November 1, 2006
Seminole Hoops - Five keys to the show
The men's basketball team is heading into a season where a berth in the NCAA Tournament is not only a goal but a realistic expectation. Warchant.com takes a look at five of the biggest keys for Florida State's 2006-2007 campaign on the hardwood.
1. Florida State has a POINT guard:
Florida State's best point guard on the roster last season was on the bench. Redshirt sophomore Toney Douglas sat out last season after transferring from Auburn following a freshman All-American season where he averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals. Despite a low average for assists during his time with the Tigers, which was a result of him being relied on as a scorer, Douglas is expected to be the heir apparent to the point guard position left open with the graduation of two-year starter Todd Galloway. The addition of Douglas will bring a new scoring mentality at point guard that FSU hasn't had since the days of Sam Cassell. The more focus that Douglas draws as a scorer, the more he can get the ball to the other talented guards and wings, which should help make Leonard Hamilton's offense better overall. Douglas' addition should also help to upgrade an athletic team that is already tailor made for the fast break.
Leonard Hamilton on Toney Douglas: "He's got point guard skills and he's really determined to be a leader from the point position on our team. He has a tremendous desire; he's extremely determined to learn all the nuances that it takes to be an accomplished point guard. He's a proven scorer who wants to be a significant player in the ACC."
2. The emergence of second-year players:
During their first year at Florida State, freshmen Casaan Breeden and Uche Echefu combined with junior college transfer Jerel Allen to average a total of 26.1 minutes, 8.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. In order for Florida State to move forward this season, all of those numbers will have to go up. Breeden is an offensively-gifted swingman who creates mismatch issues with his athleticism and range but can also help to provide relief for a depleted frontcourt with his 6-foot-8 frame and long arms. Echefu's minutes will likely double with the departure of Alexander Johnson, the expiration of Diego Romero's eligibility, and the legal issues of FSU signee Jon Kreft which caused his scholarship to be rescinded. Echefu will team with freshman Ryan Reid and senior Al Thornton to handle the frontcourt duties. The coaching staff is optimistic that Echefu will be able to step his play up to become a dependable player on a night-in and night-out basis. While excelling on defense, Jerel Allen struggled at times at offense last season making the transition from the junior college. His slow transition wasn't helped by an injury that forced him to miss a majority of the preseason. With a season in the system and a full preseason under his belt, Allen represents a wildcard for the Seminoles this season.
Leonard Hamilton on Jerel Allen: "Jerel has raised his level of play as much as any player on our team and we expect him to have much more of a significant role in our rotation this year, in our system, than he did last year. He enjoyed a tremendous summer and spring in the weight room and on the court and he has come into the fall with a rejuvenated spirit."
Leonard Hamilton on Uche Echefu: "Uche Echefu is a youngster who is going to be put in a position this year where we expect him to be a major contributor. He has worked very hard in the off season to improve. He is extremely competitive, fundamentally sound, and he adds a new dimension as an inside player for us being that he is a good shooter. I think he only needs time and experience before he becomes a major contributor."
Leonard Hamilton on Casaan Breeden: "Casaan Breeden only needs experience and time before he becomes an outstanding player. He's a long, lanky youngster who is extremely versatile. He improves each and every day and we know that he has a very, very bright future in our system. We are very confident that he's going to be able to give us much more of a major contribution this year than he did last year."
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