As the ninth seed in the NCAA Tournament, Florida Atlantic’s chances of success seemed dim. However, a crucial contributor to the team’s remarkable run has been the talent of an unlikely group of players from the state of Mississippi.
Chief among them is senior guard Xavian Stapleton, who has been a stalwart for the Owls since transferring from Mississippi State in 2018. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 8.7 points per game, while also contributing 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Stapleton’s sharp shooting and ability to facilitate the offense has been a key factor in FAU’s success this season.
The Owls have also benefitted from the services of junior forward Akim Mitchell, a transfer from Jackson State. The 6-foot-7 forward has proven to be a reliable member of the team’s rotation, averaging 7.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in his first year with the Owls. Moreover, his work ethic and leadership have been invaluable to the program.
A third Mississippi native, junior guard Jailyn Ingram, has also been a factor for Florida Atlantic this season. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 8.9 points per game, and is a tenacious defender. Ingram’s ability to create havoc on the defensive end has been instrumental in the Owls’ success.
By leaning heavily on Mississippi talent, the Owls have been able to defy the odds and emerge as a legitimate threat in the NCAA Tournament. The trio of Stapleton, Mitchell, and Ingram have provided invaluable contributions to the program, and their presence has been instrumental in Florida Atlantic’s remarkable run.