out of the program, but bring in a talented group of newcomers.

Originally published on 11/9/2012

by Marcus Nelson

After a rough off-season when four players transferred out of the program, FAU's 2012-13 season begins on Sunday against North Carolina.

The Owls will be looking to improve on last season's 11-19 record with a group of seven newcomers.

Here's five questions (and our answers) about the Owls this season.

After the problems with team chemistry last season, will that be an issue in 2012-13?

FAU did not handle adversity very well last season and when things started going bad, the situation grew worse quickly in a divided locker room. It was so bad that starters Ray Taylor and Kore White as well as reserves Omari Grier and Dennis Mavin decided to transfer. However, one gets the impression those players will not be missed, especially after they could be replaced by the best recruiting class in school history.

How much of an impact will the newcomers make this season?

Since the Owls are replacing not only the players who transferred, but graduating senior guards Alex Tucker, the school's all-time assist leader, and Shavar Richardson, newcomers will be needed to contribute. Freshman Stefan Moody will be the starting point guard to start the season and junior center Dragan Sekelja, who sat out last season after transferring from Baylor, will be big parts of the Owls' offense.

Speaking of Moody, how will he do running the point?

Moody has moves that could make Owl fans quickly forget Ray Taylor and could be a better shooter. However, Moody will be needed to distribute the ball to Sekelja and senior guard Greg Gantt and that could be a work in progress as Moody gets used to Division I basketball.

What can we expect out of 7-foot center Dragan Sekelja?

After practicing with the Owls last season, Sekelja's transition will be smooth and he should have an immediate impact with his offensive game and improving rebounding skills. Once FAU gets into Sun Belt Conference play, expect Sekelja to really show his value.

What can realistically be expected from this team?

With a brutal early schedule including games at North Carolina and Indiana and an inexperienced team, the Owls will struggle early. However, when conference play heats up in January and February, FAU could start showing rapid improvement and could pull off some upsets in the Sun Belt. The Owls probably are a year or two from contending for the Sun Belt title. FAU will lose some games it should win and then, especially late in the season, will win some games it should lose and will be fun to watch develop.

 

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Breakdown Box


  FAU (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt Conference)
at No. 11 North Carolina (1-0, 0-0 ACC)

  • When: Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • TV: ESPNU
  • Radio: 760-AM
  • Streaming audio: FAUSports.com, ESPN760.com

Scouting Reports

  • About the Owls: Seniors Greg Gantt, Andre Mattison and Jordan McCoy are 11 victories away from becoming the winningest senior class in school history. ...This is an opening round game of the Maui Invitational. ...FAU lost to North Carolina 105-52 on Dec. 19, 2006 in the only previous meeting.
  • About the Tar Heels: North Carolina tipped-off the season Friday with a 76-59 victory vs. Gardner-Webb. ...James Michael McAdoo had a career-high 26 points. ...The Tar Heels were just 1-of-12 shooting on 3-pointers.
  • Projected starting lineups

FAU: Coach Mike Jarvis
G Stefan Moody 5-10 Fr. N/A
G Pablo Bertone 6-2 Jr. (7.3 ppg)
G Greg Gantt 6-2 Sr. (14.0 ppg)
F Jordan McCoy 6-6 Sr.  (4.7 ppg)
C Dragan Sekelja 7-0 Jr. (1.4 ppg-x)
(Statistics from 2011-12, x-Statistics from 2010-11 at Baylor)

North Carolina: Coach Roy Williams
G Dexter Strickland 6-3 Sr. (13.0 ppg)
G Marcus Paige 6-0 Fr. (6.0 ppg)
F Desmond Hubert 6-9 So. (0.0 ppg)
F Reggie Bullock 6-7 Jr. (5.0 ppg)
F James Michael McAdoo 6-9 So. (26.0 ppg)

 

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