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5 posts from November 4, 2012

November 04, 2012

FSU Drops a Spot in the BCS, Now 10th

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After reaching 9th last week, Florida State slid in the BCS rankings on Sunday night. The Seminoles moved up a spot in both voter polls, the Harris and the Coaches, where they are ranked sixth. But thanks to their computer average Florida State sunk a spot in the most recent round of rankings.

Alabama is first, Kansas State second and Oregon third. Notre Dame and Georgia round out the top five.

Clemson is currently ranked 13th, but as I mentioned the rest of the ACC is so mediocre that neither school is going to get any help from the computers until they play their SEC rivals the last game of the year. Florida State was idle over the weekend and will square off with 4-5 Virginia Tech on Thursday. That's not going to help to computer rankings either.

Even a two loss SEC school could go ahead of Florida State, as is evidenced by LSU and South Carolina. It's possible FSU could even beat Florida and not pass them in the rankings...

Here's the top ten:

10.) Florida State

9.) Louisville

8.) South Carolina

7.) LSU

6.) Florida

5.) Georgia

4.) Notre Dame

3.) Oregon

2.) Kansas State

1.) Alabama

 

Going Polling: Florida State Climbs a Spot to 6th in Coaches, Harris, 8th in AP poll

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Florida State moved up a spot in the two noon polls on Sunday, climbing to 6th in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and 8th in the Associated Press poll. [Update:] The Harris poll came out this afternoon with the Noles up a spot to sixth as well. The BCS comes out at 8:45.

Florida State was off this weekend for the first time all year, but they actually kick-started their prep for Virginia Tech yesterday, as if it were a Monday, to give themselves a full week's timeframe before Thursday night's game in Blacksburg.

Clemson now sits at 8th in the Coaches poll, 9th in the Harris poll and 10th in AP poll, nobody else in the ACC was sniffing either poll though. Beyond the top two teams in the ACC, the rest of the conference may as well be a mid-major this year. The top 4 in each poll are Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame. But where it gets wonky is in the AP poll, which doesn't factor into the BCS, Ohio State is 5th. Ohio State is not bowl eligible so they're not even ranked in the Coaches poll, which has Georgia at 5 and FSU peeking in at 6. The Harris mirrors the coaches'.

I'll have a new post for the BCS tonight.

Also be sure to check out the men's basketball preview in tomorrow's paper (and online later tonight). We'll also have content here on the blog so stop by every now and then to check it out...

Okaro White Happy to Be Flying Under the Radar

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If you've had a chance to see Florida State at all this year you can't have missed Okaro White. Whether it was sweeping the dunk and three-point contests at Seminole Madness a month ago or just showing up big for the Seminoles' first exhibition agaisnt Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, White looks like he's ready for big things in 2012-13.

“Hes’ been really consistent this year," said Michael Snaer. "I’m hoping it’s going to be like the junior year I had last year [where he's] just coming into form his junior year. I’m hoping that’s going to be what it is for him because he’s looking really good, he’s been working a lot, he’s going to be a guy who- even though it was an exhibition game- the opponent payed a lot of attention to me and because of that Okaro’s just getting wide open shots.”

White dropped 19 points, including four three-pointers, on Lincoln Memorial last Tuesday. He put in a lot of work this summer, he enters 2012-13 as prepared as he's ever been for a basketball season.

"I’ve probably done more stuff than I did my first two summers combined," said White back in September. "Just realizing the role I’m going to have to have this year that is stepped up, I’m working on everything, outside-in, inside-in, I keep on working on my quickness because I know that’s a strength of mine, going around bigger guys and not being as big or girthy as them I could probably get around them a little faster so I’ve been trying to get my quickness up to the highest potential.”

Those improvements have already been on display this preseason. And as teams enter the regular season preparing to cue on Michael Snaer (the preseason all-American who has received the lion's share of the hype), White is poised to make them pay for their oversight.

“He’s going to be one of those guys this year where if people pay a lot of attention to me he’s just going to kill you," said Snaer. "And people forget Ian Miller is a scorer [too], people forget but you can’t just lock in on one player and that’s going to just make my life that much easier.

“He’s going to be a definite threat man, just wait and see.”

For his part, White likes flying under the radar. He knows his time will come.

“That’s great, I've loved playing the underdog role my whole life," said White. "Mike being so prestiged right now, that really helps me because if teams are going to focus on him, then I can open up my game every game. So you know I’ve been working hard over the summer and by the end of the season everyone’s going to see how good I really am.”

Young Seminoles Learning Basics Starting With Film

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“I cannot find words to explain to you how drastic it really is going from where we were last year to where we are this year. Let’s just say I was brought back to reality as to what it’s like to have an inexperienced team. You have guys who they think they’re giving you more effort than they’ve ever given in their lives and they don’t realize they have so much more to give.” -Leonard Hamilton

Last year's ACC-winning Florida State team featured six seniors that contributed as much leadership as they did production on the court (a lot). This year's team is much younger, with the departure of the six guys from last year the Seminoles boast a slew of newcomers for 2012-13.

One of the less noted parts of having a senior-heavy team like last year's is that they understand the process of being a student-athlete at a major university. They get how to manage classes with practice. They start to pick up the nuances of a complicated defensive system and they know how to watch film.

“That’s definitely a big deal because a lot of these guys haven’t watched film in the past and they don’t know what to look for," said Michael Snaer. "I’ve watched film with a few of the guys in there and they’re looking at all the wrong things. They’re looking at positives instead of negatives, when we watch film you’re not searching for things you did right, you’re really trying to figure out the little things and the little details that you do wrong.”

It sounds basic, but one of the first things any group of freshmen must learn in college is how to watch film and also to be coached. The 'Noles tipped off practice a month ago at Seminole Madness, in that time they've made strides towards being better players in the film room, but they still have a ways to go.

