Antonio Daye Jr ended the shortened 2019-20 season with a lot of joy. He tacked on a couple of points per game from his freshman year, and Daye Jr also saw increases in his free throw, field goal and three point percentage as well. Antonio finished with 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in 2019-20.
I had the pleasure of being able to talk with the soon to be junior, and the returning leading scorer for the Panthers. We got to talk about his massive improvements, what he enjoyed most about the team and plenty more.
Antonio looks at his sophomore season
Q: You ended 2019-20 averaging 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game while shooting at a 41% clip from the floor. As you reflect on your sophomore season, how do you see it?
A: My sophomore season definitely was a good year for me. I definitely think it still could of been a lot better, i would of loved to cut down on turnovers and also to average more assists. I also wish I had been more consistent each night!
Sophomore season focus
Q: As a sophomore you made a jump in every statistical category. From your freshman off-season to your sophomore season, what did you work on the most? You made major jumps on free throw and three point percentage, was that a main focus?
A: Year one I had more so of a role player role. I didn’t have to do as much because we had a senior all conference point guard that I played in the back court with. After my freshmen year i knew the team would be left in my hands so i made it a priority to work on everything and to be prepared to run a team and do whatever the team needed me to do.
Antonio talks about his role on FIU
Q: What did you feel like was your role on this years FIU team?
A: My role this year was definitely to do pretty much everything. Some nights I needed to be a guy that could get 9+ assists, and some nights I needed to be the guy to score 20+. And some nights I needed to do both but every night I definitely led the way with bringing it on the defensive end and I think my teammates fed off of my defense.
Florida International team bond
Q: As a team FIU finished 19-13 overall and 9-9 inside of the conference. What was the vibe like starting the season, and what was it like as the season progressed and hit some bumps?
A: The vibe at the beginning of the season was we were very hungry and had a point to prove. Together we felt that a lot of teams in our league and also a lot of media slept on our abilities. They thought the year we had before was a fluke. We knew that we had a chip on our shoulder but we always knew since the very first day that we had a special group that could go far and potentially go dancing in March. As the season came along we definitely had a few bumps in the road with injuries and just not being consistent as a team. But we definitely still knew that we were gaining respect from a lot of teams. If we did what we were suppose to we would go far in March.
Antonio walked me through what quarantine was like
Q: What has quarantine made you work on the most? What aspects of your game will be most improved in 2020-21?
A: This quarantine has definitely been a blessing in disguise for me. I have been able to just work on my body and I’ve been really focusing on my shooting off the dribble and spot up. This upcoming season you can definitely expect me to boost my points per game and also my field goal and 3 point percentage. I also want to decrease my turnovers by a large amount!
2020-21 FIU team outlook
Q: What is the overall team goal for 2020-21? What do you guys want to achieve? Especially with your top three scorers being seniors and you are the returning leading scorer?
A: Losing our 3 seniors definitely will be a huge loss for us. It especially hurt because two of the three were all conference players. But this season we got commitments from some guys that should be able to impact right away and help us a lot. I think we will have another 20+ win season and go very far in March if we are going to be able to play this year. As far as me being the top leading scorer that returned, I will just have to produce more and I’m definitely looking forward to the the new role.
Antonio and I had a really nice conversation about all different aspects of his personal and team game. He remained very humble with all of his answers. Antonio showed me that he is always hungry to get back out on the court come November. I know he is excited to get back out there, and I am excited to watch him play.
Thank you Antonio for letting me take away some of your time to talk to you. I wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future. Go Panthers!