The Florida State Seminoles have seen relative success lately, much of which came thanks to the recently departed – because all seniors must move on – former McDonald’s All-American Michael Snaer.
Florida State’s leading scorer in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Snaer leaves Tallahassee with the eighth most points in school history (1,560), as well as the fifth most three-point field goals made (196). And while Snaer was fortunate enough to be joined by NBA level talent like Chris Singleton, Bernard James, and Solomon Alabi throughout his college experience, Florida State had quite a fall from grace last season after winning the ACC Tournament the season before, as Snaer was surrounded by not only less talented teammates, but less experienced ones too.
At this point, Snaer’s unfortunately old news for Leonard Hamilton’s squad moving forward. So where will the two-time ACC Coach of the Year look to get his scoring in a more competitive ACC, now complete with former Big East powerhouses Syracuse and Pittsburgh?
We’ll start by focusing on the pieces returning from last year’s 18-16 team, including their second leading scorer, senior Okaro White. White is the main candidate to take over Snaer’s spot as team leader, and may even be one of the ACC’s leading scorers this upcoming season. A 6-foot-8 explosive forward, White averaged 12.4 points per game on 51-percent shooting, and really displayed the ability to score from anywhere on the court with a balance of speed and strength.
The only other players to really be excited about returning based off of last season’s contributions are senior guard Ian Miller, and sophomores Devon Bookert and Aaron Thomas. The three guards were as big of a part of FSU’s offense as anyone not named White or Snaer. And with another year of playing for Hamilton under their belt, you’d have to expect them to be able to handle more of the scoring load without Snaer – or Terrence Shannon, the team’s third leading scorer from last season who has since transferred to VCU.
Then there are the two wildcards, sophomore wing Montay Brandon, and incoming freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Although Brandon appeared in 33 games for Florida State last season, the freshman only averaged 3.9 points in just about 20 minutes per game. An atrocious free throw shooter, Brandon showed immense indecisiveness when picking up his dribble and getting into the lanes – in all likeliness due to his fear of getting to the free throw line. Brandon is too athletic, and really too talented to allow such a deficiency to hold him back as a sophomore, and as a projected starter, he should really be a bigger contributor than he was a season ago.
Rathan-Mayes is the prized possession of Hamilton’s recruiting class, as the 44th-ranked (ESPN) recruit should bring instant offense to Tally. Maybe he was recruited mainly as an incentive for Andrew Wiggins – the two played high school basketball together and are very close – but either way, Rathan-Mayes possesses the ability to play both guard positions, and certainly will be able to contribute despite not playing alongside the next number 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
This season may turn out to be more of a rebuilding effort than anything for the Seminoles, but they have enough talent, and certainly the right coach, that they should be able to compete with the second-tier of ACC teams at worst this season.
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