Breaking Out: Junior transfer showcases offensive capabilities

FIU guard Willy Nunez Jr. (20) makes an acrobatic dunk during the Panthers’ matchup against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 27 at the Ocean Bank Convocaion Center. (Richard Lewis/FIU Athletics)

By Brett Shweky/Sports Director


Willy Nunez Jr. lead the Panthers to an easy victory over the Florida National Conquistadors on Wednesday, Nov. 29, as he finished the game with a new career-high in scoring and displayed his offensive capabilities.

The junior guard from Orlando, Florida made seven of his thirteen attempts and had a career-high 19 points in the, 79-61, win against the Conquistadors at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

Nunez Jr. also showcased his passing skills in the win, when he found freshman Isaiah Banks on an alley-oop dunk to help the Panthers take a 24-12 lead with 10:22 remaining in the first half. Nunez Jr. finished the game with three assists.

He explained how practice has been an instrumental part in getting his game going, since he had to miss the beginning of the season due to injury.

“It feels pretty good, getting back in rhythm is key” said Nunez Jr. “My teammates are finding me on the offensive end and also we’re trying to execute on the defensive end as well. Practice is a big key. Putting up shots as much as I can, teammates also finding me in practice as well. Just trying to get a flow of the game.”

Nunez Jr. played for the first time this season against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 27, when the Panthers took on the South Carolina Gamecocks. In his debut, he played a solid 25 minutes and contributed seven points on three-for-nine shooting.

Head Coach Anthony Evans discussed that he feels Nunez Jr. still has room to improve, however as the season progresses his role will expand.

“Willy is a good player, we recruited him to do what he does,” said Evans. “I think he needs to work on the defensive end. He hasn’t been in the games, like the other guys have. So it’s not the same type of chemistry yet, but as we move forward his role will expand.”

Before attending FIU, Nunez Jr. played his freshman and sophomore season at Indian River State College. While he was there, he established himself as one of the primer players on the team.

During his sophomore campaign, he averaged 20.8 points-per-game, which led Indiana River State in scoring and was third in the Florida College System Activities Association Athletics. Nunez Jr. shot 39.2% from the field and 35.2% from behind the three-point line.

To go along with his scoring, he also averaged 5.5 rebounds-per-game and 3.0 assists-per-game.

Nunez Jr. played his high school ball at Oak Ridge High in Orlando, where averaged 8.3 points-per-game. His senior season, he helped lead his team to District and Metro titles and was named Most Improved Player and captain.

He was also recruited by UNC Greensboro, UTEP, and also James Madison.

Coach Evans described Nunez Jr. as an efficient scorer, who can add multiple dimensions to the team’s offense.

“Scorer. Not only can he shoot, but he has a high basketball IQ, he can drive to the basket, shoot free throws. I mean he can do it all,” said Evans.

The Panthers will be back in action on Dec. 11, when the team travels to Tampa, Florida to take on the University of South Florida Bulls. Tipoff from the Sun Dome is set for 7 p.m.

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