Oct. 22, 2005
Redshirt freshman Toney Douglas is in one of the toughest positions on the 2005-06 Florida State men’s basketball team. The Jonesboro, Ga. native has to go to practice, watch film and attend class knowing that he can not wear a Garnet and Gold jersey or represent FSU in any games during the season. The 2005 Freshman All-America (third team) will redshirt the season after transferring from Auburn. With all that in front of him, Douglas still has the focus of a player who averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals in just his first season of college play. The All-SEC (third team) honoree scored a career-high 38 points and 10 rebounds against Nicholls State and led the Auburn Tigers in scoring in 15 of 31 games. Seminoles.com sat down with the talented guard to talk about his transition to Florida State, his success at Auburn and how he will keep himself busy this year.
Which coaches did you talk to when you decided you wanted to transfer to Florida State? What about the program made you feel like this was the place for you?
Coach Hamilton and Coach Sheals were the main coaches I talked to. I always liked the ACC and the level of play in the conference. When I started looking to go to another program, I looked at all the schools and the guards who were leaving and worked on processing that information. Coach Ham told me that he wanted me to visit FSU; I came and liked the campus, the academics and everything about the school. Plus, I have a lot of family down here in Florida and that played a big part in my decision as well.
And home is not that far from here?
Yes, I was born in Tampa but my whole life I’ve lived in Atlanta. I have family in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Mariana and Tallahassee so it was easy to come here.
What was the first thing that caught your eye about Florida State?
I liked the university overall and it has been a good fit for me. It seems like everybody knows everybody. It’s a small town but there is a lot of stuff to do in Tallahassee. I like the scenery, the trees, everything – it’s just a nice campus.
You are joining a program on the rise in the best conference in the nation. Without stepping on to the court and playing in a game for the Seminoles, what do you have planned for the 2005-06 season?
Our goals as a team are to try to win ACC Championships and go to NCAAs. As a guard, I want to lead my team towards both of those goals. Even though I’m not playing this year, nothing changes. We still have to work hard every day and be mentally prepared. We al have to stay in shape and keep everybody working together. If we can do that we’ll be alright.
For those who do not know what it means to sit out a year, what exactly do you do? Can you practice with the team? What are some of the things that you can and can’t do?
I can practice with the team and go to home games but I can’t travel – I can just watch on television. Whenever they’re away, I have workouts here in Tallahassee on my own. My practice is really like my game time. I still learn plays and the system just like everyone else. I just can’t get on the court yet and play.
What are you learning from some of the guys who have been in Tallahassee for the last few years?
The main thing I am doing is learning the system. Knowing what Coach Ham likes from his point guards is really important. It’s really a mental thing. I feel I have the physical tools but I’m just trying to learn the mental part of the game.
Are there any of the past guards or any of Coach Hamilton’s past players that are giving you some insight on the game and how to play?
Nate Johnson was here to visit a few weeks back and he talked to me and told me what Coach Ham expects of his point guards. I listened to him and am trying to continue to learn. I think that’s the key to being successful.
Who are you closest to on the team?
I think I’m close with all my teammates. I’m really just getting to know everybody. We all go out together and do things as a group.
Do you think that closeness helps you on the court?
The chemistry we are building off the court will make us a better team on the court. It’s going to help us because we all have to stick together and work together. There isn’t any one man on this team, we have to stick together as a team a players.
If you could tell everybody that looks at the Seminoles.com website something that might not come up in the stats about yourself, that people wouldn’t necessarily know just by reading your page, what would it be?
I’m always at the house chilling most of the time. Sometimes on weekends, you know I’m an athlete and people (my age) go out and stuff, but I’ll usually stay at home studying. I like to play ball so I’m going to keep my grades up. Most people probably wouldn’t think that I’d be home on weekends and studying but that’s usually where I am.
What is your major and why did you choose that degree program?
Yes. I want to learn about the business side of sports. I really want to be a sports agent because I like all sports. I want to try and learn the business side of my field, basketball, and see how it works.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
I have one brother and one sister. My brother plays football for Louisville and my sister goes to Kennesaw State. I’m the baby of the family.
Is Toney short for anything?
No. My name is spelled differently and that’s one of the things I like. I think T-O-N-Y doesn’t look right to me, for some reason, I don’t know.
Did you know anyone at FSU before you got here?
Well, not really any close friends, but I knew Isaiah Swann and Jason Rich because they were in my recruiting class. I knew them on the AAU circuit. I don’t have any family at FSU but I have a lot of cousins that go to Florida A&M.
What was it like to have a great season at Auburn your freshman year?
It felt pretty good knowing that I accomplished what I did as a freshman. Most people probably thought I had a big head, but it really didn’t matter, as long as we won. With my team last year at Auburn, I had to score a lot. It was kind of hard for me, coming out of high school, it was a big transition. I had to change a lot of aspects of my game to play at a different level, so it was kind of hard but I fought through it.
What did you do to change your game?
I worked on my conditioning, listened to the coaching staff and studied a lot film. I had to learn two positions – 1 and 2 – and we had a lot of plays. With my coach last year at Auburn, you had to be a good listener, if you weren’t a good listener, you weren’t playing. Coach Ham is the same way, he says it once and you better get it.
You tested the NBA draft waters earlier this year, what made you decide to come back to college?
A lot of general managers and NBA scouts said one day they know I’m going to be in the NBA. I’m only a freshman and what I accomplished last year was exciting for me. I felt going back to school and waiting until the right time was the best thing for me. I listened to that advice and I know now what the NBA is looking for out of my position. I really kind of have an advantage over other people coming out in college. It was a good experience to have and will help me in the future.
By Lauren Williams
FSU Sports Information