Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles Replace Star Power with Depth

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles Replace Star Power with Depth

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Florida State's basketball team averaged 82.1 points, 37.8 rebounds and 14.6 assists per game last season.

Nearly 50 of those points, 21.2 of the rebounds and 8.6 of the assists are gone with players who exhausted their eligibility, graduated or turned pro.

But coach Leonard Hamilton had such a deep bench last season, with 11 players averaging 10 or more minutes per game, that the Seminoles aren't as raw as one might think. Still, it will be difficult to replace their three leading scorers, Dwayne Bacon, Jonathan Isaac and Xavier Rathan-Mayes; two of their top three in assists, Rathan-Mayes and Bacon; and four of their top five in rebounds, Isaac, Bacon, Rathan-Mayes, Michael Ojo and Jarquez Smith.

None of the experts are picking the Seminoles to come close to last season's 26-9 record, a second-place finish in the ACC, an NCAA Tournament berth and a memorable streak of 14 victories in 15 games, including wins over Florida, Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame and Louisville.

But this is a talented team, with slashers, rebounders, shot-blockers and, unlike last season, more firepower from beyond the 3-point arc, which proved to be the team's weakness - especially in a second-round NCAA Tournament loss when the third-seeded 'Noles were hammered by No. 11 Xavier.

The new-look Seminoles, in their 16th season under Hamilton, begin their season on Tuesday night by hosting George Washington (1-0).

The two preseason games followed similar substitution patterns and Hamilton's willingness to go to the far end of the bench. Six players scored in double figures in each game, 14 played in at least 12 minutes in one game, and 11 played that much in the other.

More importantly, FSU is showing more of a willingness to put the ball up from beyond the 3-point arc - and with more accuracy. The 'Noles hit 25 of 57 3-point shots, with junior Terance Mann, the only returning starter, making 2 of 2 attempts in both games and P.J. Savoy making 4 of 9 in another.

Eleven players made at least one 3-point shot during the preseason.

But Florida State continues to be a team that will thrive on transition baskets. …

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