2007-2008 Florida State Seminoles Basketball Preview
Florida State Seminoles - ACC
2006-07: 22-13, 7-9, 8th (t)
2006-07 postseason: NIT
If Florida State could not do any better than the bubble with Al Thornton, there is good reason to believe that they will not be any better without him. Yet, the focus will now switch to the perimeter where the Seminoles boast quite a bit of talent that is ready to step up their scoring load. The team will desperately need to find a scoring threat in the paint to open up the shooters, but FSU has enough talent to shoot for the bad side of the bubble once again.
Thornton averaged a team high 19.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.5 steals during his senior campaign before being drafted with the 14 th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Replacing all those numbers will not be done by one person, or probably any number of individuals on the Florida State roster. Jerel Allen has run out of eligibility after spending most of the season coming off the bench. He was a decent shooter and provided a spark for the perimeter group. Seldom used Jose Soto has opted to transfer after seeing limited minutes in Tallahassee.
Solomon Alabi and Julian Vaughn will immediately reinforce the frontcourt. Alabi is the player that has fans excited. The 7-1 center has very little offensive game, but is a great shot blocker and will work hard on the glass. His defensive presence alone will earn him quality minutes, if not a starting job. Vaughn is a surprisingly good athlete for a 6-9, 240 pound power forward. He can get the job done with his back to the basket or on the perimeter. Small forward Jordan DeMercy will need some time to develop his skills, but has the potential to be a quality roleplayer before his season is through. It is Chris Blake who has the possibility of making a splash as a freshman. The 6-5 guard is a great team player and will contribute on the defensive end right away. His shooting can be a little streaky, but he is an effective scorer when he needs to be. However, Blake’s FSU career is not off to a good start and the freshman is expected to be suspended for the first semester.
Who to Watch:
Toney Douglas did not waste any time making an impact with the Seminoles after transferring from Auburn. The 6-1 junior averaged 12.7 points and 2.9 assists and is a shooting threat from long range. The turnovers were a little high for everybody, but Douglas should be able to keep those numbers down with all the cobwebs gone from sitting out a year. Isaiah Swann can run the show, but most of his damage will be done from behind the arc. Swann and fellow senior guard Jason Rich both averaged 10.3 points per game last year. Rich can hit the outside shot, but unlike Swann, Rich will get to the basket much more consistently. The experience continues on the bench where senior Ralph Mims will find plenty of playing time backing up both guard spots.
Final Florida State Projection:
The obvious concern is replacing the production of Thornton, but it is not going to happen. Uche Echefu started all 35 games next to Thornton, and while he is a good rebounder, most of Echefu’s offensive game is on the perimeter. The 6-9 Nigerian native is a decent scorer and improved greatly during his sophomore campaign, but he is not a post player. Casaan Breeden and Ryan Reid have some experience and may step into a starting role, but FSU needs the newcomers to at least provide some production off the bench.
Projected Postseason Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Toney Douglas, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Isaiah Swann, Senior, Guard, 10.3 points per game
Jason Rich, Senior, Guard, 10.3 points per game
Uche Echefu, Junior, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Solomon Alabi, Freshman, Center, DNP last season
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