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Florida State

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

April 7, 2003 The PooP

The failed Steve Robinson experiment reinforced one of the cardinal rules of college athletics: When a program doesn't have a reputation that essentially sells itself, the head coach absolutely must be more than just a good coach. A working knowledge of Xs and Os isn't enough. Doing things the right way isn't enough. The leader of FSU basketball and other mid- to low-level programs must be those things and much more. Leonard Hamilton has a much better chance of fitting that description than Robinson ever did, but even for Hamilton it won't be easy.

Done For Me Lately

Year ACC Overall Postseason
1994 6-10 (7) 13-14 None
1995 5-11 (6) 12-15 None
1996 5-11 (8) 13-14 None
1997 6-10 (7) 20-12 NIT Final Four
1998 6-10 (6) 18-14 NCAA 2nd Round
1999 5-11 (7) 13-17 None
2000 6-10 (6) 12-17 None
2001 4-12 (8) 9-21 None
2002 4-12 (7) 12-17 None
2003 4-12 (9) 14-15 None

x—won ACC title
ACC: 51-109 (.319); No. 9 in ACC
Overall: 136-156 (.466); No. 9 in ACC

Projected 2003-04 Roster

Player Ht. Pos. Class
Nate Johnson 6-3 PG Sr.
Michael Joiner 6-7 BF Sr.
Mike Mathews 6-10 C Sr.
Tim Pickett 6-4 WG Sr.
Antonio Griffin 6-6 WF Jr.
Anthony Richardson 6-7 WF Jr.
Diego Romero 6-10 C Jr.
Adam Waleskowski 6-8 BF Jr.
Andrew Wilson 6-6 WG Jr.
Benson Callier 6-6 WG So.
Todd Galloway 5-11 PG So.
Al Thornton 6-8 BF Fr.
Von Wafer 6-5 WG Fr.

Another Spring Recruit?
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.

The Good News

Hamilton won at Miami, a school that traditionally cared little about hoops and literally gave up on the sport at one point. If you can win there — with mediocre facilities, erratic fan support and almost no history (sound familiar?) — you can win almost anywhere. Plus, not only is Hamilton an excellent recruiter for a variety of reasons, he's an excellent recruiter with lots of experience in the Southeast … and the Sunshine State in particular. Attracting better talent is a vital part of any rebuilding process, and Hamilton's track record and 2002-03 recruiting results suggest he can handle that part of the task.

The Bad News

This is not an easy job. FSU hasn't finished higher than sixth in the ACC since 1993. The home arena remains terrible. The once-consistent NBA pipeline has dried up completely. Fan interest wavers between poor and pathetic and probably never will approach the passion generated by the Seminoles in football and even baseball. Among the returning players, there's not much depth or offensive punch. The top signee (Wafer) can help with both of those problems, but he hasn't yet qualified academically.

The Outlook

The Seminoles were pretty bad this season, and they may not be pretty to watch next year. Whether or not that remains the case in the long run depends on Hamilton's ability to attract, sign, enroll and develop top-flight recruits. That was the one gaping hole in the program under Robinson, and until it changes — this year was a step in the right direction — FSU will be stuck in the ACC's lower tier. The current staff's seemingly boundless energy on the recruiting trail provides hope, which was something in short supply under the previous regime.