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The future: potential 2014 back court players

Time to start looking ahead. Today, it's the guards.


Now that all of the notable 2013 players have committed, we can start evaluating where FSU might be heading in terms of its 2014 basketball recruiting class. The staff has brought in back-to-back excellent classes, and hasn't really whiffed since 2011 (only Kiel Turpin remains). The 2012 class was big and full of intriguing projects, while the 2013 class only contains two players, but they're both very talented.

The 2014 class will be another big one. Currently, there are six spots available, but that assumes Ham and Co. don't add a transfer this year.

Regardless, here's the current scholarship chart:

2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
White, sr Bookert, jr Bookert, sr Rathan-Mayes, sr
Turpin, sr Brandon, jr Brandon, sr Smith, sr
Gilcrhist, sr Thomas, jr Thomas, sr
Miller, sr Bojanovsky, jr Bojanovsky, sr
Bookert, so Ojo, jr Ojo, sr
Brandon, so Rathan-Mayes, so Rathan-Mayes, jr
Thomas, so Smith, so Smith, jr
Bojanovsky, so
Ojo, so
Rathan-Mayes, fr
Smith, fr

In 2014-15, if all remains the same, FSU will be returning a point guard (Bookert), two combo guards (Brandon and Rathan-Mayes), a 2-guard (Thomas), a stretch-4 (Smith), and two bigs (Bojo and Ojo). This puts point guard, wing, and a power forward into the "must have" category, and leaves three spots to spread around.

Today we'll start with the back court prospects. Since this is early, expect this list to expand and contract.

Lance Tejada, 6-2 PG, Pompano Beach (Ely), 3*

By all indications FSU is pursuing Tejada as if he's their guy at PG. He plays fast, but doesn't have elite athleticism. What he brings to the court is good vision and a desire to run the team. He's smooth, and has a good understanding of how to create gaps in the defense for his teammates. A creative finisher around the rim, he needs to improve his jump shot to become a consensus 4* player. He's currently a top 150 player at 247sports and Rivals.

Alabama, UConn, and Murray State are also seriously in pursuit.

Tadric Jackson, 6-2 Combo, Tifton, GA (Tift County), 3*

A classic Leonard Hamilton recruit, he might also be the first commit for the 2014 class. With his athleticism he's a highlight waiting to happen. He's strong and has good body control, so he can finish around the rim, and he has the handle to get there. The question is his future as a pro. At his size he clearly needs to be able to run a team, but at this point he's a scorer. He could be the next Toney Douglas, or he just as easily could be the next Isaiah Swann.

Bama, Georgia and Georgia Tech are also in the mix.

Ahmed Hill, 6-5 SG, Augusta, GA (Aquinas), 4*

A big time consensus top 50 recruit who does everything well. He can shoot. He can pass. He shows a developed sense of shot selection rare for his age. He can score at all three levels and is an explosive athlete.

As expected, pretty much everyone is involved with Hill, though he's indicated that he wants to visit FSU as well as UF. Both schools are also high on Brandone Francis's list (more in a second), and Francis is expected to commit somewhere in the next several weeks.

Brandone Francis, 6-5 SG, Jacksonville (ACD), 4*

Like Hill, Francis is a big guard who plays a lot like a small forward. He also might be the biggest mover in high school basketball over the past month, when he's absolutely exploded. The caveat here is that I fully expect him to commit to the Gators. FSU certainly has a shot, but you have to wonder if Francis and Hill would commit to the same school. If Francis pops for Florida, does that help us with Hill?

Tyler Ulis, 5-9 PG, Chicago Heights (Marian Catholic), 4*

Hamilton brought Dennis Gates onto the staff with the expectation of opening up the Chicago market to FSU. Ulis was one of Gates first targets, and all appeared to be progressing smoothly until Michigan State offered. The chance of FSU beating out MSU for a Chicago player is slim at best, but at least the staff has put in the time to develop a solid relationship.

Ulis is a very smart point guard who can play at a breakneck pace. He also knows when to slow things down and get his team into a set.

Namon Wright, 6-5 SG, Los Angeles (Pacific Hills), 4*

It will be awfully tough to pull Wright out of the Pac 12, but FSU received a double-boost when Wright listed them in his top 8, and then he transferred to Findlay Prep in Nevada (and alma mater of Deividas Dulkys).

Right now Wright is a stick, so it's tough to project him at the college level. He's a solid shooter, but needs to do all of the things that stronger players can do. He has long arms, big hands, and looks like someone Ham could turn into an all-conference defender.

FSU was also pursuing PG Tra Holder from Los Angeles, but he recently committed to Arizona State.

B.J. Taylor, 6-2 PG, Orlando (Boone), 3*

It's hard to get information on whether or not FSU is seriously considering Taylor. At this point, I'd expect he's a back up plan if FSU whiffs on Tejada and Ulis. Another heady point guard who is in the Devon Bookert mold, though not as polished as a scorer.