clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Best men’s basketball player in Florida State history: Round of 32, Hamilton and Durham Regions

New, 60 comments

The bracket is built, let the games begin.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Ron King. Dave Cowens. Sam Cassell. Bobby Sura. These are some of the names that come to mind when you think about all-time great basketball players at Florida State. But who’s the best? Who can stake their claim as the Greatest of All Time? That is exactly what we intend to find out.

A couple weeks ago we gave you a peek behind the curtain of how the 32-player bracket for the best men’s basketball player in Florida State history was constructed. This included the entire Tomahawk Nation community taking part in selecting the final 8 players to be included in the bracket from the garnet and gold at-large pools.

Today we tip off voting with the Leonard Hamilton Regional and the Hugh Durham Regional.

Over the next few weeks we will collectively whittle the field down to a Final Four and then a championship battle. And while it isn’t March Madness, we saw in the football bracket that upsets can and will happen, as evidenced by Charlie Ward beating out Neon Deion Sanders for the title. Speaking of Ward, he finds himself in this bracket as well—though his road to another title appears to be a good bit tougher.

Before we get to the bracket and voting, let’s go over a couple of housekeeping rules.

A) The voting should be based on the Florida State career only. Cowens was voted as one of the top 50 NBA players of all time, but for the purposes of this bracket, that incredible honor should not factor in.

2) The voting consideration can include more than just raw stats. Basketball has more variation than football, such as the advent of the three-point shot, large differences in pace of play, inconsistent tracking on stats like blocks and steals, and just the general increase in size and length over the years.

So while career points are certainly worth factoring in, we encourage you to give at least a dollop of consideration to their raw talent and impact in achieving Metro, ACC, and NCAA Tournament accomplishments too.

d) We love stories! It’s impossible to do every player justice in the body of the article. Please regale us with memories of these hardwood legends in the comment section.

And now for the bracket reveal...

Leonard Hamilton Region

The number one seed in the Ham region, as well as the number one overall seed, is the aforementioned Cowens. And with good reason. Remember how you can’t factor in his top 50 NBA player honor? Well his 2006 induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame is obviously fair game.

But he’s not the only heavy hitter in the region. Mickey Dillard was an AP All American who is still 4th all time in points, while Jim Oler is second all-time in points and had the best scoring average for any season in FSU history. Chris Singleton was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and recorded one of just three Seminole triple-doubles, Terance Mann played in more games than any ‘Nole ever, and Jonathan Isaac has an argument for the most talented guy to lace ‘em up for the garnet and gold. Yes, the Ham region is loaded.

No. 1 Dave Cowens vs No. 8 Corey Louis

Louis earned his spot in the bracket by garnering the 4th most votes in the Gold At-Large Pool...and he is now rewarded with a big man battle against Cowens. With the second most blocks in school history and 19 double-doubles, Louis was a fine player for Florida State. Dave Cowens played 78 games for FSU and averaged 19.0 points and 17.2 rebounds over those 78 contests.

Poll

No. 1 Dave Cowens vs No. 8 Corey Louis

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    No. 1 Dave Cowens
    (486 votes)
  • 1%
    No. 8 Corey Louis
    (5 votes)
491 votes total Vote Now
Chris Singleton repping the name on the front, not the back.
nolefan.org

No. 5 Terance Mann vs No. 4 Chris Singleton

A tough draw for both these guys. Singleton used his incredible length and ridiculous lateral quickness to be a defensive terror from the first day he stepped on campus. The 2010 ACC DPOY was already mentioned, but how’s this for defensive excellence: Singleton is 8th in career blocks and 9th in career steals. It’s no coincidence FSU made the Big Dance in all three years Singleton was in Tallahassee, after not making it for more than a decade prior to his arrival.

Speaking of program changing players, Mann played a massive role in Florida State’s ascension to its current “New Blood” status. A true Swiss Army knife, Mann could fill up a box score and ranks 20th in career points and 15th in career rebounds. He also showed up when the lights were brightest, earning spots on the 2018 NCAA Tournament West Regional All-Region team and the 2019 All-ACC Tourney team.

