Leonard Hamilton

Florida State hopes summer trip to Greece will be a springboard into 2013-14

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Despite the presence of one of the nation’s best guards in Michael Snaer, Florida State fought inconsistency brought about by the overall lack of experience on its roster last season. The end result was an 18-16 record (9-9 ACC) and a loss to Louisiana Tech in the first round of the Postseason NIT.

Now with Snaer having graduated, Leonard Hamilton’s team will look to make a return to the NCAA tournament without its leading scorer. Okaro White, Devon Bookert and Ian Miller all return, and the addition of talented freshmen Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jarquez Smith should help matters as well.

What can also help the Seminoles is the fact that next month they’ll take a summer trip to Greece next month, taking on the Greek national team in games that they won’t be expected to win. The bonding experience Hamilton’s team will experience both on and off the court is something he hopes will pay off once practice officially begins in October according to Natalie Pierre of the Tallahassee Democrat.

“It’s going to be great. I feel like we’re going to spend a lot more time with each other instead of tweeting and texting our friends,” second-year Seminole Robert Gilchrist said.

“This is going to bring the team together.

“Like coach (Stan) Jones has said, the teams that he’s been on these tours with they always have a good year. So I think it comes down to chemistry, and that was one of the big things we were missing last year.”

The trip will make this an especially busy summer for Rathan-Mayes, who represented Canada in the Under-19 World Championships that came to a conclusion on Sunday. Canada finished sixth in the event, with Rathan-Mayes averaging 12.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.

He’ll factor into a perimeter rotation that has both depth and experience, and if this group can develop the chemistry that wasn’t always present in 2012-13 Florida State can rebound in 2013-14.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: