July 26, 2005
Andrew Wilson returns as a starter for the Seminoles for the third consecutive season and will become the first player in the history of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball to play in six different seasons when he suits up for Florida State this season. He has played in three complete seasons (2000-01, 2003-04, 2004-05) and received medical redshirt exceptions during two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03). Wilson is a graduate student majoring in sport management after earning his bachelor’s degree in sport management during the summer of 2004. Wilson is Florida State’s leading returner for the 2005-06 season in numerous career statistical categories including career 3-point field goals made (69), career free throws made (85) and career rebounds (206). He sat down with Seminoles.com to discuss summer workouts, staying healthy and what’s he’s looking forward to as the 2005-06 season approaches.
What have you been doing this summer to help you prepare for the upcoming season?
I think the biggest thing I have worked on has been getting into the best shape I can for the start of the season. I have really worked on trying to stay healthy – that’s the biggest aspect of training for me. I have word on my cardio and have really worked hard on my game in the gym. It’s the first time in a long time that I am starting to see a marked improvement in my game because I have been able to keep myself healthy and on the court.
How often do you and your teammates play pick-up and how intense are those games?
We play three nights a week at the Basketball Training Center. The games are going really well and we have had great attendance for just about every workout. The games we play are the most competitive we have played in my five years at Florida State. All of the players come with a great attitude each night and the new players are fitting in and learning the game quickly.
Who have been some of the standout players during the pick-up games?
A few players who come to mind quickly are Al Thornton, Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann. Those three players have really made great strides to becoming even better basketball players than they were last season. They have all worked really hard in trying to get better as individual players and make us better as a team. Aside from those three players, everyone is really working hard and doing whatever they can to get better as and help make us better as a team.
Tell us about the newcomers – who has played well and what are their strengths?
So far, the newcomers have all played well and demonstrated the fact that they all want to be part of a winning program here at Florida State. Ryan Reid is a big body and a very good rebounder who is going to help us this season. He has displayed some pretty good post moves around the basket. Most importantly, he really understands what he does well and he sticks to what he does well. He doesn’t get away from his strengths. Casaan Breeden has a ton of raw ability and talent. He is extremely athletic and finishes well around the basket. Once he learns how to play the game a little bit more he is really going to be a good player for us. The sky is going to be the limit for Casaan. Tony Douglas, although he is not going to be able to play next year, has been unbelievable during pick-up games. He is going to have a big impact on this program when he gets onto the court. Jerel Allen is going to help our team out immediately. He’s got great offensive abilities, is a good shooter, creates off the dribble pretty well and once he gets experience at this level he’s going to become better each day he plays for Coach Hamilton.
As an upperclassman, what kinds of things are you able to teach the Seminoles’ new players?
As an upperclassman, I think the biggest thing I can teach the younger players is the work ethic and the amount of work that it takes each day to improve your skills. The difference in the speed of the game from high school to college is incredible and that’s one of the first things they have to learn as newcomers. It’s a big change coming from high school to the ACC and the players who have been through that change have to impress upon them they need to understand that fact. The quicker these players can adapt to the speed the better off they will be. I have seen every indication that these players will be able to prepare themselves for the increased speed of the game. I think they will all be able to step in and become impact players this season.
What are you personally doing to stay healthy as the upcoming season begins?
For the first time since my freshman season, I am feeling really good. I’m healthy and noting is bothering me right now. I am able to take part in all of the workouts and all of the conditioning drills and that is very exciting to me. I have also been working on my shot and being on the court is the most important thing I can do for that. As far as trying to stay healthy, there is really nothing I am doing right now except for taking care of my body at all times.
What are you working on this summer to help make yourself a better basketball player?
The biggest thing that is allowing me to improve is my ability to stay in the gym and on the court. I am putting up a lot of shots every day and working on making my self better in all of the many different aspects of my game. That is some thing I have not been able to do in the past few off seasons. I feel like people haven’t really seen the true me and they don’t really know what I can do on the court. I feel like I am taking steps in the right direction to become a better player. As I mentioned previously, my conditioning is better than it has been in a number of years. That is going to help me a lot.
What is your strength and conditioning schedule during the summer months?
Right now we lift with Coach Bradley three days a week. We are also team conditioning workouts twice a week. We are also working on our conditioning during our pickup games three times a week. I have also been getting out and running on my own.
How much more competitive will the ACC be now that Boston College is officially a member of the league?
I think the addition of Boston College to our league is going to make not only Florida State better but their addition will make the rest of the teams in the ACC better. When you look at them last year, they were a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and I believe they were undefeated in their first 20 or so games. I don’t think they have lost a whole lot coming back for this year. The addition of Boston College into our league is going to add to the depth and quality of the ACC.
How far along are you in your graduate program and when will you earn your Master’s Degree?
Right now I’m halfway through my graduate program. To complete my program, I have to accumulate 36 hours and I’ve finished 18 so far. I plan to take nine hours in the fall and nine hours in the spring in order to graduate in the spring of 2006 with my master’s degree.
What’s the difference between being an undergraduate student and being a graduate student?
I think the biggest difference in being a graduate and an undergraduate student is learning how to budget your time. There is a lot more material I need to learn and more of a time demand needed to process all of the information. I’m actually enjoying classes more now because the curriculum pertains more to what I will be doing in the real world in my professional career.
It’s the summer time – what are you doing away from the basketball court for fun?
My biggest hobby is playing golf. It is something that helps me get away from basketball. I have also been hanging out with my teammates a lot. That is something we have been putting a lot of emphasis on this year. It is creating a better team atmosphere. I think we’re definitely making strides in that.
What are you most looking forward to as the 2005-06 season approaches?
The thing I am most looking forward to this season is being healthy. Knowing that I’ve had a full summer of training; that I have the ability to go out and compete at this level the way I want to, and that I know I can is very important to me. People haven’t really been able to see my full potential throughout my career. I’ve had most of my preseason and summer workouts taken away from me so heading into this season I will be a lot more confident knowing I’ve had a full summer and pre-season of training.
What are your thoughts about being a member of the Seminole basketball team for six years? Could you have envisioned playing this long when you first arrived as a freshman in 2000?
When I was a freshman there was no way I could have envisioned being here for six years. It’s not exactly the ideal situation but it has worked out well for me. Looking back, and being on the team for six years, I have been fortunate. I am very fortunate that I will earn my master’s degree and that I’m still on scholarship. Looking back on it, I’ve enjoyed all of my time at Florida State and am looking to big things during the upcoming season.
What is your best memory of the first five years of your basketball career at Florida State?
My best memory of my career so far came two years ago when we were down 24 points in the first half against North Carolina, and we were able to come back and win in overtime. We trailed the entire game, until we made a three near the end of regulation to push overtime. Then we went on to win the in overtime. I think it was one of the biggest comebacks in ACC history, and I’m proud to be a part of a win like that. To do it on our home court was awesome. I hope the best memory of my career is still ahead of me.