In Dunk City, the lights are as bright as ever
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
FORT MYERS, Fla. — During Florida Gulf Coast’s mesmerizing Sweet 16 run last spring, Dunk City became a mythological place.
It was a land filled with high-flying acrobats, no-look passes and alley-oops, college basketball at its freest and most entertaining. It was a place set up more like a beach resort than a college campus, where basketball players walked out of their apartments and onto the sand. It was the magical setting for the story of the first No. 15 seed to reach the second week of the NCAA tournament, the most Cinderella of all Cinderella teams.
In many ways, Dunk City is the stuff of legend. But here on this campus, it is every day reality.
“You come to this school, you can’t say no,” junior point guard Brett Comer said. “You have a beach on campus. The school looks like a resort. They just opened up this new pool with a full court for basketball. My teammate and I were in there the other day playing five on five. We played full-court basketball in the pool.
“Who does that?”
At one point last March, the city of Fort Myers identified itself as #DunkCity on its official website. Though the city did not officially rename itself for perpetuity, the label has stuck. The school bookstore sells T-shirts with the moniker. “Dunk City” is engraved on some of the Sweet 16 rings.
“The biggest thing we talk about is, we wouldn’t be Dunk City if we hadn’t won,” new coach Joe Dooley said. “Everybody can talk about that, but the reason the highlights were on the TV were because they won.”
And because of those wins — against Georgetown and San Diego State — much has changed. People now know what FGCU, a school of 12,000 students, stands for and where it’s located. The Eagles will enter this season, which begins Friday with the opening of preseason practice, with a target on their backs. They’ll be on national TV four times. And there’s the biggest change: Dooley is running the show now because Andy Enfield left for USC.
The good news is Dunk City isn’t going anywhere. Dooley … [For more on In Dunk City, the lights are as bright as ever, click here.]