#19 Florida State Men's Basketball Preview

Florida State Seminoles

Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
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2010-11: 23-11, 11-5
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Leonard Hamilton (153-115 at Florida State, 353-325 overall)

Florida State may lose their top two scorers from a Sweet Sixteen squad that fell to VCU in overtime, but this is a very experienced team that has a roster littered with upperclassmen. Coach Leonard Hamilton has high expectations and plenty of options to help overcome the departure of Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen. Forward Bernard James is the elder statesman of the Seminoles. The 26-year-old senior shot an amazing 65.7 percent from the floor and blocked 2.4 shots per game. He is not a great scorer, but he can hit the glass hard and put back the easy buckets. More importantly, James is a leader on the defensive end.
Who’s Out:
The loss of Singleton will put more pressure on James to be a scorer in the paint. Singleton led FSU with 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds last season before opting to head to the NBA a year early. Singleton was a nasty defender in the paint and a mismatch nightmare on offense. Kitchen was the only other player on the team beside Singleton to average double figures in the scoring column. The guard was also the only player to start all 34 games last season. It will take more than one player to replace Kitchen’s 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals.

Who’s In:
This is not a big class, but it is a very good one. The traditional newcomers are good, but the addition of Jeff Peterson is icing on the cake. The well-traveled point guard spent time at Iowa and Arkansas before graduating from Arkansas and transferring again to Florida State. He is eligible immediately since he graduated and that is good news for the Seminoles who need a new point guard. Getting a guy who has played in the Big Ten and the SEC is not a bad one year stopgap. But this class is more than just Peterson. Terry Whisnant will add more depth to the backcourt and could be the best shooter on the team. Antwan Space is the big named newcomer. The 6-8 forward is a superb athlete who can finish above the basket and step outside and knock down some long balls. His scoring versatility will be very interesting to watch this year on a team that is more known for their defense. Keil Turpin brings more experience to the frontcourt. Turpin led Lincoln College to two NJCAA Division II Championships and has enough experience to help off the bench for the next two years.

Who to Watch:
The battle for playing time on the perimeter will be brutal. Kitchen was not a true point guard and Peterson will look to score quite a bit as well. That may mean FSU will run the point guard by committee. Luke Loucks has proven to be a quality ball handler and dished out 2.2 assists per game despite averaging less than 15 minutes per contest last year. Michael Snaer is pretty much a combo guard, but turnovers have been a bigger problem with him. Snaer is the top returning scorer and the best returning shooter as well. He will likely stay off the ball for those reasons. Deividas Dulkys is another experienced guard who started 24 games last season. Dulkys is a decent scorer, but it is his defense that earns him playing time. Ian Miller may be the wildcard for FSU this season. The sophomore was a great scorer in high school, but struggled with his consistency as a freshman in the ACC. A year older and a year stronger, Miller could emerge as a prolific scoring option in 2011-2012.

Final Projection:
Okaro White is one of the young sophomores on this team, but he proved to be a very capable player during his freshman year. White, a 6-8, 204 pound forward, averaged 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds and could be in for a huge leap if he keeps improving. Xavier Gibson, Terrence Shannon and Jon Kreft will battle it out for the starting center spot. Those three saw quite a bit of playing time last year and will look to be a little more productive now that Singleton’s numbers need to be replaced. Gibson and Kreft are both seniors, while Shannon is a junior, so this group is experienced even if the star power is lacking. They will play good defense and grab rebounds and that is all FSU needs them to do in order to get back to the NCAA Tournament and make some noise once they arrive.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jeff Peterson, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Michael Snaer, Junior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Okaro White, Sophomore, Forward, 6.6 points per game
Bernard James, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Xavier Gibson, Senior, Center, 4.7 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#72 Xavier Gibson

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#69 Antwan Space
#70 Aaron Thomas
#101 Terry Whisnant

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