Kevin Samuel Named ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Kevin Samuel Named ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

FORT MYERS, Fla. – As the start of the 2021-22 men’s basketball season gets closer to officially tipping off, the ASUN announced today that FGCU’s Kevin Samuel [Codrington Village, Barbuda/Redemption HS (Texas)/TCU] has been named the league’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the preseason all-conference team.
Additionally, in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll and Media Poll, the Eagles were predicted to finish sixth and seventh in the league standings, respectively.
“Kevin’s impact on this program has been felt from his first day here and we can’t wait for our fans to see him and our program this season,” said head coach Michael Fly. “His presence defensively as one of the nation’s best shot blockers and rebounders helps us tremendously in what we can do. Most importantly, his leadership and experience adds another seasoned veteran to our line-up and locker room which is invaluable.”
The 6-foot-11, 255 pound center Samuel is the third player to earn the preseason ASUN Defensive Player of the Year award and the first since Demetris Morant did so in 2016-17. Bernard Thompson earned the accolade twice in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
At TCU, Samuel started all 95 career games of his career and set the school record for blocked shots with 206 in three years. For his career, he’s averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds while leading the Big 12 in blocks twice. Among active NCAA players at the end of the 2020-21 season, his 206 career blocks were the ninth most.
Samuel joined 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.
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 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 and was ranked No. 7 in the state by Additionally, ranked him 8th nationally at his position, while he was a consensus four-star recruit.

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Unanimous Preseason Player of the Year: Darius McGhee, Liberty
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Samuel, FGCU

ASUN Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team

Pos. Name School Cl. Hometown Academic Major
G *Darius McGhee Liberty Sr. Roxboro, N.C. Interdisciplinary Studies
C *Ahsan Asadullah Lipscomb Jr. Atlanta, Ga. Finance
G Dylan Penn Bellarmine Sr. Evansville, Ind. Education
G Braxton Beverly Eastern Kentucky Sr. Vicco, Ky. Public Health
G Jomaru Brown Eastern Kentucky Jr. Raleigh, N.C. Sociology
C Kevin Samuel FGCU Sr. Codrington Village, Barbuda Business
G Kevion Nolan Jacksonville Jr. Anniston, Ala. Social Sciences
G Darian Adams Jacksonville State Sr. Montgomery, Ala. Human Services
F Carter Hendricksen North Florida Jr. Lexington, Ky. Sport Management
G Rob Perry Stetson Jr. Orlando, Fla. Communications/Media Studies

* – Denotes unanimous selection Preseason

Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll

Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Liberty (9) 141
2. Eastern Kentucky (1) 126
3. Jacksonville State 103
4. Bellarmine (1) 97
5. Lipscomb 89
6. FGCU 88
7. North Florida (1) 82
8. Stetson 67
9. North Alabama 49
10. Jacksonville 40
11. Kennesaw State 37
12. Central Arkansas 17


Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll

Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Liberty (30) 376
2. Eastern Kentucky (2) 288
3. Bellarmine 284
3. Lipscomb 284
5. Jacksonville State 240
6. North Florida 230
7. FGCU 200
8. Stetson 176
9. North Alabama 174
10. Jacksonville 94
11. Central Arkansas 80
12. Kennesaw State 70


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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ 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 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. 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. 


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