The 2012 season was a successful one for FSU because the team won the ACC tournament but ultimately it was a failure since we didn’t reach our goal of winning the NCAA championship. The team graduates 6 seniors with 4 of them being starters (Luke Loucks, Deividas Dulkys, Xavier Gibson and Bernard James). Gibson and James should make the NBA and Dulkys could play professionally with Loucks having an outside shot. Michael Snaer will be the team’s only senior and is expected to stay for another year although he is projected as a second round draft pick. Snaer will be joined by Ian Miller, Okaro White, and Terrance Shannon as guys who will be all but guaranteed starting jobs. Michael has drawn comparisons to DeShawn Stevenson and I think those are valid but he should be an All-ACC first teamer this year and possibly the conference’s defensive player of the year. Ian Miller is projected by some as a lottery pick in the 2013 draft and has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon. Okaro White could become a pro if he develops like Al Thornton did which I could see happening especially because he will be heavily counted upon this year and even more so next. Terrance Shannon reminds me of former FSU big man and current Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ryan Reid.
In my opinion the final starting spot will be a battle between Terry Whisnant and Antwan Space. I personally would go with Space because Whisnant would give us a scoring threat off the bench from the combo guard position much like Ian Miller did this past season. Antwan is a forward who is extremely athletic and reminds me of a poor man’s Chris Singleton. Terry resembles a lot of the combo guards I have seen at FSU the past several seasons with Toney Douglas being the best although he is probably more comparable to Isaiah Swan. No matter who grabs the 5th spot both of them will play a lot because Leonard Hamilton likes to play with 3 guards and at times he will go big with an extra forward.
Now that we have discussed the starting 5 and the 6th man we will get to FSU’s biggest issue this year which will be the team’s depth. We have redshirt big man Kiel Turpin who should get a lot of minutes after transferring and having a year to get ready. I think Coach Hamilton will start the year off with a 7 man rotation and then eventually expand it to 8 and possibly even 10 like he did this year depending on how the incoming recruits play. Montay Brandon and Aaron Thomas are the obvious choices to get a shot at early playing time but I wouldn’t sleep on Robert Gilchrist because you can’t teach size. Devon Bookert probably won’t play much as a true freshman but I could see him becoming a starter later on in his career much like former FSU point guard Ralph Mims did.
There are still two scholarships available for the current recruiting class, but regardless of whom FSU signs I believe we are expected to and should make the tournament every year now. Sheldon Jeter has been offered a scholarship but the other spot still seems up for grabs. With the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh the ACC will become the best conference in all of college basketball in my opinion. This year should be a difficult one because we are losing 6 seniors but if Snaer returns, Miller stays eligible and Shannon comes back healthy I could see us going 25-10 on the season including a deep ACC tournament run and a Sweet 16 appearance. Go Noles!