Sept. 30, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State senior Anthony Richardson has earned one of 15 regional covers of Street & Smith’s College Basketball 2004-05 National Preview magazine. The cover, along with the 192-page national preview which is distributed in the state of Florida, shows Richardson running the court during the 2004 ACC Tournament with the headline proclaiming, “A-train Anthony Richardson Engineers Florida State’s Drive For An NCAA bid.”
The Seminoles begin the 2004-05 poised to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998. A year ago, the Seminoles fell one win short of earning the school’s 11th NCAA Tournament bid. The Seminoles have made three NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16” appearances (1972, 1992, 1993), two “Elite Eight” appearances (1972 and 1993) and played in the National Championship game in 1972.
“We’re getting better,” Head Coach Leonard Hamilton tells the editors of the magazine. “But I think our best basketball is ahead of us. We think we have it moving in the right direction.”
The Seminoles will have to deal will the loss of their graduated guard, Tim Pickett, “the First-Team All-ACC honoree whose 110 three-point field goals made him one of the most prolific deep threats in league history,” according to Rob Daniels of the Greensboro (N.C.) News and Record. Florida State continues to build strength with their returning and rookie players according to Daniels.
In their prediction of how the Seminoles will fare during the upcoming season, the editors of the magazine give Florida State four stars out of five for the starting group, coaching staff and recruits. The Seminoles are one of only four teams in the now 11-team ACC to rate at least four stars in each of those four categories. In addition, in an interesting statistical analysis of wins in the last five years, Florida State is one of only two teams in the ACC that has upped its win total in each of the last three seasons.
Richardson averaged 7.3 points per game last season and needs only 195 points to reach the 1,000 point plateau for his career. He will be joined in an experienced lineup by senior Adam Waleskowski, who the magazine called the Seminoles’ most improved player along with Pickett last season. Waleskowski led Florida State with a 5.4 rebounds per game average in 2003-04. The two senior Seminoles will be joined by sophomore center Alexander Johnson who helped Florida State hold its opponents to 65.1 points per game in 2003-04. That figure was the second-best in ACC and the program’s best in a half-century. Todd Galloway, the Seminoles’ only returning point guard, will team with rookies Isaiah Swan and Jason Rich to give “Florida State excellent depth and ability to press and run. Rich and Swann were top-40 national recruits and should be ready to contribute,” writes Daniels.
Added Daniels about returning guard Von Wafer: “Wafer’s signing last year was one of the first indications that Hamilton was going to win in Tallahassee. The dynamic 6-5 rookie took his lumps occasionally, but displayed enough first-step quickness to elicit comparisons to Pickett. You can expect his shooting (37 percent) and scoring (7.9 ppg) to improve.”
Florida State earned a preseason ranking of seventh in the always-tough ACC. Wake Forest is picked as the league favorite followed by North Carolina, Georgia Tech, NC State, Duke, Maryland, Florida State, Virginia, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami.