#74 Florida State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Florida State Seminoles

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #74
Conference Rank: #10 ACC

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Florida State had a pretty forgettable 2014-2015 campaign. The expectations were high for the Seminoles, but they finished with a losing record in ACC action and barely finished above .500 overall. With eight of their nine players who finished last year in the regular rotation returning, Coach Leonard Hamilton hopes that experience will pay off in 2015-2016. And with a superb recruiting class, FSU has more than enough talent and experience to make a move up the ACC pecking order. Xavier Rathan-Mayes will once again lead the way after a superb freshman campaign in which he averaged 14.9 points and 4.3 assists. The 6-4 sophomore will be one of the best guards in the ACC if he can start hitting his three-pointers.

2014-15 Record: 17-16, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Coach Record: 236-173 at Florida State, 436-383 overall

Who’s Out:
Florida State managed without Aaron Thomas for most of last season. He averaged 14.8 points in six games before being ruled ineligible. He has since signed with an agent and will not return to the Seminoles. His surprise absence really sent the team in a downspin that they never recovered from. The only other loss is Kiel Turpin, a 7-0 center. He provided another big option for Coach Hamilton off of the bench, averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game during his senior season.  

Who’s In:
This team wanted to add depth on the wings and they certainly did that with this group of newcomers. Small forward Dwayne Bacon is the star of the class. He won the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest and is obviously a superb, explosive athlete who can finish above the rim. At 6-7 and 210 pounds, he will be extremely tough for anybody to guard. Terance Mann and Malik Beasley are a couple more big wings who have the potential to make an impact as freshmen. Benji Bell has a little more experience after spending a couple years at the junior college ranks. He was a NJCAA Division I All-American last year and is a very good all-around guard who can knock down shots or drive to the basket. The lone big man newcomer is Jean Marc Christ Koumadje. The 7-4 center is raw, but his size is something that can make an impact right away.

Who to Watch:
Rathan-Mayes will lead the team, but seven other players are back to help the Seminoles. Senior guard Montay Brandon is one of the more interesting players in the conference. He is a big 6-8, 225 pound guard who can handle the ball and attack the basket with ease. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2014-2015. Devon Bookert is easily the best shooter on the team. The senior guard connected on 39.3 percent of his attempts from long range. Combo guard Robbie Berwick showed some potential as a freshman, yet his minutes will be pushed by the newcomers. Phil Cofer, Jarquez Smith, Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo form the usual tough frontcourt that has been a staple for Coach Hamilton coached teams. Cofer was the most productive of the four last year, averaging 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. Smith and Bojanovsky are the shot blocking threats. Ojo, a 7-1 senior, started 21 games in 2014-2015, but still averaged just 8.8 minutes per game.

Final Projection:
This will be an interesting season for Florida State. They have a nice mix of experience and talent and all of the pieces are here for this to be a team that can compete for an NCAA Tournament spot. It is a long way to go from 8-10 to an NCAA Tournament team in the tough ACC. Florida State must take better care of the ball and hit shots more effectively to take that next step up. This group has also not proven to be quite as effective defensively as in year’s past either. Last year Florida State allowed the opposition to shoot 42.0 percent from the floor, ranking seventh in the ACC. That is not your typical Seminoles numbers. When FSU is at their best, they are blocking or altering shots and allowing the opposition to shoot under 40 percent from the floor. That is what this Florida State team needs to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Sophomore, Guard, 14.9 points per game
Devon Bookert, Senior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Montay Brandon, Senior, Guard, 11.8 points per game
Phil Cofer, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Michael Ojo, Senior, Center, 2.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.6 (197th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (179, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (68, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.0 (115, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (324, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.3 (292, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.9 (251, 10)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (141, 11)
Assists Per Game: 11.5 (254, 14)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (318, 15)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#49 Xavier Rathan-Mayes

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#16 Dwayne Bacon
#37 Malik Beasley
#97 Terance Mann


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