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ACC Team Previews: Florida State

FSU's record outpaced their actual play last season. They were a .500 team that put up the offensive and defensive stats of a much worse team. They shot the ball well, and their height gave them advantages on the interior. They still have a great deal of height, and a number of shooters, so they could surprise people. Overall, though there isn't enough talent to take the team very far.

Okaro White will be leading this team.
Okaro White will be leading this team.
Jamie Squire

Last Season Record: 18-16 (9-9)
Preseason ACC Media Poll: 9th

Projected Starters:
Devon Bookert, G, Sophomore
Ian Miller, G, Senior
Montay Brandon, G, Sophomore
Okaro White, F, Senior
Keil Turpin, C, Senior

Key Reserves:
Aaron Thomas, G, Sophomore
Boris Bojanovsky, C, Sophomore
Xavier Rathan Mayes, G, Freshman
Jarquez Smith, F, Freshman

FSU's record last year was misleading, especially their ACC record. They were outscored by a tenth of a point per possession during ACC play, and yet managed a .500 record. Teams with that kind of per possession outputs tend to play more like .250 ball. They had just one ACC win of more than 5 points. Performance in close games tends to be largely unrepeatable, and teams that perform well one year often fall back the next year.

They didn't rebound the ball particularly well. They turned it over far too often, and didn't generate many turnovers. However, they shot the ball well, which can obviously help overcome a lot of other deficiencies. They also got to the line a lot, and shot FTs very well. They blocked a lot of shots, which is a by-product of having a lot of height. Turpin and White were both outstanding shot blockers. Turpin averaged nearly 2 blocks per game despite playing just 15 minutes per game. As a starter, if he can stay on the floor for 30 minutes per game, he could lead the nation in shot blocking. I mention his ability to stay on the floor because he averaged nearly 2.5 fouls during his 15 minutes. He also averaged just 3 rebounds per game, a paltry total for a 7-footer. Amazingly the Noles have 2 other 7-footers behind Turpin, although Michael Ojo is a real project. Bokanovsky played well in his reserve role last year and should see more minutes.

As a team, the Noles shot nearly 35% from behind the 3 point line. They also shot nearly 45% overall, and nearly 75 from the FT line. Much of that came from leading scorer Michael Snaer, who is gone. But White is the leading returning scorer and he shot 51% from the field, though just 31% from the 3 point line. Bookert took nearly half of his shots from 3 point land, but made greater than 50% of them. He'll start at the point, but will likely be asked to look for his shot a bit more than last year, when averaged just 6 ppg. His 2.4 apg isn't blowing anybody away either.

Miller is a shooter/slasher who has struggled with injuries (and academic issues) throughout his career. That's really been the only thing keeping him back. Brandon and Thomas will likely fight for starters minutes all season long. They are similar players who don't shoot the ball well but are good defensive players. Neither of them is worth much on the offense end, but will continue to get minutes because of their defense. Thomas is better on the glass, even though Brandon is bigger.

Two wild cards are a pair of four-star freshman. Rathan-Mayes is yet another shooter who ultimately Leonard Hamilton would like to fit in at PG, but right now he's has far too quick a trigger and doesn't make anybody else better. He'll come off the bench and provide a quick scoring punch. Smith is a tall, lean big man who has a face up game but will need to develop his interior game. For a guy with his height and athleticism, he spends too much time shooting jumpers.

FSU could surprise people if their youngsters develop and their frontcourt improves offensively and on the glass. The problem is, because their record last year outpaced their actual performance, it is likely that while they may improve on the floor, the record may not actually improve.