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Florida State Seminoles 2011-12 men's basketball preview

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton again has the tools to have one of the best defensive teams in the country.

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FSU coach Leonard Hamilton again has the tools to have one of the best defensive teams in the country.

ROSTER

No. Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

1 Xavier Gibson 6-11 F/C Sr.

3 Luke Loucks 6-5 G/PG Sr.

4 Deividas Dulkys 6-5 G Sr.

5 Bernard James 6-10 F Sr.

10 Okaro White 6-7 F So.

11 Kiel Turpin 7-0 C Jr.

12 Jeff Peterson 6-0 G Sr.

15 Terrance Shannon 6-8 F So.

21 Michael Snaer 6-5 G So.

24 Antwan Space 6-7 F Fr.

30 Ian Miller 6-3 G/PG So.

31 Terry Whisnant 6-3 F Fr.

33 Joey Moreau 6-2 G Jr.

50 Jon Kreft 7-0 C Sr.

Schedule

Nov. 11 Jacksonville 7

Nov. 14 UCF 7

Nov. 16 Stetson 7

Nov. 20 South Alabama 3

Nov. 24 vs. UMass* 4:30

Nov. 25 vs. Harvard or Utah* TBA

Nov. 26 vs. TBA* TBA

Nov. 30 at Michigan State 7:30

Dec. 5 Charleston Southern 7

Dec. 11 UNC Greensboro 1

Dec. 18 Loyola Marymount 3

Dec. 22 at Florida 7

Dec. 30 Princeton 7

Jan. 4 Auburn 7

Jan. 7 at Clemson 4

Jan. 10 at Virginia Tech 7

Jan. 14 North Carolina 2

Jan. 17 Maryland 9

Jan. 21 at Duke 4

Jan. 25 at Wake Forest 7

Feb. 1 Georgia Tech 7

Feb. 4 Virginia 1

Feb. 8 at Boston College 7

Feb. 11 Miami 1

Feb. 16 Virginia Tech 7

Feb. 18 at N.C. State 1

Feb. 23 Duke 7

Feb. 26 at Miami 6

March 1 at Virginia 7

March 4 Clemson noon

* Battle4Atlantic at The Bahamas

At a glance

Coach: Leonard Hamilton (154-117, 10th year; 354-327 overall)

Last season: 23-11, 11-5 (third in ACC). Advanced to round of 16.

The Seminoles reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1993 with wins over Texas A&M and Notre Dame — and those victories were the first in the NCAA Tournament for FSU since 1998. • FSU lost its leading scorer and rebounder in Chris Singleton (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who left after his junior season and was drafted in the first round by the Washington Wizards. Also gone is starting PG Derwin Kitchen, who is now playing pro ball in Israel. But FSU coach Leonard Hamilton believes this team is deeper (five juniors, four seniors and two grad students) than last season's squad. "The strength of this team is in our numbers," Hamilton said. "… They have basketball experience. They have leadership."

Newcomer punch

Hamilton and his staff pulled in an impressive recruiting class. Senior transfer Jeff Peterson used an NCAA rule that allows student-athletes with a bachelor's degree to transfer and attend graduate school at FSU. Peterson played at Iowa his first two years, redshirted at Arkansas in 2009-10 then had 6.3 points and 2.4 assists for the Razorbacks last season. He has 59 career starts but has never played in the NCAA Tournament. Also watch out for Terry Whisnant, a 6-3 guard, who was named Mr. Basketball in North Carolina last season. He averaged 31.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists in his senior season at Cherryville High.

Picking up where he left off

Clearwater High's Okara White was an impressive addition last season, starting the last nine ACC games and staying in the lineup during the Seminoles' postseason run. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds, but White also made 82 percent of his free throws (second-best on the team). He played just 16 minutes per game last season but should see more playing time with Singleton gone.

Loaded in the frontcourt

FSU features depth at the forward and center positions that would be the envy of most programs. Bernard James, who is 6 feet 10, leads a frontcourt that includes 7-footers Jon Kreft and Kiel Turpin (a junior college star the past few seasons), 6-11 Xavier Gibson and two 6-8 players: White and Terrance Shannon. The Seminoles should wear out many of their opponents late in the game with their frontcourt.

Defense first

Hamilton takes pride in how his teams play on the defensive end of the floor, and the Seminoles have responded by leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense the past two seasons. The Seminoles held teams to just 36.3 percent shooting in 2010-11, the lowest mark in the ACC in 50 years. FSU has the length, athleticism and depth to frustrate even the nation's top teams, as evidenced by wins over No. 1 Duke and No. 5 Notre Dame last season.

Florida State Seminoles 2011-12 men's basketball preview 11/04/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 5, 2011 8:06pm]
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