Some 6-8 kid who happened to be the son of members of the FSU sporting family committed to Kansas earlier this week. While that wasn't really news (I mean, who even noticed?), the reaction around the FSU basketball program has been encouraging.
My interest in this dates back to January, 2012 when the assistant editor of a student newspaper ran an article calling for the firing of Leonard Hamilton. To that date, I'd kept pretty much in the background and ignored all of the chatter. But the news article triggered a whole new salvo from the TN 'fire Ham' crowd that I felt the need to respond.
Since then, TN has been mostly civilized about the basketball program. Sure, last year was frustrating, but the regulars understood the injuries, they saw the talent in the freshmen, so we all just got drunk and moved on.
Recent events, however, have caused the 'fire Ham' (especially at rival sites) to come out with both barrels blazing.
Luckily, I don't have to respond - because the attention surrounding that kid who went to Kansas brought out some people close to the program, and they weren't shy about their feelings.
First, Dave Cowens - the greatest player to ever put on a Seminole uniform - went live on the Sporting News. After the obligatory statements regarding the kid who went to Kansas, Cowens opened up:
"Everybody keeps wanting them to get over the hump and I’m not sure that’s the right way to look at them," he said. "They’re so far behind the eight-ball when it comes to budgeting for basketball that for them to do what they do and compete like they compete just for a staff and for recruiting and all the things you can offer the players in terms of how you paint the picture of your university, compared to Duke and North Carolina and some of the others, Florida State overachieves every year. And they graduate their kids.
"If you just look at wins and losses, they’re pretty steady. Have they won a national championship? No. But have they been really competitive with some of the other teams in the league that can jump on a jet and go get somebody, you know what I’m saying? Leonard always has to go into someone else’s neighborhood and get a player. That makes it tough and even more impressive with the job that he’s done and then the fact that the kids graduate. They do OK. They don’t have a lot of issues. They don’t have problems down there. All the alums from Florida State love the job that Leonard has been doing."
After Cowens had his say, another former player jumped in. Adrian Crawford, who now trains several current and past players, sent out his message on Twitter.
Proud of Coach Ham and staff. Trying to get high level basketball kids here is tough. Lack of resources and support from administration.— adriancrawford (@adriancrawford) May 14, 2013
Former walk-on Joey Moreau got the hint that it was okay to be honest, now that he was graduated from the program. And Adrian's response was great.
@joey_mo33 yes u can. It's sad. The staff works so hard and just don't have support. Terrible facilities and no vision from admin.— adriancrawford (@adriancrawford) May 14, 2013
Even subscription sites, who have long tiptoed around the issue, jumped in.
If anything, that $ discrepancy between Coach K and FSU's whole hoops organization should highlight what Ham is doing here.— D.C. Reeves (@Warchant_DC) May 15, 2013
It's why the only thing more short sighted than saying Ham should go is saying just replace with flashy coach (who would NEVER come here).— D.C. Reeves (@Warchant_DC) May 15, 2013
Hamilton gets a JV budget, horrible arena that he can't even bring recruits in to show, minimal fan support. Wins games.— D.C. Reeves (@Warchant_DC) May 15, 2013
Hopefully this will usher in an era where more people speak freely about the realities of the program. Regardless, know that you'll always get the straight dope from TN. That's how this site was started.
Terry Whisnant transfers to ECU
One of the worst kept secrets by season's end was that Terry Whisnant would be leaving the program. Today he popped for ECU.
While losing quality players is always hard to swallow, this is actually a good thing. Whisnant was a consensus 4* recruit, who - when his head was screwed on straight - was the best 3-point shooter on the team. But the junior-to-be got passed by the more talented, younger (academically) Aaron Thomas. Couple that with consensus top 50 recruit Xavier Rathan-Mayes, and the minutes were just no longer there for Whisnant.
This is what happens in good programs.
FSU now has two available scholarships for next season. Don't be surprised if one goes to a current walk-on.