#54 Florida State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Florida State Seminoles

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #9 ACC

Florida State Team Page#54 Florida State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Florida State Basketball Tickets

Florida State found themselves on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. They earned one of the top seeds in the NIT and road that home court advantage all the way to Madison Square Garden, where they lost in the semifinals to eventual NIT champs Minnesota. The Seminoles hope for better things this year with the return of leading scorer Aaron Thomas. The 6-5 junior found his shooting stroke last year and knocked down 37.1 percent of his three-point attempts. That is compared to 22.0 percent during his freshman campaign. Thomas is capable of taking another big step up and becoming one of the better guards in the ACC.

2013-14 Record: 22-14, 9-9
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Coach Record: 219-157 at Florida State, 419-367 overall

Who’s Out:
However, FSU is without the other two double digit scorers on the team. Ian Miller knocked down 39.9 percent of his attempts from long range and gave the Seminoles a more experienced option to take the big shots. Miller also dished out 2.8 assists per contest. Big man Okaro White was just behind Miller in the scoring department at 13.6 points per game. He added 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as well. Having an interior scorer like White is something this team may be lacking this year and that will make it tougher for players like Thomas to get space on the perimeter. Robert Gilchrist is the only other departure. The 6-9 forward averaged just over 13 minutes per game and totaled 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest.

Who’s In:
The addition of Xavier Rathan-Mayes should help ease the loss of Miller. The redshirt freshman is one of the most complete shooting guards heading into college basketball this season. He can get up and down the floor in a hurry and knock down jumpers from anywhere on the floor. As long as his shots are falling, Rathan-Mayes has the potential to be a consistent double figure scorer from day one. The backcourt also adds Robbie Berwick and Dayshawn Watkins. Berwick, an incoming freshman, is a big 6-4 combo guard who has the basketball smarts to run the point as a freshman. But he is big enough to spend time off of the ball as well. Watkins is a true point guard and has one year of experience at Holmes Community College. Phil Cofer is the lone newcomer up front. He should at least be able to hit the glass and get some put back buckets as a freshman.

Who to Watch:
Five other players beside Thomas who were part of the regular rotation are also back and Coach Leonard Hamilton will build around that core. Junior point guard Devon Bookert started the last 11 games of the 2012-2013 campaign and 27 games last season. He is an experienced floor leader who dished out 2.8 assists per game and is more than capable of scoring too. Bookert knocked down an impressive 43.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and is very difficult to defend. Montay Brandon is a big, versatile 6-8 guard. He can run the point, but was much more effective off of the ball last season when he averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds. That versatility gives Coach Hamilton lots of options. The frontcourt will be led by Boris Bojanovsky. The 7-3 center had a great sophomore season and boosted his production to 5.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Bojanovsky may not be a prolific interior scorer, but his presence on the defensive end is immense. Michael Ojo adds another massive body in the paint. He is 7-1 and tilts the scales at 292 pounds. Kiel Turpin is another seven-footer. He missed last season with an injury, but has been productive during his time with FSU. Jarquez Smith may look small compared to Bojanovsky, Ojo and Turpin, but is a quality power forward who can shoot.

Final Projection:
Florida State has the tools to make the NCAA Tournament this year, but there are some questions about this team on the glass. White is a huge loss in that department and the team ranked 12th in the ACC in rebounding margin with White. Another issue is turnovers. This is a Florida State squad that wants to slow down, work through the big men and play great defense. The defense may be great, but this team cannot afford to commit 14.2 turnovers per game again.  That number ranked 312th in the nation. If the turnover number does not improve drastically, this group is headed back to the NIT.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Devon Bookert, Junior, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Aaron Thomas, Junior, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Montay Brandon, Junior, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Michael Ojo, Junior, Center, 2.5 points per game
Boris Bojanovsky, Junior, Center, 5.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.9 (178th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.4 (75, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.6 (53, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.9 (24, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (266, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.0 (42, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.2 (90, 4)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (153, 12)
Assists Per Game: 10.7 (307, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.2 (312, 15)


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