Over the last two years the FIU basketball program has experienced more success than ever before. The architect behind this transformation is head coach Jeremy Ballard who will entering his third season at FIU. Ballard boasts a 39-27 record as the head coach which is the most wins over a two year span in program history. This past season ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic but all signs pointed to FIU reaching postseason play for the second straight year.
With FIU coming off unprecedented success, things will look a lot different this coming year since they graduate two second team all-conference performers in Devon Andrews and Osasumwen Osaghae and sharp shooter Trejon Jacob. Losing three major contributors means FIU will rely heavily on Fort Lauderdale high school alum Antonio Daye Jr. to be a catalyst for this coming years success.
Daye who is originally from North Carolina played for Coach Rich Belton at Fort Lauderdale high school his senior year and was regarded as one of the top players in South Florida before signing with FIU in May of 2018. Daye played his travel ball with Under Armor flagship program Team Breakdown and was a major contributor for that team which produces division one signees annually.
In 2018-2019 Daye averaged 8.3 points per game while shooting 38% from the field and 21% from three point line. In 2019-2020 Daye transitioned to the full-time starting point guard which led to him improving his scoring to 10.1 and leading the Conference USA in assists per game (4.9) and total assists (152) while being top three in steals (1.8). In addition Daye increased all of his shooting percentages and led the team in overall minutes played per game.
Anyone who watched FIU play last year can tell you how important Daye is to the their success on both sides of the ball. When Daye was at his best FIU was hard to beat. All signs are pointing to a breakout junior season for Antonio Daye Jr. if his past improvement is a barometer of what is still to come.
Check out Antonio Daye Jr. best plays from high school below.