October 15, 2004 - by
Basketball Practice Tips-Off Saturday Morning

Oct. 15, 2004

Florida State, which advanced to the second round of the NIT last season, enters the 2004-05 season as one of the nation’s most rapidly improving teams. The Seminoles have improved their victory total in two straight years, brought in two of the top recruiting classes in the country (including the No. 1 class in 2003) and defeated five nationally ranked teams since Head Coach Leonard Hamilton’s arrival in 2002. With four of its five leading scorers and three of its top five rebounders back in uniform, the Seminoles will look to continue their climb up the college basketball ladder this season.

The Seminole players and coaching staff have been recognized to be among the nation’s best throughout the off-season by various media outlets and writers.

Led by seniors Anthony Richardson and Adam Waleskowski, a total of five players with starting experience return to the Seminoles roster in 2004-05. Richardson started 24 of 29 games during the 2002-03 season and 16 of 33 during the 2003-04 season and is the most experienced Seminole in terms of starts with 40 entering his senior season. Richardson has missed only one game during his career and needs only 195 points to reach the 1,000 point plateau for his career. Waleskowski, who has played in every game of his career, enjoyed the best season of his career as a junior when he averaged a career-high 6.8 points and a career-high and team-leading 5.4 rebounds. Waleskowski started each of the final three games of the season – against NC State in the ACC Tournament and against Wichita State and Iowa State as the Seminoles advanced to the second round of the NIT.

Hamilton and his staff have spent the off season preparing for the start of practice which comes at 9 a.m. sharp on Oct. 16. While the players and coaches have spent the preseason sharpening their skills on the court, the writers around the nation have spent the preseason sharpening their pens and pencils and have unanimously voted Florida State to be among the top teams in college basketball and the Seminole players to be among the top players in the toughest conferences in the country.

Another measure of respect for the Florida State program comes from the appearance of four different Seminole players gracing the covers of national college basketball magazines. Senior forward Anthony Richardson is on the cover of Street and Smith’s, senior forward Adam Waleskowski is on the cover of Athlon’s College Basketball Annual, sophomore Alexander Johnson is the centerpiece of Lindy’s College Basketball Annual and junior Todd Galloway is part of a picture collage on the cover of Street and Smith’s South College Basketball magazine.

Quoting Florida State Basketball

“Coach Leonard Hamilton will have a tough team. The Seminoles will miss Tim Pickett, but the addition of Diego Romero up front and Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann in the backcourt will be a positive.”
Dick Vitale, ESPN

“The Seminoles lost Tim Pickett, but they do have key players Von Wafer and Alexander Johnson back. And Florida State has been a beast to beat at home. If the Seminoles can find a way to win on the road, this team could be a factor in the ACC. Getting Diego Romero eligible is a huge plus for the inside game. The addition of newcomer guards Isaiah Swann and Jason Rich make them instant contenders.”
Andy Katz, ESPN

“It has taken coach Leonard Hamilton just two seasons to deliver Florida State to its first postseason trip in six seasons,” write the editors of the magazine, who also call for the Seminoles to earn an NCAA Tournament Bid for the first time since 1998. “After his team flirted with an NCAA berth (last season), Hamilton said the Seminoles were ahead of schedule in his building plan.
Athlon College Basketball Magazine

Tim Pickett, the energy source who led Florida State back to postseason play for the first time in six years, has left the building. But the building is still standing, thanks to the solid foundation coach Leonard Hamilton has laid in two seasons. Finishing the project now falls on four upperclassmen and the players from consecutive outstanding recruiting classes, many of whom played a role in last season’s 19-14 finish and run to the second round of the NIT.”
Lindy’s College Basketball Annuals

“Senior forwards Adam Waleskowski and Anthony Richardson team with juniors Andrew Wilson and Todd Galloway to provide the stability for the talented youngsters, who represent FSU’s future. Sophomores Alexander Johnson and Von Wafer have served their apprenticeships and will be asked to take on larger roles at power forward and shooting guard.”
Lindy’s College Basketball Annuals

“Forward Alexander Johnson earned ACC All-Freshman honors after finishing second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding. After a rigorous off-season conditioning program, he could power his way to an All-ACC season.”
Lindy’s College Basketball Annuals

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