Behind shot-blocking big man Solomon Alabi and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Singleton, the Seminoles hung their hat on their defense. They led the nation in field goal percentage defense while only allowing about 60 points per game. That style of play will once again be implored for Leonard Hamilton's team but they should also have more firepower on the offensive end as well.
The 6-9 Singleton leads a big frontcourt that must replace Alabi and Ryan Reid, who were both selected in the second round of the NBA Draft. Seven-foot JUCO transfer Jon Kreft could step in for Alabi right away while backup Xavier Gibson is being considered the x-factor for this Florida State team.
At 6-11, Gibson is loaded with all the tools to be an impact big man. He is athletic and a talented shot blocker, and can also shoot the rock from the outside. If he can seize his opportunity, Florida State will be as good as advertised and Gibson becomes a true NBA prospect. JUCO transfer Bernard James, freshman Okaro White, and Terrence Shannon provide the depth inside.
It will be interesting to see which route Hamilton takes this season with the starting five... Going big by playing Singleton at the three or putting a three-guard lineup on the floor with Singleton starting at the four.
The backcourt is deep and talented to enough to put three players in the starting lineup. Derwin Kitchen should be joined by Michael Snaer and/or Deivadis Dulkys depending on which look the Seminoles start. Snaer is a talented all-around scorer while Dulkys is Florida State's top three-point shooter. Luke Loucks will once again play a significant role off the bench while people are excited about Ian Miller's potential as well.
Florida State will once again have the size and defensive attitude to be near the top of the ACC standings. If they can find the consistent scoring from Singleton, Gibson and whoever steps up in the backcourt, they could push Virginia Tech and North Carolina to see who finishes behind Duke in the conference.
Player to Watch: Bernard James, F/C
Here is an interesting story. James joins Florida State after transferring from Tallahassee Community College. That is not the interesting part. What is intriguing about James is that he will turn 26 years old in February.
He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 17 and served a 6-year term having spent time deployed in the Middle East. James was cut from his high school basketball team and did not begin playing organized ball until he joined the Armed Forces. He brings a physicality down low that should fit in perfectly for the Seminoles.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/28 vs. Florida
11/30 vs. Ohio State (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
12/22 vs. Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Butler/Utah (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. Baylor/San Diego/Mississippi State/Washington State (Diamond Head Classic)
Walter your inability to bet the Patriots all year with Brady on the team is inexplicable. Yes, since Brady came back from suspension, you bet the Patriots 0 times, even though they covered as decent and often huge favorites. Why? Why are you more afraid than Goodell is to show up at Foxborough to bet on a great team to beat inferior oponents by a large margin? You lost out on a lot of money. As for the Patriots defense who will be "overwhelmed" by Pittsburgh hahaha, the Patriots defense has stepped up when it needed to. Logan Ryan who is not even the best DB let alone CB on the team just had a dominant game covering one of the best wide receivers in the league. And you're going to say that Brady can't go stride for stride against Big Ben who, with his 0 TD performance last Sunday, once again proved that he has turned into an awful road playoff QB? You know what 0 TDs will win you in the AFC Championship game? I don't believe that betting on Pitt getting 6 points is a bad decision - seeing as I may do the same. But to predict the Patriots to straight up lose is laughable. The advantage they have on defense and coaching is pretty big and they may even be even offensively solely because Brady has been using Edelman more and more and Dion Lewis's return has shown to be very important.