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FSU basketball position preview: Post Players

Ham and his new 7-footers.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OCT 22 Barry at Florida State - exhibition Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Monday we covered point guards. On Friday, it’ll be the wings. Today it’s the big fellas in the middle for the Florida State Seminoles.

With the graduation of Christ Koumadje (7th all time in blocked shots) and Mfiondu Kabengele (NBA 1st round pick despite never starting a game at FSU), the minutes available for back-to-the-basket players are wide open. The original plan was to have three 7-footers to mess around with, but 3* freshman Naheem McLeod did not qualify, leaving just 4* freshman Balsa Koprivica and grad transfer Dominik Olejniczak.

Koprivica has a much higher ceiling, but Olejniczak will be relied on early in the year while the coaches try and prepare the freshman for college basketball at the highest level.

Olejniczak (we’ll call him Dom) is well-traveled, having begun his career at Drake before spending two seasons playing for Ole Miss. As a junior Dom averaged 5.3 ppg, and was generally a low-volume but efficient player. As long as he remains low volume, there is no reason to expect anything different in the ACC. He’ll be asked to score when it’s there, to rebound, and defend. He’s a big, strong kid at 7-0, 260, and spent much of his summer playing for the Polish national team.

On offense he’ll likely be used for some quick hitters in the post, and then he’ll spend the bulk of most half court possessions setting screens. He doesn’t have the athleticism to benefit from lobs as much as Koumadje, but he’ll get his share. He wasn’t nearly as strong rebounding last year as Koumadje or Kabengele, but I also haven’t watched Ole Miss film to see how much of that is system related. He was a very solid rebounder in his one season at Drake, though the Missouri Valley doesn’t have the players that the SEC has.

Balsa Koprivica (7-1, 260) is another big body - and though he’s a solid athlete - he won’t be confused with the Kevin Durants of the world. He constantly flashes little moves that suggest his high ceiling, but he’s not at the point where he can string those together consistently. Barring some crazy development, he’s one of those players who will be far more valuable as a sophomore. So it might drive you crazy to see the team hitting him in the post only to have him not do much, but that’s part of developing young post players. He was held out of the first exhibition game, but it wasn’t a serious injury.

The end result should be post play that is solid, but nothing spectacular. This is a team built to play fast, and Dom and Balsa should be getting runs in short spurts. They need to be rim protectors, and the offense is a bonus.

When FSU goes small, Malik Osborne (6-9. 225) will step into Mfiondu’s role. Osborne transferred from Rice because he wanted to be a wing, while they had him in the post. However, when the Seminoles go small, someone has to be in the middle of the defense, and it will most likely be Osborne. On offense in the small lineup, FSU will either play five-out or post from any position they feel they have an advantage.