A “Two Headed Monster” at Point Guard for Florida StatePosted by KDoyle on November 17th, 2012
Kevin Doyle is an RTC correspondent, you can find him on Twitter @KLDoyle11. He filed this report after Friday night’s game between Florida State and BYU in New York City.
Bernard James may have been Florida State’s best player last season, but filling the void at point guard after graduation claimed Luke Loucks was the bigger task for Leonard Hamilton entering the 2012-13 campaign. Going by the numbers, Loucks’ would appear replaceable (7.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.3 APG), while James nearly averaged a double-double and without question was the Seminoles’ top rebounder. But, like any basketball fan knows, an offense’s success begins and ends with the point guard. One wouldn’t think that the Seminole backcourt would be a looming issue entering the season with potential All-American Michael Snaer coming back for his senior year, but it has been a question Leonard Hamilton has grappled with in the early going.
For Florida State, you see, they didn’t know who their point guard would be heading into the season. Michael Snaer is an exceptional guard in every facet: shooter, passer, defender, ball-handler, you name it. There’s a reason, after all, he is a candidate for an All-America team at season’s end. But, Snaer is not a point guard. Ian Miller is the prototypical steady two guard — despite conjecture that he would slide in and fill the point guard hole — someone who can hit the open shot and is regarded as more of a playmaker than facilitator.
Can Hamilton rely on first year players like Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon to share the duties? He did tonight, and it worked well for the Seminoles. In Florida State’s first game of the season, a shocking 76-71 loss at home to South Alabama, it became painfully obvious that point guard play would be an issue going forward. The Seminoles as a team had just nine assists to 17 turnovers. Snaer and Miller combined for seven turnovers; clearly struggling to acclimate to life in the backcourt without a seasoned distributor playing point guard. In their next game, a 27-point routing of Buffalo, things were better: 17 assists to 17 turnovers. But, Hamilton certainly can’t be pleased. On Friday evening against BYU, Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon saw extended minutes and the offense was noticeable more efficient.
“I am very pleased with our two headed monster point guard…I think between the both of them we get a pretty good point guard and we can keep both of them fresh,” said a satisfied Hamilton. Truth be told, they don’t have that true point guard Hamilton would prefer — the kind of player Luke Loucks was as a senior. And, they won’t have a point guard of that caliber all year. “We are still a work in progress, but as of tonight I was pretty happy with the contributions of two first-year kids.” Fortunately for whomever is playing point guard, there is Michael Snaer alongside him, and Ian Miller not too far away either. The Seminole backcourt lit BYU’s defense up the entire night, and earned high praise from Dave Rose in the process. “They’re really skilled on the perimeter. In the past you see a front line that’s really athletic and dominant, but their guards are really terrific.”
If Leonard Hamilton elects to use a point guard by committee kind of approach, it seems to be working. Snaer, Miller, and Bookert all stuffed the stat sheet, and Brandon acquitted himself well in his 19 minutes, although the numbers don’t exactly show it. According to Miller, the offense was clicking due to unselfish play. “Against any defense, if you are efficient with passing the ball, getting the ball to your scorers, getting people involved early and creating for each other instead of worrying about yourself, it can open up a defense. You can see how well we scored tonight because of that.” To revisit the preceding question: Yes, it does appear that Leonard Hamilton can hand the keys to the car over to the youngsters, and they will do just fine driving it.