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ACC Preview # 8 - FSU

After dumping Steve Robinson, a thoroughly admirable man who didn't win
enough games, FSU went out and hired Leonard Hamilton, a noted recruiter and
rebuilder. The only place he has really failed was with the Washington
Wizards, but not even Michael Jordan has really succeeded there.

Hamilton is
the guy who got Fly Williams to Austin Peay (which made possible one of the
great cheers in college history: "the Fly's Wide Open! Let's Go Peay!")
and Sam Bowie to go to Kentucky, when his reputation was like Kevin Garnett's
(before he turned into the most injury-prone big man this side of Bill Walton,
who once broke a bone on an exercise bike). He got Darius Rice to go
to Miami, when they didn't even seem to be on the radar screen. He took
Oklahoma State, then a total backwater, and made it a competitive program, and
did the same to Miami. Miami stunk, to be charitable. Famous only for Rick
Barry's career there, Miami had such a lack of interest that they dropped the
program entirely for some time.

Now on to the 'Noles. Hamilton supposedly told
the team that if they had done anything right he wouldn't be there, and that it
was going to be a dictatorship. And at least some of them are glad for the
change. Michael Joiner was asked to compete at a weight which was really
too much for him to carry. Anthony Richardson reportedly had differences
with Robinson. Michael Matthews said recently he would have gone to Miami
if there weren't rumors that Hamilton was talking to the Wizards.

And Hamilton
has hit the ground running. He did enough patchwork to put together a reasonable
team this year, and his recruiting for next year is just about as good as
anyone's in the country. Among his coups, he got Von Wafer to commit.

actually, FSU may be better than anticipated. Joiner and Richardson are
ACC-level players. Rookie Benson Callier is an intriguing talent, called
"Little Kobe" by Richardson. He led his team to an upset of
LeBron James' team last year. Mathews and Trevor Harvey will have to hold down
the center position, and Adam Waleskowski can bang at power forward. And
Andrew Wilson, who missed a lot of time last year with injuries, is not a bad

They'll have to go with either Nate Johnson or Todd Galloway at
point. And they'll be thin this year. But they'll play defense,
Hamilton will be working on their mindset, and with Nigel Dixon and JD Bracy
having left, the makeup of the team will change a lot anyway. As much as
everyone loved Dixon, he could never get up and down the

What to expect? Well, it won't be an overnight turnaround. But like
Georgia Tech, FSU got a guy who does turnarounds like some guys shoot layups.
Moreover, they got a guy who is thoroughly familiar with prep talent in the
Sunshine State, and where it can be found. And after what is turning into a
depressing football season in Tallahassee, Leonard Hamilton could be a total
hero with wins over the likes of Duke, Maryland, or almost anyone in the
conference at this point, really.

We don't know as much about this team
as we'd like, but we do think they'll be dangerous at some point in the season,
and it would be exceedingly unwise to take them lightly.