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Florida State Seminoles

Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball 2018-19 season preview

2017-18 record: 23-12, 9-9 in the ACC 

Head coach: Leonard Hamilton

Tenure at Florida State: 17th season

Career coaching record: 527-418 

Home court: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center 

Starters: G Trent Forrest, G M.J. Walker, F Phil Cofer, F Terance Mann, C Mfiondu Kabengele

Bench: G P.J. Savoy, C Christ Koumadje, G David Nichols, F Wyatt Wilkes

Overview: After losing their three most productive scoring threats, the Seminoles defied all expectations with a deep run in the NCAA tournament last season, falling to national runner-up Michigan in the Elite Eight. This year, Florida State is looking to silence the critics again, as the Seminoles are looking to replace key slots in last year’s high-powered lineup.

The biggest boon for Florida State this offseason was the news that starting forward Phil Cofer will be eligible for an additional year of play. Last season, Cofer led the Seminoles in scoring with 12.8 points per game and averaged 5.1 rebounds per contest. An inside-outside threat, the redshirt senior will undoubtedly be a centerpiece of Florida State’s offense. Backing him up are returning starters Trent Forrest and Terance Mann, two other keys two last year’s explosive Seminole attack.

Although this Florida State lineup is filled with some unknowns from last season, its old weaknesses are still apparent. M.J. Walker will be stepping up as a wing, a role he was not always consistent at last year. Although Walker was a five-star prospect, the Jonesboro, Ga., native was sometimes streaky in his shooting, sitting at 34.5 percent of 3-pointers made. Coupled with a penchant for weak perimeter defending—a key weakness that ultimately bounced Florida State from the Big Dance—and Walker’s tendency to get cold could force the Seminoles to ask for production from older, albeit less talented, bench players.

One thing that needs to go right: Florida State seamlessly promotes its former reserves to starting positions, and the Seminoles offense comes together without a hitch. Walker shows off his fabled ability as a high volume shooting guard and Florida State’s signature high powered play comes back in full swing.

One thing that could go wrong: Neither Walker nor Kabengele can handle taking a starting position, leading to inconsistent scoring and poor defensive performances. The Seminoles have another rough patch through conference play, leading to poor seeding in the NCAA tournament.

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