FORT MYERS, Fla. – One of the best signings in program history became official on Tuesday evening as TCU transfer Kevin Samuel [Codrington Village, Barbuda/Redemption HS (Texas)/TCU] has joined the FGCU men’s basketball program as announced by head coach Michael Fly. Samuel, who started all 95 games in his career at TCU, adds an elite-level shot blocker and post presence to next year’s line-up. In three active seasons, the 6-foot-11, 255 pound center averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds with the Horned Frogs.
“Kevin will bring a wealth of experience and on-the-court productivity to our program,” said Fly. “As a someone who has played nearly 100 career games in the Big 12, holds a program record for blocked shots, and has averaged nearly a double-double for his career, Kevin will make an immediate impact on our program next season.”
Samuel joins the Eagles after four years at TCU where he redshirted his true freshman year (2017-18) before becoming a mainstay over the next three seasons in the starting line-up. In three years, he blocked 206 shots, a TCU record, while averaging 26.1 minutes per game and posting 823 points and 729 rebounds. His 206 career blocked shots ranked as the ninth most for any active player in the NCAA at the end of last season.
This past year, he averaged 8.8 points, third best on the team, through 26 games. His 7.8 rebounds ranked third in the Big 12, while his 1.7 blocks per game led the conference. His 62.5 field goal percentage was the best on the team as well.
In 2019-20, he had his best statistical season averaging 10.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.7 blocks per game. His blocks per game also ranked 11th-best in the NCAA, while his 85 total blocks were the second-most in program history. His 11 double-doubles ranked second among Big 12 players.
After redshirting his true freshman year, Samuel immediately jumped into the starting line-up in 2018-19 starting all 37 games to average 7.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. His 66.5 field goal percentage was the second-best in the Big 12 and for a single-season in TCU history. His 2.1 blocks per game were the most in a season by a TCU freshman and ranked fourth in the Big 12. That year, he helped TCU to a 23-14 overall record and an appearance in the NIT Semifinal in Madison Square Garden.
Originally from the island of Barbuda, Samuel moved to Houston for his junior and senior years of high school where he played for Redemption Christian Academy. He earned his undergraduate degree from TCU earlier this spring. Coming out of high school, he ranked No. 6 in the class of 2017 top 100 players in Texas according to TexasTop100.com and was ranked No. 7 in the state by 247sports.com. Additionally, 247sports.com ranked him 8th nationally at his position, while he was a consensus four-star recruit.
Samuel becomes the fifth transfer to join the Eagles this offseason. Guard Tavian Dunn-Martin (Huntington, W.Va./Huntington HS/Akron/Duquesne), guard Matt Halvorsen (Kingsport, Tenn./Christ School/Western Carolina), guard Austin Richie (Glenwood, Ill./Don Bosco Institute/Triton College/Tulsa), and forward Carlos Rosario (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/Redemption Prep/Pensacola College/McNeese State) were announced previously.
The quintet will immediately add to the roster which returns three starters in senior Caleb Catto (Cape Coral, Fla./Southwest Florida Christian Academy), junior guard Cyrus Largie (Miramar, Fla./Mater Lakes Academy), and sophomore guard Luis Rolon (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Central Pointe Christian Academy).
Additionally, junior Dakota Rivers (Windermere, Fla./Windermere HS), one of the top shot blockers in the ASUN over the last two years, along with sophomore Zach Anderson (Orlando, Fla./Apopka HS) add to the FGCU front court along with redshirt freshman Andre Weir who sat out most of last spring after transferring from Richmond after the fall semester. Redshirt junior Franco Miller, Jr. (Freeport, Bahamas/Ole Miss), and sophomore Victor Rosa (Naranjito, Puerto Rico/Central Pointe Christian Academy) add to the Eagles complement of guards as both played the bulk of the 2020-21 campaign.
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Michael Fly was introduced as the fourth FGCU men’s basketball head coach on April 5, 2018. He had spent the previous seven years as an assistant coach on the Eagles’ staff. In his time with the Eagles, he helped FGCU to a 189-134 record (.585 winning percentage), including six ASUN Tournament Final appearances, three NCAA Tournament victories, three ASUN Tournament titles and three ASUN Regular Season Championships, two berths in the NIT, a CIT appearance and a run to the Sweet 16. He has coached 13 all-conference selections while with the Green and Blue, including two ASUN Player of the Year honors in Sherwood Brown and Brandon Goodwin, two ASUN Defensive Player of the Year selections in Bernard Thompson and Demetris Morant and one ASUN Newcomer of the Year in Schadrac Casimir. Of the top-10 players in career points at FGCU, Fly has helped develop eight of them, including all-time leading scorer Thompson (1,835). Additionally, the Kentucky alumnus has coached both the ASUN all-time assists leader Brett Comer (845; 24th in NCAA history) and FGCU all-time leading rebounder Chase Fieler (714).
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 13+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 23 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, and 2020 Fall semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.