Yesterday we wrote about UVa and their chances this season, and said that a
number of schools could make jumps or be more competitive that they might seem
from a distance. FSU is one of those.
We admit we're suckers for Steve Robinson. We think he's a brilliant young
coach, a rising star, and it's only a question of time until he gets FSU in the
upper echelon. This season he might be closer than anyone suspects.
FSU is potentially solid at a number of positions, having Ron Hale, who
exploded into prominence last season, Damous Anderson, who had to sit out,
Delvon Arrington and Adrian Crawford in the backcourt, both very well
trained. Add to that basic group Rodney Tucker, who may be better than
most people thought, and who is reputedly a very solid athlete, and some
new big guys in transfer David Anderson, who is 7'0", and has some
shotblocking skills, and at least some big depth, if nothing else, in Nigel
Dixon and Mike Matthews.
Big might be an understatement for Dixon, who comes in at 6-8 and 6'8"
and 380, or 6'10" and 350, depending on who you believe (the ACC Handbook
lists him at both sizes, for instance).
Anyway, they could still use a better inside presence, but they have depth,
and they apparently have smart guards and solid athletes, for the most part, six
to eight players deep.
Most importantly, Robinson has either gotten rid of or won over most of Pat
Kennedy's boneheads of a few years ago. It was incredibly frustrating to see one
of the ACC's more talented teams play like it was coached by Cliff Ellis.
That's an insult to Cliff Ellis, actually: his teams were boneheaded and played
soft schedules, and choked a lot, but at least they played hard. Kennedy's
FSU players did so from time to time, but it wasn't habitual.
That's not the case for Robinson. You play hard for him or you forget it.
Next year he has some other significant talent coming in, and soon, possibly
this year, he'll have a sleek, fast, hard-hitting, hard defending team capable
of keeping up athletically with anyone in the ACC. UNC will kill them
inside, as will probably Wake and State, but the other schools will have a
tougher time. The changes underway in Florida State basketball is exciting
and visceral. If we lived in Tallahassee, we'd get season tickets while the
getting is good.