“I think it’ll take them a couple more weeks, about two more weeks to understand what the coaches are saying and what they’re doing wrong and not to feel like they’re just being hounded on," said Okaro White. "They’re just being coached, really. These young guys coming from high school have never really watched film, I never watched film in high school. So they don’t really understand the film aspect of the game and that’s very important. So I think it will take them a little while to adjust to it.”

Imagine it from a player's perspective. To make it on scholarship at a program like FSU, chances are you've been the best player on the court since you hit puberty. Nobody's ever scrutinized your game in a critical light before, chances are you've only received accolades and compliments from teammates and coaches that were reliant on your talent to win up until that point.

Now you're in college and you actually have to learn to play basketball and accept real coaching. That can take a while to get used to.

“I think it’s a shock to them initially, because over the years I’ve heard players say, 'man, I didn't realize I was that bad,'" said Leonard Hamilton. "The film is a great teacher, I think that they’ll learn. We have a ways to go, I’ve been kind of brought back to reality a little bit. You see guys running a dummy offense a little bit, you see them making athletic plays and you say, 'boy, you know...,' but then you go five on five and the whole team has to be together on the same page and you’ve got this many new guys and you see as much game slippage as we’ve seen and you’re reminded, we’ve got a ways to go.

“Sometimes when a guy’s out there dunking the ball and making plays between his legs you go 'boy we’ve got some potential skills,' but then all of the sudden you get out there and a guy is all out of position and he’s not contesting the shot, not mirroring the ball you say 'my goodness, we’ve got a ways to go.'"

Florida State has one more exhibition before the games start to count in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. While Hamilton and his coaching staff know they can go with a smaller rotation that uses their veterans heavily and they'll be successful early, in order to save wear and tear on players like Snaer and White, Hamilton also knows he has to bring the new guys along quickly.

“We haven’t spent very much time defensively and it showed the other night [against Lincoln Memorial], but I thought the film was really great to see that it wasn’t necessarily a lack of effort," said Hamilton. "It was a lack of concentrating and having an understanding of the things we’re trying to implement when our defensive plan works and realizing there's a team defensive concept and when the guy’s not in the right position that you hurt your teammate because a guy’s depending on you to cover because of our rules.”

Unfortunately for the 'Noles, things pick up quickly so they don't have a ton of time to iron out how to study film and get the young guys on the same defensive page as the veterans. Early in the season FSU might necessarily be forced to go to a smaller rotation in tight games as they wait for things to click with their new players. The Seminoles don't have a ton of gimmes early on, they need to hit the ground running.

“We don’t have that luxury right now," said Hamilton. "Sometimes you kind of front load your schedule with some games where you can kind of learn some things. We don’t have that luxury right now, it gets serious real quick. Hopefully that will motivate us.”

Terrance Shannon Poised for Bounce-Back Season

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Terrance Shannon was poised for a big year as part of FSU's rotation last season. In seven games he looked ready to break out for Florida State until a shoulder injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. 

Shannon was forced to sit and watch as big men like Jon Kreft and Xavier Gibson took his minutes and helped lead the Seminoles to their first ACC Tournament title. 

“It was frustrating, it was real frustrating," said the 6-8 240-pound redshirt junior forward, who was averaging 8 points and 4.4 rebounds when he was injured. "I was just coming around, man. I was starting to get the hang of everything, got the system down, started to learn how to play out of it. Everything was falling into place. It was a setback but it kind of helped me seeing everything from a coach’s pespective.”

With a medical redshirt and an extra season to sit and learn, Terrance Shannon is poised for a big year in 2012-13.

"I got cleared the week before finals," said Shannon. "The whole summer I stayed here, I didn’t even go home, went two-a-day, sometimes three-a-day the whole summer to get back.”

The whole Florida State team practically lived in the gym over the summer, but nobody was as focused or motivated as Terrance Shannon.

“Terrance is very excited to get back on the court," said Okaro White. "I kind of feel sad for him that he took that medical redshirt when he got hurt. But he’s been working on that shoulder, doesn’t let that shoulder bother him, he doesn’t really talk about it, he doesn’t want to talk about it. So he’s pretty good, he’s ready to go. Just excited about the season.”

Shannon is on a mission to come back stronger than ever, and armed with knowledge he's going to have a bigger roll in the Seminole rotation, he's as motivated as ever.

“Yeah, that kind of helps, it’s motivation," said Shannon. "Just been spending all off-season working on getting my strength back, working on skill development and now that I have a bigger role, that’s motivation as well.”

So what has Shannon been working on? Aside from the obligatory defensive study, Shannon has been working on being a more well-rounded player, starting at the free throw stripe.

“Most importantly free throws, I spent numerous amounts of time on free throws because I get fouled a lot and I just want to be able to knock down the free throws once I get fouled.”

He's also stepped up his game as a leader, both in the lockerroom and on the defensive side of the ball.

“Most certainly, you’ve got to be a leader on the team," said Shannon. "Anytime [the young guys] need anything, watching film, going over plays I try to tell them 'I’m in the room, you know where I live,' I try to help them any way possible.”

That also means leading the charge to replace Bernad James as Shotblocker-in-chief under the Florida State hoop. James is now in Dallas blocking shots for the Mavericks, but Shannon doesn't think it will take long for a new defensive presence to emerge. For now, he's shouldering his share of the load.

“Right now it’s hard to say [who will be "the guy"], but we have a lot of athletic guys who can block shots," said Shannon. "From the starting point, where we first start off I think it’s going to be like a team effort for blocking shots, but in time I think a couple guys will separate themselves. We’ve got a lot of athletic guys.”

Including Shannon, who is now healthy and ready to help Florida State defend their conference title.


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