November 23, 2002 - by
Florida State Men’s Basketball Team Plays Host To Savannah State To Begin Hamilton Era

Nov. 23, 2002

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State begins the Leonard Hamilton era as it opens the 2002-03 regular season against Savannah State. It marks the sixth time in school history the Seminoles have opened their season against a team from the state of Georgia. Florida State has won five consecutive home openers against teams from the state of Georgia with its most recent victory coming against Valdosta State to begin the 1974-75 season.


FLORIDA STATE IN SEASON OPENERS
Florida State opens its 56th season of intercollegiate basketball when it plays host to Savannah State Sunday. The Seminoles are 43-12 (.781 winning percentage) in season openers during the history of the program. Sunday’s game against Savannah State marks the first time the Seminoles and Tigers have played to open Florida State’s season.


Leonard Hamilton is going to be a great asset for Florida State. His recruiting and coaching abilities are absolutely superb. I really believe that with his knowledge of the state of Florida and having been a success at the University of Miami where he embraced the football program and understood its value and what it could do to help in the world of recruiting will play big dividends in Seminole country. He is a super hire for Florida State.”
Dick Vitale
ESPN



FLORIDA STATE IN SEASON OPENERS, PART II
Florida State has won nine of their last 12 season openers dating to the first game of the 1990-91 season. Entering Sunday’s game against Savannah State, the Seminoles have won 9 of their last 10 and 37 of 38 all time season home openers. Florida State won its first 37 season openers when the season opener was a home game.


Seminoles In Season Openers
Category Record Winning Percentage

Home Openers 37-1 .974
Road Openers 5-10 .333
Neutral Site Openers 1-1 .500
Season Openers 43-12 .781


LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Win for the 38th time in 39 tries when its season opener is also its home opener;
…Allow first-year head coach Leonard Hamilton to become the seventh head coach in school history to win his Seminole debut;
…Win its season opener for the first time the 1998-99 season and break its three-game losing streak in season openers. The Seminoles most recent opening day victory came against Sam Houston State, 88-51, Nov. 13, 1998 to open the 1998-99 season;
…Play a team other than Florida in its season opener for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Florida State plays host to Florida Dec. 6 in the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center;
…Defeat Savannah State in its home opener for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles defeated the Tigers, 93-41, to open its season in the Civic Center last season.


HAMILTON IN SEASON OPENERS
Leonard Hamilton, who makes his Seminole head-coaching debut Sunday against Savannah State, has won seven consecutive season openers as a head coach in the collegiate level. He guided Miami to season-opening wins each year from 1994 through 2000. Overall, Hamilton is 9-5 in season openers during his collegiate coaching career.


Hamilton In Season Openers
Date School Opponent Outcome

11/29/86 Oklahoma State at Pepperdine L, 61-79
11/27/87 Oklahoma State at BYU-Hawaii L, 59-62
11/26/88 Oklahoma State at Pitt L, 75-93
11/28/89 Oklahoma State at N. Texas W, 94-66
1990-91 Miami George Mason L, 91-97
1991-92 Miami Barry University W, 80-67
1992-93 Miami Florida Int. L, 64-72
1993-94 Miami Fla. Atlantic W, 85-53
1994-95 Miami NE Illinois W, 66-48
1995-96 Miami NE Illinois W, 81-58
1996-97 Miami Buffalo W, 78-61
1997-98 Miami at Southern Illinois W, 73-61
1998-99 Miami at Fla. Atlantic W , 97-73
1999-00 Miami at Central Florida W, 81-54


FIRST YEAR SEMINOLE COACHES IN THEIR FLORIDA STATE DEBUT
Leonard Hamilton became Florida State’s seventh head coach March 18, 2002. He begins the 2002-03 season against Savannah State looking to become the seventh Seminole head coach to win his debut as Florida State plays host to Savannah State Sunday. Hamilton becomes the sixth head coach in school history to begin his Seminole coaching career at home. Steve Robinson is the only coach who did not open his coaching career at home. He did, though, win his home opener making the sixth head coach in school history to win his career home opener.


Seminole Head Coaching Debuts
Date Coach Opponent Score

Dec. 10, 1947 Don Loucks Spring Hill College W, 39-36
Dec. 7, 1948 J.K. Kennedy Mississippi College W, 53-21
Dec. 1, 1966 Hugh Durham Valdosta State W, 62-58
Nov. 27, 1978 Joe Williams Eckerd College W, 116-71
Nov. 28, 1986 Pat Kennedy Florida W, 80-76
Nov. 14, 1997 Steve Robinson Rice W, 65-53


HAMILTON AGAINST ALL OPPONENTS
First-year Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton will coach his 415th career game against Savannah State Sunday. It marks the first time during his career he has coached against Savannah State. The Tigers will mark the 115 different school Hamilton has coached against during his collegiate coaching career.


HAMILTON IS THE FIRST IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL HISTORY
First-year Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton the first and only person to be a head coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State), Big East (Miami) and Big 12 (Oklahoma State).


IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
Florida State has an all-time record of 40-18 (.689) in games played during the month of November. The Seminoles played their first ever November game during the 1951-52 season and did not play another one until the start of the 1973-74 season. Florida State lost its first ever November game, 78-46, to the Paris Island Marines on Nov. 26, 1951. More than 20 years later, the Seminoles defeated Hofstra, 92-63, on Nov. 30, 1973 in a game played in Tallahassee. Florida State won 13 consecutive games played during the month of November from the start of the 1972-73 season through the start of the 1983-84 season. The Seminoles were 2-2 during the 11th month last season.


TOP JUNIOR COLLEGE SEMINOLES
Junior college transfers Nate Johnson and Tim Pickett begin their Seminole careers Sunday afternoon against Savannah State. Johnson, from Moberly Area Community College and Pickett, from Indian River Community College, have big shoes to fill as junior college transfers for the Seminoles. Sam Cassell (1992-93), who is considered to be the top junior college transfer in Florida State history, averaged 18.3 points in 66 career games as a Seminole. He led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament twice and to within one game of the final four in 1993. Cassell attended San Jacinto Junior College in Texas before transferring to Florida State.


Junior College Transfers In Their First Seminoles Games
Player Date Opponent Points/Other

Sam Cassell Nov. 26, 1991 Jacksonville 22 pts/6 asts/2 stls
David Thompson Dec. 2, 1975 Rollins College 12 pts/8 rebs
Tony Dawson Nov. 28, 1987 Bucknell 19 pts/7 rebs
Larry Warren Nov. 30, 1973 Hofstra 20 pts/2 rebs


PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE
F #1 Michael Joiner (5.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 10 pts vs. Savannah St., 11/20/01)
F #20 Andrew Wilson (13.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; DNP vs. Savannah St., 11/20/01)
C #51 Adam Waleskowski (1.0 pts, 0.5 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 11 pts vs. Sav. St., 11/20/01)
G #10 Nate Johnson (5.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 10 assists and 1 TO in two games)
G #22 Tim Pickett (28.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 48.3 (15 of 31) from 3-point line)
…AND TOP RESERVES
G #4 Todd Galloway (5.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 66.7 (6 of 9) from field)
F #54 Anthony Richardson (11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 12 pts vs. Sav. St, 11/20/01)
C #15 Trevor Harvey (9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 5 pts, 4 rebs vs. Sav. St, 11/20/01)
F #33 Mike Mathews (1.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 4 pts vs. Sav. St, 11/20/01)
G #21 Benson Callier (1.5 ppg, 0.0 rpg in 2 exhibition games; 50.0 (1 of 2) from 3-point line)


TODAY’S OFFICIALS
Today’s referee is Doug Shows and the umpires are J.B Caldwell and Tracy Woodson


FLORIDA STATE VS. SAVANNAH STATE – A SERIES HISTORY
The Series:Florida State leads, 1-0
Last Game: Nov. 20, 2001; FSU 93, SS 41
Last Florida State Win: Nov. 20, 2001; FSU 93, SS 41
Last Savannah State Win: None
Last Florida State Win in Tallahassee: Nov. 20, 2001; FSU 93, SS 41
Last Savannah State Win in Tallahassee: None
Florida State vs. Savannah State, Current Streak: Florida State has won 1


FLORIDA STATE VS. SAVANNAH STATE – THE LAST GAME
Freshmen Anthony Richardson and Adam Waleskowski led a group of six players in double figures as Florida State routed Savannah State 93-41 to match its biggest margin of victory in 33 years. The Seminoles (1-1) took a 42-17 halftime lead over the cold shooting visitors and led 93-39 on Richardson’s last of three 3-point baskets. He finished with 12 points, Waleskowski added 11 while four players – Michael Joiner, Antwuan Dixon, Monte Cummings and J.D. Bracy each scored 10 points. Savannah State (0-2) was led by Armond Burnett’s 14 points. No other Tiger player scored more than four points. Florida State shot 51.5 percent for the game, including 50 percent from 3-point distance, hitting a dozen of 24 attempts. It was the Seminoles largest margin of victory since a 104-52 win over New Hampshire, Dec. 30, 1968. Savannah State, which finished 4-21 a year ago, made only 23.8 percent of its shots and was only 1 of 14 from 3-point distance. The Tigers didn’t score for the first 5:50 of the game and didn’t reach double figures until there was 5:54 left in the half and they were behind 28-9.


LONGEST HOMESTAND IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Sunday’s season opener against Savannah State marks the first of eight consecutive home games for the Seminoles. It is the longest homestand in school history for the Florida State men’s basketball team. The Seminoles last played a homestand approaching this length during the 1953-54 season when it played seven consecutive games in the old Tully Gymnasium on the Florida State campus. Beginning with a victory over Mercer on Dec. 8, 1953 the Seminoles had a 5-2 record at home through an 80-76 loss to Loyola College of New Orleans Jan. 7, 1954. The last time the Seminoles opened a season with a long stretch of games at home was during the 1988-89 season when Florida State played five consecutive home games to begin the season. The Seminoles were 5-0 in those games on their way to a 22-8 record and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.


