2007 Florida State Seminoles Basketball Preview
After tying for eighth in the conference last season, the Florida State Seminoles (23- 13 overall, 7- 9 ACC) went to the NIT and won two before losing to Mississippi State 86- 71. Last season, coach Leonard Hamilton (87- 71 in five years at FS, 287- 281 in 19 years) guided the team to 22 wins—the most in his five-year tenure. It was the second time in the history of Seminole basketball that a coach put together straight 20-win seasons. That’s all fine and good, but what people are really wondering is when will Florida State finally get back to the NCAA tourney and March Madness picks? They haven’t been there since 1998.
Florida State’s .758 free throw mark led the ACC. The club was in the middle of the pack in most stats but placed 10th in rebounding margin at minus-0.1 and finished 12th in assists with 12.4 per contest. A major concern as far as point production and rebounding goes is the loss of All-ACC forward Al Thornton who scored 19.7 PPG and 7.2 RPG.
The frontcourt will have a new big look with the arrival of 7’ 1” freshman center Solomon Alabi and 6’ 10” freshman forward Julian Vaughn. Both are top 100 prospects and both can block, rebound and change college basketball odds. They will join 6’ 9” junior forward/center Uche Echefu (6.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 43.7 FG%). With the two new guys in front, Echefu should be able to concentrate his energies on power forward.
The backcourt has three fine talents—Tony Douglas (12.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 47.7 FG%), Jason Rich (10.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 52.5 FG%) and Isaiah Swann (10.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 46.2 FG%). Douglas is the team’s go to guy and a versatile player. Ralph Mims (4.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 41.6 FG%) has proven to be a quality backup.
In the past two seasons, this club has lost nine games by three points or less. Playing and performing in the clutch is essential for this team to get back to the NCAA tournament and tournament brackets. The Noles have certainly come close but injuries, miscues and mishaps have detoured them. Sound perimeter play will be essential to their success.