Unfortunately, we were upset. How often do Seminole Basketball fans get to say that?
Take a look inside for a quick reaction to the game and my thoughts on Solomon Alabi.
They speak for themselves. In what we all hoped would be another positive line on FSU's tournament resume, we fell to the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill. Clearly, we are all disappointed; as our expectations for the this team are no longer having a good game against tough opponents, we will have our let downs. However, BC may not be as big a let down as well all think. If it wasn't for the loss to Harvard, I think a lot more people would be talking about BC. They are ranked 49th in the RPI, they have the 39th most difficult SOS and currently sit 59th overall in the Pomeroy ratings. Their defense is killing them, however, Their offense currently stands at 24th overall. Wins are crucial at this time of year and now our young team will be putting more pressure on themselves to win, which could be dangerous or will it be?
Hamilton nailed it when he said: "That was just a lack of focus. This is a team that didn't press us. I look at the kind of turnovers we made and a lot were self-inflicted... Overall, I didn't see us execute on the defensive end nearly as well as we had the last couple of games. Offensively, we obviously turned the ball over."
I don't know if our team was looking past BC to the upcoming Clemson game, but this would have sealed our tournament ticket. Now, we face Clemson, Duke and VTech to earn a spot.
I won't belabor the point, but turnovers killed us last night. It was our third worst TO% on the year, our worse since the Wake game (23%) and our worst in a loss since, dare I say it, the Northwestern game.
That blip in the middle of the year is the Virginia game.In general, in ACC play, which started on January 10th, we loose when our TO% and total TO are greater than our season average. Duh, TC that's obvious. What I am trying to point out though is that there is a slim margin of error. With the way our team plays deliberate basketball, possession offense and defense, turnovers will kill us, especially against a team that typically does not generate them who has such a potent offense, like BC.
Here are our stats from the game:
Enough about that game...it's over. We were below average in many statistical categories. Having an off night may not be such a bad thing as it will hopefully refocus the team without a pressured focus/distraction to win.
Now for a few words about Solomon Alabi, who is quickly becoming one of TNation's most popular players. Would I be correct in saying that TD, Uche and Solomon would be our top three?
Image from Nolesports.com
Seminoles fans...met your team's future. Solomon is the real deal.
Solomon is a 7'1 241 Red Shirt Freshman who has essentially closed down the paint to our opponents. Last year, he played 10 games before undergoing surgery to correct a tibial stress fracture in his right leg. Here are some ridiculous stats. His standing reach is 9'1" and his wingspan is 7'3", no wonder he is number one in the conference in blocks, block percentage and number 2 in blocks per game.
Solomon was born in Nigeria, where he grew up playing soccer until the age of 15 when he picked up basketball. He attended high school at Montverde Academy in Orlando, Florida and was teammates with Wake Forest's sophomore Gary Clark. In high school, he averaged 17.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and 6 shot blocks per game. and earned All-State First Team honors and won multiple accolades and tournaments. He didn't play "organized" basketball until his junior year of high school, which was his first year in the US. Does that tell you about the talent Solomon possesses? This is really only his third full year of organized basketball.
After having his team named the HoopsUSA.com national champions, Solomon was considered one of the best centers coming out of high school. He was ranked the #24 player over all by Rivals.com and the #5 center by scout.com. Rivals had him as the number 2 playe in Florida and the number 4 center. They listed his strengths as defensive weakness, size and upside. Their concerns were his ability to finish and his presence as a low block scorer. He was heavily recuitred by Stan Jones at FSU and the folks at Virginia and Arizona. He committed to FSU in September of his senior year. Probably our lack of inside presence and Hamilton's defensive commitment attracted Solomon to FSU.
During his injury time, Solomon worked on his shooting skills and his free throw shooting. He is shooting 70% from the line...and he's 7'1. He shoots a ridiculous 52% from the floor, yes most of his shots are layups/dunks, but he does have a beautiful midrange shot. His FG% is #12 in the ACC. He is also one of the better rebounders in the conference, ranking 10th and 13th respectively in OReb% and DReb%. I have already commented on his shot blocking ability. He currently ranks 15th in the Nation in Block%.
He is already getting noticed by the NBA. A couple of draft sites have commented on his timing off the ball and his size and his work ethic. Their concerns are that his offensive game is limited and that he gets tossed around in the paint due to his weight. But they all comment on his athletic ability and his defensive. One site goes as far to say that "Alabi is pretty much all about physical gifts, and not so much about basketball IQ...he's a player with nice potential to keep under the radar."
Solomon will become one of the elite players in the ACC and will play at the NBA level. However, Solomon needs to put some weight on and increase his strength. Think about what he has already accomplished in a very short basketball career. Developing post moves as a center takes a lot of time. It isn't something you simply pick up one day. Making low post moves is about leverage, timing and subtle adjustments based on how a defender is playing you. It's also exhausting.
What are your thoughts on Solomon?