by Will Ojanen
Posted: 5/3/2012 2:41:25 AM
When 2011 ended, you could have legitimately argued that Leonard Hamilton was on the hot seat. It's usually not a good thing to lose to Harvard and Princeton. And even though the Noles had a slip up here and there throughout the season (like losing to Boston College), they were a much better team during conference play. The Noles finished third in the ACC with a 12-4 conference record, winning the ACC Tournament, but unfortunately losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Noles had a very experienced group that played very well defensively, which is what Leonard Hamilton likes. Having Bernard James on the court to rebound hand block shots had a big effect on that. James had nearly four more rebounds than the player who was second on the team in rebounding, Okaro White. James was also the leader in blocked shots by a wide margin.
Who Stood Out: James definitely stood out defensively, but offensively, Michael Snaer became a household name by the end of the season, mostly because he had a knack for hitting game winning shots. Snaer led the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game, and shot over 40% from threes, as well has being an 85% free throw shooter. He was far and away Florida State's most consistent scorer.
Looking Ahead: There are quite a few people gone from the team. Xavier Gibson, Luke Loucks, Deividas Dulkys, Bernard James, Jeff Peterson, and Jon Kreft are gone. A lot of length in the front court is gone, and with James gone too, their best defensive player. The Noles do have a five person recruiting class, led by Aaron Thomas and Montay Brandon.
Early Prediction:The biggest question for the Noles will be who will play in the front court. It wouldn't surprise me Terrence Shannon slides in to the starting lineup. He could be sort of an undersized center at 6-8 and 240 pounds, but I think he would be fine in that role. With Snaer back, he could be in the discussion for ACC Player of the Year in the preseason. I don't think they will have a problem scoring, and as long as they are the same defensive team they have been, could be a contender again in the ACC.
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