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Season preview: CHD interviews Florida Gulf Coast PG Brett Comer

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Florida Gulf Coast PG Brett Comer about becoming the 1st #15-seed to ever make the Sweet 16.

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You won an AAU Championship at age 10 and later a pair of high school state titles with teammate Austin Rivers, who is now in the NBA: how good was Austin back in the day, and how proud are you of everything he has accomplished? At the time I thought he was the best high school player in my class: he could do things that I had never seen before and he had an incredible work ethic. I am proud of him for living the dream. He always wanted to be the NBA, but I think this is going to be his breakout year.

As a freshman in 2012 you led the conference with 5.6 assists per game: how were you able to come in and contribute so quickly? Our style of play was so free, and when we had no idea what we were doing I would just throw it around to our athletes and shooters.

In the 2013 conference tourney title game you scored 21 points in a win over Mercer en route to being named tourney MVP: how were you able to play your best when it mattered the most? I have always been able to show up for big games, but I honestly do not know how I do it. I did not play well in the 1st 2 games of that tourney but just got in a groove against Mercer.

In the 2013 NCAA tourney you had 12 points and 10 assists in an upset of 2-seed Georgetown: how did that game change your life? That game and the San Diego State game changed everything for our program. Nobody cared about us before that year, and now we have great crowds at every game. We were the talk of the nation for 2 weeks and everyone started to follow us.

In the next round against San Diego State you had 10 points and 14 assists while becoming the first 15-seed to ever make the Sweet 16: what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? It was wild! There were people waiting for us both at the airport and along the road back to campus, and when we arrived at the arena the crowd was going crazy.

After the tourney Andy Enfield left to become coach at USC and Joe Dooley was hired to replace him: were you surprised that Andy left, and how do you think this season will be different now that you have an entire year with Joe under your belt? I was a little shocked that Coach Enfield left, but when you are offered a lot of money you have to do what is best for your family and your career. The players and coaches felt each other out last year but we really started rolling in the second half. We now have a great understanding for each other and this is the most talented team that we have ever had here.

In the 2014 NIT you scored six points in a 5-point loss to Florida State: what did you learn from that game that you think can help you this year? We do not want to have that feeling again (nor the loss to Mercer in our conference tourney). We want to make it back to the NCAA tourney and make some noise like we did in 2013, so we are very hungry this year.

Your non-conference schedule includes games against UMass, Xavier, and Pitt: which of these games do you feel will present your biggest test? Santa Barbara has a big man who is 1oneof the most efficient players in the nation (Alan Williams), so I think that is going to be our 1st huge challenge.

You already own the school record for career assists, and you will probably break the conference record before Christmas: what is your secret for being a good point guard, and how do you balance your passing with your scoring? The reason I get so many assists is because of my teammates: I can make a great pass but they still have to finish the play in order to make it count. I just try to take what the opponents give me.

What are your goals for the upcoming season, and what are your expectations for the upcoming season? That is simple: our goal is to get back to the NCAA tourney. We are working harder than we ever have and are really excited to blend our new guys with our veterans.

JonTeitel