Poll

No. 5 Terance Mann vs No. 4 Chris Singleton

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    No. 5 Terance Mann
    (315 votes)
  • 36%
    No. 4 Chris Singleton
    (184 votes)
499 votes total Vote Now

No. 6 Rodney Dobard vs No. 3 Jim Oler

A member of the fantastic early 90s Seminole squads, Dobard was a high-flyer in every sense of the word. His dunks showed up on the highlight reels weekly and he is still the school’s career block leader with 239. He also holds the record for the most blocks in a season with 111 in 1992-93, helping FSU reach the Elite 8 that year. At just 5’11, Oler was pretty much the opposite of Dobard. But the man was a pure scorer. Oler’s 29.7 points per game in 1956 are still far and away the highest single season scoring average in school history. And his 1,817 career points were the most in school history for nearly 40 years.

Poll

No. 6 Rodney Dobard vs No. 3 Jim Oler

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    No. 6 Rodney Dobard
    (183 votes)
  • 59%
    No. 3 Jim Oler
    (270 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now

FSU hoops legend, Mickey Dillard
nolefan.org

No. 7 Jonathan Isaac vs No. 2 Mickey Dillard

Isaac only played one year in Tallahassee, but his prodigious talent was on display early and often in his brief stay. The first sure-fire one and done recruit landed by Coach Hamilton, JI set the school record for rebounds by a freshman and the per-game rebounding average for a freshman. Offensively he was a model of efficiency, capable of scoring at all three levels but never dominating the ball. His Round of 32 opponent, however, is one of the best two-way players in Florida State history. Dillard’s 1,734 points rank 4th all-time while his 165 steals are good for 10th in school history. It’s no wonder he was a 3-time All-Metro Conference selection (two 2nd teams and a 1st team) and an AP All-American Honorable Mention in 1981. His 635 points in the 1980 season are the 7th best single-season scoring total ever in Tallahassee.

Poll

No. 7 Jonathan Isaac vs No. 2 Mickey Dillard

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    No. 7 Jonathan Isaac
    (145 votes)
  • 69%
    No. 2 Mickey Dillard
    (337 votes)
482 votes total Vote Now

Hugh Durham Regional

The Durham regional features FSU’s career scoring leader, the player with the 4th most steals, the 4th most made field goals in a season, and a 3-time All-ACC player...and that’s all just in the 1/8 seed matchup. Bobby Sura, the number 2 player on the overall S-curve, is certainly the favorite, but Doug Edwards, George McCloud, and Dwayne Bacon demonstrate that there is plenty of raw talent in this region. And don’t overlook Trent Forrest as a dark horse sitting in the 4th seed. The natural born leader is not only a winner but he also ranks in the top five in multiple career categories.

No. 1 Bob Sura vs No. 8 Tony Dawson

Dawson earned his place in the bracket by way of the Garnet At-Large Pool, and rightfully so. The Gulf Coast Junior College transfer is the second fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 points. He did this by scoring 627 points his senior year, the 6th most points ever scored in a season by a Seminole. His efforts helped FSU play in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments (after not making the Dance for nearly 10 years) and earned him 1989 All-Metro Conference 2nd Team honors. Unfortunately for Dawson, he’s up against a monster. Sura, the 1992 ACC Freshman of the Year, scored more points than any other player at FSU, with 2,130. He’s the only 2,000 point scorer in school history and his jersey hangs in the Tuck rafters.

