Eastern Florida Basketball Opens Season Friday
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // October 31, 2014
two-time FCSAA Southern Conference champions
ABOVE VIDEO: Watch highlights from this years Titan Madness. The Titans open their season at the Friday-Saturday Daytona Tip-Off Classic at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach. EFSC plays Clinton (South Carolina) Junior College at 4 p.m. Friday and Southeastern Illinois at 2 p.m. Saturday. EFSC plays it first home game at 7 p.m. Tuesday hosting ASA-Miami in the Melbourne Campus gym.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – As two-time defending FCSAA Southern Conference champion Eastern Florida men’s basketball team has gone from being the hunter to being the hunted.
“It’s definitely a different seat to be in,” said Eastern Florida head coach Jeremy Shulman.
“Last year was a different feeling. I don’t know if we handled it as well as we could have handled it going from hunter to hunted.
“This year I think we’re built to handle it a lot better. We’re built to handle success. The target is going to be on our back. We are the biggest game on the schedule for a lot of other teams.”
And because of that Eastern Florida will face added pressure as it seeks to accomplish a trifecta of goals: winning its third straight conference title; extending its home court winning streak which sits at 31 and reaching the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, which is the ultimate goal.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in. We’ve never lost since we got the wood floor.
“We’ve got 16 home games this season. We tell our sophomores, that’s one of our goals. We set out certain goals for our team and that’s one of the big ones. We’ve got to protect our home floor. We take a lot of pride in it. We want to extend that 31 to 47 by the end of this season.”
Shulman also most likely will achieve a personal milestone this season, winning his 100th game at Eastern Florida. His record is 89-39, 50-14 over the last two seasons.
The Titans open their season at the Friday-Saturday Daytona Tip-Off Classic at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach. EFSC plays Clinton (South Carolina) Junior College at 4 p.m. Friday and Southeastern Illinois at 2 p.m. Saturday. EFSC plays it first home game at 7 p.m. Tuesday hosting ASA-Miami in the Melbourne Campus gym.
The Titans, who are ranked seventh in the first state coaches poll of the season, then travel to Niceville, Florida where they will face stern tests on Nov. 7 and 8 against nationally seventh-ranked Chipola College and 14th-ranked Northwest Florida.
Other high-profile opponents include Cape Fear (North Carolina) in Melbourne on Dec. 5, Shelton State (Alabama) on Dec. 31, also in Melbourne, and home games against Wytheville (Virginia) and USC-Salkahatchie on Jan. 2 and 3 respectively.
Then, EFSC embarks on its rock-em, sock-em conference schedule.
To that end Shulman is looking to returnees Demetrius McReynolds, a 6-2, 205-pound guard/forward from Butler High in Louisville, Kentucky, the team’s second-leading scorer as a freshman and a first-team All-Conference pick; Jermohn Queen, a 5-8, 165-pound guard from Stuart, Florida and Martin County High and a second-team All-Conference pick; Landus Anderson, a 6-6, 180-pound forward from Florida High in Tallahassee, Florida; and NCAA Division I transfers Payton Hulsey, a 6-4 guard, 200-pound from Memphis, Tennessee and Western Kentucky University and Kyle Meyer, a 6-10, 225-pound center/forward from Johns Creek, Georgia and the University of Iowa. They will be expected to continue the tradition of sophomore leadership and to set the tone for the season.
Top freshmen include Jacksonville products Terrell Miller, a 6-foot, 7-inch, 250-pound power forward and Dashion Smith, a 6-1 guard from Ribault High.
Miller had signed with the University of Central Florida. At Arlington County Day in Jacksonville he had 24 double-doubles as a senior and was named MVP of a team that included five Division I signees.
Miller also had considered Wichita State, DePaul, LSU and San Francisco.
Also on board are sophomore Damion Smith, a 6-4 guard from Palm Bay, Florida and Bayside High; Marcus Barham, a 6-4, 165-pound forward from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Melbourne, Florida; Will Gibson, a 6-1 guard, also from Holy Trinity; Djordge Beronja, a 6-6, 235-pound forward from Secondary Grammar School Petar Kocic, Novi Grad, Bosnia and Herzegovinia; Lamont Dunnam, a 6-6, 200-pound shooting forward from Jacksonville and Raines High Miami’s Zavier Peart, a 6-9, 260-pound center from Coral Reef High.
“We’re deep in the frontcourt, it’s a frontcourt that we haven’t had before,” Shulman said.
“We’ve just got to put it all together.”
The Titans begin conference play at rival Indian River State College on Wednesday, Jan. 7. EFSC plays Indian River, Palm Beach State, Broward College and Miami Dade College three times each. EFSC finished 10-2 in conference last season.
“We’ve just got fantastic kids,” Shulman said.
“They truly just want to win, they truly just want to make each other better. They know what our ultimate goal is this year and they know what it’s going to take to get there.
“Players play, tough guys win.”