Nov. 9, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) –
In continuing an annual tradition that has now reached its 10th consecutive season, Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State men’s basketball team have signed a top 25 nationally ranked recruiting class with the addition of four outstanding recruits who will become Seminoles in 2012: Devon Bookert (Anchorage, Ak./West), Montay Brandon (High Point, N.C./Wesleyan Christian), Robert Gilchrist (London, England/Polk State College) and Aaron Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio/Brewster Academy).
Florida State’s class is ranked as high as No. 17 nationally by Rivals.com and Hamilton is not done yet. With two graduate students and four seniors on the Seminoles’ current roster, Hamilton is still looking to add two more players to his already bountiful recruiting class.
“We are very excited about the recruits in our incoming class,” said Hamilton. “Our staff has done another tremendous job of identifying and cultivating four players who we know will have a tremendous impact on our program during their entire careers. We have added everything we were looking for – ball handling skills, shooting ability, size and strong basketball knowledge. We are excited to bring these four players in and equally excited to continue the recruiting process in order to improve the class and make it even stronger.”
Bookert (6-2, 165) was named the 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Alaska as he averaged 25.0 points, 8.5 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game as a senior at Anchorage West High School. He has graduated from high school and is currently spending a prep season at the Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas. Bookert led his team to a state championship as a junior and to a runner-up finish in the state tournament as a senior. He can shoot the 3-point shot, score off of the dribble and became a dominant offensive player as a prep star.
Bookert chose Florida State over Cal, San Diego State, DePaul, Oregon and Oregon State.
“When Devin came in as a freshman I told his father that he was the closest thing I had seen to (former Duke star) Trajan Langdon,” said former West High School coach Chuck White. “He is a wonderful young man who will stay in the gym and on the court until he perfects his game. Devin will be an outstanding player at Florida State and will flourish during his career as the high level of competition in the ACC.”
Brandon (6-7, 195) is currently ranked as the 59th best player and the 11th best guard in the nation by Rivals.com. He is a four-star recruit who averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game as a junior. Considered a natural for Hamilton’s system at Florida State, Brandon can play the one, two or three spots on the floor and is comfortable both handing the ball and playing on the wing. He plays for the nationally renowned Georgia Stars and D1 Sports AAU teams.
Brandon selected Florida State after receiving offers from Clemson, Missouri, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Tennessee
“Florida State is getting a strong player in Montay – a player who I know has the ability to start for Coach Hamilton early on during his career,” said Wesleyan Christian coach Keith Gatlin. “He is the most versatile player I have ever coached; he will do whatever the coaching staff at Florida State asks of him and he will do it at different positions. I really think he has a chance to be special and know that with his work ethic and talent that will help him be a special player at Florida State and in the ACC.”
Gilchrist (6-9, 210) is a junior college transfer from Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla., who will have two years of eligibility remaining when he joins the Florida State program for the 2012-13 season. Ranked as the 16th best junior college player in the nation, he led Polk to the Suncoast Conference championship in 2011 as he earned all-conference first team honors as a freshman. Gilchrist averaged 9.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while shooting .481 from the field as a freshman. He ranked 16th nationally among all junior college players in blocked shots per game in 2011.
Gilchrist moved to the United States from London in 2009 and attended Worchester Academy in Massachusetts before enrolling at Polk State. He led England to the championship of the FIBA U-18 tournament in 2008 and is currently a member of England’s U-20 team.
Gilchrist chose Florida State over Baylor, Texas, Memphis, Oklahoma and Washington State.
“Florida State got one heck of an athlete in Robert Gilchrist,” said Polk head coach Matt Furjanic. “He’s 6-9 with a wingspan at more than 7-1 so he is long and knows how to utilize his length to his advantage. He’s a former soccer player who is very coordinated and runs the court very well. Coach Hamilton and his staff should be really excited about Robert because of his quickness to the ball, his strong mid-range game and great work ethic. On top of that, he is a great teammate who is ecstatic about being a Florida State Seminole.”
The Seminoles also resigned Aaron Thomas, who originally signed with Hamilton and Florida State during the fall 2010 signing period. He is currently playing a prep season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire before enrolling at Florida State for the 2012-13 season.
Thomas (6-4, 195) is the No. 56 ranked prospect by Rivals.com and was the No. 13 ranked shooting guard and the No. 71 ranked overall player in the nation as a senior at Withrow High School in Cincinnati. He is considered to be one of the top scorers and most athletic players in the class of 2012. Thomas is one of the top players at Brewester who will have at least four players accept Division I scholarships during the 2011 signing period.
Thomas averaged 22.0 points per game in leading Withrow to a district championship as a senior. He averaged 21.4 points and 7.3 rebounds and was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior at Aiken High School. Considered to be one of the top players in the basketball rich state of Ohio, Thomas shot better than 56 percent from the field and better than 82 percent from the free throw line as a junior.
He originally selected Florida State over Ohio State, Xavier and Cincinnati and remained committed to Hamilton and Florida State after deciding to attend Brewster during the 2011-12 season.
“Aaron Thomas is the consummate student of the game of basketball,” said Ozzie Davis III who coaches the AAU Queen City Prophets. “Nobody works harder and nobody will bring more of an enthusiastic spirit to Florida State than Aaron. His work ethic both on and off the court is incredible as is his desire to help Coach Hamilton, his staff and his teammates win championships during his career.”
Florida State opens its 2011-12 season against Jacksonville on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Tickets are still available by calling 1-888-FSU-NOLE or logging onto seminoles.com. In appreciation of their service to the United States, military veterans will receive one free admission to the game when they present their military ID at the Tucker Center Box Office on Friday night.