Dec. 5, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Adam Waleskowski is a man of predictions.
When asked what the final score would be if he played first year men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton one-on-one, his response was, “11-3, I’d win.”
As amusing as that may be to watch, Seminole fans instead will be able to enjoy Adam and the rest of the team do battle in what looks to be an exciting 2002-03 campaign at the Civic Center.
“Awal,” as Waleskowski is called, also has a few predictions about the Seminoles’ fate this season.
“I think we have a legitimate shot at putting up some big numbers,” said Waleskowski. “We’re still progressing, but I expect some big things this year. I think of all the weapons we’re going to have [on offense] and outside, we’ve got some guys who can really shoot the ball well. Everybody can step up and have big games, and I think that’ll be fun.”
There is no doubt Waleskowski one of those weapons.
A versatile player during his freshman year, Waleskowski’s role will change this season to more of an inside presence.
“Right now I’m playing a lot more in the post compared to last year,” said Waleskowski. “Last year I would slash in and out because we always had Nigel [Dixon] or somebody else down there. I’ve got to get back to taking it up strong.”
Don’t let Walsekowski’s size fool you, however. The 6’8″, 230-pound sophomore from Ohio is also an above average shooter. During his freshman year Waleskowski knocked down two from behind the arc, and is not afraid to step out and shoot if the opportunity presents itself. In fact, the two NBA players Waleskowski admires most are known for their ability to light it up from downtown.
“I’ve always liked Reggie Miller just because of the way he uses screens. I love watching him come off screens and getting his shot up. Larry Bird is another one who can shoot the ball.”
As a testament to Waleskowski’s accurate shooting stroke, he was the second freshman in a row to lead the Seminoles in free throw shooting percentage last season going 25 for 31, averaging out to an impressive 81%. He attributes his free throw shooting success to a simple formula.
“I practice a lot more shooting free throws now than I did in high school. I think it is just concentration. It’s all a mental thing.”
His brother Keith, a senior at the University of Dayton, also led his team in free throw shooting last season. Is it a coincidence? Waleskowski says so, but there is more to it than that.
Adam Waleskowski’s parents have been a big influence on he and his brother throughout the years.
“My dad has always been one to coach me and tell me what I’m doing wrong and fix something. All the way through high school my dad was telling me the good things I did and the things I didn’t do so well. My dad was more the critical one, and my mom was there more for support and to tell me I did a good job,” recalls Waleskowski
He must have been doing a good job because not only was Adam a McDonald’s All-America finalist, he was selected as a member of the U.S. All-Stars and took part in the prestigious Capital Classic All-Star game at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. In front of his classmates, who happened to be in Washington at the time for their senior trip, Adam did not disappoint. He grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, scored seven points, had a game-high five blocked shots, and a game-high four steals in 24 minutes en route to a 96-76 victory over the Capital All-Stars.
“That was a fun experience because my high school class came to the game. It was also good exposure nationwide.”
Seminole teammate Anthony Richardson also took part in the game. Only two schools are able to boast of having multiple players who competed in the 2000 Capital Classic, and one was Florida State.
Florida State was fortunate to sign Waleskowski prior to the 2001-02 season. The university and its attributes impressed Waleskowski.
“I really enjoyed my visit here,” he recalls.
But no matter how long someone is away at school, he never forgets his home.
“Ohio is a good fishing state, and they definitely have good barbecue.”
This year Adam looks to play the best basketball he has ever played in his life. With a new coaching staff in place and a new role for Waleskowski down on the block, the pieces are in place for him to flourish.
That is, of course, unless Coach Hamilton finds out he is an eight-point underdog against Adam.
By Tony Suarez
Sports Information Assistant