By AMANDA NEPPL / Staff Writer
The Florida State ticket office most recently released the new 2016-2017 men’s basketball season schedule. Facing the Seminoles first is Charleston Southern, at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center, with tipoff at 1:00pm on November 12th.
Last season proved to be a tough one for the Seminoles, yet the first game against Nicholls State exhibited a whopping 109-62 win for our men. Three-point scoring rounded out to 50% for the ‘Noles, while the Colonials managed a measly 26.9%. Seminole leading scorer Dwayne Bacon, who withdrew from last year’s NBA draft, has returned to Florida State for his sophomore year. According to an ESPN article titled “Dwayne Bacon withdraws from NBA draft consideration”, he “made the decision after consulting further with his family and looking back at the season”.
Not only should FSU get pumped for their returning player, but also for Malik Beasley. The shooting guard now plays for the Denver Nuggets; their first preseason game is on October 3rd against the Toronto Raptors.
Beginning with a game against VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University), Florida State turned a one-game triumph into a six-straight winning streak last season. If the ‘Noles can accomplish multiple consecutive wins for a long period of time, then this should guarantee the team a back-to-back invitation to the NIT, or National Invitation Tournament. This year, according to the NCAA, the tournament will take place March 28th-30th in Madison Square Garden in New York.
As of statistics from March of last season, the team averages about 78 points per game, with on average six three-point field goals per game. When it comes to rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, the team finds themselves averaging out to 37 rebounds, with nearly 14 assists per game. The Florida State men find their steals reflect about 7 per game – which is nearly two per quarter – and blocks per game totals around four.
Leading scorers to watch for on the court include returning sophomore Dwayne Bacon, returning junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes, and Naples freshman Johnathan Isaac. According to an article by Safid Deen, a sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel, Isaac is “one of the nation’s highly touted prospects”. Back in July, Jeff Borzello for ESPN reported that the small forward “was one of the fastest-rising players in the Class of 2016 during the April recruiting period, all the way to No. 12 in the ESPN 100”. Not only did Isaac receive attention from multiple universities (Wake Forest, Stanford, and Kentucky, to name a few), but Isaac realized “I just decided Florida State is where I want to go. I didn’t want to waste coaches’ time. I knew where I wanted to go”.
From the way the stats look and how the players sound, the men’s basketball team seems ready to kick it into gear this season, and for the first time since 2012, compete in the NCAA tournament.