Terry Whisnant is one of the most intriguing players on the Seminoles' roster this season. The sophomore guard came to Florida State heralded as a scorer and saw limited action on last year's ACC Championship team. This season, with Luke Loucks, Deividas Dulkys and Jeff Petersen all out of the fold, Whisnant will see more playing time and a larger role in the Florida State rotation.
“I’m approaching the year as- I don’t really have specific numbers [in mind]- just when it’s my time to go out on the court give everything I’ve got to just know my role and do what I’ve got to do to help the team win," said Whisnant. "Just do everything the way coach wants and try to fulfill my dreams to come out and have a great season.”
Whisnant admits last year was a bit of a shock for him. After coming out of high school with a lot of hype, he had to take a step back and learn to pick up some of the nuances of the college game before Leonard Hamilton would turn him loose on the court.
“It was definitely frustrating, coming from high school and playing a lot and then coming here and not playing as much," said Whisnant. "I definitely had to take a backseat, I never had to experience that before so it was a little difficult for me but all the other guys they tried to encourage me to keep my head up.
“It was humbling, it was real humbling. But at the same time it gave me more motivation for the summer to work even harder just because knowing I was in that backseat, I never want to be in that position again.”
Whisnant, like the rest of his teammates, lived in the gym in Tallahassee this summer.
“I’ve never seen so many guys in the gym [as] this summer, including myself," said Okaro White. "I think we’re just going to have another one of those teams that you know, any guy could lead the scoring on any given night.”
One of those guys is Whisnant, whose ability to score has never been in question. Over the summer Whisnant focused on becoming a more well-rounded player on both sides of the court.
“Definitely [worked on] just knowing where each guy needs to be on the court and just having the confidence to do the things I’m capable of doing on the court," said Whisnant. "Just ball-handling and getting my shot down and just pretty much doing anything I can to [improve] my entire game.”
But the biggest aspect of Whisnant's game that still needs improvement is his on-ball defense, something that could limit him again this year until he picks it up.
“[Sometimes] Terry will be working real hard [on defense] and then the guy picks the ball up," said Leonard Hamilton. "But now it’s time to close out and be even more aggressive but he picks the ball up and [Terry’s] still in the same position...”
That's something that definitely needs to improve.
“I think over the last couple years especially, everyone’s labeled coach Ham as like the defensive guru," said White. "Coming in they kind of already know like hey this is what it is, and we consistently tell them, me and Mike [Snaer] and Terrance [Shannon], that you’re not going to play if you’re not playing defense, no matter how good you are on the offensive end.”
Whisnant is going to need to improve defensively before he's unleashed, but he has a lot of faith in his coaches, especially Leonard Hamilton. That should lend itself to Whisnant contributing plenty this season as he continues to grow on the defensive end.
Much like most of the players on Florida State, Whisnant's relationship with Hamilton is extremely close.
“We definitely have a good relationship, it’s the same now as when he recruited me," said Whisnant. "He’s just like a father figure and he gives me advice on what I need to do and [asks me] 'how’s life, how’s my family?' He just gives me tips on what I need to do to be successful now and on down the road.”