FLORIDA ST. SIGN ONE OF THE NATION’S TOP RECRUITING CLASSES
Three nationally ranked players who form one of the top recruiting classes in school history have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball for first-year head coach Leonard Hamilton at Florida State University. Vakeaton Wafer, Antonio Griffin and Diego Romero, who are all ranked among the top players in the nation at their positions, will begin playing for the Seminoles during the 2003-04 season. The combination of Wafer, Griffin and Romero has given Hamilton and the Seminoles a recruiting class ranked between fourth and 13th in the nation by various recruiting services. “All three players are versatile and very talented and will fit into our system well,” said Hamilton. “They all possess outstanding athletic ability and will help us continue building our basketball program. We are excited about each one of these players and what they will bring both individually and collectively to the program.”


SEMINOLES 3-POINT SHOTS MADE STREAK
Florida State, which made an average of 5.8 3-point shots per game last season, has made at least one 3-point shot in 133 consecutive games. The Seminoles have made at least one three-point shot in every game since Jan. 13, 1998.


JUNIOR COLLEGE PLAYERS RUNNING THE POINT FOR FLORIDA STATE
Nate Johnson start at the point guard position for the Seminoles during the 2002-03 season. Johnson was a Junior College second team All-America Selection at Moberly Area Community College last season. He will become one of only a few JUCO transfers to handle the point guard position for the Seminoles. A pair of his predecessors – Sam Cassell and Kerry Thompson — made their mark on Florida State basketball during their careers. Cassell is currently guard for the Milwaukee Bucks and was a starter for the Seminoles in 1992 and 1993. He averaged 18.3 points during his two-year career. During Cassell’s career at Florida State, the Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. Kerry Thompson manned the point guard position for the Seminoles for two years after starring at Tallahassee Community College. Thompson was one of the top JUCO players in the nation and led TCC to a No. 6 national ranking during his sophomore season with the Eagles. As a Seminole, Thompson earned All-ACC honorable mention honors during his first year and averaged nearly 10 points per game in leading the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament during the 1998 season.


SEMINOLE SCHEDULE NOTES
Florida State will play 16 regular season home games beginning with its season opener against Savannah State Nov. 24. The Seminoles will play each of their first eight regular season games at home before traveling for the first time to play Boston University in the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic Tournament Dec. 28. The Seminoles are scheduled to play 13 games against teams who played in last year’s NCAA Tournament and three more against teams who played in the NIT. Headlined by defending national champion Maryland, eight teams who advanced to last year’s post-season will come to Tallahassee to play at the Leon County Civic Center. Florida State’s appearance in the Fiesta Bowl Classic includes NCAA Tournament teams Davidson, Boston University and Arizona. The Seminoles will face B.U. in the first round of the event and either Davidson or Arizona in the second round of the four-team tournament.


MORE ON THE SEMINOLES’ NEW HEAD COACH – LEONARD HAMILTON
By all indications, the Leonard Hamilton era at Florida State is going to start quickly, gain steam and bring the Seminoles many victories against many teams throughout the nation. Not only do Hamilton’s teams have a history of playing teams throughout the state of Florida and the Atlantic Coast Conference region, but also his teams annually play the top competition from around the nation. During his coaching career at Oklahoma State and Miami, Hamilton’s teams have virtually owned the state of Florida. In his 14 years as a collegiate head coach, Hamilton has a 25-4 record for an .862 winning percentage against teams from the state of Florida. Hamilton is undefeated, 17-0, against Bethune Cookman, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Central Florida and also has victories over Florida International, Jacksonville and South Florida. He will have a chance to improve on that ledger as the Seminoles play host to both Florida and Miami during the upcoming season in the Civic Center. Hamilton has played five games against four Atlantic Coast Conference teams – Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest during his career – with all five games coming while he was at Miami. He will get into ACC competition quickly with his first conference game coming at home Dec. 22 against North Carolina.


JOINER AND RICHARDSON NAMED TO ALL-ACC ACADEMIC BASKETBALL TEAM
Junior Michael Joiner and sophomore Anthony Richardson of the Florida State men’s basketball team were named to the 2002 All-Atlantic Coast Conference academic team as announced by ACC commissioner John Swofford. Joiner is majoring in political science with a minor in communications. Richardson, only in his second academic year at Florida State, has yet to declare a major field of study. Both Joiner and Richardson earned ACC honor roll accolades during the fall and spring semesters last year. Florida State, Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest were the only schools with multiple players on the All-Academic team.


HAMILTON AS A COLLEGE AND A PROFESSIONAL COACH
Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton is one of only 12 of men who have been head coaches in both the collegiate ranks and the NBA. He has coached at Oklahoma State, Miami and now Florida State in college and with the Washington Wizards in the NBA. Other names on the list include P.J. Carlesimo, Lon Kruger, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.


UP NEXT FOR THE SEMINOLES
Florida State plays host to Mercer Wednesday Nov. 27 in a Thanksgiving-eve special for the basketball fans in Tallahassee. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will not be televised. The Seminoles and the Bears will meet for the 22nd time with Florida State holding a 13-8 edge in the series history. The two teams last met Jan. 20, 1992 in Tallahassee with the Seminoles taking a 78-64 victory. Florida State has won six consecutive and nine of the last 10 games in the series which dates back to 1948.

Related Articles