April 16, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Seniors Ralph Mims, Jason Rich, Isaiah Swann and Matt Zitani were all honored for their contributions to the Florida State Men’s Basketball program at the Seminoles’ annual honors and awards banquet at the Tom and Ginny Futch Ballroom at the University Center Club on Wednesday night. The senior quartet won a combined total of six awards and was recognized throughout the evening by Head Coach Leonard Hamilton for their contributions to the success of the team during their careers.
Florida State made three post-season appearances and defeated six nationally ranked teams in the last four seasons with the honored seniors in the line-up. The Seminoles defeated No. 1 ranked Duke on March 1, 2006, defeated Duke in Durham for the first time in school history on Feb. 4, 2007 and were 3-1 during their career against Florida as they worked to take the program to new heights in the last four seasons. The Seminoles’ won 23 ACC games in the last three seasons – more than the program had in the last five seasons — and averaged 18.3 wins per season during the four year varsity career of Mims, Rich and Swann and Zitani’s three-year career as a member of the Seminoles’ varsity basketball team.
Mims (Pensacola, Fla.) was recognized as the Seminoles’ most improved player. He averaged a career-high 11.6 points per game while making a career-high 52 3-point shots. He made more 3-point shots as a senior (52) than he did during the first three seasons of his career combined (37) in earning a career-high18 starting assignments as a senior. Swann (Germantown, Md.) received awards as the team’s top 3-point field goal shooter and as the teams top free throw percentage shooter. He made 54 3-point shots and shot .840 from the free throw line before injuring his left knee on Feb. 6 and missing the remainder of the season. Swann, who was named to the Glenn Wilkes Classic All-Tournament team, was among the national leaders in both 3-point and free throw shooting at the time of his injury. Swann was also honored with a monogrammed basketball which signified his 1,000th career point which came against Wake Forest on Jan. 20.
Rich (Pensacola, Fla.), who ranked second on the team with a career-high 14.5 points per game scoring average, shared the Bob Sura Outstanding Offensive Player Award and was also presented with a monogrammed basketball signifying his 1,000th career point. He scored his career-high of 492 points and led the team in scoring a team-high 11 times and scored 20 points or more a career-high and team leading 10 times. Rich is ranked 17th in school history in scoring with 1,315 career points.
Junior Uche Echefu (Lagos, Nigeria) earned four awards during the evening: the award for the best free throw shooting percentage, the Dave Cowens Chairman of Boards Award, the Unsung Hero Award and the Most Improved Student Athlete Award. He shot a career-high .814 from the field and made a career-high 105 free throws, led the team with a career-high 7.3 rebounds per game average he ranked seventh in the conference in rebounds) and led the team with 33 blocked shots. Echefu also averaged a career-high 10.0 points per game.
Junior guard Toney Douglas, who earned All-ACC Third Team and All-ACC Defensive Team honors, was presented with the Otto Petty Most Assists Award, the Charlie Ward Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award and the Bob Sura Outstanding Offensive Player Award. He led the team with 98 assists (2.9 apg), led the team, the ACC and ranked ninth nationally in steals and steals per game (90 / 2.6 spg) and led the team with a 15.4 points per game average. Douglas (Jonesboro, Ga.) scored 524 total points and scored in double figures in 32 of the Seminoles’ 34 games during the season.
Zitani (Pt. St. Lucie, Fla.) earned the annual Tip of the Spear award and was presented with the Bob Bradley Courage and Spirit Award that he earned at the ACC Tournament in Charlotte. One of the most inspirational players in school history, Zitani overcame brain surgery in 2003 to become a contributing member and scholarship recipient on the Seminole men’s basketball team. Zitani played in a career-high 26 games and earned five starting assignments during the 2007-08 season.
Swann (social science / April 2008), Rich (social science / April 2008), Mims (social science / Dec. 2008) and Zitani (graduate degree in sport administration / Dec. 2008) will all earn degrees in the upcoming months.
2007-08 Seminole Basketball Award Winners Top 3-Point Field Goal Percentage Isaiah Swann Best Free Throw Percentage Isaiah Swann / Uche Echefu Otto Petty Most Assists Award Toney Douglas Dave Cowens Chairman of the Boards Award Uche Echefu Charlie Ward Most Outstanding Defensive Player Toney Douglas Bob Sura Outstanding Offensive Player Toney Douglas / Jason Rich Most Improved Player Ralph Mims Unsung Hero Award Uche Echefu Tip of the Spear Matt Zitani Most Improved Student Athlete Uche Echefu Best Field Goal Percentage Ryan Reid Sixth Man Award Julian Vaughn Mr. Hustle Award Jordan Demercy Outstanding Academic Student Athlete Brian Hoff First Year Academic Achievement Ben O'Donnell Men's Basketball Appreciation Award Heath Glick