Former Florida Gulf Coast floor general Brett Comer is lacing them up once again. After a brief retirement from competitive basketball, Comer is joining the Orlando Waves of the American Basketball Association.
"I think this one kind of just made sense..." said Comer, who is taking online cyber security and IT classes through Hodges University in Naples. "I can pretty much still do everything I was doing with school. I’ll continue with that. And obviously play in Orlando and make some money doing it."
Orlando is embarking on its inaugural season in the American Basketball Association (ABA). The league began in 1999 and consists of over 80 teams in a multitude of regions across the country. The Waves are led by head coach Douglas Leichner, who holds a wealth of experience from up and down the collegiate ranks.
"Teammates love playing with Brett because he has an innate ability to get players the ball in scoring position," Leichner said. "Brett Comer will have the "keys" and drive our high octane offense."
The two have a history that goes beyond the few practices Comer has already participated in. Leichner served as an assistant coach at Maine during Comer's freshman and sophomore seasons at FGCU and then as an assistant at Iona during his junior and senior seasons.
"So I played against him all four years," Comer said. "He kind of reached out to the guy who runs the Pedro's Posse [Comer's pro-am team], asking if there are any guys you’d think would be interested."
The roster, which is still a work-in-progress, consists mostly of Orlando area players. In addition to Comer, the team has already announced the the signings of Luis Jacobo (IPFW), Joshua Warren (Troy), AJ Williams (Florida College), and Josh Castellanos (Mount St. Mary's) - with a few more intriguing additions to come.
"Everyone on the team pretty much knows each other. They either grew up playing on the same team with somebody at some point, played against each other at some point, or just knows each other through living in Orlando and college basketball," Comer said.
The Waves open the season on Nov. 5 at home against the St. Petersburg Tide, with the regular season running until early March.
"Everyone’s really excited to play. Everyone thinks we have a good team, and a good chance to win," Comer said. "I know they said the team from Jacksonville won the whole thing last year."
Comer isn't sure if this will be a springboard for a potential rising professional career or a local opportunity to continue playing beyond just the pro-am league.
"I really don’t know to be honest. Obviously I’m gonna have fun with it," said Comer, who turned down a couple of overseas deals this year. "...If nothing comes out of it, I’m fine with that. If something does come out of it, I’ll be fine with that also."
The all-time FGCU and Atlantic Sun assist leader worked out for the Miami Heat following his career in Fort Myers. He was eventually drafted by the NBA D-League's Grand Rapids Drive in 2015 before being released in training camp. Comer then served as a volunteer assistant coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania last season before walking away from competitive basketball.
The Sweet 16 superstar didn't completely leave the court though. Over this past summer he played alongside Jason Williams on a team in Orlando's rec league.
“I’m not gonna lie. I was extremely star struck with Jason Williams. That’s a guy I wanted to play like, and tried to model my game after. I tried to be just as crazy as him when I played. To have the opportunity to play on his team and you know even just kind of sit around and talk," Comer said. "He’s a really good dude. I think a lot of people don’t see that because of how he acted on the court sometimes."
Comer now has another chance to emulate "White Chocolate" at the professional level. The iconic FGCU point guard will be showcasing his free-flowing, selfless style of play with a bunch of childhood running mates in his hometown of Orlando.
"It’ll be fun," Comer said.