ACC Summer Recess: Florida State SeminolesPosted by KCarpenter on August 2nd, 2012
Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Florida State.
Where They Stand Now
Florida State is riding high. Last season probably constitutes the second best season in Florida State history, trailing only the 1971-72 season where the Seminoles won 28 games and played in the national championship game. The 2011-12 season’s 25 wins, ACC Tournament victory and two wins over the perennial powers of Duke and North Carolina marks the most successful season of Florida State’s tenure in the conference. Leonard Hamilton has transformed the Seminoles into one of the conference’s premier powers and a surefire contender for the conference title on a regular basis. Outside a disappointing loss to Cincinnati in their second game of the NCAA Tournament, it would have been hard for fans in Tallahassee to envision a better season.
Unfortunately, the downside of a team filled with seasoned seniors is that they all graduate. Bernard James, Deividas Dulkys, Xavier Gibson, Luke Loucks, Jeff Peterson, and Jon Kreft are all graduating, taking the bulk of rotation minutes with them. Having a lot of players leave because they are graduating seniors is a good problem for a team to have. Not so good? Transfers. Freshman Antwan Space is transferring to Texas A&M after seeing little to no playing time in the past season, further shrinking the Seminole frontcout.
Most importantly, the team returns Michael Snaer, the ACC’s Mr. Bigshot. Snaer occupies the rare role of a player who leads his team in offensive efficiency and who also leads the team in the number of attempted shots, a simple yet impressive feat that is much rarer than you might think. Importantly, the team also returns starting power forward Okaro White and the team’s third leading scorer in Ian Miller, a sensational scoring threat off the bench. Outside of this trio, however, FSU is going to be hard-pressed to put any seasoned rotation players on the floor.
Florida State has brought in a nice batch of recruits to replenish its depleted frontcourt as well as adding needed depth in the backcourt. Montay Brandon and Aaron Thomas highlight the guard position, with both being classified as four-star recruits out of high school. Brandon is particularly intriguing as a 6’6″ point guard with outstanding athleticism, although whether he is skilled enough to earn serious playing time is a much more difficult question. FSU will also add Devon Bookert, a 6’2″ point guard who will likely play a reserve function in his freshman year. This class also shows the addition of two centers, 7’3″ Boris Bojanovsky and the 7’1″ Michael Ojo. Though neither player is a particularly heralded recruit, Leonard Hamilton’s ability to turn his big men into high-functioning cogs in his defensive system is nearly unparalleled in college basketball. Neither player may be ready next year, but Florida State will at least have the option of putting a great deal of size on the court.
The stacked team that produced the best basketball season in Florida State’s ACC history is gone. However, with Snaer leading the team and Leonard Hamilton calling the shots, next season’s title defense is sure to be spirited if not ultimately successful.