2016-2017 Season Review
One of the most surprising teams of the 2016-2017 season was the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles entered the season unranked, but climbed their way to as high as #6 in the AP Top 25. They went 26-9 overall, their most wins in the 15 year Leonard Hamilton tenure. Hamilton's crew was lights out when playing top 25 foes, as they went 6-2 against ranked teams. They finished 12-6 in the ACC, good enough for second place, and made their first NCAA Tournament since 2012. As a #3 seed in the Big Dance they slipped by #14 Florida Gulf Coast, 86-80, but then were rocked by #11 Xavier in the second round, 91-66. It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise excellent season in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles lose their top 3 scorers from their 26 win team last season and 4 of their 5 starters. 6'7 guard Dwayne Bacon declared for the NBA Draft after a huge sophomore season in which he averaged 17.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.7 APG. He also hit a team high 57 threes and was a All-ACC Second Team selection. 6'10 Jonathan Issac left for the NBA after a freshman season that saw him average 12.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 1.5 BPG. Issac was named to the ACC All Freshman Team and was Honorable Mention All-ACC. Guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes also left for The Association. During his junior season he averaged 10.6/3.2/4.8 and was apart of the All-ACC Defensive Team. 7'1 big man Michael Ojo graduated after a senior season that saw him average 4.9 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 12.2 MPG as a starter. 6'9 Jarquez Smith also graduated after averaging 4.4 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 13.1 MPG.
Florida State only brings back one starter from last season, but do return most of their bench. The lone starter back is 6'6 junior Terance Mann. Mann averaged 8.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.7 APG last season and has a great chance to be the Seminoles go to guy this season. PJ Savoy is a 6'4 junior guard that played 8.1 MPG last season. He averaged 5.5 PPG and hit 40 out of 100 threes despite playing just the 12th most minutes on the team. With more playing time he is capable of putting up big offensive numbers. Trent Forrest is a 6'5 sophomore that put up 4.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game in 15.4 MPG. CJ Walker is a 6'1 sophomore that played 12.5 MPG and averaged a 4.9/1.4/1.3 line. 6'6 senior Brainan Angola averaged 4.6 points and 1.6 rebounds per game and shot 42.0% from three in 11.8 MPG as a junior. Chris Koumadje is a massive 7'4 junior that played 10.1 MPG, averaging 3.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 1.1 BPG last season. Rounding out the returners is 6'8 senior Phil Cofer who played 12.5 MPG last season.
Leonard Hamilton brings in the 14th ranked recruiting class in the nation and the fourth best in the ACC. 5 star guard M.J. Walker leads the way the #4 rated SG in the 2017 class by 247Sports. At 6'5, he is an athletic, strong guard that plays both sides of the ball really well. He is a decent shooter from the outside but is more of a slashing guard. Ike Obiagu is 7'0 four to five star recruit that is the #5 center in the country. Obiagu is a raw prospect but his massive 7'5 wingspan and 9'4 standing reach will make him a force defensively around the rim. RaiQuan Gray is a 6'8 four star forward that can score from 15 feet, post up and is very physical. Wyatt Wilkes is a 6'7 three to four star forward. Wilkes is a stretch forward type of player that has a good feel for the game and is skilled. Rounding out the 2017 recruiting class is Anthony Polite, a 6'6 three star guard that can play the 1, 2 or 3. His dad, Michael Polite, averaged 10.8 PPG and 6.8 RPG at Florida State in the late 80s and early 90s. The Seminoles will also have Mfiondu Kabengele available this season after he redshirted last season. At 6'9, Kabengele was a three star recruit in 2016 and is a great rebounder and rim protector.
The 26 wins last season for Florida State was the most for the program in since 1971-1972 when they made the National Championship. After losing the "big 3" of Bacon, Issac and Rathan-Mayes, though, the Seminoles should regress to the mean this season. There's a lot to like about guys like Terance Mann, Trent Forrest, MJ Walker and the rest of the young backcourt, but the front court will be mostly inexperienced and raw outside of Koumadje. I still think the Seminoles will be talented and athletic enough to find their way back into the Big Dance, but don't be shocked if they're a bubble or even NIT team.