Feb. 20, 2008
Ralph Mims could have mailed in his senior season. He could have taken the summer off, done what he had to do to get his mind and his body in shape for the marathon that is a college basketball season, shown up for practice on a daily basis, been a solid teammate and picked up a couple of awards at the team banquet in April.
After all, Mims was going to earn a good deal of playing time, score a handful of points, help the Seminoles win 20 games for the third consecutive season and earn his degree in social science.
But that's not how Mims was raised.
Instead, he was the Seminoles' hardest working during the hot summer months, prepared his mind and his body as hard as he ever had for the grueling season, made working hard in practice the rule rather than the exception and became a leader by example for his teammates.
For his efforts, Mims find himself enjoying the best season of his four-year career at Florida State. He is in the starting line-up, he is averaging in double figures in scoring for the first time in his career and has been one of the Seminoles' most consistent players both on and off the court. Mims has worked harder this season than he has during his entire career and is coming closer to reaching his goals as a senior than he ever thought was possible.
"I'm having a good time playing the game of basketball," said Mims. "The game of basketball has been such a big part of my life for such a long time and I really wanted to enjoy my senior season. We all have to listen to our coaches, work together and work hard. We are talented enough as a team, that if we pull together and work hard in every practice and on every possession in every game, that we can be as successful as any team in Florida State history."
Mims has certainly worked as hard as any player on the team to help the Seminoles be successful this season.
Mims is averaging a career-high 10.9 points scored per game through the first 27 games of the season. He is averaging double figures scored for the entire season (10.9 ppg) and in ACC games only (11.3 ppg) after entering the 2007-08 the season averaging 3.9 points per game during his first three seasons as a Seminoles. He has nearly tripled his scoring average as a senior. Additionally, Mims has scored in double figures in 12 games this season after scoring in double figures in eight games during the first three seasons of his career and has scored in double figures in five ACC games this season as compared to twice during the first three years of his career.
His effort throughout the season has been recognized by the Seminoles' coaching staff and his teammates.
"Ralph has probably been one of our most consistent players this season," said Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. "He has played with great confidence, done everything we have asked of him and made very few mistakes this season. The most important thing to me is that he has given tremendous effort since the first day of pre-season conditioning. Ralph hasn't let up one bit and that has made him one of our team leaders this season."
Mims' teammates agree.
"I've enjoyed playing with Ralph throughout my entire career," said fellow senior Jason Rich. "This season though, we have really witnessed how good a basketball player Ralph is. More than seeing how good he is as a basketball player, we have seen how much of a good person he is. He has picked up the rest of us by picking up his game. I really think he showed how much he has grown up during his career at Florida State by how much of a team leader he has become this season."
Rich knows more than any other player on the Florida State team how much Mims has developed his game and his leadership skills - the two have been playing together since their elementary school days in Pensacola, Fla.
"It has been great playing with all of my teammates but especially with Jason," said Mims. "We didn't choose to come to Florida State together but I am thankful that we chose to become Seminoles at the same time. He's like a brother to me. To be able to be able achieve the goals that we have dreamt about together for our entire careers would be something very special."
As Mims' career as a Seminole winds down, he continues to build up his basketball resume. He is among the Seminoles' all-time leaders in games played, free throw percentage, steals and 3-point shots made. He has helped the Seminoles play in two postseason tournaments and defeat six nationally ranked teams including No. 1 ranked Duke as a sophomore in 2006 and cross-state rival Florida as both a junior and a senior. Mims helped lead Florida State past Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Seminoles' first ever win in the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium during in 2007.
But for all Mims has accomplished as a Seminole, he is still working towards one so-far elusive goal - that of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
"That's been the goal since we pledged our allegiance to Coach Ham - to get to the NCAA Tournament," said Mims. "We have got to do everything we can during the remainder of the season to reach that goal. It's what we have all worked for; it's what we have all thought about since we stepped onto campus. We only have one shot left and we have to make that shot our best."
By Chuck Walsh Associate Director of Sports Information