Aug. 11, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -
The Florida State men's basketball team, which advanced to the second round of the NIT in 2004, is ranked 30th nationally in Dick Vitale's summertime preseason Top 30 and 33rd by Andy Katz of ESPN.com in his Summer Sizzling Top 50 ranking of the top teams in the nation heading into the 2004-05 season. The Seminoles won 19 games last season with victories over four nationally ranked teams and six wins over teams who appeared in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT.
Florida State is one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams ranked among the top 30 teams in the country by Vitale and is one of eight ACC teams ranked among the nation's top 50 in Katz's summer poll. Vitale suggests Wake and North Carolina in the top five followed by Georgia Tech (seventh), Duke (ninth), Maryland (10th), NC State (20th) and Florida State (30th).
Katz envisions a similar finish within the ACC but slightly different on the national scene. According to Katz, the Seminoles (33rd) are joined by Wake Forest (first), North Carolina (second), Georgia Tech (fourth), Duke (10th), Maryland (14th), NC State (26th) and Virginia (36th) in the best 50 teams in the nation.
Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, who is entering his third season in Tallahassee, led Florida State to victories over the Demon Deacons, Tar Heels, Yellow Jackets, Terps and Cavaliers last season. The Seminoles' victory over national finalist Georgia Tech (81-65, Feb. 3) was the Yellow Jackets worst defeat of the season (-16 points).
"Coach Leonard Hamilton will have a tough team," said Vitale. "The Seminoles will miss (Tim) Pickett, but (Diego) Romero up front and (Jason) Rich and (Isaiah) Swann in the backcourt will be a positive."
The Seminoles have improved their victory total in two straight years, brought in two of the top recruiting classes in the country (including the No. 1 class in 2003) and defeated five nationally ranked teams since head coach Leonard Hamilton's arrival in 2002. With four of its five leading scorers and three of its top five rebounders back in uniform, the Seminoles will look to continue their climb up the college basketball ladder this season.
Said Katz of the Seminoles' upcoming prospects: "The Seminoles lost Tim Pickett, but they do have key players Von Wafer and Alexander Johnson back. And Florida State has been a beast to beat at home. If the Seminoles can find a way to win on the road, this team could be a factor in the ACC. Getting Diego Romero eligible is a huge plus for the inside game. The addition of newcomer guards Isaiah Swann and Jason Rich make them instant contenders."
Led by seniors Anthony Richardson (Raleigh, N.C.) and Adam Waleskowski (Dayton, Ohio), a total of five players with starting experience return to the Seminoles roster in 2004-05. Richardson started 24 of 29 games during the 2002-03 season and 16 of 33 during the 2003-04 season and is the most experienced Seminole in terms of starts with 40 entering his senior season. Richardson has missed only one game during his career and needs only 195 points to reach the 1,000 point plateau for his career. Waleskowski, who has played in every game of his career, enjoyed the best season of his career as a junior when he averaged a career-high 6.8 points and a career-high and team-leading 5.4 rebounds. Waleskowski started each of the final three games of the season - against NC State in the ACC Tournament and against Wichita State and Iowa State as the Seminoles advanced to the second round of the NIT.