When talking about guys that play with energy, no player at Florida Gulf Coast brings more energy to the floor than redshirt junior Marc-Eddy Norelia. Now in his third year with the program, second year eligible to play, Norelia's energy has earned him the title of "captain". As a captain, he is ready to lead the Eagles to what will hopefully be another successful postseason run.
"I'm pretty excited. It was a great summer, now we're ready to see how everything is going to gel together," he said.
In his first year on the hardwood for the Eagles, Norelia proved to be a productive front court player. He played in all 33 games, averaging 22 minutes per contest. His 51-percent field goal percentage ranked fifth in the Atlantic Sun and first on the team. Overall, he averaged eight points and five rebounds, and totalled two double-doubles on the season.
Norelia is a multi-dimensional big man. At 6-foot-8, he can score from under the basket, not to mention throw down some monster dunks, but can also expand out of the paint with his solid baseline jump shot. Going into this season, he's not really focused on improving any specific aspects of his game, rather to just continue to do what he does best.
"This year my main focus just is still to do what I do," Norelia said. "Bring the same type of energy I play with, and everything else is going to fall into place. I ain't had a specific focus because what I do, I do well."
A native of Orlando, FL, Norelia committed to play at Tulane University after graduating from Olympia High School in 2012. In his freshman year as a member of the Green Wave basketball program, he only played a total of 16 minutes spanning across nine games. After an underwhelming freshman campaign, he decided to make the move to a freshly christened Dunk City.
When he's not playing basketball, you can find him at other FGCU sporting events rooting on the Eagles along with the Dirty Birds, Florida Gulf Coast's student section. Outside of the game he's an easy going college student, but when we steps on the court, he plays with an intensity level that no Eagle has ever matched. Norelia credits his upbringing for his energy level.
"Just how I was raised, just give it your all every time you get an opportunity to. No matter if it's in the classroom or in basketball, just bring it all," he said.
Now, as a captain, he's using his energy and passion for the game to show all of the fresh faces on the team how FGCU expects them to do business. Coach Joe Dooley and his staff have been praised for their teaching ability, and with so many new players on the roster, they have a lot of work to do. In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, Norelia has been acting as a player-coach of sorts to aid in the development of the underclassmen.
"I'm always trying to catch a mistake before coach do," Norelia said. "He has to catch everybody's mistake, including mine, so if I can help them before he catches that mistake, it helps the team."
Norelia's optimistic approach to the game is an aspect that every player in any sport should try and emulate. Realistically, he understands that FGCU will face a lot of unique challenges this season, but that hasn't taken any wind out of his sails.
The Eagles are clearly undersized, and their two primary point guards are both freshman. While many players would anticipate growing pains, Norelia is looking at the team from a more positive angle. At a school that knows upsets, he knows that anything is capable of happening in the great sport of basketball.
"That's what you would expect (growing pains), but we figured that they're basketball players just like we are, so the same way they can make mistakes we can make mistakes all around," he said. "We've just got to bring our A-game and hopefully come out with a W."
And soon enough, that's what they'll have the chance to do. With the season mere hours from tipping off, it's just about time for Norelia to show his energy to the good people of Athens, OH, and after that, all of college basketball.