Everyone is excited about "Dunk City." We all want to know about Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU has now defeated Georgetown and San Diego State, making an improbable run during March Madness to the Sweet Sixteen.
FGCU was just the seventh #15 seed to beat a #2 seed, and the first #15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Sounds like an improbable story that Walt Disney Studios up in Orlando might put out. But the story behind the story is not Cinderella. There's no fairy godmother, no magic wand that takes a pumpkin and turns it into a carriage. It's not a feel-good basketball fantasy like Son of Flubber or Air Bud.
Nope, this is a tale about hard work, about a coach, Andy Enfield, who knows what he's doing.
a) Great talent evaluator
FGCU had some players when Enfield arrived, but the key contributors to the team were sort of languishing on the bench. Eddie Murray scored 11 points the entire year before Enfield showed up. Chase Fieler scored 5 points a game barely shooting 30 percent from the field (31.5). Sherwood Brown was a walk-on who almost never played.
I can play!
b) Tireless recruiter
Enfield got Bernard Thompson from a small town less than an hour from Athens. He came out of high school with 0 stars. Not rated at all. Yet the guy scores 23 points against Georgetown, then follows it up with 23 points against San Diego State.
Not only did Enfield come up and get a stud from Georgia, he kept key players at home. He mined the talent in his backyard and got commitments. Enfield was named head coach on March 31, 2011. In less than a month he had Brett Comer on board. Comer was an unranked point guard, but the kid could play (watch the video in the link below). Enfield quickly targeted him and got him on board.
The secret to Enfield's recruiting prowess?
Or perhaps I should say, hard labor.
c. Skilled developer
Enfield is no flash in the pan. Guy came to FGCU with NBA experience, a high-level recruiting background from his days at Florida State, and talent at teaching guys how to score the basketball. He's worked as a consultant or coach with over 100 NBA players.
Enfield was quoted as saying, "I'm not a yeller or screamer most of the time... We just go out and have fun."
Fun is probably the best way to describe Enfield's system. They don't back the ball down, slow everything to a snail's pace, make precision cuts and all that. They attack the basket, get to the foul line, shoot three-pointers and make fantastic lobs and finishes.
Get this: Enfield makes $157,000 a year.
And there it is. When you can evaluate players, go out on the recruiting trail and bring in key contributors, develop your roster once assembled, and instill a system that players love, it's all fun. Even magical.
Teaches his guys how to shoot the basketball.