Nov. 7, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which averages more than 20 wins and has advanced to the postseason in the last two years, returns four starters and nine letterwinners for the 2007-08 season as it looks to continue a five-year upswing of success under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton into the 2007-08 season. The Seminoles will be led by a pair of veteran seniors – Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann – and an established junior – Toney Douglas – as they continue to establish the Florida State basketball team as one of the top programs in the nation.
DOUGLAS, RICH AND SWANN ARE HONORS CANDIDATES
All-ACC candidates Toney Douglas, Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann will anchor one of the ACC’s deepest backcourt units and compete for honors throughout the season. The Seminoles’ Dynamic Trio all averaged in double figure scoring and has started a combined 196 games during their careers.
HAMILTON LOOKING TO STAY PERFECT IN SEASON OPENERS
Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton enters Friday’s game against Nicholls State looking to improve his record in season openers as Florida State’s head coach to 6-0. He has led the Seminoles to season-opening victories over Savannah State (Nov. 24, 2002; 79-46), Maine (Nov. 21, 2003; 69-49), Texas Southern (Nov. 19, 2004; 71-62), Jacksonville (Nov. 19, 2005; 78-48) and McNeese State (Nov. 12, 2006; 85-65).
Seminole Head Coaches In Season Openers Coach Years Overall in Openers Record in First 5 Years Don Loucks 1947 1-0 1-0 J.K. "Bud" Kennedy 1948-66 9-9 3-2 Hugh Durham 1966-77 12-0 5-0 Joe Williams 1978-86 8-0 5-0 Pat Kennedy 1986-97 10-1 4-1 Steve Robinson 1997-02 2-3 2-3 Leonard Hamilton 2003-Pr. 5-0 Game 6 vs. Nicholls State
FLORIDA STATE IN SEASON OPENERS
Florida State has won 14 of its last 17 season openers dating to the opening game of the 1990-91 season. Entering Friday’s game against Nicholls State, the Seminoles have won each of their last four season openers when they have been at home.
Florida State In The First Game of the Season Category Record Winning Percentage Home Openers 42-1 .977 Road Openers 4-11 .333 Neutral Site Openers 1-1 .500 Season Openers 47-13 .783
SEASON-OPENING SEMINOLE NOTES
…Florida State’s largest margin of victory in a season opener came in a 133-79 (+54) victory over UCF on Nov. 25, 1978. The 54-point victory stands as the seventh largest margin of victory in school history;
…The most points scored by a Seminoles’ opponent in a season opener is 97 by Georgia Southern in a 109-97 victory by Florida State to open the 1972-73 season on Dec. 1, 1973;
…The fewest number of points scored in a season opener was 39 against Spring Hill College in a 39-36 victory by Florida State to open the 1947-48 season on Dec. 10, 1947. That game was the first in the history of the Seminole men’s basketball program;
…Florida State has scored 100 points or more nine times in a season opener – most recently the Seminoles defeated Florida Atlantic, 110-59, to open the 1993-94 season on Dec. 1, 1993.
HAMILTON IN SEASON OPENERS
Sixth-year head coach Leonard Hamilton enters Friday’s game against Nicholls State looking to win his 13th consecutive season opener. He guided Florida State to a 85-65 victory over McNeese State to begin the 2006-07 season. Hamilton has a 14-5 record (.737) during his collegiate career in season openers.
Hamilton Successful In Season Openers Season School Opponent Outcome 1986-87 Oklahoma State at Pepperdine L, 61-79 1987-88 Oklahoma State at BYU-Hawaii L, 59-62 1988-89 Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh L, 75-93 1989-90 Oklahoma State at North Texas W, 94-66 1990-91 Miami vs. George Mason L, 91-97 1991-92 Miami vs. Barry University W, 80-67 1992-93 Miami vs. Florida Int. L, 64-72 1993-94 Miami vs. Florida Atlantic W, 85-53 1994-95 Miami vs. NE Illinois W, 66-48 1995-96 Miami vs. NE Illinois W, 81-58 1996-97 Miami vs. Buffalo W, 78-61 1997-98 Miami at Southern Illinois W, 73-61 1998-99 Miami at Florida Atlantic W, 97-73 1999-00 Miami at Central Florida W, 81-54 2002-03 Florida State vs. Savannah State W, 79-46 2003-04 Florida State vs. Maine W, 69-49 2004-05 Florida State vs. Texas Southern W, 71-62 2005-06 Florida State vs. Jacksonville W, 78-46 2006-07 Florida State vs. McNeese State W, 85-65
FLORIDA STATE OPENS 2007-08 SEASON ON EARLIEST DATE EVER
Florida State’s opener against Nichols State on Nov. 9 is the earliest date a regular season game has been played in school history. It is three days earlier than the season opener of last season which came on Nov. 12. The latest an opening day has ever been came during the first season of basketball at Florida State when the Seminoles opened their season on Dec. 10, 1947 against Spring Hill College.
