Florida State Seminoles
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #7 ACC
At the beginning of February, Florida State looked like an NCAA Tournament team. Yet a five game losing streak during that month ended up dropping the Seminoles to the NIT. The program and Coach Leonard Hamilton have a little reloading to do, but this group will be right back in the mix for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Dwayne Bacon burst onto the scene as a freshman, averaging 15.8 points per game. The big 6-7 wing does most of his scoring by attacking the basket. If he can be more consistent with his outside shooting, Bacon will be nearly impossible to contain.
2015-16 Record: 20-14, 8-10
2015-16 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Coach Record: 278-187 at Florida State, 478-397 overall
Bacon will take on a bigger role this year since fellow top scorer and big guard Malik Beasley is gone. Beasley averaged 15.6 points per game and was much more dangerous as an outside shooter compared to Bacon and left after his freshman campaign. Most did not consider Beasley a one and done player, but he took advantage of his great freshman campaign and was drafted 19th overall in the NBA Draft. Devon Bookert was another quality scorer on the perimeter. He only started two games, but Bookert proved to be a very good scorer and shooter off of the bench. Benji Bell was stuck further down the bench, but he too provided a nice offensive spark off of the bench. Michael Saxton did not play much, but adds to the losses in the backcourt. The frontcourt lost a couple key players too. Boris Bojanovsky, a 7-3 center, did not put up huge numbers, averaging 6.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, yet his size and presence in the paint was very important on both ends of the floor. Montay Brandon played the power forward spot last season, but was really a big wing. Brandon never was a major scoring threat, yet Florida State needed his size.
Coach Hamilton has brought in eight newcomers to help bolster his roster. To address the inexperience on the perimeter, FSU brought in junior college transfers Braian Angola-Rodas and PJ Savoy. Angola-Rodas has the potential to immediately replace Beasley. He is a superb scorer from anywhere on the floor and a very smart and capable ball handler too. The backcourt also adds freshmen Trent Forrest, Travis Light and CJ Walker. Forrest is a versatile guard who can score and distribute. Walker is more of a true point guard who will compete for backup point guard duties, but he can score too. Forward Jonathan Isaac is the top recruit in this class. The 6-10 incoming freshman brings huge expectations with him. He is a lanky, quick player who has the talent to start at a variety of positions right away. Isaac is best suited to play the power forward spot where he can use his size and create mismatches with his outside shooting ability. Mfiondu Kabengele will add size and strength in the paint, while Will Miles joins the family tradition of going to Florida State.
Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will have options, but most remain relatively unproven. Terance Mann was the most productive last season, averaging 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds. He is only 6-6, but Mann is extremely tough. Jarquez Smith averaged 5.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks as a junior. He only averaged 14.4 minutes per game, so if he can find more playing time, expect Smith to be much more productive. Phil Cofer missed much of last season with an injury and is another forward who may not score a ton, but can at least help out on the glass. Brandon Allen and Michael Ojo missed all of last season with injuries. Ojo, a 7-1, 304 pound center, has starting experience and brings a lot of size to the frontcourt. With players like Christ Koumadje, the Seminoles have a ton of size.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes had a bit of a disappointing sophomore season. He still averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists though. Rathan-Mayes was simply missing shots, yet he was able to continue to distribute effectively and play solid defense. If his shots start falling again like they did during his freshman campaign, Rathan-Mayes will be an All-ACC caliber player. Even if he is not scoring that much, he will set up his teammates. And with Bacon and the newcomers, most notably Angola-Rodas and Isaac, doing much of the scoring, all Rathan-Mayes really needs to do is set them up. He is capable of much more than that though and as long as the frontcourt can provide a bit of a scoring threat and play better defense than they did a year ago, this is a team that has the talent to not just make the tournament, but also make some noise once they get there.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Junior, Guard, 11.8 points per game
Braian Angola-Rodas, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Dwayne Bacon, Sophomore, Guard, 15.8 points per game
Jonathan Isaac, Freshman, DNP last season
Michael Ojo, Senior, Center, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.0 (56th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.0 (232, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (56, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.2 (217, 13)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (222, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.1 (195, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.5 (181, 11)
Rebound Margin: 3.4 (65, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (173, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (205, 13)
Madness 2017 NBA Draft Rankings:
#13 Jonathan Issac
#43 Dwayne Bacon
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#10 Jonathan Issac
#57 Trent Forrest
#131 C.J. Walker