June 10, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
As the summer rolls on and the schedule begins to fall into place, the members of the Seminole men’s basketball team are finishing their coursework in the first session of summer school and working hard in preparation for the 2005-06 season. In this edition of the Florida State Weekly Basketball report, find out about the first game released on the upcoming schedule, how three former Seminoles fared in the NBA in 2004-05 and read up on the Seminoles’ four newcomers.
FLORIDA STATE TO FACE NEBRASKA IN ORANGE BOWL CLASSIC
The Florida State men’s basketball team will face Nebraska in the 12th annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2005. The Seminoles will face the Cornhuskers in the first game of the doubleheader with Miami (Fla.) facing 2005 Final Four participant Louisville in the second game of the event. The Seminoles will face the Cornhuskers for the first time in school history when the two teams meet on New Years Eve. It will mark on only the second time the Seminoles have faced a team from the state of Nebraska with their only previous game against a team from the Cornhusker state coming against Creighton. The Seminoles last played in the Orange Bowl Classic when they faced Massachusetts during the 1999-00 season. Florida State also played in the event during the 1955-56 season when it finished with a 16-9 record under head coach Joe Kennedy.
SEMINOLES WILL FIELD YOUNG ROSTER IN 2005-06
The Seminoles will begin the season as a relatively young team with only three seniors – Todd Galloway, Andrew Wilson, Diego Romero and Antonio Griffin – on the roster. The quartet of Galloway, Wilson, Romero and Griffin has played in 222 games and started 96 games during their careers. Among those games played are two games in the NIT during the 2004 season.
CAPITAL CLASSIC SEMINOLES
Four members of the Seminoles’ current roster have played in the prestigious Capital Classic All-Star Game. Led by junior Alexander Johnson, the quartet also includes sophomores Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann and heralded newcomer Uche Echefu. All four players started were starters in the game at the tail end of their high school careers.
CURRENT SEMINOLES RANKED AMONG THE BEST PREP PLAYERS
Seven current Seminoles were all considered as consensus national top 40 high school players by various recruiting services. Sophomore Jason Rich was ranked as the nation’s 22nd best player and Todd Galloway as the 28th best player while Isaiah Swann and Uche Echefu was ranked as the 34th best players in the nation when they were high school seniors. Two more outstanding incoming freshmen – Casaan Breeden and Ryan Reid – have been ranked as the 39th and 36th best players in the nation entering the collegiate ranks for the upcoming season.
Five Seminoles on the 2005-06 basketball roster earned All-State First-Team honors as high school seniors. Uche Echefu was all-state first-team in Maryland, Ralph Mims in Maine, Jason Rich in Florida, Casaan Breeden in South Carolina and Alexander Johnson in Georgia.
HISTORICAL FLASHBACK — NOTING THE SEMINOLE CAREER OF GEORGE MCCLOUD
During the 1988-89 season, George McCloud was named the Metro Conference Player of the Year. The senior point guard averaged 22.8 points and made a single-season school record 115 3-point shots in leading Florida State to the NCAA Tournament. He became the first pick of the Indiana Pacers that season and stands as the first NBA draft lottery pick in Florida State history.
HISTORICAL FLASHBACK — SURA THE FIRST TO EARN ALL-ACC FIRST-TEAM HONORS
Bob Sura became the first player in school history to earn All-ACC first-team honors when he averaged 21.2 points and 7.9 rebounds during the 1993-94 season. He scored 573 points and made 52 3-point shots. Sura finished his career with a school record 2,130 points and was the first round draft choice of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995.
HISTORICAL FLASHBACK — PICKETT ALSO EARNS ALL-ACC FIRST-TEAM HONORS
Tim Pickett was the second player in school history to earn All-ACC first-team honors when he averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds during the 2003-04 season. He was named to the All-ACC defensive team in 2003 and 2004 as he totaled 164 steals during his two year career. Pickett was the second round draft choice of the New Orleans Hornets in 2004.
HISTORICAL FLASHBACK — WARD NAMED TO 1992 ACC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Charlie Ward was named to the ACC All-Tournament team in 1992 as the Seminoles advanced to the Semifinals of the event in their first year in the league. He led the Seminoles to a victory over NC State in the first ever ACC Tournament game in school history in that event. Florida State advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with victories over Montana and Georgetown before falling to Indiana only one win short of the Elite Eight.
HISTORICAL FLASHBACK — GIPSON NAMED METRO CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Alton Lee Gipson was named the Metro Conference Newcomer of the Year in 1984 as he led the Seminoles to a third place conference finish, to the semifinals of the Metro Conference Tournament and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He led Florida State with an 18.9 points per game average and a 7.8 rebounds per game average.
CASSELL ENJOYS BEST SEASON OF SEMINOLES CURRENTLY IN LEAGUE
Sam Cassell enjoyed the best season of the three Seminoles in the league with averages of 13.5 points and 5.1 assists in 59 games. He also ranked 14th in the NBA with an 86.5 shooting percentage from the free throw line. The Wolves finished with 44 wins and in ninth place in the Western Conference – only one game behind Memphis for the final playoff spot. Cassell has scored 12,960 points during his 12-year NBA Career. He was the first round draft choice of the Houston Rockets in1994 and was an NBA All-Star in 2004. He helped lead the Rockets to a pair of World Championships in 1994 and 1995.
SURA ENJOYS OUTSTANDING NBA SEASON IN 2004-05
Seminole All-American Bob Sura enjoyed the best season of the three Seminoles currently in the NBA as he averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as a starter for the Houston Rockets during the 2004-05 season. After starting the season on the injured reserve, Sura stated 59 of 62 games during the regular season including seven starts in the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks. Sura scored a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds against the Mavericks in the playoffs and scored in double figures 30 times during the season. He scored his season-high of 35 points in a victory of the New Jersey Nets in January.
WARD SPENDS MOST OF 2004-05 SEASON ON INJURED RESERVE
Charlie Ward, one of the greatest athlete in Florida State history, spent most of his 10th year in the NBA on the injured reserve list after undergoing knee surgery in December. He averaged 5.4 points and nearly three rebounds a game in limited action. Ward started 13 of the 14 games he played in as the Rocket’s starting point guard. Ward scored his season-high of 14 points against Sacramento and played his season-high of 41 minutes against the Lakers in games played during the month of November;
DOCUMENTING THE SEMINOLES’ INCOMING PLAYERS
All four of the Seminoles’ incoming players averaged in double figure scoring during the 2004-05 season with Uche Echefu leading the way at 21.2 points per game. He was followed by Casaan Breeden at 20.0 per game, Jerel Allen at 17.2 and Ryan Reid at 15.0 points per game. Combined, the Seminoles’ quartet of recruits averaged 73.9 points per game last season. All four players earned All-State honors – Allen in Junior College and Breeden, Echefu and Reid in high school. Allen was the top JUCO player in the state of Michigan and an All-America honorable mention selection while Breeden was All-State in South Carolina, Echefu was All-State in Maryland and Reid was an All-State selection in Florida. In addition, Breeden and Echefu were selected as the Players of the Year in their respective states