FLORIDA STATE AGAINST THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE ON OPENING DAY
Florida State’s season opener against Nichols State marks the second consecutive season the Seminoles will open their season against a team from the Southland Conference. The Seminoles defeated McNeese State, 85-65, in the first round of the Colonial Classic in Tallahassee on Nov. 12, 2006 to begin the 2006-07 season. Florida State also opened its 1998-99 season with a victory over Southland member Sam Houston State (88-51; Dec. 13, 1998) and enters the 2007-08 season with a 2-0 record against Southland Conference teams in season opening games.
DOUGLAS NAMED COUSEY AWARD CANDIDATE
Toney Douglas, Florida’s States leading returning scorer from last season has been named a candidate for the 2008 Cousy Award presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and The Hartford. The Cousy Award recognizes the top collegiate point guard participating in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III. Douglas averaged 12.7 points per game for the Seminoles to go along with 2.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. The junior from Jonesboro, Georgia shot 47.5% from the field and 78.8% from the charity stripe. Douglas is one of seven players from the ACC named as a candidate and only one of forty players nominated nationwide.
SEMINOLES LOOKING TO SURPASS 20 WINS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Florida State has won at least 20 games and averages 21.1 victories per season in the last two years. The Seminoles advanced to the second round of the NIT in 2006 with a 20-10 record and advanced to the quarter finals of the NIT in 2007 with a 22-13 record. The Seminoles enter the 2007-08 season looking to win 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons for only the second time in school history.
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE F #41 Uche Echefu (6.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg; career-high 14 points vs. McNeese State, 11/12/06) F #42 Ryan Reid (2.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 10 points vs. Toledo, 3-13-07) G #3 Isaiah Swann (10.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 31 points vs. Mississippi State, 3/21/07) G #23 Toney Douglas (12.7 ppg, 2.9 apg in 06-07; Career-high 38 points vs. Nicholls State, 11/24/04) G #25 Jason Rich (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 24 points vs. Maryland, 1/30/07) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #10 Ralph Mims (4.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 17 points vs. Texas Southern, 11/19/04) F #15 Casaan Breeden (2.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 13 points vs. SE Louisiana, 12/10/06) F #2 Jordan Demercy (9.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg as a high school senior at Norcross (Ga.) High School) F #21 Julian Vaughn (8.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg as a high school senior at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR NICHOLLS STATE F #21 Ryan Bathie (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 25 points vs. Lamar, 2/1/07) F #11 Dominic Friend (Redshirted as a true freshman in 2006-07) C #13 Mitch Boyce (5.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 17 points vs. Texas A&M CC, 2/8/07) G #5 Justin Payne (5.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 15 points vs. Pepperdine, 11/14/06) G #20 Adonis Gray (13.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg in 06-07; Career-high 33 at Washington, 11/13/06)
FLORIDA STATE VS. NICHOLLS STATE - A SERIES HISTORY The Series: Florida State leads, 1-0 Last Game: Nov. 26, 2003, Florida State 99, Nicholls State 54 Last Florida State Win: Nov. 26, 2003, Florida State 99, Nicholls State 54 Last Nicholls State Win: None Last Florida State Win In Tallahassee: Nov. 26, 2003, Florida State 99, Nicholls State 54 Last Nicholls State Win In Tallahassee: None Leonard Hamilton vs. Nicholls State: 1-0 (at Florida State)
SEMINOLES RETURN MANY WEAPONS FOR 2007-08 SEASON
Led by junior guard Toney Douglas’ 12.7 points per game scoring average and junior Uche Echefu’s 4.3 rebounds per game average, the Seminoles return 66 percent of their scoring total and more than 70 percent of their rebounding totals from last year’s team totals. All-ACC candidate Isaiah Swann is the Seminoles’ returning leader in three different categories – assists (3.1 apg), field goals made (143), 3-point field goals made (68) while fellow All-ACC candidates Toney Douglas (scoring and field goals made) and Jason Rich (free throws made and minutes played) led the team in two statistical categories.