Tulane opens Sunday against FSU with Dunleavy’s ‘deepest team’

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NEW ORLEANS – Mike Dunleavy Sr. begins his third season at Tulane with reason for optimism, despite losing a pair of players to the pros.

“I feel like this team is going to be our deepest team,” Dunleavy said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. “We’ll have a really exciting team and you’re going to like our guys.”

Two-year returning starter Ray Ona Embo, returning from an offseason knee injury, was cleared to practice for the first time Monday and likely won’t start in Sunday night’s season opener against nationally ranked Florida State.

Local products Caleb Daniels (St. Augustine), Jordan Cornish (Brother Martin) and Blake Paul (Landry-Walker) figure to join Ona Embo, once healthy, and Samir Sehic in the Green Wave’s starting lineup.

Incoming freshmen Moses Wood, Connor Crabtree and Kevin Zhang could be part of the rotation as well.

“They’re definitely going to get time,” Dunleavy said, noting that the amount of time will depend on “how quickly they can mature and get used to the size differentials, the speed and quickness (of the college game).”

Dunleavy thinks his NBA experience has helped both in recruiting and player development.

“We’ve had the most improved player in the league the last two years,” Dunleavy said, referring to Cameron Reynolds and Melvin Frazier, who have both moved on to the professional ranks.

The Green Wave and Seminoles, ranked 17th in the preseason poll, meet at 6 p.m. Sunday at Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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