THE GOOD NEWS: The Seminoles will return four of their top five scorers, led by leading scorer Michael Snaer, who became a dynamic player this year. Sophomore Ian Miller, who was ineligible until late December, was a consistent double-figure scorer in the second half of ACC play. Those two will give Florida State as good a pair of off guards as any ACC team has. The problem is the point guard position. That is where recruiting and luck will be vital. Junior F Terrance Shannon was one of the Seminoles' best players the previous season and in November before getting hurt and sitting out the rest of the season. Like the elite programs, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has been able to redshirt players and get them focused for the kind of opportunity next year will provide.
THE BAD NEWS: It's never easy replacing six seniors, even if three of those were transfers. FSU's senior class compiled a school-record 99 wins when you add the transfers to four-year players Luke Loucks, Deividas Dulkys and Xavier Gibson. The biggest loss will be in the middle, where the Seminoles will lose 27-year-old F Bernard James, the 6-11 Gibson and 7-footer Jon Kreft, who played a lesser role. While those three were never consistent scorers, they provided a shot-blocking, drive-deterring presence. The team will also miss James' leadership. In the backcourt, Loucks played his best basketball in the final six games, and if he had another year of eligibility, this team would have an even brighter future. Dulkys will be forever remembered for his 15 minutes of fame for the blowout win against North Carolina, in which he had 32 points. The sixth senior was one-and-done transfer Jeff Peterson, who used his time to work on his post-graduate degree.
KEY RETURNEES: Snaer and Miller will form the core of the backcourt, provided the Seminoles can develop a point guard quickly. Shannon, who only played the first month of the season before sustaining a serious shoulder injury, will be the lead player inside along with Okaro White. Kiel Turpin, a 6-11 sophomore who played on the national junior-college champion last year at Lincoln (IL) Community College, was redshirted this year, but he and Shannon will be asked to take over roles from James and Gibson. The Seminoles landed four players during the early signing period to attain another Top 20 class, and they will have two more scholarships available for the late signing period.
James will receive the Most Courageous Award from the United States Basketball Writers Association at the Final Four in New Orleans. James served in the Air Force during the Iraq War. He posted a career-high 19 points in Florida State's 66-63 win over St. Bonaventure in the second round of NCAA Tournament. He finished his career with four double-figure scoring games in five NCAA Tournament starts, including a 12-point outing in the season-ending loss to Cincinnati. ...
Snaer was held scoreless for the first time in his career against St. Bonaventure, but he came back to score 11 in the loss to the Bearcats. ...
Loucks, who made the All-ACC Tournament first team, averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the Seminoles' five games in the ACC tourney and the NCAA Tournament. He had a season-high 13 assists in the conference tournament championship game against North Carolina.