Hence, there aren’t many seven-foot yoga instructors or gymnasts. But FAU coach Dusty May has his frontcourt players providing that very trait – only he’s doing so with their shooting range.
With the Owls sustaining multiple injuries on the wing, they’ve struggled to find the three-point shooting necessary to open driving lanes for leading scorers Anthony Adger and Xavian Stapleton.
After watching his bigs drain three after three in practice last week, May decided at certain points of their upcoming game he’d take them out of their comfort zone, the paint, and have them stretch the floor instead.
“As long as we see the ball going in at practice with any of our guys, we don’t mind them shooting them in games,” May said “We just need to see it going in.”
He saw all he needed.
Karlis Silins and Simeon Lepichev each hoisted and converted a three on Saturday against Southern Miss. Their makes forced Golden Eagle defenders to leave the paint and guard them on the perimeter, opening FAU’s offense for a big second-half scoring run.
They aren’t quite snipers from the three-point line yet, but even the threat of hitting shots from deep changes the way opposing teams defend the Owls.
“We’d like for them to shoot one or two a game, good looks in rhythm, at the right points of the game,” May said. “It just helps with our spacing and getting the other teams’ centers away from the hoop.”
Freshman guard Richardson Maitre is expected to return against UTEP after missing two games with a concussion. His presence has been missed by an FAU team lacking high-level perimeter depth. Kevaughn Ellis (0-5) and Cedric Jackson (1-7) both struggled in their spot starts against Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss respectively.
They vary in what they bring to the game but FAU’s big men share one common trait: European backgrounds. Silins (Latvia), Aleksandar Zecevic (Serbia), Lepichev (France, by way of Bulgaria) and the versatile Madiaw Niang (Spain, by way of Senegal) represent four of FAU’s six international players.