Oct. 2, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Senior honors candidate Tim Pickett has been noted as one of the nation’s best players who are playing under the radar…for now by Andy Katz of ESPN and ESPN.com.
Pickett, Florida State’s “Triple Threat”, who lead the Seminoles in scoring, rebounding and steals last season, returns for his senior season set on helping Florida State to another level on the men’s basketball court.
Here’s what Katz had to say about Pickett in this week’s Weekly Word.
He originally was penciled in to go to South Carolina, then Wyoming and landed at Florida State out of junior college. And Pickett couldn’t have been a better fit for Leonard Hamilton.
Hamilton needed Pickett to score and he did, leading the team (17.1 ppg). He needed him to rebound and he did, supplying a team-high 5.7 boards a game despite being 6-4. He needed him to make free throws, because Pickett was going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and he did at an 86.5 percent clip. And Hamilton desperately needed Pickett to be a leader on defense. And he did, leading the ACC with 82 steals.
Pickett gets lost in the over hyped ACC with players at other schools like Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia usually grabbing the headlines. But Pickett could end up becoming a player of the year candidate if the Seminoles make a move up the standings — which isn’t out of the question with the addition of 6-5 freshman wing Von Wafer.
The bottom line: Pickett and Florida State could be the sleepers in the ACC.
“You’d be right on target there,” Hamilton said of Pickett. And of the Seminoles? Well, Hamilton just kept laughing. “That remains to be seen.”
But Pickett was the most conditioned athlete on the Seminoles last season and pushed his teammates to work harder in practice. His 3-point shooting (32.4 percent) still needs work but he won’t have to take as many shots this season. Hamilton said Pickett was watching tape all summer, trying to understand the defensive principles. He grasped them last season to pick up the league-high in steals, now he needs to be able to teach the defense to the newcomers.
“He’s got such a great competitive spirit,” Hamilton said. “He’s such a gym rat.”
Adding Wafer, who Hamilton said is eager to learn, humble and focused, could mean the Seminoles will be a player in the ACC after winning just four games in the league a year ago.