Poll

No. 1 Bob Sura vs No. 8 Tony Dawson

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    No. 1 Bob Sura
    (477 votes)
  • 1%
    No. 8 Tony Dawson
    (7 votes)
484 votes total Vote Now

George McCloud was the original “big guard” at FSU.
Seminoles.com

No. 5 George McCloud vs No. 4 Trent Forrest

Whew. Another brutal 5/4 matchup. Used sparingly his first two years, the 6’6 McCloud was moved to point guard by new head coach Pat Kennedy prior to the 1988 season (a move made possible, in part, thanks to Tony Dawson’s arrival down low) and the results were better than anyone could have expected. A perimeter gunslinger, McCloud poured in more than 1,200 points over his junior and senior years and still holds the record for the most made 3s in a game and season. His 1,574 career points rank 7th in school history and he earned All-Metro Conference 1st team honors in 1988 and 1989—winning Metro Conference Player of the Year in 1989.

But Forrest more than holds his own. A true two-way stalwart, Forrest left FSU in 2020 ranked 3rd all-time in steals and 5th all-time in assists. He’s also 25th in career rebounds, despite playing with a bevy of 7-footers his entire career. Forrest led the Seminoles to an NCAA Tournament berth in all four years he was on campus and also led FSU to school records for wins in a season and its first ever ACC Regular Season title. To top it off, he was named to the 2019 NCAA Tournament West Regional All-Region team, the ACC defensive team, and 2nd team All-ACC. Good luck with this decision.

Poll

No. 5 George McCloud vs No. 4 Trent Forrest

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    No. 5 George McCloud
    (166 votes)
  • 66%
    No. 4 Trent Forrest
    (328 votes)
494 votes total Vote Now

No. 6 Dwayne Bacon vs No. 3 Reggie Royals

Talk about players with different styles and skills. Bacon was natural scorer capable of carrying the team on his back for long stretches (see the road game against UVA in 2017). He owns nearly every FSU freshman scoring related record and his sophomore year was the 11th best single season scoring mark in school history. Despite playing just two seasons, his 1,149 points rank 32nd all-time and he was a capable rebounder too, averaging 5.0 per game for his career. Bacon was a freshman All-American in 2016 and a 2nd team All-ACC selection in 2017. Ironically, his 16.7 career ppg average (t15th at FSU) is identical to that of his Round of 32 opponent.

Royals, on the other hand, was a 6’10 load underneath. Playing on some of the most successful teams in FSU history, including the 1972 Final Four team, Royals is one of just two Seminoles in the 1,000 point/1,000 rebound club (the other being Cowens). Royals’ 1,402 career points tie him with Okaro White for 16th all-time, while his 1,006 rebounds are second only to Cowens. Royals averaged a double-double of 16.7 points and 12.0 rebounds over his three-year career, and his 51 career double-doubles are also second in school history. His 12 point, 16 rebound, 10 assist game in 1972 made him the first player at FSU to record a triple-double.

Poll

No. 6 Dwayne Bacon vs No. 3 Reggie Royals

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    No. 6 Dwayne Bacon
    (165 votes)
  • 65%
    No. 3 Reggie Royals
    (313 votes)
478 votes total Vote Now
Okaro White was the definition of “length.”
Seminoles.com

No. 7 Okaro White vs No. 2 Doug Edwards

As mentioned above, White is tied with Reggie Royals for 16th all time with 1,402 points. But did you know the long and bouncy athlete is also 15th in career rebounds, 13th in career blocks, and 5th in made free throws. The do-it-all forward was also reliable, playing in a school record 139 consecutive games. He deservedly earned his way into this matchup by receiving the second most votes in the Gold At-Large pool. Like White, Edwards was a forward who contributed all over the court...he just did most things a bit better than White. One of the marquee stars of FSU’s early 90s teams, Edwards ranks 6th all-time in points, 5th all-time in rebounds, 10th all-time in blocks and his 36 double-doubles are the 4th most by an FSU player. It’s not hard to see why he was a two-time All-ACC 2nd Team player.

Poll

No. 7 Okaro White vs No. 2 Doug Edwards

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    No. 7 Okaro White
    (62 votes)
  • 86%
    No. 2 Doug Edwards
    (406 votes)
468 votes total Vote Now