FAU Owls want to be known as ‘selfless guys simply
BOCA RATON, Fla.– At the end of their first practice back in the house after breaking brackets in the men’s NCAA basketball competition, members of the Florida Atlantic University guys’s team collected around their coach in the middle of the court. Going around the circle, Dusty Might asked everyone how he desired the group to be explained. Players responded with words like “scrappy” and “discipline.”
They established the ritual earlier this season, and continued it into the postseason. May, in his 5th year, wants his players to control how they view themselves, to own their own narrative.
“We choose what others say about us and what do we desire people to describe us as,” Might said.
Jalen Gaffney, No. 12, and Bryan Greenlee celebrate after FAU’s defeat of Kansas State in the Elite 8 at Madison Square Garden. Al Bello/Getty Images All season long, the Owls have battled what they state is the outside world’s perception of who and what they are: a group of unknowns who play in a weak conference which they should be soft because they play 1.8 miles from the beach. Now as FAU goes into the Final 4 in Houston on an improbable run throughout March Insanity, they’re combating the new narrative: Cinderella Story.The Owls are on an 11-game winning streak, they have an NCAA Department I finest 35 wins and were ranked in the leading 25 for a large part of this season. To reach the Last Four, they beat 8-seed Memphis, 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-seed Tennessee and 3-seed Kansas State. In doing so, according to ESPN Statistics & Info research, FAU ended up being: – The first string to make the Last 4 in its
very first or 2nd NCAA tournament appearance given that Seton Hall in 1989. – The first 9-seed to beat a 3-seed because seeding began in 1979. – The third 9-seed to reach the Final 4.
– The ninth team seeded No. 9 or lower to reach the
Final 4 given that seeding started in 1979. Editor’s Picks 2 Related On Saturday, they deal with San Diego State(6:09 p.m. ET, CBS). Their run
has seemingly stunned everyone– other than the group. And now, they’re reclaiming the story.” Ain’t nothing incorrect with being the underdog, however I definitely have a problem with the Cinderella
,”stated Nick Boyd, a 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman guard.” I feel like we been showing ourselves this whole year, simply with our record and our numbers and it speaks for itself. “Point guard Bryan Greenlee stated the players feel “like we’ve shown ourselves this season.”” We just utilize all that additional sound as fuel to the
fire, “Greenlee said.”It honestly makes us play a little more difficult.”Despite a long list of accomplishments this season, the Cinderella status could be attributed to the fact that fans outside South Florida might not have actually known much about FAU prior to this run. The majority of the players didn’t understand about the program or had actually even heard of the school till Might hired them. The university itself is simply 59 years old– established in 1961 then dedicated and opened in 1964– with about 80% of its 30,000 students living off school, according to U.S. News & World Report. The basketball program didn’t get NCAA Division I status until 1993. Their basketball arena doubles as their practice court and seats just 2,900 people. There is no bad seat in the house.FAU has been to March Madness just once previously– in 2002, losing to Alabama in the preliminary. The majority of the players on this year’s team were in diapers or not even born yet the first time the Owls made the tournament, and for them, this has been a dream come to life.”
It’s been unbelievable, like a motion picture, to be truthful, “stated sophomore guard Johnell Davis. “I was talking to my colleagues about it, what we achieved, [however] we can’t just reside in a dream right now. You got ta stay poised.”The team has remained poised under pressure throughout the NCAA tournament, however it’s their selflessness that comes through when talking to them. Nine players on this Owls team balanced 15-plus minutes this season, and the beginning rotation has actually changed several times. While that might develop toxicity within other groups, these players have actually accepted it. FAU fifth-year senior Michael Forrest, No. 11, missed time previously this season with an injury, and has continued to come off the bench. Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos through Getty Images”We actually do not care who starts as long as
you simply affect the game, “stated sophomore guard Alijah Martin, who has begun 20 games this season.”It honestly makes us so unique. It’s probably the first string I have actually been on where truly no one appreciates their stats,” Greenlee stated.” I seem like across the board, any game it’s simply an entire lot of generous guys just attempting to get a win.”The players understand that their unselfish mindsets and respect for each other have actually helped them win. “It’s quite easy, “stated Vladislav Goldin, the group’s 7-1 sophomore center from Russia.”
It’s all combined. How we talk with each other, how we respect each other, how we assist each other.”In a game where players typically want more playing time, these Owls stated they want to do the opposite for the improvement of the group. “If you seem like it could do better for the group, why not serve and make that occur?” Boyd stated.”There’s been many chances and many times when guys offered up their area for somebody else. I seem like that simply reviews the kind of individuals we are as people, and it shows on the court.”This generous team spirit was exemplified early in the season between Boyd and fifth-year senior Michael Forrest, who lost his starting task to Boyd because of an injury. When Forrest returned, Boyd offered to give up his starting function. May declined to make the modification
. Where that may have affected the characteristics of some groups, FAU continued to win.”It doesn’t really matter who begins, who finishes, it just matters about what you do on the court,” Forrest stated.”Everyone’s just playing to win. Everybody’s playing for each other. So that’s truly what the difference is. “”They know on any provided night, any among the 9 might be our leading scorer, leading rebounder or leading assist guy, “stated Coach Dirty Might, in his fifth season at FAU. ANDRES LEIVA/THE PALM BEACH POST/USA TODAY NETWORK It was Boyd who hit a layup with 2.5 seconds left to help the Owls knock off Memphis 66-65 for FAU’s first NCAA tournament win. And it was Forrest– Might’s very first hire at FAU– who came off the bench and hit four clutch complimentary tosses in the final 18 seconds to help beat Kansas State 79-76 and advance to the Final Four.This is all part of May’s strategy. Creating a team that focuses
on the “we” instead of the”me.” “They understand on any provided night, any one of the nine might be our leading scorer, leading rebounder or leading help man,”May said.”It also minimizes pressure due to the fact that we don’t ever have a star, or more stars feel like they have to carry the load. It’s truly a group effort. And every night someone picks up the slack for
somebody else.”Yes, there have been contrasts between May and the overly optimistic imaginary
television soccer coach Ted Lasso. But for his players, it works. “Coach appreciates it so much. He does not really reveal us unfavorable energy or give us any unfavorable energy. All his energy’s positive,” Boyd stated. “I mean, when you’re around someone like that, you can’t beat it.”