For what seems like the last four years there were two guarantees in the ACC: 1) Karl Hess would steal the show wherever he was and 2) With the last shot in a game, Florida State would get the ball to Michael Snaer and he would drill a game-winning shot. There aren’t enough gifs or YouTube videos to showcase just how devastated fans throughout the conference where when Michael Snaer hit a game winning shot against their team. Around the league, coaches and fans breathed a sigh of relief when Wake brought back coach Jeff Bzdelik and Snaer walked across the stage at Florida State’s graduation. I can just picture Coach K, Roy Williams, and John Swofford shaking their fist at Snaer as he got his diploma.
It’s tough to imagine how Florida State will be without Snaer and his late game heroics. For this season, coach Leonard Hamilton brought in one of the top recruiting classes (almost the best one had Andrew Wiggins ended up in Tallahassee) and he brings back many of the key contributors from last seasons team.
Michael Snaer 14.8 ppg 4.5 rpg 2.5 apg 100% on game winning shots (unofficial stat)
Terrance Shannon 7.9 ppg 5.6 rpg 0.8 apg
Okaro White 12.4 ppg 5.9 rpg 0.8 apg 51.1% FG 31.3% 3PT
Devon Bookert 6.5 ppg 1.8 rpg 2.4 apg 48.9% FG 52.5% 3PT
Aaron Thomas 6.0 ppg 2.4 rpg 1.1 apg 40.8% FG 22% 3PT
Xavier Rathan-Mayes – 4* SG
Jarquez Smith – 4* PF
Last season started off slowly for Florida State as they dropped a couple of head-scratching games in November. They limited their potential to that this season, by scheduling a tough non-conference. Florida State will play Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, a tournament that also features Michigan and Georgetown. When they get back, they will travel to Florida for their annual rivalry game with the Gators. In the ACC/B1G Challenge they drew a re-match of their game from last season, but this time travel to Minnesota.
In a change for pace for these previews, Florida State starts off conference play with a manageable four game stretch, Virginia, at Clemson, Maryland, and at Miami. With all of the new faces around the ACC, Hamilton remains a constant presence in the conference. He’s done a great job of building up Florida State basketball, while they may be getting counted of this season already, there schedule isn’t nearly as tough as it could be. They only play Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse once each, with the North Carolina and Syracuse games coming at home. This means that Florida State will have plenty of chances to win games against average teams in the league.
Prediction: (6-12) – 10th place
I’ve spoken a lot about Snaer, but his loss will hurt Florida State a lot this season. With him, they stole plenty of games over the past two seasons and I’m banking on those games not going their way this year. Eventually a team regresses and no one gets the bounces in late game scenarios to pull off last second wins. I like the pieces that Florida State is bringing back, but questions remaining about who the point guard will be and where they will find consistent offense.