Jan. 10, 2006
If you were to take a look inside a Florida State basketball practice, you would see everything that you would expect to find at an ordinary practice session: coaches conferring with players and helping them on the next concept, the head coach moving from drill to drill to be there with a critique, and the players working harder than ever to accomplish their goals. This year for the Seminoles, that means a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
There is one thing that is a little bit different at the Florida State’s downtown basketball facility, though. Sophomore Jason Rich of Pensacola is busy at learning an entirely new job for the Seminoles basketball team. Last year as a freshman, Rich, who was a standout at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, was used mostly off the bench, and led all freshmen in playing time with 19.5 minutes and 5.4 points per game in his first year.
This year, Rich is facing an entirely different challenge: being the floor general and team leader out on the court.
“In a way, I guess I’m an extension of Coach Hamilton, but Todd Galloway is our `commander-in-chief”. I just try to keep us focused on our game plan,” Rich said.
Dubbed “CNN” by his teammates thanks to his propensity to spew out all kinds of basketball knowledge – and other things as well – Rich is also one of the built-in morale boosters for this team. He loves the system, and that’s part of the reason why he chose to come to FSU over such basketball powers as Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia Tech, and Connecticut.
“I’ve been looking forward to this since stepping on the campus for the first time last year, it was a year of learning how the game is played here, and spending time in the offseason to meet the levels of expectation set for us.”
Rich is meeting those expectations thus far, adjusting nicely into his new job out on the court, currently ranking second on the team in points (10.5 ppg) and in minutes played (23.2) and helping lead the Seminoles to a 5-1 record as of press time. In fact, Rich set a new career-high for scoring against Jacksonville on opening night, dropping 13 on the Dolphins, only to break it again three weeks later with a 15-point performance against Texas Southern.
Also part of those expectations is to not worry about what students, fans, and especially members of the media say about the team, after picking Florida State eleventh in the ACC. Rich said that the team isn’t too worried about what others think, and that it’s their job to just take care of things on the court, and let the pieces fall where they may.
“It’s not necessary (to worry). Those guys do jobs, and based on last year, we deserve it. We lost our leading scorer (in Von Wafer), a lot of quality seniors, but we feel we have the talent and the capability to be a good team. Our destiny is in our own hands.”
By Cameron Norris FSU Sports Information