Florida State basketball is (kind of) upon us.
The FSU basketball team, which opened fall practice Sunday, will host its annual Jam With Ham event tonight to kick off its 2017-2018 season.
The event, which will be held inside Tully Gym, will have an ‘80s theme this year after grooving to the ‘70s last year. It is open to the public, free of charge, with retro Florida State shirts for the first 500 fans to arrive. Doors open at 6:00pm and the event tips off around 6:30.
The main event of Jam With Ham is the intra-squad scrimmage, but the night also includes a three-point and dunk contests between various members of this year’s team, autograph opportunities, and more.
New to this year’s edition of Jam With Ham, an FSU student who submitted a dunk video to Twitter will get the chance to throw-down alongside the players in the dunk contest.
Despite losing Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes off last year’s 26-win, NCAA Tournament team to the NBA, FSU returns a good nucleus of talent and experience to this year’s team.
Highlighting the list is junior forward Terance Mann, FSU’s returning leader in points (8.4) and rebounds (4.5). Mann’s efforts will be supported by an impressive quartet of second-year guards Trent Forrest, C.J. Walker, Braian Angola-Rodas and P.J. Savoy, each of whom bring unique skill-sets to the team. The post-positions also bring back experienced contributors with senior Phil Cofer and junior shot-blocker Christ Koumadje.
Jam With Ham also provides those in attendance with the first look at FSU’s new players. Leading that charge this season is M.J. Walker, a four-star shooting guard out of Lithia Springs, GA. Walker was a McDonald’s All American and committed to FSU late in the process to boost the Seminoles’ 2017 recruiting class into the top fifteen nationally.
The other first-year players to watch include 7’0 Ike Obiagu, the No. 6 center in the 2017 recruiting class, and a trio of multi-faceted three-star recruits in guard Anthony Polite and forwards Raiquan Gray and Wyatt Wilkes. All three demonstrate Coach Hamilton’s on-going effort to create a Florida State team that can succeed in the “position-less style” that basketball is moving toward.
Tomahawk Nation will be in attendance at Friday’s event, providing updates from Tully Gym. While scrimmages and dunk contests aren’t always the best predictor of what to expect in the season, there will be a few things we are looking out for, including:
- Has PJ worked himself into better shape this off-season?
- Do Mann and Forrest appear to have improved mechanics on their perimeter shot?
- Is the team communicating and being vocal on the court? Last year, XRM was noticeable more vocal than he had previously been, particularly on defense and calling out sets. This carried over to the season where we saw X blossom into a completely new player and leader.
- What kind of body composition and skills has redshirt freshman Mfiondu Kabengele developed? He could be a real wildcard for this year’s team.
- How mobile and refined is Obiagu?
- Has Cofer been able to regain some of the explosiveness he displayed before a series of injuries?
What are you hoping to see? What players are you most excited about? What were your favorite songs or movies from the 1980s? How about your favorite FSU players during the ‘80s?