Last Friday night Florida State's team leaders were livid. Earlier in the evening the team had raised its first ever ACC Championship banner, they were ranked to start the season and there was even some hype this year.
Then they lost 76-71 to South Alabama.
“Everybody let the team down, everybody let people down. I felt most important we let the people who built the team before us, built where we are– down," said Terrance Shannon. "We let those guys down more importantly than anybody. I’ve been here since ‘09, we helped get to that point. I felt losing that game I had a sour taste in my mouth because I knew where we were.”
Shannon moreso than anyone, gets it. He was injured and forced into a medical redshirt last season. As his teammates fought through the ACC, he sat off to the side nursing his shoulder. This is Shannon's year to make his impression and he was not happy with how it started.
"Nobody really used the phone [after the game], nobody really wanted to talk to people, it was horrible," said Shannon. "Me personally, I was embarrassed."
But Florida State circled the wagons this weekend and its team leaders took the young guys to task. They intend to use this loss like they did losses to Harvard, Princeton and Clemson last season.
“I think the main thing that really turned us around was [Sunday] we held a players only meeting– we have like one or two a week," said Okaro White. "So we held that players meeting and me, Mike [Snaer] and Terrance [Shannon] really expressed our feelings to the young guys and we basically told them we let down everybody who helped build this program.
"We’re stll not there yet but it was our first game, the home opener, the revealing of the banner and we basically let down the older guys who had worked to win the ACC championship.”
Both White and Shannon were adamant that this would be all the motivation they needed to make sure not only them, but the rest of the team keeps their game up.
If the Seminoles do anything this season, it's going to be on the shoulders of their leaders.
It's likely this weekend Florida State will pare down its rotation and play more veterans to try to cut down mistakes and play more efficiently. Leonard Hamilton mentioned this before the season and if anything I think Friday night reiterated that point.
But the feeling around the Florida State team is that the loss could end up being a good thing if the team uses it to get better and truly grow. Right in the first game the Seminoles were pretty much slapped in the face with their biggest deficiencies. That means they'll be able to figure out how to compensate for them (if possible) while they wait to develop some of their young guys throughout the season.
For now though, Hamilton's primary focus (as he stated last week) is balancing the development of his young team with winning basketball games.
I think the next two games in New York the rotation gets smaller in a more competitive road setting and then as FSU's schedule eases up again after Minnesota and Florida come calling, you'll see more young guys start to get serious looks.
That's just conjencture, but given some of the young mistakes this team has made, it may be untenable to go with a bigger rotation against teams like BYU, Notre Dame, St. Joe's, Minnesota and Florida.
We'll find out in Brooklyn.