TALLAHASSEE (Seminoles.com) – The Seminoles begin their new season by returning all their starters, with the addition of some new talented new players. One of the freshman joining the Noles this season is Sammie Puisis, a shooting guard from Mason, Ohio. Puisis was a McDonald’s All-American Player in 2019, was the No. 7-ranked guard and 37th-ranked player overall in 2019 by ESPN HoopGurlz.
She was also a 2019 finalist for Ms. Ohio Basketball and was on the 2019 Naismith Watch List, adding to her list of high school accolades. The transition from high school to college is difficult for most students, but for student-athletes it can be even harder. From early move-in to summer workouts, they’re constantly working in-season and out of season.
Puisis has been taking it in stride, trying to absorb the experience in its entirety. The transition she says has been a big one.
“College is definitely more time consuming,” Puisis said. “Academically there’s more work, but I think I’ve been doing a good job at it.”
Her relationship with her teammates goes far beyond the court. She credits her team with creating a lively atmosphere no matter the situation.
“Off the court it’s so much fun to be with and around them,” Puisis added. “I’m always smiling when we’re together, whether it’s in the locker room or at team dinners – we’re always having fun.”
The support of her team has made everything from high school to college “100 percent easier.” Puisis credits her teammates with some of her success in the preseason.
“They’re constantly supporting me so I’m never afraid to make a mistake,” she said.
The family-like atmosphere by her teammates and coaches is one of the attributes that drew Puisis to Florida State from the beginning. Coach Sue, her coaching staff and the players try to establish a family dynamic to their team. It was a point that Puisis echoed when talking about her time visiting Florida State.
“I feel like I can go to my coaches about anything and I think that without that, this whole experience would be a lot harder,” she said. Any traces of being homesick “have been completely alleviated by Coach Sue and her team.”
Just like every other freshman going into their first year of college, there is a combination of nerves and excitement as the year gets started.
It is clear that Puisis is ready for the regular season to begin. She has been through the grind of off-season workouts, preseason practice and even last week’s exhibition when it was nice to play another opponent, but the records don’t count. The 6-foot-1 sharp shooter is more than ready to mark her career debut when Florida State hosts Charleston Southern on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.
There’s another element that Puisis will really love about her collegiate basketball journey.
“Traveling,” she said on what else she looks forward to this season. “I know we will get the chance to go abroad at some point and I’m really excited for that.”
The preparation she has put in since stepping onto campus makes her ready for the upcoming season opener.
“Workouts are so much harder; the game is so much faster so now you have to be in great shape,” Puisis added.
Florida State heads into the season ranked 12th in the Associated Press Preseason Poll. This is the highest preseason ranking the Seminoles have had since also being ranked 12th in the 2016-17 preseason. The presence of several veteran players gives Puisis a chance to learn quite a bit from her teammates as she tries to make her mark in her freshman year.
It is clear that Puisis has found her home at Florida State. It was only about a year where she went through the recruiting rigors before making her final decision in Nov. 2018. And through that process, she offers some advice.
“Definitely choose a school where you love the coaches and feel like you’ll connect with your teammates,” Puisis advised. “You’re around them so much they really do become like your family.”