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Point Guard Errors Hampering Progress

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


January 3, 2005 TALLAHASSEE — Nagging injuries and inexperience contributed to Florida State's uneven start on the basketball court this season, but the bigger issue has been a lack of consistency at the point guard position. While junior Todd Galloway has started every game for the Seminoles this season, coach Leonard Hamilton has given freshman Isaiah Swann every opportunity to win the job. Despite an impressive showing in the Seminoles' 90-88 overtime loss at Maryland, Swann has back-slid so far that classmate Ralph Mims will get a longer look as the floor leader. "The last two games I was out there, I don't know what it was, but I couldn't get nothing going," Swann said. "It's crazy because in practice, I'm doing all right. … When I got in the game, I think it's me trying to more force the issue. I've got to learn from that." Through the first 13 games of the season, Galloway and Swann each were plus-two in turnovers, and a good number of their mistakes came while trying to orchestrate FSU's halfcourt offense. Swann appeared ready to wrestle the job away from Galloway when he got the lion's share of the minutes against the Terrapins. His 12-point performance and solid second-half defensive work earned praise from Maryland junior guard and ACC tournament MVP John Gilchrist. "I told (Swann), 'You really made a statement in your first ACC game, especially coming home,'" Gilchrist said. "He's a big-game player." A Maryland native, Swann signed with the Seminoles after two prep school seasons, one at Oak Hill Academy and last year at Hargrave Military Academy. Prior to arriving at FSU, he had played point guard for only one full season. That's one reason why Hamilton isn't ready to give up on the high-flyer. "It's obvious he has the skills, but this is only the second year he's ever really played point guard, so he still has a lot of learning and developing that he has to do in those areas," Hamilton said. "We all know that he has the leadership skills, the athleticism and the ability to be an outstanding point guard. He just needs time to develop. It's not easy becoming the leader of the team, especially when you're a freshman and leading guys who are young and trying to figure things out himself." "It's hard when you try to come in and make a difference for the best of the team," said Swann, who already has absorbed more losses this year than in his previous three prep seasons. "It's a hard transition." Waleskowski Strong As Senior While Hamilton desperately needs someone to step up as a floor leader, he couldn't be more pleased with senior forward Adam Waleskowski. Stepping up as a team leader, Waleskowski delivered back-to-back big performances in December, with 24 points against South Alabama and 23 points and a career-high 16 rebounds at Maryland. Waleskowski came alive in the wake of some cajoling from the FSU coaching staff, which demanded more from the 6-10 Ohio product after a lackluster start to the season. A-Wal, as his coaches and teammates sometimes call him, bottomed out with five points and five rebounds in 25 minutes of a loss to Florida International. "The coaches said something about playing with passion, and I kind of felt I wasn't doing that and took it personally," Waleskowski said. "After the FIU game, I kind of felt like I let the team down, the way I was playing and the effort I was giving." Waleskowski also was a force in the Seminoles' recent 82-69 victory over Florida, which snapped FSU's six-game losing streak against the Gators. Since the FIU loss, he's averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, the kind of production FSU will need from him to contend in the ACC. Bowden Making Rare Change(s) FSU football coach Bobby Bowden continued to play coy when addressing potential coaching changes, even after the Seminoles' 30-18 Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia. "If I make the moves, I'll let you know," Bowden said. "I'll call y'all. You don't need to call me. But you all know me well enough, I don't like to make moves. I've never felt I've coached something I couldn't correct. I've always felt like I could correct it." Bowden has fired only three coaches in his 29 seasons at FSU, but offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins will become No. 4. According to sources, Heggins was told he would not be retained in the week leading up to Christmas, though the 19-year veteran of FSU's staff would not confirm his dismissal publicly. Yet Heggins was noticeably distant from the rest of the staff following the Gator Bowl victory; even seeking out a media member to say "goodbye." Heggins' conversation was interrupted when offensive guard Bobby Meeks interceded. "Coach Heggins, we're not done with you yet," Meeks said, before emptying a pair of water bottles over his head. Soaked, Heggins walked off to the locker room alone, while the rest of the staff and players celebrated on the field at Alltel Stadium. Tennessee Titans assistant George Henshaw reportedly is slotted to replace Heggins. An FSU assistant under Bowden from 1978-82, Henshaw has remained close to the head coach. His son Matt will be a senior at tight end next season. George Henshaw recently bought property in Tallahassee, and one source said he pulled a building permit. Heggins' dismissal created something of a dilemma, however. His departure left defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins as the only minority assistant on the staff. Only one other ACC school, N.C. State, has fewer than two full-time African-American assistants. Reportedly, the Seminoles would like to bring former FSU wide receiver and current South Florida assistant Lawrence Dawsey on board to correct that problem. The only hitch is that there currently isn't another vacancy in Tallahassee. There is some buzz that long-time assistant Billy Sexton may move into administration, clearing the path for Dawsey. Sexton, however, may try to block that move, because he still has a desire to work with FSU's running backs. Meanwhile, the early murmurs that quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey would move on after this season have since died down, virtually killing any opportunity to bring Valdosta State head coach Chris Hatcher on board at that spot. While changes certainly will take place, FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden appears on solid ground. He's already begun preparing for next season, studying film and evaluating the Seminoles and their system in great detail.