Welcome to Keeping it Heels ACC Basketball team preview series. Leading up to Friday’s North Carolina-Garner Webb regular season tip off we will preview every team in the conference to get you ready for the season.
The Florida State Seminoles are picked by most to finish fourth behind NC State, Duke and UNC in the ACC. FSU has one of the best players in the country in Michael Snaer but lost starters Deividas Dulkys, Luke Loucks, Xavier Gibson and Bernard James from last years team and will face an uphill battle this season.
Last season FSU finished 25-10 overall, 12-4 in ACC and won the ACC championship. Respect for Seminoles basketball was restored last season after two wins against UNC including in the ACC championship game.
The Roster: After losing four starters head coach Leonard Hamilton will turn to junior Ian Miller at the point, sophomore Terry Whisnant at the other guard next to Snaer in his three guard offense. The starting five is rounded out with junior college transfer Kiel Turpin at center and Okaro White at forward. Key players off the bench include forward Terrance Shannon who played a nice role off the bench last season before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely. Freshman guard Aaron Thomas will play the most out of the five true freshman and is the likely candidate to replace Snaer in the lineup next season.
Inside the Numbers: Outside of Snaer this team lacks scorers and will once again rely on it’s defense to get the job done. FSU held opponents to just 38.1% shooting from the field, good for fifth in the nation last season. The bright side of losing four starters is that FSU is losing a mere 31.7 ppg and with Miller now in the starting lineup his 10.3 ppg avg could improve from last season.
Offensively this team has to become a better passing team and rely less on Snaer to create everything himself. The Seminoles averaged just 12.2 assists per game, 223rd in the nation. Relying on Snaer to create so much of his own offense was a big reason why the star shot just 43.6% from the field.
Prediction: Like UNC, FSU lost a big part of their team graduating six seniors from last years team. Expect a slow start as they adjust to new roles and five true freshman on the roster. I believe this team will be better than many expect and head coach Leonard Hamilton thinks they can defend their ACC title. I don’t see that happening but I do think they could end up sneaking into the top three of the conference over a certain overrated team (that I will reveal later in the week during that teams preview)