Being a big man who can make plays above the rim is certainly a benefit for someone coming to a school nicknamed Dunk City.
Ricky Doyle, a 6’10 transfer student from Michigan, is going to have a chance to make those same plays when he joins the Eagles this season. With the departures of former Eagle big men Demetris Morant, Marc-Eddy Norelia, and Kevin Mickle, the redshirt junior is sure to get plenty of playing time.
It figures to be a welcome change of pace for Doyle.
The redshirt junior has had a rough go of it so far in his NCAA career. During his sophomore season at Michigan, he averaged 3.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. This was a noticeable step down after a promising freshman season where he started and produced about double the numbers.
One of the reasons for Doyle’s drop in production was the fight he was going through off the court.
Doyle was diagnosed with sleep apnea during his sophomore season and went through the 2015-16 season with little energy. Often, his play appeared lethargic. When Doyle visited a doctor to confront his problem, he revealed that he was getting only about two hours of sleep per night, because he was constantly waking up as he explained in an interview in March of 2016.
"The doctor told me it was pretty severe, I'd wake up seven times every hour throughout the night. That's the equivalent of getting only two hours of sleep," Doyle explained.
When Doyle moved back to Fort Myers and began his season as a redshirt, he underwent surgery to help solve the problem. Doyle had an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (yes, that is a real word) to remove the root of the problem — extra muscle tissue that was lodged in his throat. That surgery and recovery period went as planned, but then Doyle ran into another problem.
Constant pains in his stomach sent Doyle to the hospital this past winter. The doctors told him his appendix had burst, and he had been living with a burst appendix for two months. The ruptured appendix had formed around a fairly large non-cancerous tumor, so surgery was needed once again.
So, once again, Doyle went through a fairly uneventful recovery process, and this past spring he began practicing again. It is apparent that Doyle, a two-time all-state high school player and three-star recruit, can be one of the best to ever don an Eagles uniform if he is healthy. That is a big if, but as of right now the redshirt junior is likely ready to get back on the court again.
Think about it: this guy was able to put up more than decent numbers as a true freshman, and solidified himself as one of the best big men on the 2014-15 Michigan basketball team. That was while playing against teams from the Big Ten. Almost three years later, as an improved and more experienced player, Doyle may wreak havoc in the Atlantic Sun.
Florida Gulf Coast opens on Nov. 11 at home against Illinois State in one of the marquee mid-major non-conference games of the early season.