FAU coach Mike Jarvis likes the attitude of this year's team. (Photo Courtesy of Owl Pix)
Addition by subtraction
After an offseason that saw four players transfer, Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis likes the attitude of this year's team as it gets ready to begin preseason workouts next week.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis is facing a rebuilding season and that's one of the reasons he had a big smile on his face when he talked about his team outside The Burrow this week.
Most coaches might be worried after losing seven players, including three starters from the previous season, but not Jarvis. In fact, he's excited about it.
“It's been really, really positive and refreshing,” Jarvis said. “With the exception of a few guys it's really a brand new team. The attitude has been fantastic.”
If you remember last season (and many have tried to block it out from their minds) the attitude around the team was not “fantastic.”
It was bad. Bad enough for four players (Ray Taylor, Omari Greir, Kore White and Dennis Mavin) to decide to leave the team as soon as the 11-19 season was over.
Jarvis hopes they took some things with them when they unceremoniuusly departed.
“We'll take some of the things that happened last year like losing, not being able to close out games and having guys thinking too much about themselves and make them a thing of the past,” Jarvis said.
One gets the feeling they won't be missed, but maybe last season provided a lesson to this year's team, which will begin regular preseason practices on Oct. 12.
“If we didn't have last year, we wouldn't be excited about this year,” Jarvis said. “Last year was necessary and sometimes bad things are needed to have good things. We'll take the history so it won't repeat itself.”
Despite the highlight-caliber plays of Taylor and the occasional spark from White, the Owls may be better off without the players who left the program early. Their vacancies may enable any of the many newcomers (seven freshman are on the roster) like Parade All-American guard Stefan Moody, forward Devonte Thornton and swingman Chris Bryant to thrive alongside returning players such as guard Greg Gantt, the Owls' leading scorer the last three seasons.
“The guys are all of one mind and that's about the team and winning,” Jarvis said. “It's a new day and there's a new attitude.”