Leonard Hamilton, Florida State Seminoles

The Florida State Seminoles lose a lot of production and will look to its young stars to take over and propel ‘Nole nation back to the NCAA Tournament.

 
 

CBB Review is once again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 season. Each day we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Coming in ranked number 45 are the Florida State Seminoles

Last year, the Florida State Seminoles struggled, finishing with the least amount of wins in a season since the 2014-15 season when they also only won 17 games. However, it was a roster sprinkled with talent, so the thought is that it was a chemistry issue and not a lack of talent.

This year, Leonard Hamilton will be forced to hit the reset button, as a handful of key players either graduated or are now playing professionally. Thanks to a deep roster last year, some experience is still left over. However, this Florida State team will need to rely on its three stud freshmen, plus a couple of rising sophomores.

To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams in the 2022-23 college basketball season.

Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton (35th season overall, 21st season at Florida State)

2021-22 Record: 17-14 (10-10)

2022 Postseason Finish: No postseason

Notable Departures: Anthony Polite (Professional), John Butler (Professional), Harrison Prieto (Graduated), Malik Osborne (Graduated), RayQuan Evans (Graduated), Tanner Ngom (Graduated), Wyatt Wilkes (Graduated)

Projected Rotation

PG: Jalen Warley (6-6, 200, So.)

2021-22 stats: 3.7 points, 2.5 assists, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals

SG: Caleb Mills (6-5, 180, Rs.-Jr.)

2021-22 stats: 12.7 points, 2.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 35.3 3P%

SF: Matthew Cleveland (6-7, 200, So.)

2021-22 stats: 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists

PF: Cam’Ron Fletcher (6-7, 215, Jr.)

2021-22 stats: 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds

C: Naheem Mcleod (7-4, 255, So.)

2021-22 stats: 4.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 11.1 minutes, 18 games played

6: Darin Green Jr. (6-5, 195, Jr.)

2021-22 stats: 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 38.5 3P% (UCF)

7: Cameron Corhen (6-10, 225, Fr.)

247Sports Composite #91 Overall Rated Recruit

8: De’Ante Green (6-10, 210, Fr.)

247Sports Composite #92 Overall Rated Recruit

9: Jaylan Gainey (6-10, 22o, Sr.)

2021-22 stats: 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks (Brown)

10: Chandler Jackson (6-5, 215, Fr.)

247Sports Composite #122 Overall Rated Recruit

Team MVP: Matthew Cleveland

A raw and athletic talent, Cleveland has NBA potential written all over his name. The 6-7 guard does struggle to connect from deep, hitting less than 20% of his shots from three-point range his freshman year. But Cleveland uses his long wingspan to create buckets inside and grab boards.

How Cleveland will adjust from being a star freshman around a bunch of seniors to being a main factor in the offense will be interesting to see. On one hand, he averaged double-digits in points as a freshman. On the other hand, efficiency was an issue, especially the further out from the basket he got.

As the season wore on, Cleveland started to get more comfortable. He shot above 50% from the field in 3 of his last 6 games and did so with a major increase in field goals attempted. I’m expecting that to carry over, and if it does, the ACC has a star in Tallahassee

Make-or-Break Player: Jalen Warley

The 6-6 guard was a rotation player last season and even made five starts. This year, the sophomore will likely be the starting point guard for the Florida State Seminoles.

Warley certainly has the talent. He was a very highly ranked recruit coming out of high school for a reason. However, his role is going to go from secondary to in the limelight, which can be difficult in the ACC.

One thing to take into account – like Cleveland, Warley also got better as the season went on. His numbers in assists grew in the final chunk of the season. Warley is also a great on-ball defender, and with his size, the adjustment process shouldn’t be too hard.

Analytic to Know: 26th in blocks per game in 2021-22

Last season, the Florida State Seminoles averaged 4.9 blocks per game as a team and finished just outside the top 25 in the country. It sticks with the culture Leonard Hamilton has instilled, which is recruiting tall big men to protect the rim.

Teams know what they’re getting into when they go up against Florida State. This year, 7-4 Naheem Mcleod is the guy to look out for down low. He only played in 18 games last season, but at full health and with starter minutes, could be next in line to dominate the paint at FSU.

Team Outlook

There’s plenty of NBA talent at Florida State. Cleveland and Warley were both ranked in the top 50 of the 247Sports Composite 2021 rankings. Additionally, Caleb Mills is another big guard who can score and hit from the outside at a high percentage.

What FSU’s season really comes down to is how fast it will take the freshmen to adjust. Leonard Hamilton brings in five freshmen to the roster in total, and all of them will battle for minutes. Of course, I only listed the top 10 projected in the rotation, but it could very well be a much larger competition since this is a Florida State Seminoles team that lacks a lot of experience.

On paper, it still looks like an NCAA Tournament team. Last season, the Noles struggled. But with a fresh team and a top coach in the ACC, it seems like a bounce-back year in Tallahassee.

Projected Conference Finish: 7th in the ACC

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Tournament Round of 64 Exit

Ceiling: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Exit

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