FGCU Athletics turns 20: Top 10 all-time Eagles men's basketball players
The FGCU men's basketball program has seen many memorable moments in its rise from an NAIA to Division I program. Obviously, there was the historic Sweet 16 run in 2013 when the Eagles became the first 15 seed to win two games. The Eagles have made the NCAA tournament two times since, winning a game in 2016 and stretching FSU in the first round before losing by six in 2017. There's also an NCAA Division II appearance and a couple of NIT invites on their resume.
With all that to look back on, here are the top men's basketball players in school history, from the team's first season in 2002-03, that we selected.
Beau Bauer (2005-07)
Bauer was a top player when the Eagles were shunned from an at-large selection in the 2007 NCAA Division II tournament despite winning 19 of its last 20 games. FGCU's only loss was to then-No. 12 Butler, a Division I team. Bauer is third in school history in career scoring average at 14.4 points per game in three seasons.
Sherwood Brown (2009-13)
Brown wasn't the Maestro or the Mayor of Dunk City, just its best player. Brown achieved honorable mention All-American honors after leading the Eagles to upsets of Georgetown and San Diego State in the NCAA tournament, making FGCU the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA history. Brown was ASUN Player of the Year, first-team all-conference, made the NABC All-District 3 First Team, and participated in the State Farm 3-Point Championship. He was the first player in program history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. He finished with 1,241 career points and ranks eighth in school history, and 589 rebounds, fourth in school history.
Brett Comer (2011-15)
Comer was one of the key pieces of Andy Enfield's first recruiting class. Comer was the well-earned Maestro of Dunk City, with his high energy, deft passing, and flashy lobs for dunks by Chase Fieler, Eric McKnight and Eddie Murray. Comer was more than just a show, though. He is second in career points (1,477), field goals made (536), as well as easily the career leader in assists (845).
Bryan Crislip (2002-05)
If their was an initial Maestro in FGCU basketball history, Crislip was it before Brett Comer. Crislip transferred from Arkansas-Little Rock along with high school teammate Ryan Hopkins, and gave FGCU legitimacy beginning in its first season. Crislip has the top assist average in school history (6.8 per game), is second in career assists (606) and is second in career steals (194).
Chase Fieler (2010-14)
Fieler came from the same high school as former stars Bryan Crislip and Ryan Hopkins without as much fanfare but left FGCU as The Mayor, one of the most popular players in school history. The 6-foot-8 forward was the recipient of many of Brett Comer's passes that lead to thunderous dunks, but also was able to step out and hit 3-pointers. One of his dunks in the 2013 first-round upset of Georgetown was one of the most popular highlights. Fieler is the top career rebounder (714) and shot blocker (134), and sixth in career points (1,306).
Brandon Goodwin (2016-18)
The biggest star in the post-Dunk City era, Goodwin transferred from UCF and made a mark right away. At times, he carried the Eagles during a season they kept their NCAA streak alive and the following year before a loss in the ASUN tournament championship game sent them to the NIT his senior season. Goodwin, who became the first Eagle to play in an NBA game, is seventh in points (1,261) and fifth in assists (301) despite playing just two seasons. He followed Brown by becoming an honorable mention All-American and ASUN Player of the Year.
Ryan Hopkins (2002-05)
Hopkins transferred from Eastern Michigan along with his high school teammate Crislip and was the first sharpshooter in school history. And is still one of the best. He is third in career points (1,367), second in scoring average (15.5 per game), and the top 3-point shooter with 355 in just 88 games.
Zach Johnson (2015-18)
Johnson had to sit out his freshman year due to an undisclosed medical condition, but once released quickly became a top player for the Eagles before finishing his collegiate career as a graduate transfer at the University of Miami. Johnson, who was first-team all-conference as a junior, is fourth in career points (1,344) and sixth in scoring average (13.0). He became the third junior to top 1,000 career points.
Marc-Eddy Norelia (2014-17)
Norelia was one of the most popular players during his time as an Eagle, which included a senior season where he took time off for stretches, before later revealing he had been dealing with depression. Norelia, who transferred after his freshman year at Tulane, is one of just three players in program history with at least 1,000 career points (1,084) and 600 rebounds (611). He is third in rebounding, 10th in total points and second in field goal percentage (.535)
Bernard Thompson (2011-15)
Thompson is one of the most versatile players in school history. He could go up for a rim-rattling dunk, make a nifty pass for an assist, nail a 3-pointer, but also shut down the opposition's top offensive player, and more than likely steal the ball from him at some point. He graduated as the ASUN career steals leader (262), and finished his senior season as the only active player in the nation with at least 1,800 career points (1,835), 600 rebounds (623) and 250 steals (262). And he is FGCU’s all-time leading scorer with 1,835.
Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/