The carnage from college basketball’s first tournament weekend is over, and now just 16 teams are left. Eight of nine ACC teams have been bounced, including the Seminoles. So now is a good time to look back at what happened.
- FSU’s 26 wins was the 2nd highest win total in program history. Since joining the ACC when Jonathan Isaac was negative seven years old, this was the first Florida State team to finish a season with a single digit in the loss column.
- The team greatly exceeded expectations. The ACC media picked them 8th in the preseason. The national media didn’t have them ranked. And none of the TN staff members pegged them for more than 10 ACC wins.
- The 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament matched the highest seed in program history.
- The ‘Noles had a number of huge and memorable wins. Vs Florida, @ UVA, vs Duke, vs Notre Dame, vs Louisville.
- The team was balanced, finishing with the No. 31 offense and No. 32 defense in the nation.
- Despite having a very young team (305th in experience), and just four top 100 recruits on the roster (per the 247 Consensus rankings), FSU finished 2nd in the ACC competing against some of the most talented rosters in the nation.
- The departing seniors capped off their careers with what was easily their best seasons. Jarquez Smith and Michael Ojo showed noticeable improvements in many facets of their games. Best of luck to them in the future.
- The 35th game. Losing in the round of 32 isn’t a big deal, but being completely non-competitive for the entire 2nd half will leave a sour taste for fans.
- Florida State had some head-scratching losses. It’s not unusual to lose at Georgia Tech, or at Pitt, but there were nights (see above re: Xavier) when FSU looked awful. Most of the losses were competitive, but those three games really stand out. Next year’s team needs to find a better level of consistency.
- No nets. The FSU program won’t get many chances to bring home a net, and FSU failed to advance to the ACC title game or deep into the West Regionals.
- Florida State has two open scholarships, have signed four guys, received a verbal commitment from a fifth, and are still recruiting a sixth. So it’s clear that there will be some major roster turnover. Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes seem the most likely to leave and begin their professional careers. The writing on the wall suggests either a player transferring or a freshman not qualifying.
- We saw flashes of the evolving offensive system, as Coach Hamilton has moved from twin posts, to single posts, and now toward a modified positionless system. This is great for fans who like uptempo basketball, and as FSU brings in more 3-point shooters, it will allow Florida State to rely more on the best shots in basketball (layups or 3s).
- The newcomers impressed. CJ Walker, Braian Angola-Rodas, Trent Forrest, and PJ Savoy all showed flashes this year of being quality ACC players. Couple them with an established Terance Mann, a wildcard in Phil Cofer, and an emerging Christ Koumadje and there is an intriguing core in place. There is also uber-athletic redshirt freshman Mfiondu Kabengele. He sat out this year to work on his game, but reports from practice have been encouraging.
- There are five new players set to arrive this summer. Ikey Obiagu is the highest rated (No. 53). The 7-footer is the best shot blocker in high school, and if he can pick up the defense (especially how to anchor a zone) he could have an immediate impact. Offensively, he’s raw. RaiQuan Gray is a big-bodied, 6-8 forward who can step out and knock down 3s. With close to a 7-foot wingspan, he has the tools to be a plus defender and rebounder. Wyatt Wilkes is listed as a power forward, but that term, especially in this offensive system, is pretty meaningless. He’s one of the best shooters in Florida, and has great vision. How well that shot translates to college will likely determine how successful he’ll be. Anthony Polite is this year’s version of Terance Mann - not that their games are all that similar, but in that they’re the stat-stuffers. Polite can score from all three levels, and is tough. At 6-6, he’ll need to figure out how to guard much smaller players. Bryan Trimble is a 6-3 guard who the talking heads will refer to as a “glue guy.” He has all the tools to be the lockdown defender that FSU has been missing.
- FSU is still recruiting two 5*s in Kevin Knox and MJ Walker. But frankly, I’d be pretty surprised if the ‘Noles land either.
- This is FSU’s year for an overseas trip, which provides extra practice time and competition to teams once every four years.