Is it possible to find two scholarship players in a month? Follow FAU basketball in July and you might find out.
After Mike Jarvis' squad saw its top at-one-time returning scorer, Stefan Moody, leave the team this week, the Owls sit with two open scholarships for the 2013-14 season. NCAA rules allow for 13 full-ride scholarships and a 15 man roster, but FAU currently has 11 players in the program.
With the departure of Moody, the Owls are slated to return only five active scholarship players from a year ago — wing Pablo Bertone, center Dragan Sekelja, forward Kelvin Penn, point guard Jackson Trapp and wing Javier Lacunza. Those players combined to score 19.4 points per game last year.
That leaves the Owls in dire straights as they head into their first season in Conference USA, and while the team does have talent joining the active roster, there doesn't appear a player ready to take over as the Owls' go-to man.
Can Bertone take the load? As the team's top returning scorer (9.0 ppg), he'll likely be handed the task. He's never been asked to be the main man, and while he's a strong shooter and a smart player, Bertone has always thrived when the defense loses him. As a go-to, he won't have that luxury.
Redshirt junior center Justin Raffington, a transfer from San Francisco, should provide a boost for the Owls in his first season. Raffington can play both the four and five and has a nice jump shot to compliment a passable low-post game. Is he a double-digit scorer? He'll most-likely get a chance to prove he is, though he only averaged 2 points per game at San Francisco.
Jackson Trapp, who won the point guard position as a freshman, only to relinquish it late in the season, will have competition in the backcourt in the form of three freshmen - but what Tyler Pate, Deandre Johnson and Marquan Botley do at the Division 1 level is anyone's guess. The same could be said for Trapp, who came to FAU to fill a last-man-on-the-bench role. While he proved he deserves playing time last season, the jury is still out on the Central Floridian on whether he's a starter.
It's in fact Botley who is considered the favorite to start at point when FAU opens its season, but while he's an excellent ball handler, a smart decision maker and as fast as any player FAU has had in years, the Texan's outside shot leaves plenty to be desired and the physicality of Conference USA might take away his to-the-hoop aggressiveness. And if Botley's not at the rim, he's likely not scoring many points.
There's a long way to go before FAU officially opens practice, which will happen in October, but right now, FAU's first impression upon Conference USA is shaping up to be an unflattering one.
FAU Scholarship Roster:
PositionSeniorsJuniorsSophomoresFreshmenCenterDragan SekeljaBrian Hornstein, Justin Raffington Grant PelchenForwardPablo BertoneKelvin PennJavier Lacunza Guard Jackson TrappMarquan Botley, Deandre Johnson, Tyler Pate
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