Season Preview: Florida State
Last Season: 28-9, NCAA 3rd Round
Key Losses: Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Dwayne Bacon, Jonathan Isaac, Michael Ojo
Key Additions: M.J. Walker, Ikey Obiagu, Raiquan Gray
Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles were primed for a deep postseason run a year ago. Xavier-Rathan Mayes and Dwayne Bacon made for an outstanding backcourt, and freshman sensation Jonathan Isaac led a deep frontcourt for the Noles. FSU rotated 12 players that all received over 10 minutes per game. Florida State was talented, deep, and had a good mix of youth and experience, but underperformed in March. The Seminoles went 1-1 in the ACC Tournament, but entered the big dance as a 3 seed. FSU narrowly avoided an upset in the first round from Florida Gulf Coast, and was throttled in the second round by Xavier, 91-66.
Rathan-Mayes and Michael Ojo both graduated, while Bacon and Isaac entered the 2017 NBA Draft. Leonard Hamilton will have to replace four starters and his three leading scorers in 2017-18, but he has the roster to do so. Guards like C.J. Walker, Trent Forrest, and forwards such as Terance Mann and Phil Cofer were all bench players for FSU a year ago, and will now take on bigger roles this coming season. Additionally, Leonard Hamilton brings in a strong recruiting class headlined by 5th ranked shooting guard M.J. Walker.
It’s difficult to imagine much off a drop off for FSU given the sheer number of players that had significant playing time last season, because there’s still a solid group left that will only get better. That being said, Leonard Hamilton doesn’t really have a set starting 5, and probably won’t until conference play. There are so many question marks on this roster, but also guys with such high ceilings, only time will tell. P.J. Savoy, Braian Angola-Rodas, and the 7’4” Christ Koumandje are other players returning whom received significant minutes last year.
This Florida State team will once again be deep, but the Noles will miss the star power of Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac, especially if no one steps up and fills the void left by them. That will be what determines the success of this year’s FSU team. It’s hard to see them not making the tournament again, but if Florida State is to make out of the first weekend in 2017-18, they will need two or three players to make a significant jump from last season.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: C.J. Walker
SG: P.J. Savoy
SF: Terance Mann
PF: Phil Cofer
C: Christ Koumandje