Aug. 21, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The Florida State men’s basketball team has once again earned mention as one of the nation’s top teams for the upcoming season by ESPN college basketball analyst Andy Katz who has labeled the Seminoles as a “Threat To Appear in Some Top 25s” as the start to practice for the 2006-07 season is now less that two months away.
In counting down his top 50 teams heading into the season, Katz has the Seminoles at No. 40 saying: “Here are 10 teams you could see in round 2 of the NCAAs.” He goes on to speak well of Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles and their All-America candidate Al Thornton.
Power-rating Push: Playing Florida (Dec. 3), Wisconsin (Nov. 28) and Pitt (Nov. 24) is plenty.
Of the 10 teams ranked in Katz’s 31-40 range, the Seminoles were voted as the team deserving to be ranked higher in a vote on ESPN.com.
Earlier this summer, ESPN’s Dick Vitale tabbed the Florida State men’s basketball team as the fifth best in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the 38th best in the nation. Said Vitale: Leonard Hamilton will rely on his guards. Former Auburn star Toney Douglas will have an impact.”
Florida State will rely on All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton who averaged 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds as a junior last season. He earned All-ACC Second-Team and NABC All-District First-Team honors in leading the Seminoles to the second round of the NIT in 2006.
The Seminoles are scheduled to play seven of the teams in Katz’s top 20 including Florida (No. 1), North Carolina (No. 2), Pittsburgh (No. 4), Wisconsin (No. 8) Duke (No. 12), Boston College (No. 13), and Georgia Tech (No. 17).
Florida State, who defeated No. 1 ranked Duke during the 2005-06 season, returns three starters and nine letter winners for the 2006-07 season as it looks to continue building on the rock-solid foundation which has been put into place by fifth-year head coach Leonard Hamilton. Led by Thornton, the Seminoles return more than 60 percent of their total scoring (.647 percent) and rebounding (.603 percent) from a season ago. Thornton is Florida State’s leading returning scorer, rebounder and leader in both field goals and free throws made as he enters the 2006-07 season as one of the nation’s top collegiate players.